Filipino American History Month

The first Filipino immigrants to Hawaiʻi, a group of fifteen men, arrived in 1906. By 1931, about 120,000 Filipinos had contracted to work for sugar companies in the islands.

October was first recognized as Filipino American History Month in the United States in 2009. The annual celebration commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental U.S. A group of “Luzones Indios” reached what is now Morro Bay, California on October 18, 1587 aboard the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esperanza. Today, Filipino Americans are the second-largest Asian American group in the U.S.

The Lyman Museum preserves historical records related to immigrants and is open for research by appointment. Learn more at

Filipinos in the agricultural community of Olaʻa celebrated Rizal Day on December 20, 1926 with a parade featuring floats and cars. The holiday commemorates the life of José Rizal (1861-1896), a nationalist who advocated for political reforms in the Philippines.

Women of the Olaʻa Filipina League dressed in traditional clothing for the Rizal Day celebration in 1926.
Musicians joined in the Rizal Day Parade in Olaʻa in 1926.
Elipidio Alcantra, 26 years old, and Geronimo Alcantra, 35 years old, landed in Hawaiʻi on April 28, 1946 aboard the S. S. Maunawili. They were employed by Onomea Sugar Company. Along with many others, their names are preserved in records of the C. Brewer Company.
The Filipino Chamber of Commerce of East Hawaiʻi hosted a Filipino Immigration Week dinner on November 29, 1958. The event honored people in numerous fields: agriculture, education, government service, industry, journalism, politics, radio/television, and social work. Pictured are Josephine DeLuz Yadao, Andrew T. Spalding, Mary Dorothy Martin, George Martin, James Kealoha and Elias Yadao.
Glorianna Adap, a music teacher, performed for the Filipino Immigration Week dinner on November 29, 1958.