Coming from a country of seven thousand plus islands and a culture where " women were considered equal to men,"(1) according to Linda A. Revilla in her article entitled, "Filipino Americans: Historical Review," Filipino Americans have presently become the second largest immigrant group to enter the US annually. The Spanish colonization of the islands now known as the Philippines, started in 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan set foot on soil and claimed the land for Spain. The Spaniards succeed in the colonization of the Philippines in many ways. Catholicism was integrated into the lives of the majority of the population. A strong education system was also established in the Philippines. Most vital to the economy of Spain may have been the use of Manila as a port for trade between Asia. The stay of the Spanish eventually ended in 1896 when the Philippine Revolution started. The Treaty of Paris gave America "rights" to the Philippines for a dollar amount of twenty million dollars. During the American Colonization, "Americans continued the western tradition of exploiting the Philippines for the benefit of the United States."(1) The Americans furthered the Spanish efforts of colonization and " set[ing] up education, public health, and public work programs."(1) During the colonization of the Philippines, it became evident that the land present would not suffice the amount of people living it; this started a migration of Filipinos to the United States.
The first wave of Filipinos who embarked to the United States in 1903 were students. "The Pensionado Act, passed by the US Congress, provided support for young Filipinos to be sent tot eh United States for education about American life."(1) These originating Filipino students were known as the "pensionados" and were educated in prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, and UC Berkley. The pensionados were responsible for founding Filipino organizations that would relay information to the Philippines about the grand opportunities in the United States. With the education gained from their stay in the United States, the pensionados came back to the Philippines to become "social, political, and economic leaders."(1) As stories about the pensionados' success became common topics of discussion, more and more young adults were making the endeavor to the United States in hopes of gaining enough education to better they lives. "Between 1910 and 1938 almost 14,000 Filipinos were enrolled as students around the United States (Crouchett, 1982)"(1)
During the years between 1905 and 1935, the second wave of Filipinos migrated to the United States; this wave was made up primarily of workers. Because of the semi-independence of the Filipinos to the United States, Filipinos could travel as they pleased to the United States without having to obtain visas. The second wave was primarily made of males in hopes gaining education or laboring for better wages; due to the difference in the exchange rate between the Philippines and US. The laborers began to fill in the job demand in Hawaii, Alaska, and the western states of the United States. At the same time, "the Philippines was experiencing growing poverty." This caused many poverty-stricken Filipinos to turn to the United States for work. Although the there were laws in place restricting Chinese and Japanese immigration to the United States, these did not apply to the Filipinos; particularly the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907-1908.
The experiences of the Filipino people had many similarities and differences when compared to other Asian Americans. As Asian Americans before them,...