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Mar 26th
Home Sections History Here LIES the Summary of Filipino History in America?
Here LIES the Summary of Filipino History in America? PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 09 September 2007 01:53


E ditor's Notes: This piece was orginally titled "A Compilation of Filipino-American History Myths and Hoaxes" by Roberto Reyes Mercado. The author is one of the charter members of the Philippine History Group of Los Angeles. He joined the PGHLA in June 1995 and briefly left it in June 1999. On Oct. 17, 1999, he became a member of the Filipino-American National Historical Society (FANHS), Los Angeles Chapter. He published the following article in October 1999, after he joined the FANHS in the (now-defunct) After the article was published, the FANHS refused to send him notification of membership meetings, although nobody ever told him that his membership was terminated. Reyes then refused to pay his annual membership fee to the FANHS beginning 2000. Thereafter, Reyes and his literary guru, Poet-pundit Fred Burce Bunao, cofounded a new organization devoted also to history and called it the "Philippine-American National Hysterical Society (PANHS)." The slogan of the PANHS is "No mistaking hysteria for history and vice versa." Mr. Bunao gives out annually the so-called "PANHS de Sal Award" and for the past seven years, only Reyes has been the sole winner. Mr. Bunao says that the annual award carries a prize of one-million dollars, payable at the rate of one dollar per annum for the next million years. Reyes rejoined the PHGLA.

E ventually Reyes coined the term, "Hoaxbalahaps," to denote the supposed authors of Filipino historical myths. He invented the term after he informed his literary guru that Greg Macabenta came out with Wells Fargo Bank ads that said that a Filipino was a cofounder of the City of Los Angeles. Mr. Macabenta is a FANHS supporter and then also a national executive officer of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA). Upon hearing the name of Mr. Macabenta, Mr. Bunao remarked, "Hoax na naman ba 'yan ni Lagareng Hapon." Voila, Reyes came up instantly with "Hoaxbalahap."


O ne of our readers, Noel Omega, an officer of the Leyte-Samar Association, Inc., sent this summary of the supposed Filipino history in America. He said that the text was forwarded to him by A. M. Pinon, who in turn received it apparently from a Ramon A. Reyes, a computer consultant, University of Southern California, Information Resources Dept., Marshall School of Business, Bridge Hall 207. (Editor's Note: Ramon is not at all related fortunately to Bobby Reyes.)

I was able to talk by phone with Ramon Reyes and he said that he received in turn the material from his kin in the Philippines and he passed it on to his Internet friends. Ramon Reyes does not know who the author of the story is.

H ere is Mr. or Ms. Anonymous' "FAKE Story of the Filipino in the United States," unedited as it is. We corrected only the obvious mistakes in spelling and did not attempt to improve the grammar.

QUOTE. According to the U.S. census, there are approximately nine-million people living in America who are of Asian descent. Twenty-three percent of that are of Chinese ancestry; 20% are Filipino; 12% are Asian Indian; and Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese each share about 10%. It is expected that by the year 2000, Filipinos will be the largest Asian Pacific Islander group. In the State of California, there are more Filipinos than there are of Chinese. And in San Diego County, Filipino Americans compose the largest Asian-Pacific Islander group. Yet as Filipino Americans, we are invisible to mainstream society. How often do you see Filipinos in books, in magazines, on television, or on the radio? We are hidden in the shadows of our Asian Pacific Islander brothers and sisters, and it seems that the only thing people know about us is that our youth have the highest suicide rate in the county.

But is that all that is known about Filipino Americans? Is this what we want our fellow Americans, our fellow Asian Americans, and our fellow shipmates to know? Of course not. If possible, we would like to be able to tell our friends and neighbors that there's more to being Filipino than just lumpia (spring roll) and pancit (chow mien). We want to be able to tell our friends and family that we have a unique Asian Pacific Islander heritage. A heritage that reflects our Filipinoness (sic), a heritage that goes deep into the hearts of all Filipinos, whether we speak English or Tagalog, whether we were born in America or in our native land, the Philippines, or whether we eat "kare-kare", "pinakbet", or hamburger and French fries. We want to be able to tell our friends and fellow shipmates that "Our history is no mystery." Indeed, as Filipino Americans, we need to tell our story and when our story began.

Unknown to many people, Filipino American history began on October 18, 1587. Filipinos were the first Asians to cross the Pacific Ocean as early as 1587, fifty years before the first English settlement of Jamestown was established. From 1565 to 1815, during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade, Filipinos were forced to work as sailors and navigators on board Spanish Galleons. They arrived in Morro Bay, California. A landing party consisting of Filipino seamen, namely "Luzon Indios ("Luzon Indians"), were sent to the California shore to claim the land for the Spanish king. In 1763, Filipinos made their first permanent settlement in the bayous and marshes of Louisiana. As sailors and navigators on board Spanish galleons, Filipinos-also known as "Manilamen" or Spanish-speaking Filipinos-jumped ship to escape the brutality of their Spanish masters. They built houses on stilts along the gulf ports of New Orleans and were the first in the United States to introduce the sun-drying process of shrimp.

In 1781, Antonio Miranda Rodriguez Poblador, a Filipino, along with 44 other individuals, was sent by the Spanish government from Mexico to establish what is now known as the City of Los Angeles. During the War of 1812, Filipinos from Manila Village (near New Orleans) were among the "Batarians" who fought against the British with Jean Lafitte in the Battle of New Orleans. This was just the beginning of the first wave of Filipino immigration into the United States.

The second wave began from 1906 to 1934 with a heavy concentration going into California and Hawaii. But between these waves of immigration, it is through the "colonization of our native land", the Philippines, that brought us here. For over 300 years, Spain had colonized the Philippines using Manila Bay as their great seaport, trading silver and rich spices with other countries surrounding Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. In exchange for gold, the Spaniards gave Filipinos Christianity. We were called Filipinos after King Philip II of Spain. This is why we have Spanish surnames like Bautista, Calderon, Marquez, and Santos.

Our Spanish connection came to an end after the Spanish-American War in 1898 when America wanted to control the Philippines. Unknown to Filipinos, through the Treaty of Paris (April 11, 1899), Spain sold the Philippines to the United States for $20 million, thus ending over 300 years of Spanish colonization. Filipinos celebrated their independence from Spain on June 12, 1898, and declared Emilio Aguinaldo as president. However, the people of the Philippines were not truly free. In fact, they never were. America was its new ruler and had cheated the Filipinos in believing that they were free. Thus, the Filipino American War began shortly after U.S. colonization. Known in U.S. history books as the "Philippine Insurrection, it was a bloody precursor to Vietnam. The Filipino American War as America's first true overseas war. The War lasted from 1898 to 1902, and in those 3 years as many as 70,000 Americans died and close to two million Filipinos were killed. American soldiers were ordered to shoot and kill every one over age 10. Filipinos over ten were considered "Criminals because they were born ten years before America took the Philippines." There was even a special gun designed to kill Filipinos, the Colt .45 1902 "Philippine Model", where only 4,600 were made. This is the real American history that historians, academicians, and scholars forgot to tell us about.

Soon after the War, William Howard Taft, who later became President of the United States, became governor of the Philippines. American schoolteachers, called "Thomasites", came to Philippines to establish a public school system similar to American public schools. American educators taught Filipinos that "Aguinaldo and friends" were the enemy. They were taught American songs, and world history through American eyes. This is why so many of us speak such good English. The elite class of rich Filipinos are also known as "pensionados" were allowed to come to America to learn in American universities. In November 1903, 103 pensionados became the first Filipino students in American universities and campuses. It was here in San Diego at State Normal School, now known as San Diego State University (SDSU), where the School Registrar's records show that there were a few Filipino students ages 16-25 who had attended an SDSU, proof that we have been here in San Diego since 1903.

In the early 1900's, other Filipinos came to Hawaii to work on sugar cane plantations and to seek a better life in America. Filipinos came to the West Coast of the U.S., where they worked many long hours on farms and in the agricultural fields picking grapes, asparagus, lettuce and other fruits and vegetables in places like Hayward, Salinas, Stockton, El Centro, and even in Escondido. In Alaska they worked in the fish canneries. If they were not working in the fields, then they were working as dishwashers, waiters, and bus boys at the Hotel del Coronado, some at the "Casa de Manana" in La Jolla or at the Rome Hotel on Market Street.

These Filipino pioneers were known as the "manong generation" since most of them came from Ilocos Sur, Iloilo, and Cavite in the Philippines. "Many of them Filipinos did not plan to reside permanently in the United States. All they wanted was to accumulate as much wealth as possible within a short time and return to the islands as rich men. But due to the low-paying jobs the migrants obtained, a trip home became more and more remote as the years went by" (excerpts from Adelaida Castillo-Tsuchida's "Filipino Migrants in San Diego: 1900-1946" p.56).

Back in the 1920's and '30's, the ratio of men to women was 20 to 1. In some places it was 40 to 1. Because they were Filipino, they were not allowed to marry white women. In the state of California, the local authorities imposed anti-miscegenation laws on Filipinos. Filipinos had to drive out of state in order to marry white women. And during this time, particularly during the Great Depression, white Americans claimed that Filipinos "brought down the standard of living because they worked for low wages" Filipinos had to compete against other ethnic groups to earn a living. Tensions grew between white Americans and Filipinos. White Americans blamed Filipinos for taking their women and their jobs. For this reason, many hotels, restaurants, and even swimming pools had signs that read "POSITIVELY NO FILIPINOS ALLOWED!" Sometimes they read, "NO DOGS ALLOWED!" This eventually lead to the passing of the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, which limited Filipino immigration to the U.S. to 50 per year. Its main purpose was to exclude Filipinos because they were perceived as a social problem, disease carriers, and an economic threat. American attitude toward Filipinos changed with the onset of World War II. This began the 3rd wave of Filipino immigration (1945-1965).

Filipinos from the Philippines joined the U.S. Navy to fight against the Japanese Filipinos were allowed to join the navy because they were so-called "Nationals". They were not U.S. citizens, nor were they illegal aliens. In the navy, many Filipinos were given the label of "Designated TN", which many of you know stood for "Stewardsman". As stewards, Filipinos in the U.S. Navy cooked, cleaned, shined, washed, and swabbed the decks of naval ships and naval bases across America and the entire world. But despite their status, Filipinos fought side by side with American soldiers for freedom against the Japanese.

The 4th wave of Filipino Immigration began after the passing of the Immigration Act of 1965 and continues to the present day. This allowed the entry of as many as 20,000 immigrants annually. This wave of Filipinos was also called the "brain drain", and consisted mainly of professionals: doctors, lawyers, nurses, engineers, as well as the military, Filipinos who continued to join the navy off Sangley Point in Cavite City, Philippines.

From the first to the fourth wave of Filipino Immigration, it is evident that Filipinos have been in America for quite some time, yet one must persistently ask who are the Filipino Americans? Who are they and what have they done? Perhaps it would be better to ask: What is it about Filipino Americans that make them appear different, yet one and the same? The answer may lie with the younger generation, our youth, young 2nd- or 3rd- generation Filipino Americans, for some of you, your sons and daughters. Many of them do not see themselves in the American mainstream or in the community, and because of this "invisibility" they lack a certain voice that would remind them that they too are Filipino. Perhaps, this might be one of the reasons why they act more American than Filipino. What many of them don't know is that there are people like:
AGAPITO FLORES who in the early 1940's invented the Fluorescent Light, thus the name FLUOR-RES-CENT.
EDWARDO SAN JUAN, a Filipino, who in 1969 worked for Lockheed Corporation and was the conceptual designer of the Lunar Rover or the Moon Buggy.
In 1948, Olympic gold medallist, VICKY MANOLO DRAVES, was the first woman to high and low diving events.
BOBBY BALCENA in 1957 was the outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds.
ROMAN GABRIEL, quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams (1962-1973). He was the 1969 NFL MVP and Player of the Year.
LIZ MASAKAYAN, pro beach Volleyball champion player who lives in San Diego.
ERNIE REYES, JR., martial arts expert, movie actor and director.
BEN CAYETANO, governor of Hawaii since 1994, the highest-ranking Filipino American in U.S. government.
TESS SANTIAGO, Mayor of the city of Delano, California's first Filipino Mayor since November 1994.
ANDY BUMATAI, standup comedian from Hawaii.
LOIDA NICOLAS LEWIS, CEO of the largest African-American owned corporation, TLC Beatrice.
The late, LARRY DULAY ITLIONG, labor organizer (1965 grapes strike leader),1st Vice-President of the United Farm Workers union.
The late, PHILIP VERACRUZ, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union.
DANNY MODELO, the first Filipino American animal trainer at Sea World in the United States, a Filipino who grew up in South San Diego.
Judge LILIAN LIM, the first Filipino judge in the U.S., appointed in 1988 and also from San Diego.
ROBIN TULAO MANGARIN, the 1st Filipino-American television news anchorperson in San Diego history.
JOEL DELA FUENTE, TV actor who plays the character of Paul Wang on "Space Above and Beyond". NIA PEEPLES, from the "North Shore", and star of the former TV show, "Party Machine".
TAMILYN TOMITA, from the "Karate Kid II" and the "Joy Luck Club".
TIA CARRERE, from "Wayne's World I & II", "Rising Sun", and "True Lies".
ROB SCHNEIDER, who you all know from Saturday Night Live, the movie "Judge Dredd", "Demolition Man", and "Down Periscope".
EMILIO ESTEVEZ, from the movie "Young Guns I & II", "Men at Work", & "The Mighty Ducks I & II."
CHARLIE SHEEN, from "Major League I & II", "Hot Shots", and "Navy Seals".
LOU DIAMOND PHILIPPS, From La Bamba and many more.
And then you got that one guy formerly known as PRINCE. Where do you think he gets his rhythm from?

You may say that some of the people that I have mentioned are part Black, White, or Asian, but deep down they are also part Pinoy, therefore, Filipino American. Each and every one of them reflect a certain Asianness (sic), but more so a Filipinoness.

They, like any other Filipino American, will continue to live their lives in these United States of America, proud of their heritage and proud to tell their own story.

Those of us with the Filipino American National Historical Society with the acronym "FANHS" are proud of our Filipino American heritage and proud of our Filipino American identity. We are here to share this rich and unique Filipino American history, which can often be confused with Philippine history. We are Filipinos living in America, and our mission is to promote the understanding, education, enlightenment, appreciation, and enrichment through the identification, gathering, preservation and dissemination of the history and culture of Filipino Americans in the United States. Our history is no mystery. We have yet to research and document the overflow of Filipino-owned businesses-bakeries, restaurants, video stores, insurance companies, and realtors situated on Plaza Boulevard and 8th Street in National City. And of course, the Filipino American businesses located on Mira Mesa Boulevard in Mira Mesa, and on Palm Avenue and Picador Road in South San Diego. There is much to be done. There is much to look forward to.

As we celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Week, let our research and sharing go beyond today or tomorrow. Let it go everyday and every year. Because in this celebration, we can remember our native land and how it has culturally influenced us, but let us not forget that our home is here in America. Let us not forget that because of our "navy connection", whether we are white, black, brown, Asian, or Latino, we have contributed to this country. Did anyone tell you that you are what make the U S. Navy the best it can be? Remember it's not just a job, it's an adventure. And as the saying goes, "Fair winds and following seas".

*Special thanks to Reynila Calderon-Magbuhat for providing the necessary resources for this presentation.

1. "Where Asian-Americans Reside". _U.S. News and World Report. Basic data: estimate based on 1990 US. Census Bureau data, April 29,1996, p. 18.
2. Rene Ciria-Cruz. "Looking for Asian America". _Filipinas_. May 1995, p. 38.
3. Fred Cordova. "The Importance of Being Filipino-American: Community Acculturation vs. Individual Assimilation". Conference: "Making a the Community". University of San Diego, Alcala Park, San Diego, California, Sept. 23, 1995.
4. Angela Lau, "Filipino Girls Think Suicide at No. 1 Rate". San Diego Union-Tribune. Feb. 11, 1995, A-11.
5. Eugene Lyon. "Track of the Manila Galleons". _National Geographic, Vol. 178, No.3, Sept. 1990, pg. 4-37.
6. Eloisa Borah Gomez. "Filipinos in Unamuno's California Expedition of 1587." Amerasia Journal. UCLA Asian American Studies Center, Vol. 23:3, Winter 1995-1996, pgs. 175-183.
7. Marina E. Espina. "Filipinos in Louisiana". A.F. Laborde & Sons, New Orleans, 1988, p.38-39, & 50.
8. Cordova, Fred. "Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans". Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 1983, p.9.
9. Ibid., Marina E Espina, p. 50.
10. Filipino American National Historical Society Program. "Filipino Americans: Discovering their past for the future." Seattle, Washington: Wehman Video Distribution, 1994.
11. Dario Villa. Class Lecture. Filipino Studies 100 class at Miramar College. San Diego, California, Feb. 29, 1996.
12. Ibid., Feb. 29, 1996.
13. Stanley Karnow. "In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines". New York: Ballantine Books, 1989, p. 106-195.
14. Ibid., p. 167-170.
15. Fred Cordova. "Historical Benchmarks". Filipinas. Feb. 1993, p.59.
16. Adelaida Castillo-Tsuchida's "Filipino Migrants in San Diego: 1900-1946". University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, 1979, p. 43.
17. Fred Cordova. "Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans"., p. 26-27, 37-39, 57.
18. Adelaida Castillo-Tsuchida's "Filipino Migrants in San Diego: University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, 1979, p. 57.
19. Alex Fabros. "When Hilario Met Sally". Filipinas. Feb. 1995, pgs. 0-52, 58.
20. Fred Cordova. "Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans"., p. 11.
21. Ibid., p. 114.
22. Dario DeGuzman Villa. Diversity Presentation. Sweetwater High. School. National City, CA, Jan. 25, 1996.
23. Fred Cordova. "Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans"., p.119-120.
24. Statement of Understanding Concerning Duties Within the Steward Group Rating, Promotion and Assignment to Duty. NAVCRUITDET PHIL 1400/1 (5-67). Signature of applicant: Rosauro Santos Buenaventura. Witnessed by R.D. Morgan, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, Recruiting Officer. 14 June 1968.
25. George Brown Tindall & David E. Shi. "America: A Narrative History" 3rd ed. vol. 2. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1992, p. 1352.
26. All information adopted from Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Instruction Kit 1992; The Asian American Almanac; edited by Irene Natividad; Filipinas magazine May 1993, 14-17, Aug. 1994, Mar. 1995, July 1995, Feb. 1996, May 1996; & "The Bridge Generation: Sons and Daughters of Filipino Pioneers" by Dario DeGuzman Villa, San Diego, CA, 1996. UNQUOTE.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 December 2010 11:19
Comments (1)
1 Wednesday, 22 April 2009 16:30
This is a very good page, giving me some informations about the truth of the Filipino-American War Era.
The Wikipedia tells us that the casualties were over a million Filipinos, and only 4,000 American soldiers.

It was in this page however that I have known the truth...

The Filipino armies organized by Supremo Presidente Andres Bonifacio, and later trained and strengthened by General Antonio Luna, in truth have actually buried more than 70,000 soldiers, of the proud and arrogant American nation, the U.S.A.
I am proud therefore, of my heritage as a Filipino, that my country did not easily bowed down to the most powerful nation in the planet, but that they fought bravely and fearlessly, with true reason and love of country...


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