Filipino American, This Month in History

Filipino American History Month and the Filipino Twirler Yo-yo

1950s-1960s “Filipino Twirler” yo-yo. Gift of Duncan F. Duncan Jr., National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

By Marie Ramos, Fall 2012 intern

To commemorate October as Filipino American History Month*, we are highlighting a Filipino artifact from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

The Smithsonian houses several thousand Filipino and Filipino American objects, though most are in storage at the Museum Support Center.  We have baskets, swords, hats, and “souvenir” items that returning American soldiers brought with them at the turn of the century. We also have an asparagus cutting knife that was used by a Filipino agricultural worker who harvested asparagus near Stockton, California. This month we bring the “Filipino Twirler” into the spotlight, a yo-yo that has been in the Smithsonian collection since 2002.

This wooden yo-yo from the 1950s-1960s was dubbed the “Filipino Twirler.” Although the origins of the yo-yo can be traced to ancient China, interest in the U.S. did not take hold until the late 1920’s. Inspired by the bandalores, a longtime toy in the Philippines, a Filipino immigrant named Pedro Flores mass produced the “yo-yo”.  In 1928, he started the Yo-yo Manufacturing Company in Santa Barbara, California.  With his influence and launch of the yo-yo contest, the toy’s popularity skyrocketed.  Flores sold the company and trademark to the Duncan Toys Company for $250,000. The pictured yoyo was produced by Duncan’s rival, Goody Manufacturing Co.

* Filipino American History Month is celebrated in the United States during the month of October commemorating the first recorded arrival of Filipinos in the continental U.S. on October 18, 1587, by way of a Spanish galleon, that docked at what is now Morro Bay, CA. Approximately two hundred years later, the First Filipino settlement in the U.S. was established in St. Malo, Louisiana in 1763. Since then, Filipino Americans have continued to make their mark in the development of American history.

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Academic, Event, Filipino American

Rick Baldoz – Empire and Migration in Filipino America

Rick Baldoz Brown Bag Lunch Lecture

Rick Baldoz Brown Bag Lunch Lecture

The Smithsonian APA Program, APA Heritage Committee, and Latino Center hosted a brown bag lunch lecture featuring scholar Rick Baldoz to commemorate Filipino American History Month.

Click here to download the PDF flyer

Rick Baldoz explores the complex relationship between Filipinos and the United States by looking at the politics of immigration, race, and citizenship on both sides of the Philippine-American divide: internationally through an examination of American imperial ascendancy and domestically through an exploration of the social formation of Filipino communities in the United States. He reveals how American practices of racial exclusion repeatedly collided with the geo-political imperatives of U.S. overseas expansion. A unique portrait of the Filipino American experience, The Third Asiatic Invasion links the Filipino experience to that of Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Chinese and Native Americans, among others, revealing how the politics of exclusion played out over time against different population groups.

Rick Baldoz is a professor of sociology at Oberlin College. He is the author of The Third Asiatic Invasion: Empire and Migration in Filipino America 1898-1946 (NYU Press) and co-author of The Critical Study of Work: Labor, Technology and Global Production (Temple University Press). His work has appeared in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Du Bois Review, and American Studies. His current project focuses on Filipinos and Puerto Ricans who served in the United States armed forces during World Wars One and Two.

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Event, Filipino American, Film

Film Screening of Amigo with Director John Sayles

Amigo Film Screening with Director John Sayles

Amigo Film Screening with Director John Sayles. Click to enlarge flyer.

October 20, 2011
6 — 9 p.m.

Rasmuson Theater
National Museum of the American Indian
4th and Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20560
Google Map

Metro: L’Enfant Plaza
Film Run Time: 124 minutes

Related Traveling Exhibition:
Singgalot: The Ties That Bind

Free and open to the public.

To commemorate Filipino American History Month, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program presents a screening of the film Amigo and a conversation with the director: the critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated John Sayles.

Amigo, the 17th feature film from Sayles, provides an optic on the easily forgotten history of the Philippine-American War, a short lived but brutal war that claimed the lives of about 4,000 Americans and between 200,000 to 600,000 Filipinos. Amigo stars legendary Filipino actor Joel Torre as Rafael, a village mayor caught in the crossfire of the war, and Academy-Award winner, Chris Cooper, as U.S. Colonel Hardacre. Filipino American scholar Theo Gonzalves, a professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will moderate the conversation with Sayles.

Click here to download a PDF of the flyer.

Discussion moderator Theo Gonzalves and director of "Amigo," John Sayles.

Discussion moderator Theo Gonzalves and director of "Amigo," John Sayles.

 

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Filipino American, This Month in History

This Month in History: Philippine Independence Day

The Philippine Declaration of Independence simultaneously marked the end of the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine Islands’ assertion to sovereignty and independence from Spanish colonial rule. However, neither Spain nor America recognized such a stake to independent nationhood, and on December 10, 1898, the Spanish government ceded the Philippines to the United States in the Treaty of Paris for the price of US $2 million, marking the end of the Spanish-American War.1

A short two months later on February 4, 1899, armed conflict erupted between Philippine revolutionary forces and U.S. military occupants in Manila. By June 2, 1899, the First Philippine Republic officially declared war against the U.S. that lasted until July 4, 1902. Approximately 20,000 soldiers were killed in action while the civilian death toll reached an estimated half-million persons.2  Though the war officially ended in the summer of 1899, guerilla freedom fighters continued to challenge U.S. occupation for several more years.

Philippine Indepedence Day 2011 in NYC. Photos by Jocelyn Gonzales.

Philippine Independence Day 2011 in NYC. Photos by Jocelyn Gonzales.

It was not until July 4, 1946, nearly fifty years later, that the United States formally recognized full Philippine independent nationhood with the enactment of the Treaty of Manila. On a rainy day in Manila’s Luneta Park, 400,000 onlookers cheered as the American flag was lowered and the Philippine flag was raised in its place. Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland reported that the day was “one of the most unprecedented, most idealistic, and most far-reaching events in all recorded history.”3

July 4 was officially recognized as the National Day until August 4, 1964 when President Diosdado Macapagal signed the Malacanang Republic Act No. 4166 that effectively made June 12—the day that General Emilio Aguinaldo and his revolutionary peers had originally claimed as the Nation’s Day—the country’s official Independence Day.

Today, Filipinos around the world from Saudi Arabia to Los Angeles, California continue to celebrate Philippine Independence Day on June 12.  In America, Filipino Americans, otherwise known as FilAms, use this day to commemorate the Philippines’ independence from colonial rule, celebrate Filipino heritage-pride, preserve cultural roots, promote cultural awareness, and bring FilAm communities together.4

The largest Philippine Independence Day celebration takes place annually in New York City on Madison Avenue between 23rd and 38th street on the first Sunday of June.  An estimated 100,000 people turn out to take part in various events and to march in a parade that represents FilAms and the 7,000 plus island clusters that constitute the Philippine archipelago. FilAms proudly donned outfits representative of their regional origins, academic affiliations, professions, favored sports team, and more.5

In Washington, D.C., the Philippine Embassy and Filipino American Organization host an Independence Day Gala, commemorative festivals, and other cultural activities.


2. “The Independence Day That Wasn’t,” http://www.bibingka.com/phg/misc/july4not.htm

3. Ibid.

5.  “Filipino Immigrants Return to their Roots at Independence Day Parade,” http://news.feetintwoworlds.org/2011/06/07/filipino-immigrants-return-to-their-roots-at-independence-day-parade/

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Event, Exhibitions, Filipino American

Singgalot: The Ties That Bind Traveling Exhibition Extended

Filipinos in America: From Colonial Subjects to Citizens
One Hundred Years of Filipino Presence in America

Singgalot on display in Charlotte, NC, August 2011.

Singgalot on display in Charlotte, NC, August 2011. Photo by Varanrat Torok.

  • Stony Brook University
    100 Nicholls Road
    Stony Brook, NY

On display from February 12, 2012 – April 22, 2012

Exhibition Hours

Charles B. Wang Center
Room 201
Monday-Friday: 10 am — 6 pm
Saturday: 12 pm — 5 pm
Sunday: 12 pm — 5 pm

This exhibition captures the challenges and issues that confronted Filipinos following the annexation of the Philippines as a U.S. territory in 1898. Singgalot explores the Filipino experience initially as colonial subjects and nationals, and further examines their struggles to acquire full citizenship status as immigrants in this country throughout the last century.

The exhibit highlights the unique contributions of Filipinos in the development of Hawai‘i and West Coast agribusiness industries, seafood and cannery industries in Alaska, in the U.S. military, public service, in literature and arts, sports, and, more recently, as doctors and nurses in America’s health care industry. Through a hundred photo murals and images, the social history and the development of the Filipino community in the United States are vividly portrayed.

Dean Alegado, associate professor and chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, curated this exhibition.

Singgalot is now available to travel through Spring 2012. If you would like to host the exhibition in your area, please call the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) at (202) 633-3160 and ask for Minnie or e-mail her at RussellM@si.edu. Click here for more information on hosting this exhibit.

This national tour was made possible through the generosity of Farmers Insurance Group. For more information about the Filipino American Centennial Commemoration, visit www.filam.si.edu.

Singgalot was congratulated by the US Embassy, click here to download the letter (PDF).

Singgalot in the news

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Exhibitions, Filipino American

Singgalot: The Ties that Bind in St. Louis, MO

Singgalot: The Ties that Bind (Extended Tour)

Time:
February 12, 2011 — April 24, 2011
Location:
Missouri History Museum
5700 Lindell Boulevard
Saint Louis, MO 63112

Today, there are more than 2.5 million Filipino Americans in the United States. Yet many, including Filipinos themselves, are not familiar with the details of their history in America—their experiences, rich traditions, and culture. Singgalot: The Ties That Bind is their story.

Singgalot's Opening Ceremony

Guests at Singgalot's opening ceremony in May 2006

This exhibition captures the challenges and issues that confronted Filipinos following the annexation of the Philippines as a U.S. territory in 1898. Singgalot explores the Filipino experience initially as colonial subjects and nationals and further examines their struggles to acquire full citizenship status as immigrants in this country throughout the last century.

Singgalot first debuted at the Smithsonian Institution’s S. Dillon Ripley Center Concourse on the National Mall from May to August of 2006 to mark 100 years of Filipino migration to the United States.

The exhibition was developed by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program (APAP) and the Smithsonian Filipino American Centennial Committee; curated by Dean Alegado, associate professor and chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa (retired); and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The national tour is made possible by Farmers Insurance.

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Exhibitions, Filipino American

Singgalot: The Ties That Bind Traveling Exhibition in Philadelphia, PA

'Singgalot: The Ties That Bind' Traveling Exhibition in San Francisco, Calif.

Time:
November 15, 2010 – January 23, 2011 

Location:
Drexel University
Intercultural Center
30 S. 33rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Today there are more than 2.5 million Filipino Americans in the United States. Yet many, including Filipinos themselves, are not familiar with the details of their history in America—their experiences, rich traditions, and culture. Singgalot: The Ties That Bind is their story.

This exhibition captures the challenges and issues that confronted Filipinos following the annexation of the Philippines as a U.S. territory in 1898. Singgalot explores the Filipino experience initially as colonial subjects and nationals and further examines their struggles to acquire full citizenship status as immigrants in this country throughout the last century.

Singgalot first debuted at the Smithsonian Institution’s S. Dillon Ripley Center Concourse on the National Mall from May to August of 2006 to mark 100 years of Filipino migration to the United States.

The exhibition was developed by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program (APAP) and the Smithsonian Filipino American Centennial Committee; curated by Dean Alegado, associate professor and chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa (retired); and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The national tour is made possible by Farmers Insurance.

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