Community Notes, Stories

Book Launch of Filipinos in San Diego

September 3, 2010

    Images of America: Filipinos in San Diego, a book focusing on the lives of Filipinos in San Diego from the turn of the 20th century to the present through historical narratives and archival photographs, was launched on August 21, 2010 at the House of the Philippines in Balboa Park. Following this well-attended book launch, a book signing is scheduled on September 17 at 7 pm at Southwestern College Student Center in Chula Vista.

    Filipinos have been a part of the history of the United States and San Diego for over 400 years. The Manila-Acapulco galleon trade ships included Filipinos on sailing expeditions to California, including the port of San Diego. After the Philippines became a territory of the United States in 1898, many Filipinos began immigrating to San Diego. The community grew rapidly, particularly in the 1920s and 1930s. After World War II, Filipino veterans returned with their war brides and the community began to build further. The Immigration Act of 1965 increased Filipino immigration into San Diego to include military personnel, especially those enlisted in the U.S. Navy, as well as professionals. Today, Filipino Americans are the largest Asian American group in San Diego, according to the 2000 US Census.

    The book is authored by Dr. Judy Patacsil, Dr. Rudy Guevarra Jr., and Professor Felix Tuyay of the San Diego chapter of the Filipino American Historical Society and published by Arcadia Publishing. All three authors are native born San Diegans. Dr. Patacsil is a second-generation Filipina American born in San Diego to pioneering immigrant parents. Dr. Guevarra is a fourth-generation Mexipino (refers to those with Filipino and Mexican ancestry), born and raised in San Diego, and is a descendant of pioneering Filipino great-grandparents. Prof. Tuyay is a second-generation Filipino American who has taught Asian American Studies and Filipino American History in San Diego for over 30 years.  Professor Tuyay and Dr. Guevarra have both taught at Southwestern College which represents a particular focus on coming full circle for this event.

    Tuyay, a tenured professor, who received one of the early graduate degrees in the United States with a focus on Philippine History and currently teaches at Southwestern states, “This book recognizes the contributions of the women, more specifically the mothers, who were responsible for forging Filipino identity to their children and to the San Diego community through their many activities that promoted Filipino culture and history.”

    “A noteworthy historical highlight, which is also illustrated in the photographs and stories in Filipinos in San Diego, is the intimate ties Filipinos have with the Mexican/Chicano community from the 1920s to the present which demonstrate their shared historical and cultural connections,” said Dr. Guevarra who currently teaches at Arizona State University and received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    The San Diego chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) is an active community organization composed of community members and leaders, scholars, researchers, professionals, and students. The mission of FANHS is to promote the understanding, appreciation, and enrichment of Filipino history and culture through the identification, gathering, preservation, and dissemination of information on Filipino Americans in the United States.

    The September 17 book signing event is free and open to the public. Southwestern College Associated Student Organizations are co-hosting the event.

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