Celebrating Filipino American History Month

Last Updated October 13, 2022

Filipino American History Month is celebrated in October each year to commemorate the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental United States. The earliest documented evidence of Filipino presence was on October 18, 1587, when the first “Luzones Indios” set foot in Morro Bay, California. As of 2019, there are nearly 4.2 million Filipinos living in the United States, making them the third-largest Asian-Pacific Islander origin group in the country. Greater Los Angeles is the metropolitan area home to the most Filipino Americans, with a population of about 606,000. The group speaks a wide array of Philippine languages such as Tagalog, Bisaya, Ilocano, and Kapampangan, among many others.

Filipino American History Month was established in 1988 by the Filipino American National Historical Society, inspired by activist Dr. Fred Cordova’s 1983 book Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans. On September 9, 2009, the 111th US Congress, the US Senate, and the House of representatives, passed respective resolutions officially recognizing on a National level, October as Filipino American History Month. The bill was introduced by former Senator Leland Yee with Senators Carol Liu, Pat Wiggins and Lois Wolk as co-authors.

Filipino Americans hope that the community can celebrate this special month by recognizing diversity and promoting, enlightening, appreciating, preserving, and disseminating their history and culture. Delectable foods to try that are widely popular in the Philippines are adobo, a pork or chicken dish that is considered unofficially their national dish, lechon, a tasty and fully roasted pig turned over a fire, and pancit guisado, delicious fried noodles that can be paired with any meat entree. These dishes are often featured in a Kamayan feast, a traditional family style Filipino meal in which no utensils are used, and dishes are prepared and arranged over banana leaves.  Eating with your hands is a very much accepted way of eating in the Philippines, as it shows community, love, and trust among loved ones.

We acknowledge the influence that Filipino Americans have had and will continue to have on our country, and celebrate the rich culture and traditions the Filipino community has shared with our nation.

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