Filipino Americans (Filipino: Mga Pilipinong Amerikano) are Americans of Filipino descent. The term Filipino American is sometimes shortened to Fil-Am or Pinoy. The earliest appearance of the term Pinoy (feminine Pinay), was in a 1926 issue of the Filipino Student Bulletin. Some Filipinos believe that the term Pinoy was coined by Filipinos who came to the United States to distinguish themselves from Filipinos living in the Philippines.
Filipinos in North America were first documented in the 16th century, and other small settlements beginning in the 18th century. Mass migration did not begin until the early 20th century, when the Philippines was ceded from Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris.
The history of Spanish and American rule and contact with merchants and traders culminated in a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures in the Philippines. Filipino American cultural identity has been described as fluid, adopting aspects from various cultures; that said there has not been significant research into the culture of Filipino Americans.Fashion, dance, music, theater and arts have all had roles in building Filipino American cultural identities and communities.[page needed]
In areas of sparse Filipino population, they often form loosely-knit social organizations aimed at maintaining a "sense of family", which is a key feature of Filipino culture. These organizations generally arrange social events, especially of a charitable nature, and keep members up-to-date with local events. Organizations are often organized into regional associations. The associations are a small part of Filipino American life. Filipino Americans formed close-knit neighborhoods, notably in California and Hawaii. A few communities have "Little Manilas", civic and business districts tailored for the Filipino American community.
Despite being from Asia, Filipinos are sometimes called "Latinos" due to their historical relationship to Spanish colonialism. Similar to Puerto Rico, Filipinos have been subjected to both Spanish and American colonial structures and territory status. This shared history may also contribute to why some Filipinos choose to also identify as Hispanic or Latino, while others may not and identify more as Asian Americans. Only a small percentage of Filipino Americans identify as Latino.
Due to history, the Philippines and the United States are connected culturally. In 2016, there was $16.5 billion dollars worth of trade between the two countries, with the United States being the largest foreign investor in the Philippines, and more than 40% of remittances came from (or through) the United States. In 2004, the amount of remittances coming from the United States was $5 billion; this is an increase from the $1.16 billion sent in 1991 (then about 80% of total remittances being sent to the Philippines), and the $324 million sent in 1988. Some Filipino Americans have chosen to retire in the Philippines, buying real estate. Filipino Americans, continue to travel back and forth between the United States and the Philippines, making up more than a tenth of all foreign travelers to the Philippines in 2010; when traveling back to the Philippines they often bring cargo boxes known as a balikbayan box.
Tagalog language spread in the United States.
Filipino and English are constitutionally established as official languages in the Philippines, and Filipino is designated as the national language, with English in wide use. Many Filipinos speak American English due to American colonial influence in the country's education system and due to limited Spanisheducation. Among Asian Americans in 1990, Filipino Americans had the smallest percentage of individuals who had problems with English. In 2000, among U.S.-born Filipino Americans, three quarters responded that English is their primary language; nearly half of Filipino Americans speak English exclusively.
In 2010, Filipino American Catholics were the largest population of Asian American Catholics, making up more than three fourths of Asian American Catholics. In 2015, a majority (65%) of Filipino Americans identify as Catholic; this is down slightly from 2004 (68%). Filipino Americans, who are first generation immigrants were more likely to attend mass weekly, and trended to be more conservative, than those who were born in the United States.
The number of Filipino restaurants does not reflect the size of the population. Due to the restaurant business not being a major source of income for the community, few non-Filipinos are familiar with the cuisine. Although American cuisine influenced Filipino cuisine, it has been criticized by non-Filipinos. Even on Oahu where there is a significant Filipino American population, Filipino cuisine is not as noticeable as other Asian cuisines. On television, Filipino cuisine has been criticized, such as on Fear Factor, and praised, such as on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, and Bizarre Foods America.
In the 2010s, successful and critically reviewed Filipino American restaurants were featured in the New York Times. That same decade began a Filipino Food movement in the United States; it has been criticized for gentrification of the cuisine.Bon Appetit named Bad Saint in Washington, D.C. "the second best new restaurant in the United States" in 2016.Food & Wine named Lasa, in Los Angeles, one of its restaurants of the year in 2018. With this emergence of Filipino American restaurants, food critics like Andrew Zimmern have predicted that Filipino food will be "the next big thing" in American cuisine. Yet in 2017, Vogue described the cuisine as "misunderstood and neglected";SF Weekly in 2019, later described the cuisine as "marginal, underappreciated, and prone to weird booms-and-busts".
Filipino Americans, similar to other people of color, undergo experiences that are unique to their own identities. These experiences derive from both the Filipino culture and American cultures individually and the dueling of these identities as well. These stressors, if great enough, can lead Filipino Americans into suicidal behaviors. Members of the Filipino community learn early on about kapwa, which is defined as “interpersonal connectedness or togetherness.”
With kapwa, many Filipino Americans have a strong sense of needing to repay their family members for the opportunities that they have been able to receive. An example of this is a new college graduate feeling the need to find a job that will allow them to financially support their family and themselves. This notion comes from “utang na loob,” defined as a debt that must be repaid to those who have supported the individual.
With kapwa and utang na loob as strong forces enacting on the individual, there is an “all or nothing” mentality that is being played out. In order to bring success back to one's family, there is a desire to succeed for one's family through living out a family's wants as opposed to one's own true desires. This can manifest as one entering a career path that they are not passionate in, but select in order to help support their family.
Despite many of the stressors for these students deriving from family, it also becomes apparent that these are the reasons that these students are resilient. When family conflict rises in Filipino American families, there is a negative association with suicide attempts. This suggests that though family is a presenting stressor in a Filipino American's life, it also plays a role for their resilience. In a study conducted by Yusuke Kuroki, family connectedness, whether defined as positive or negative to each individual, served as one means of lowering suicide attempts.
Quarters for Filipino workers at a salmon cannery in Nushagak, Alaska in 1917.
Company labor camp for Filipino farm laborers on Ryer Island in 1940
The Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003 (Republic Act No. 9225) made Filipino Americans eligible for dual citizenship in the United States and the Philippines. Overseas suffrage was first employed in the May 2004 elections in which Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was reelected to a second term.
By 2005, about 6,000 Filipino Americans had become dual citizens of the two countries. One effect of this act was to allow Filipino Americans to invest in the Philippines through land purchases, which are limited to Filipino citizens, and, with some limitations, former citizens.), vote in Philippine elections, retire in the Philippines, and participate in representing the Philippine flag. In 2013, for the Philippine general election there were 125,604 registered Filipino voters in the United States and Caribbean, of which only 13,976 voted.
The Philippine government actively encourages Filipino Americans to visit or return permanently to the Philippines via the "Balikbayan" program and to invest in the country.
Filipinos remain one of the largest immigrant groups to date with over 40,000 arriving annually since 1979. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a preference system for issuing visas to non-citizen family members of U.S. citizens, with preference based generally on familial closeness. Some non-citizen relatives of U.S. citizens spend long periods on waiting lists. Petitions for immigrant visas, particularly for siblings of previously naturalized Filipinos that date back to 1984, were not granted until 2006. As of 2016[update], over 380 thousand Filipinos were on the visa wait list, second only to Mexico and ahead of India, Vietnam and China. Filipinos have the longest waiting times for family reunification visas, as Filipinos disproportionately apply for family visas; this has led to visa petitions filed in July 1989 still waiting to be processed in March 2013.
It has been documented that Filipinos were among those naturalized due to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security estimated that 270,000 Filipino were "unauthorized immigrants". This was an increase of 70,000 from a previous estimate in 2000. In both years, Filipinos accounted for 2% of the total. As of 2009[update], Filipinos were the fifth-largest community of illegal immigrants behind Mexico (6.65 million, 62%), El Salvador (530,000, 5%), Guatemala (480,000, 4%), and Honduras (320,000, 3%). In January 2011, the Department of Homeland Security estimate of "unauthorized immigrants" from the Philippines remained at 270,000. By 2017, the number of Filipinos who were in the United States illegally increased to 310,000. Filipinos who reside in the United States illegally are known within the Filipino community as "TnT's" (tago nang tago translated to "hide and hide").
Filipino Americans may be mistaken for members of other racial/ethnic groups, such as Latinos or Pacific Islanders; this may lead to "mistaken" discrimination that is not specific to Asian Americans. Filipino Americans additionally, have had difficulty being categorized, termed by one source as being in "perpetual absence".
In Hawaii, Filipino Americans often have little identification with their heritage, and it has been documented that many disclaim their ethnicity. This may be due to the "colonial mentality", or the idea that Western ideals and physical characteristics are superior to their own. Although categorized as Asian Americans, Filipino Americans have not fully embraced being part of this racial category due to marginalization by other Asian American groups and or the dominant American society. This created a struggle within Filipino American communities over how far to assimilate. The term "white-washed" has been applied to those seeking to further assimilate. Those who disclaim their ethnicity lose the positive adjustment to outcomes that are found in those who have a strong, positive, ethnic identity.
Of the ten largest immigrant groups, Filipino Americans have the highest rate of assimilation. with exception to the cuisine; Filipino Americans have been described as the most "Americanized" of the Asian American ethnicities. However, even though Filipino Americans are the second largest group among Asian Americans, community activists have described the ethnicity as "invisible", claiming that the group is virtually unknown to the American public, and is often not seen as significant even among its members. Another term for this status is forgotten minority.
This description has also been used in the political arena, given the lack of political mobilization. In the mid-1990s it was estimated that some one hundred Filipino Americans have been elected or appointed to public office. This lack of political representation contributes to the perception that Filipino Americans are invisible.
The concept is also used to describe how the ethnicity has assimilated. Few affirmative action programs target the group although affirmative action programs rarely target Asian Americans in general. Assimilation was easier given that the group is majority religiously Christian, fluent in English, and have high levels of education. The concept was in greater use in the past, before the post-1965 wave of arrivals.
The term invisible minority has been used for Asian Americans as a whole, and the term "model minority" has been applied to Filipinos as well as other Asian American groups. Filipino critics allege that Filipino Americans are ignored in immigration literature and studies.
As with fellow Asian Americans, Filipino Americans are viewed as "perpetual foreigners", even for those born in the United States. This has resulted in physical attacks on Filipino Americans, as well as non-violent forms of discrimination.
In college and high school campuses, many Filipino American student organizations put on annual Pilipino Culture Nights to showcase dances, perform skits, and comment on the issues such as identity and lack of cultural awareness due to assimilation and colonization.
Mental health is a topic that is seldom spoken about among the Filipino American community because of the stigma that is attached to it. In the documentary “Silent Sacrifices: Voices of the Filipino American Family” Dr. Patricia Heras points out that a lack of communication between 1st generation and 2nd generation Filipino American immigrants can lead to family members not understanding the personal hardships that each one goes through. Some of the main topics of discussion in this documentary are depression and suicide ideation experienced by the 2nd generation youth. These topics are supported by a study that was conducted in 1997 by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that revealed that 45.6% of Filipina American teenage students in San Diego public schools had seriously thought about committing suicide. Half of those students had actually attempted suicide. Although depression cannot be said to cause suicide, the high scores of depression and low self-esteem show a relation to the high scores of suicidal thoughts among Filipinos.
Depression in Filipinos can sometimes be difficult to notice without digging deeper into their feelings. Filipinos can display their depression in many ways such as showing extreme suffering or smiling even when it may not seem authentic. Some of the common causes of depression include: financial worries, family separation during the immigration process, and cultural conflict. One of these cultural conflicts is the belief that one must base decisions on what will “save face” for the family. A study was published in 2018 by Janet Chang and Frank Samson about Filipino American youth and their non-Filipino friends. They had found that Filipino American youth with three or more close non-Filipino friends were more likely to experience depression and anxiety more so than Filipino American youth with two or less non-Filipino friends that they considered to be close. Although having friends of diverse backgrounds gave these Filipinos a sense of inclusion among their peers, they also gained a heightened awareness of discrimination.
The U.S. government promised these soldiers all of the benefits afforded to other veterans. However, in 1946, the United States Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946 which stripped Filipino veterans of the promised benefits. One estimate claims that monies due to these veterans for back pay and other benefits exceeds one billion dollars. Of the sixty-six countries allied with the United States during the war, the Philippines is the only country that did not receive military benefits from the United States. The phrase "Second Class Veterans" has been used to describe their status.
Filipino American World War II veterans at the White House in 2003
Many Filipino veterans traveled to the United States to lobby Congress for these benefits. Since 1993, numerous bills have been introduced in Congress to pay the benefits, but all died in committee. As recently as 2018, these bills have received bipartisan support.
In the late 1980s, efforts towards reinstating benefits first succeeded with the incorporation of Filipino veteran naturalization in the Immigration Act of 1990. Over 30,000 such veterans had immigrated, with mostly American citizens, receiving benefits relating to their service.
Similar language to those bills was inserted by the Senate into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which provided a one time payment of at least 9,000 USD to eligible non-US Citizens and 15,000 USD to eligible US Citizens via the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund. These payments went to those recognized as soldiers or guerrillas or their spouses. The list of eligibles is smaller than the list recognized by the Philippines. Additionally, recipients had to waive all rights to possible future benefits. As of March 2011, 42 percent (24,385) of claims had been rejected; By 2017, more than 22,000 people received about $226 million in one time payments.
In the 113th Congress, Representative Joe Heck reintroduced his legislation to allow documents from the Philippine government and the U.S. Army to be accepted as proof of eligibility. Known as H.R. 481, it was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. In 2013, the U.S. released a previously classified report detailing guerrilla activities, including guerrilla units not on the "Missouri list".
In September 2012, the Social Security Administration announced that non-resident Filipino World War II veterans were eligible for certain social security benefits; however an eligible veteran would lose those benefits if they visited for more than one month in a year, or immigrated.
^"Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths, Chapter 1: Religious Affiliation". The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Pew Research Center. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2014. Religious Affiliations Among U.S. Asian American Groups - Filipino: 89% Christian (21% Protestant (12% Evangelical, 9% Mainline), 65% Catholic, 3% Other Christian), 1% Buddhist, 0% Muslim, 0% Sikh, 0% Jain, 2% Other religion, 8% Unaffiliated[failed verification] "Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths". The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Pew Research Center. 19 July 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2017. Filipino Americans: 89% All Christian (65% Catholic, 21% Protestant, 3% Other Christian), 8% Unaffiliated, 1% Buddhist
^Marina Claudio-Perez (October 1998). "Filipino Americans"(PDF). The California State Library. State of California. Retrieved 30 April 2011. Filipino Americans are often shortened into Pinoy Some Filipinos believe that the term Pinoy was coined by the early Filipinos who came to the United States to distinguish themselves from Filipinos living in the Philippines. Others claim that it implies "Filipino" thoughts, deeds and spirit.
^Loni Ding (2001). "Part 1. COOLIES, SAILORS AND SETTLERS". NAATA. PBS. Retrieved 20 August 2011. Most people think of Asians as recent immigrants to the Americas, but the first Asians—Filipino sailors—settled in the bayous of Louisiana a decade before the Revolutionary War.
^Tyner, James A. (2007). "Filipinos: The Invisible Ethnic Community". In Miyares, Ines M.; Airress, Christopher A. (eds.). Contemporary Ethnic Geographies in America. G - Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 264–266. ISBN978-0-7425-3772-9.Filipino Americans at Google Books
^Carlo Osi (26 March 2009). "Filipino cuisine on US television". Mind Feeds. Inquirer Company. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012. In the United States, the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultural groups often bond for organizational purposes, while Filipinos in general have not. Ethnically Filipino Americans are divided into Pampangeno, Ilocano, Cebuano, Tagalog, and so forth.
^Jeffrey S. Passel; Paul Taylor (29 May 2009). "Who's Hispanic?". Hispanic Trends. Pew Research Center. Retrieved 15 March 2017. In the 1980 Census, about one in six Brazilian immigrants and one in eight Portuguese and Filipino immigrants identified as Hispanic. Similar shares did so in the 1990 Census, but by 2000, the shares identifying as Hispanic dropped to levels close to those seen today. Westbrook, Laura (2008). "Mabuhay Pilipino! (Long Life!): Filipino Culture in Southeast Louisiana". Louisiana Folklife Program. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
^Mark Gray; Mary Gautier; Thomas Gaunt (June 2014). "Cultural Diversity in the Catholic Church in the United States"(PDF). United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 16 March 2017. Some 76 percent of Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander Catholics are estimated to self-identify as Filipino (alone and in combinations with other identities).
^KATRINA STUART SANTIAGO (8 June 2011). "Balut as Pinoy pride". GMA. Retrieved 2 July 2011. The balut is one claim to fame we're uncertain about, seeing as it is equated with hissing cockroaches on Fear Factor. Talk about bringing us back to the dark ages of being the exotic and barbaric brown siblings of America.
^Keli Dailey (9 February 2012). "Andrew Zimmern's eating through San Diego". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 11 February 2013. "Tita's sisig, best I have ever tasted . San Diego Philippine (sic) food is crazy good," he tweeted.
^ abAmy Scattergood (25 February 2011). "Off the menu". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
^ abcdKuroki, Yusuke (2015). "Risk Factors for Suicidal Behaviors Among Filipino Americans: A Data Mining Approach". American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 85: 34–42. doi:10.1037/ort0000018. PMID25110976.
^Mendoza, Perkinson, S. Lily, Jim (2003). "Filipino "Kapwa" in Global Dialogue: A Different Politics of Being-With the "Other"". Intercultural Communication Studies. 12: 177–194.
^Nadal, Kevin (2011). Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
^Ocampo, Anthony Christian (2016). The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
^Thomas Chen (26 February 2009). "WHY ASIAN AMERICANS VOTED FOR OBAMA". PERSPECTIVE MAGAZINE. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2013. A survey of Filipino Americans in California—the second largest Asian American ethnic group and traditionally Republican voters
^Gus Mercado (November 10, 2008). "Obama wins Filipino vote at last-hour". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 22 October 2012. A pre-election survey of 840 active Filipino community leaders in America showed a strong shift of undecided registered voters towards the Obama camp in the last several weeks before the elections that gave Senator Barack Obama of Illinois a decisive 58–42 share of the Filipino vote.
^ abMico Letargo (19 October 2012). "Fil-Ams lean towards Romney – survey". Asian Journal. Retrieved 22 October 2012. In 2008, 50 percent of the Filipino community voted for President Barack Obama (the Democrat candidate back then) while 46 percent voted for Republican Senator John McCain.
^Edmund M. Silvestre (18 January 2009). "A Fil-Am on Capitol Hill". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 29 April 2011. There are now three members of U.S. Congress with Filipino lineage: Rep. Robert "Bobby" Scott, an African-American representing Virginia's 3rd congressional district; and Sen. John Ensign of Nevada. Maxwell, Rahasaan (5 March 2012). Ethnic Minority Migrants in Britain and France: Integration Trade-Offs. Cambridge University Press. p. 206. ISBN978-1-107-37803-2. These numbers include politicians with only the slightest connection to the Philippines. For example, Bobby Scott of Virginia is commonly considered an African American and his only connection to the Philippines is one maternal grandmother. John Ensign of Nevada only has one Filipino great-grandparent.
^Amy Scattergood (25 February 2010). "Off the menu". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 May 2011. That Filipino food has, by and large, not been assimilated into mainstream American cuisine is ironic, given how adept Filipinos historically have been at assimilating into other dominant cultures (the country is Catholic; English is the second official language), and given how assimilated the myriad cuisines have been within the country itself.
^Rumbaut, Ruben G. (1994). "The Crucible within: Ethnic Identity, Self-Esteem, and Segmented Assimilation among Children of Immigrants". International Migration Review. 28 (4): 748–794. doi:10.2307/2547157. ISSN0197-9183. JSTOR2547157.
^Maze, Rick (2008-01-29). "Senate puts Filipino vet pensions in stimulus"(News Article). Army Times. Army Times Publishing Company. Buried inside the Senate bill, which includes tax cuts and new spending initiatives intended to create jobs in the U.S., the Filipino payment was inserted at the urging of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, the new chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a longtime supporter of monthly pensions for World War II Filipino veterans.
^Joseph G. Lariosa (9 January 2011). "Filipino Veterans Fairness bill filed at US Congress". GMA News. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2012. The bill likewise proposes to invalidate the "quit claim" or the waiver of the right of Filipino veterans to receive future benefits, like a lifetime monthly pension, as provided for in the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC) of the $787-billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
^Tiffany Hill. "Field Guide: Filipino Fun". Honolulu Magazine. Aio. Retrieved 8 June 2011. Paul Raymund Cortes (3 June 2011). "19 Annual Filipino Fiesta". Philippine Consulate General Honolulu. Republic of the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
^"Filipino-American Association of Philadelphia, Inc". Filipino-American Association of Philadelphia, Inc. 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011. FAAPI also continues to hold the annual Mother of the Year celebration (started in 1950s) to honor motherhood on Mothers Day in May.