The Rebirth of Filipino Community in California



Photo credits: Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr. (San Diego History)

Wherever country you go, you can find at least one Filipino roaming around the community

Filipinos are the second largest Asian population in California as of 2020 US demographics. However, despite their huge percentage, the Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles is considered underrated over the years that was believed to be established in the early 1900s.

The roots of Filipinotown in Los Angeles goes down to the infamous Little Manila, the predominantly area for Filipinos that was located in South Stockton in San Joaquin County. The little neighborhood was a result of social inequality to Asians back on the day. Filipino-American pioneers decided to establish businesses that are mostly agricultural to meet the growing needs of the people. The issue of social inequality is not a new concept up until today. In fact, activism for social justice began during the days of the Manang/Manong generation from the early Filipino migrants. It is one of the memorable and largest historical social movements in American history.

Little Manila has become a safe space to both Filipinos and Filipino-Americans before it was first destroyed in the 1970s. It was the closest home to them, but the local government decided to demolish the infrastructure to build urban establishments such as McDonalds in the name of constant progress. The sudden shift to western vibes of the vibrant Asian neighborhood completely vanished last October 2020 during the demolition of the last two original buildings in Little Manila.

Photo credits: Kianna Hugo (Pop! Inquirer)

Years after the establishment of the first Filipino area in California, the Historic Filipinotown in downtown Los Angeles serves as a recovered soul to Filipino-Americans especially after it was finally recognized as a historical-cultural neighborhood in 2002. This underrated space embodies the different Filipino culture as it also welcomes other nationalities— truly, a spirit of Filipinos. The establishment of the Historic Filipinotown is a project to honor the contribution of the Filipinos in the economic and civic aspects in America.

Furthermore, the small Filipino community was also recognized as one of the nation’s Preserve America Communities by the former First Lady and Honorary Chair of the Preserve America Initiative, Michelle Obama in October 2011 earning a strong alliance and support from the national government. Through these recognitions, the Historic Filipinotown became one of the representations of a united relationship between America and Asian countries.

Today, a lot of cultural landmarks can be found in the Filipino neighborhood. It has been a rollercoaster ride filled with challenges, devastation and redemption for Filipino-Americans; from the social injustices which inspired the foundation of Little Manila to the formation of the Historic Filipinotown that symbolizes the rebirth of the Filipino community in California.

Written by: Yam Pernecita


Yam Pernecita is a digital marketing intern of PS Media Enterprise. She is a 4th-year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student from Far Eastern University in Manila, Philippines.

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A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
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social inclusion of minorities with
Asian heritage though cultural awareness.

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