Did you know that Filipinos make up the second largest Asian group in the United States? Recent statistics put the number of people who identify as Filipino Americans at about 3.4 million. Filipinos have been in the United States since as early as the 16th century, but how much do you know about their history?
Filipinos are native to or identified with the Philippines. They come from more than 175 different ethnolinguistic groups, but the modern Filipino identity has Austronesian roots, with Spanish, Chinese and American influences. Contemporary Filipino culture is heavily influenced by Spain because the country was a Spanish colony for 333 years. In fact, use of the term “Filipino” was adopted during the Spanish colonial period, the country having been named the Philippine Islands by Ruy López de Villalobos, a Spanish explorer and Dominican priest.
After Spain was defeated in the Spanish American War in 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo, a Filipino general declared the independence of the Philippines. When the Treaty of Paris officially ended the war, Spain ceded control of the Philippines to the United States. William Howard Taft became the first American Governor-General of the Philippines in 1901. The country gained independence from the United States in 1946.
While small numbers of Filipinos lived in what is now the United States as early as the 16th century, mass migration did not begin until the early 20th century, when the Philippines were considered part of the United States. One reason that Filipinos have such a large presence in the United States is that while the Philippines was a US territory, immigration between the Philippines and the US was unrestricted. As mentioned earlier, there are currently about 3.4 million Filipino-Americans. There are also about 300,000 American citizens currently residing in the Philippines.
Filipinos have had a major impact on United States culture. In the early 1920s, many Filipinos, known as manongs, went to the United States to find farm work. They settled primarily in Hawaii, California, Washington,and Alaska, and they were influential in helping farm workers form unions, in order to fight for better pay and conditions for workers. About a quarter of a million Filipinos fought with the US in World War II,and the ‘60s and ‘70s saw Filipino professionals leaving their country to fill gaps in the United States workforce. Many of these people took on important jobs in healthcare and technology, which helped to promote the development of our country’s health and prosperity.
Today, Filipino Americans are dispersed across the United States, though the highest concentrations are still in California and Hawaii. Overall, they’re better educated than other ethnicities, and slightly better off financially. In 2017, Filipinos living outside of the Philippines sent back $33 billion in remittances to their loved ones in the Philippines, which is more than double what was sent just a decade ago.
ML Remit is a proudly Filipino business, with over 2,500 locations across the Philippines, helping people send money to the Philippines from the US quickly and easily. The company is part of M. Lhuillier Financial Services, a financial establishment working hard to be a world-class institution. As such, we charge fair and competitive rates for our customers, and consistently seek opportunities for growth and development, while maintaining a mindset of quality, customer care, and social responsibility. For more information, you can visit our website , or call us toll-free at 1.844.456.2543.