Filipino Migration to the U.S.

Bibliography: Filipino Migration to the United States

Articles and Books:

Alegado, Dean T. "Carl Damaso: A Champion of Hawaii’s Working People", John Okamura (guest editor), Filipino American History: Identity and Community in Hawaii. Honolulu: Social Process in Hawaii, vol. 37, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1996, pp. 26-35.


This is a biography of Carl Damaso, a post-war Filipino labor leader in Hawaii, and his efforts to improve the conditions of Filipino laborers in Hawaii.

Andaya, Leonard Y. "From American-Filipino to Filipino-American," John Okamura (ed.) Filipino American History: Identity and Community in Hawaii, vol. 37, pp. 99-111.


Andaya, a Filipino-American born and raised in Maui, recounts his youthful days living in a sugar plantation. He explains the transformation of many Filipinos in the U.S. from being American-Filipino to Filipino-American as a result of rediscovering their ethnicity and identity.

Bulosan, Carlos. America is in the Heart: A Personal History. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1941.


This is Bulosan’s "autobiographical" narrative of life as a peasant boy in northern Philippines and as a migratory worker on the West Coast of the United States. This is an excellent historical account of the tragedies and triumphs of thousands of migrant Filipino workers who lived in the turbulent 1920s and 1930s.

______, "As Long As the Grass Shall Grow," Epifanio San Juan and Ninotchka Rosca (editors), Carlos Bulosan: Selected Works and Letters. Honolulu: Friends of the Filipino People, 1982.


This is a short story on the experience of a young migrant Filipino laborer in California who faced the violence and racism of white Americans in his efforts to become educated.

Cariaga, Roman R. "The Filipinos in Hawaii: A Survey of their Economic and Social Conditions." Master’s thesis, University of Hawaii, 1936. Also published by the Filipino Public Relations Bureau, 1937.


A historical sketch of the early Filipino migration, followed by a survey of the economic and social conditions of Filipino migrant workers in the plantations in the 1930s. Cariaga concludes that plantation life resulted in changes in the customs and ways of migrant Filipinos.

Kerkvliet, Melinda Tria. "Interpreting Pablo Manlapit", John Okamura (ed.) Filipino American History: Identity and Community in Hawaii, vol. 37, pp. 1-25.


Kerkvliet examines the life of Pablo Manlapit as a labor leader and the First Filipino lawyer in Hawaii amidst the labor strikes of the 1920s and 1930s.

Melendy, Brett H. "California’s Discrimination Against Filipinos, 1927-1935," Roger Daniels and Spencer Olin, Jr. Racism in California: A Reader in the History of Oppression. New York The Macmillan Company, 1972, pp. 141-151.


Melendy outlines the personal and economic hardships experienced by Filipino migrant workers in California resulting from racism. Melendy notes that among all Asian groups in the 1920s and 1930s, Filipinos suffered most because they occupied the bottom of the wage scale, faced all forms of discrimination, and did not have a sovereign government to speak on their behalf.

San Buenaventura, Steffi. "Filipino Immigration to the United States," The Asian American Encyclopedia. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1995: 439-453.


A brief survey of the different waves of Filipino migration to the U.S. from the educated Filipinos who studied in the U.S. as pensionados to the 1965 Naturalization and Immigration Act, which paved the way for an exodus of Filipinos, either as relatives of earlier migrants or professionals, in the U.S.

_______. "Hawaii’s ‘1946 Sakada,’" John Okamura (ed.) Filipino American History: Identity and Community in Hawaii, vol. 37, pp. 74-90.


This is an account of the last, wide scale organized Filipino labor migration to Hawaii. San Buenaventura contends that the 1946 Sakadas were different because they were educated, family oriented, and included more women and children compared to the pre-World War II migrants.

_______. "The Master and the Federation: A Filipino-American Social Movement in California and Hawaii," Jonathan Okamura et. al. (editors), The Filipino American Experience in Hawai’i (Honolulu: Social Process in Hawaii vol. 33, Department of Sociology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1991), pp. 169-193.


Following Reynaldo Ileto’s work, San Buenaventura examines the Filipino Federation of America, popularly known as Moncadista, as a social movement in Hawaii. Camilo Moncada, a charismatic Filipino leader in Hawaii, led a popular movement drawing inspiration from the life of Jesus Christ. Based on San Buenaventura’s doctoral dissertation.

_______. Nativism and Ethnicity in a Filipino-American Experience. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Hawaii, 1990.


This dissertation of San Buenaventura is the definitive work on the history of the Filipino Federation of America, a widely popular social movement in Hawaii whose ideology was derived from the Pasyon, the story of the life and death of Jesus Christ.

Takaki, Ronald. In the Heart of America: Immigrants from the Pacific Isles. Adapted by Rebecca Stefoff with Carol Takaki. New York and Philadelphia: Chelsea Book Publishers, 1995.


Part of the series on Asian Americans in the U.S., this is a brief survey of Filipino immigration to the U.S. It discusses the Filipinos’ struggle for acceptance amidst racial prejudice, work discrimination, and underemployment.

_______. Pau Hana: Plantation Life and Labor in Hawaii, 1835-1920. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983.


An excellent account of the plantation life and labor in Hawaii. Takaki explains how ethnicity played a major role in the plantations.

Voices: A Filipino American Oral History. Stockton: Filipino Oral History Project, Inc., 1984.


This is an invaluable account of the experiences of Filipino Americans in California as related by the migrants themselves.



Aloha Philippines: The Sakada Generation. Honolulu: KITV Telecast, March 14, 1996; VHS, 60 min, color with b&w sequences.


This is a 1996 TV documentary on the history of the migration of Filipino sakadas to Hawaii. Prominent Filipino-American scholars, some of whom are children of these Filipino migrant laborers, are interviewed to reflect on the Filipino experience in Hawaii. Half of the video chronicles the visit of Govenor Benjamin Cayetano to the Philippines and the tour of Manila and northern Luzon by an American TV reporter, whose own father-in-law was a migrant Filipino laborer.

Dollar a Day, 10 Cents a Dance: A Historic Portrait of Filipino Farm Workers in America. New York: Cinema Guild, 1984; VHS, 30 min., color.


Through narration and pictures, Filipino agricultural workers in California reminisce about their early experiences and struggle against the discrimination, bigotry and violence of white America.

Filipino Americans: Discovering their Past for the Future. [S.l.]: Filipino American National Historical Society; Seattle, Washington: Distributed by Wehman Video Distribution, 1994; VHS, 54 min.


This video consisting of footage and interviews traces the history of Filipino migration to the U.S. from the Louisiana Filipinos in the late nineteenth century to the present times.

Filipinos in Hawaii. Honolulu, HI: KHET TV, 1991; VHS, 30 min., color with black and white sequences.


A series of interviews of several Filipinos in Hawaii who recount their growing up years in the plantation and how their culture was preserved in art, music, and dance.

Istorya Ni Bonipasyo: Kasla Gloria Ti Hawaii [Bonifacio’s Story: Hawaii is Like Paradise] Honolulu, HI: Center for Philippine Studies, 1991; VHS tape, 150 min.


This is a contemporary three-act play on the experiences of Filipino migrant workers in Hawaii as seen in the life of Bonipasyo, a sakada who came to the islands in 1922. It is a dramatization of his struggle against discrimination, loneliness, and abuse.

Manong. Los Angeles, CA: Visual Communications, 1978; VHS, 30 min., color with black and white sequences.


This video explains how the Filipinos came to the U.S. after the American acquisition of the Philippines. Interviews and pictures are used to reminisce the experiences of the first wave of Filipino migrant laborers in the West Coast.

Pete Tagalog Talks of Early Days in Waipahu. Pearl City, HI: Leeward Community College, 1977; VHS tape, 15 min.


A short video on family and plantation life in Waipahu.