The story of Filipinos in the United States is a rich tapestry woven with threads of history, culture, and resilience. From the first documented arrival of a Filipino in Moro Bay, California, in 1587 to the thriving communities scattered across the country today, Filipinos have made significant contributions to the American melting pot. Let's explore the history and contemporary presence of Filipinos in the United States, focusing on their vibrant community in the New York City area.
A Brief History of Filipinos in the United States
The Filipino-American journey in the United States is a tale of perseverance and determination. It began in 1587 when the first documented Filipino landed in Moro Bay, California. However, it wasn't until 1763 that Filipino seamen established a settlement in what is now known as Louisiana, marking the first lasting Filipino presence on American soil.
The late 1800s and early 1900s saw the influx of many Filipinos to the United States. During this period, a substantial number of Filipinos arrived to pursue their education as "Pensionados" (sponsored students) enrolled at prestigious institutions such as Columbia University and New York University. Like many other immigrants of their time, these Filipinos entered the United States through Ellis Island. Notably, figures like Manuel Quezon and Carlos Romulo were among the select few Filipinos who entered the country through this gateway.
In 1911, some Filipinos found employment at the Dreamland Amusement Park in Coney Island, where they recreated scenes depicting life in the Philippines. Concurrently, a significant portion of the Filipino population in New York were seamen, frequently docking at the Brooklyn Navy Yards.
Adding to the cultural mosaic of the city, a Filipino restaurant named Manila Restaurant emerged in the late 1920s, establishing itself at 47 Sand Street in Brooklyn. This eatery would become a cherished part of the Filipino-American community in New York City, contributing to the vibrant tapestry of their presence in the city.
The turning point came in 1965 with the passage of the Asian Immigration Act, which opened the doors for Filipinos to come to the United States in unlimited numbers. Many arrived as skilled professionals, including doctors, nurses, and engineers, contributing their expertise to the American workforce. Filipinos also entered the United States as students, military service personnel, and domestic care workers, further diversifying their roles in American society.
Filipinos in New York City
As of the 2014 census, there were 262,375 Filipino and Filipino Americans (Fil-Ams) residing in the New York City-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area. Among them, an estimated 86,000 Filipinos call New York City their home, making them the third-largest Asian group in the city today. In the heart of Queens, the neighborhood of Woodside has earned the moniker "Little Manila" due to its concentration of Filipino businesses and residents. Here, the aroma of adobo and the sound of Tagalog can be found on every corner, providing a taste of home for many Filipinos.
Contributions and Achievements
The Filipino-American community has made immense contributions to various aspects of American society. They have excelled in fields such as healthcare, with a significant presence in nursing and medicine. Filipino nurses, in particular, have played a crucial role in the U.S. healthcare system, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond healthcare, Filipinos have left their mark in the arts, politics, sports, and more. They have produced talented musicians, actors, writers, and politicians who have gained recognition on a national and even global scale.
Filipinos have also made significant contributions to the domestic labor force in the United States. Over the years, Filipino individuals working as nannies, housekeepers, family cooks, and caregivers have become favorites among American families. Known for their strong work ethic, dedication, and nurturing qualities, Filipinos have earned a reputation for being dependable and caring caregivers.
This role as domestic workers has not only provided employment opportunities for Filipinos but has also allowed them to become an integral part of American households. Many Filipino nannies, for instance, have played pivotal roles in the upbringing of American children, nurturing them with a blend of their own cultural values and traditions. This unique connection has helped bridge cultures and fostered a deeper understanding of Filipino culture within American families.
Moreover, the Filipino-American community in New York City has received valuable support from organizations like the Direct Hire Agency, located in the heart of Little Manila in Woodside, NY. This Filipino-owned employment agency not only helps Kababayans find jobs but also provides them with advice on how to thrive in the bustling metropolis of New York City. The Direct Hire Agency with its address at 69-11D Roosevelt Avenue Woodside NY 11377 serves as a vital resource, aiding Filipinos in their pursuit of fulfilling careers and ensuring a smooth transition to life in the United States.
The Filipino-American experience in the United States is a testament to the enduring spirit of a community that has grown and thrived over centuries. From their humble beginnings as seamen in Louisiana to their current status as the third-largest Asian American group in the United States, Filipinos have contributed to the cultural fabric and diversity of this nation. As we look to the future, it's evident that the Filipino-American community will continue to play a significant role in shaping the United States, enriching it with its traditions, talents, and resilience.