The U.S. Marks Philippine Independence Day

 

Filipino-Americans across the United States celebrated Philippine Independence Day on June 12, every year with parades, festivals, and other events.

The day commemorates the anniversary of the proclamation of the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain in 1898. It is a national holiday in the Philippines and is also celebrated by Filipino communities around the world. This years theme is, Preserving Our Filipino Culture and Heritage to Unite Generations“.

In the United States, Filipino-Americans can trace their lineage back to the days before America was a country.

“… throughout history, there has been one largely forgotten ingredient missing from this rich cultural stew: before the US was a country, Filipinos were likely living in raised stilt bahay kubo-like homes built over the swampland outside New Orleans.

From these “floating villages” they established the community’s fishing industry and introduced Louisiana to dried shrimp – produced by boiling, brining and sun-drying the crustaceans to preserve and concentrate their flavour. Dried shrimp were an important commodity in the days before refrigeration, and today, many locals still eat them as a snack or use them as an umami-rich ingredient to flavour stocks, sauces and gumbos.” – Stephanie Jane Carter

Snapshot of Filipino American History in America:

  • Filipino American History Month is celebrated in the United States during the month of October.
  • In 1991, Filipino American National Historical Society board of trustees proposed the first annual Filipino American History Month to commence in October 1992.
  • October was declared Filipino Heritage Month in California and Hawaii in 1988, and the California Department of Education officially recognized October as Filipino Heritage Month in 2006.

Filipino-Americans also faced racism in America. 

Part of the reason Filipinos were depicted so negatively in the early 20th century was because of the global political climate and the relationship between the United States and the Philippines. Shortly after the Spanish American War was over and the United States gained possession of the Philippines, political cartoons such as the one titled “The White Man’s Burden” from The Journal, Detroit began to spring up, depicting the United States as a paternal figure forcibly carrying a Filipino to a schoolhouse.” – Filipinos Depicted in American Culture

Larry Itliong may not be as well-known a name as Cesar Chavez, but his role among Filipino-American workers was as critical in the 1965-1970 Delano grape strike—if not more.

“The first big wave of Filipino migration to the U.S. came between the two world wars. According to the book Little Manila is in the Heart by Dawn Mabalon, more than 31,000 Filipinos came to California between 1920 and 1929, many in search of agricultural work. Most came from rural areas of the Philippines, having sold off farm animals, crops and small parcels of land in order to fund the 7,000-plus-mile journey across the Pacific.” – History.com

Renderings from an 1883 Harper’s Weekly story paint a vivid picture of this early Filipino settlement (Credit: Alpha Stock/Alamy)

Filipino-Americans mark Philippines Independence Day with a variety of events, including:

  • Parades: Parades were held in cities across the country, including New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. The parades featured colorful floats, marching bands, and traditional Filipino dances.
  • Festivals: Festivals were held in parks and community centers across the country. The festivals featured Filipino food, music, and dancing.
  • Cultural events: Cultural events, such as art exhibits, film screenings, and lectures, were held at libraries, museums, and universities.
  • Family gatherings: Many Filipino-Americans celebrated the day with family gatherings, where they enjoyed traditional Filipino food and music.

Philippine Independence Day is a time for Filipino-Americans to reflect on their heritage and to celebrate the achievements of the Filipino people. It is also a time to come together as a community and to build bridges with other cultures.

Filipino-American Lawmakers: 

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