My name is Mely, a Filipino American, born and raised in the United States. Many people are not too familiar with Filipinos as they are other ethnic groups, such as the Chinese or the Japanese. Some people have confused me or my family as Chinese or even Hispanics because of our physical features being similar to either culture. I would like to give a background of my Filipino history.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there has been a 99% increase of Asian Americans in the U.S. compared to the census taken in 1980. Only 20% are Filipino Americans. We are a minority group in the United States. We do not have a large representation here so we are part of the subordinate group. However, my family has adapted to the culture here, known as assimilation.
Unbeknownst to many, Filipino American history started in 1587 when they were the first Asians to cross the Pacific Ocean; many, many years before the English settlement of Jamestown was established. Filipinos worked as sailors & navigators on board of the Spanish Galleons between the years of 1565-1815. But it was in 1763 that Filipinos made their first settlement in Louisiana, after escaping their Spanish masters.
During the War of 1812, Filipinos were among the American soldiers fighting against the British for the fight of New Orleans. That was considered the first wave of the Filipino immigration into the United States. In 1899, Spain sold the Philippines to the United States for $20 million, and the Americans became the new rulers.
In the 1900’s, Filipinos began to migrated to the West Coast of the U.S. working on farms & agricultural fields. Many came to work in the U.S for a better life. Most came for a temporarily fix, to work and go back home to their country as rich men. However, they worked for low wages and also competed with other ethnic groups trying to earn a living in the U.S.
This is where my family history begins. In the 1900’s, during the Great...