Credit: Unsplash / SJ
October is Filipino American History Month (FAHM), and every year, we look forward to spotlighting FIlipino history in the United States.
Filipino Americans make up the second-largest Asian American group in the United States and the third-largest ethnic group in California.
While most months commemorating Asians in America celebrate “heritage,” we emphasize “history” because Filipino history in the United States is long, complex, and not widely known.
Credit: Unsplash / C Bueza
Why is Filipino American History Month in October?
Filipino American History Month is in October to commemorate October 18, 1587, the first documented arrival of Filipinos in the United States. U.S. Congress officially recognized the month in 2009.
The Luzones Indios came to America during the Spanish galleon trade at Morro Bay, California, 20 years before the first U.S. colony was settled in Virginia. This makes Filipinos the first Asian group to step foot in America.
Credit: Unsplash / Avel Chuklanov
6 Easy Ways to Celebrate Filipino American History Month
Commemorate Filipino American History Month with these fun ways to celebrate.
- Educate yourself on Filipino history in America. From the Delano grape strikes led by Larry Itliong to the historical oppression of Indigenous peoples of the Philippines in both the motherland and the U.S., there is a lot to learn and unpack. For a deeper dive into Filipino history in America, watch this video by NextDayBetter or read Filipino Americans: Transformation and Identity, edited by Maria P. P. Root.
- Learn a line dance Whether you’re dancing to September by Earth, Wind, and Fire or trying the Todo Todo with your Titas and Titos, learning a line dance is a fun and active way to bond with your fellow Filipinos.
- Have a Kamayan feast Kamayan means “eat with your hands.” Nothing beats a big table, filled with food, family, and friends. Spread out the banana leaves and layer your favorite Filipino foods on top, like garlic fried rice, lumpia, Filipino BBQ skewers, and more. Sarap!
- Wear fashion and jewelry inspired by your Filipino heritage. These Filipiniana earrings are a gorgeous way to honor your culture. For more casual looks, check out this Salamat tote bag or Sarap Now’s collection including this Retro Pinoy Pinay tee. You can even do a Filipino-inspired makeup look using products like the Lumpia eyeshadow palette from Filipinta Beauty.
- Read books from Filipino authors. We suggest Abi Balingit’s cookbook Mayumu: Filipino American Desserts Remixed because it’s not just a cookbook – it’s a love letter to Filipino Americans. Love fiction? Try Mia P. Manansala’s mystery series Arsenic and Adobo. Penguin Random House recommends more great reads here.
- Throw a karaoke party. Even if you don’t like to sing, karaoke is a fun way to let loose with your family and friends. Sing a song in Tagalog to really embrace your Filipino roots.
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8 Filipino Brands to Support for Filipino American History MonthCheck out these emerging brands built by Filipino Americans and Filipino immigrants.
- Pika Pika - Small-batch spreads celebrating the flavors of the Philippines in everyday moments.
- Filipinta Beauty - Makeup that celebrates Philippine culture and enhances the distinct beauty of every Filipina.
- Narra - Co-founded by a Filipino sibling duo, this new brand of Asian-inspired oat milk lattes is changing the tea aisle and your daily sip-tual.
- Reppin’ Pins - Fun and funky pins inspired by Asian food, pop culture, and Filipino-isms.
- Kits by Food Craft - Do-it-yourself kits, like Sushi-Making Kits or Bubble Tea Kits. Their mission is to create joy & connection through shared experiences.
- Kusi - Small-batch seasonings with flavors rooted in the Philippines. Use their all-natural sinigang mix to make Ukoy (Filipino shrimp fritters).
- Ninong’s Dessert Lab - Purveyor of delicious Filipino-inspired ingredients like ube cookie butter, ube pancake mix, and more. Boozy ube tiramisu, anyone?
- Oodaalolly - Chocolate bars with a harmonious blend of vibrant Filipino spirit and meticulous Swiss craftsmanship.
Credit: Gino Chua
Follow Sarap Now on Instagram for More FAHM Ideas
No matter where you are or who you’re celebrating with, there are many ways to make the most of Filipino American History Month.
Follow @SarapNow on Instagram for more FAHM celebration ideas. Keep an eye out later this month to see how you can enter to win free Fil-Am goodies.