By Bert Eljera
The photo exhibit at Seafood City on Maryland Parkway in Las Vegas is part of the observance of October as the Filipino-American Heritage Month.
“This is a wonderful display and makes you proud as a Filipino,” said Sheryl Gallegos. I didn’t realize Filipinos have been that long in the United States.”
The 40-year-old Gallegos, a nurse, was also at Seafood City to shop and cast her vote at the start of early voting in Nevada.
Sanchez, who finished runner-up to Phillip Phillips in the 2012 American Idol competition, and Donaire, who recently beat a Japanese to keep his boxing crown, are featured in the photo segment titled, Filipino-Americans Today.
The other segments are : 1587 – 1903, 1906-1945, 1906-1945, 1946 – Present.
The periods mirror the waves of Filipino migrations to the U.S. and North America, and each segment of the exhibit featured photographs and historical descriptions.
In the 1587 to 1903 period, the photos depict the first Filipinos who jumped ship in the Spanish galleons in Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1763. They sailed for Louisiana and jumped ship again in New Orleans, and set up colonies in the Bayous.
The period also featured the Pensionados of 1903 – the Filipino students who were sent to the United States by the American colonizers, and later became the leaders of the Commonwealth government and the various Philippine institutions.
The Filipino farm workers who went to Hawaii and Alaska, and later those who came to be called the Manongs in the agricultural fields of California are featured in the 1906-1945 segment.
Then came the World War veterans in the U.S. Navy and other armed services, and their war brides from the Philippines as Filipinos became a large presence in the U.S.
With the Immigration Act of 1965, Filipino professionals, mostly doctors and nurses, came in droves, and Filipinos finally emerged as both a political and economic force.
According to the 2010 census, Filipinos now total 3.4 million, the second-largest Asian group in the U.S., second only to the Chinese.
The Filipino-American National Historical Society is headed by the husband-wife team of Fred and Dorothy Laigo Cordova.