Filipinos in New York

On October 17, 1587, the first documented “Filipino” landed in the United States in Moro Bay, CA. In 1763, Filipino Seamen established a settlement in what is now known as Louisiana. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many Filipinos came to the US as pensionados (sponsored students) and non-sponsored students. And after the Asian Immigration Act of 1965, Filipinos came to the US in unlimited numbers, mainly as professionals (e.g., doctors, nurses, engineers), but also as students, military service personnel, and domestic care workers.

New York is now the state with the third largest population of Filipino Americans and the largest population of Filipino Americans on the East Coast. Filipino Americans stand out as a thriving and prominent community among the great number of immigrants who have made the Empire State their home. Some notable Filipinos and Filipino Americans in NY include:

  • Philippine national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal visited the US in 1888 and stayed at the Fifth Avenue Hotel (now the International Toy Center) on 23rd and Fifth Avenue

  • After the Spanish American War in 1898, many pensionados enrolled at local institutions like Columbia, NYU, Fordham, and Cornell

  • The earliest documented Fil-Am organization in the tri-state area was officially the Filipino Knights of Rizal organized in 1923. The earliest Filipino social club was the Filipino Women’s Club organized in 1927.

  • Filipino military service men immigrated to NY after WWI and WWII; many settled in Brooklyn and subsequently Long Island

  • Post-1965 Filipino immigrants formed settlements in various ethnic enclaves in Metropolitan NY, in the Queens neighborhoods of Woodside, Jack Heights, and Jamaica.

In 2010 NY Governor David Paterson and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed October as Filipino American History Month in New York State and New York City.  Mayor Bloomberg also declared FAHM in New York City in 2011, 2012, and 2013.  2012 marked the 425th anniversary of Filipinos in the US.


In 2015, Arcadia Publishing released  “Filipinos in New York City” a labor of love edited by Dr. Kevin Nadal and the Filipino American National Historical Society Metro NY Chapter.

For months, FANHS MNY put out the call to our community to share photos of the Filipino New Yorker experience. And the community answered the call, with wonderful photos and oral histories to share. This book documents the experience of Filipino Americans in New York City from a restaurant in Brooklyn that could have been lost to history and newsletters of international students to the modern, thriving scene of Filipino-American cuisine, culture, and community building. The photos and vignettes contained in this book tell a story that will resonate with Filipino-America, of promise and opportunity, of surviving and thriving, and combining the sensibilities of a far off land and culture with a New York State of mind.

You can now have a mini-archive of the history of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in New York City by ordering a copy of the book here.