Some of the first arrivals were Filipino seaman who settled in Louisiana and California, at the beginning of the 18th Century. Migration patterns of Filipinos to the United States have been recognized as occurring in four significant waves. The first was connected to the period when the Philippines were part of New Spain and later the Spanish East Indies and they migrated to North America during this time.
The second wave was during the period when the Philippine Islands were a territory of the United States; as U.S. Nationals, Filipinos were unrestricted from immigrating to the US by the Immigration Act of 1917. This wave of immigration has been referred to as the Manong generation. Filipinos of this wave came for different reasons, but the majority were laborers. This wave of immigration was distinct from other Asian Americans because of the American influences and education in the Philippines; they did not see themselves as aliens when they immigrated to the United States. During the Great Depression, Filipino Americans were also affected, losing jobs, and being the target of race-based violence. This wave of immigration ended due to the Philippine Independence Act in 1934, which restricted immigration to 50 persons a year.
Later, due to agreements with the Philippines, Filipinos were allowed to enlist in the United States Navy; this continued a practice of allowing Filipinos to serve in the navy that began in 1901. Filipinos who immigrated to the United States, due to their military service, were exempt from quota restrictions placed on Filipino immigration at the time. This ended in 1946, following the independence of the Philippines from the United States, but resumed in 1947 due to language inserted into the Military Base Agreement between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines. In 1973, Admiral Zumwalt removed the restrictions on Filipino sailors, allowing them to enter any rate they qualified for; in 1976 there were about 17,000 Filipinos serving in the United States Navy.
The third wave of immigration followed the events of World War II. Filipinos who had served in World War II had been given the option of becoming U.S. Citizens, and many took the opportunity. Filipino War brides were allowed to immigrate to the United States due to the War Brides Act and Fiancée Act, with approximately 16,000 Filipinos entering the United States in the years following World War II.
The fourth and present wave of immigration began in 1965 with the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 into law. It ended national quotas and provided an unlimited number of visas for family reunification. By the 1970s and 1980s Filipino wives of military service members reached annual rates of five to eight thousand. The Philippines became the largest source of legal immigration to the United States from Asia. Navy based immigration stopped with the expiration of the military bases agreement in 1992, yet it continues in a more limited fashion. Many Filipinos of this new wave of migration have migrated here as professionals, such as qualified nurses. As of 2005, 55% of foreign-trained registered nurses taking the qualifying exam administered by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) were educated in the Philippines.
Filipino cuisine is composed of the cuisines of more than a hundred distinct groups found throughout the Philippine archipelago. The style of food associated with it have evolved over many centuries from their shared Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine origins to a mixed cuisine of Indian, Chinese, Spanish and American influences.
Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to fish curry, chicken curry, complex paellas and cozidos created for fiestas. Popular dishes include: lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelette), adobo (chicken or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce), dinuguan (pork blood stew), kaldereta (meat stewed in tomato sauce), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), pochero (beef and bananas in tomato sauce), afritada (chicken or pork and vegetables simmered in tomato sauce), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), pinakbet (kabocha squash, eggplant, beans, okra, and tomato stew flavored with shrimp paste), crispy pata (deep-fried pig’s leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls). Various food scholars have noted that Filipino cuisine is multi-faceted and is the most representative in the culinary world for food where the “’East meets West”.
Make some Filipino recipes at home.
Shrimp in Achiote Oil
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons achiote (annatto) seeds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1–2 Thai chiles, with seeds, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced
For achiote oil:
Cook oil and achiote seeds in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the oil turns dark red, about 5 minutes. Strain into a jar and let cool. Cover and chill until needed.
Heat achiote oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chiles, garlic, lime juice, and soy sauce and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing often, until shrimp are opaque throughout, about 4 minutes. Top with scallions and serve.
Substitute for Palm vinegar: 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part water with a squeeze or two of lime juice.
2 1⁄2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 cup palm vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
12 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cooked white rice
Patis (Philippine fish sauce; optional), for serving
Place the pork, vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaf in a large bowl and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Heat pork mixture and 2 cups water in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Skim the foam that rises to the surface, and then reduce the heat to medium-low; cover, and cook until tender, about 2 hours.
Pour the pork into a colander set over a bowl; discard bay leaf, and set pork and garlic aside. Return broth to the pot, and cook over medium heat until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Transfer broth to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil in the same pot over medium-high heat. Set the garlic aside, then, working in batches, add the pork, and cook, turning until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, and stir into the pork mixture. Stir broth back into the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook to meld flavors, about 5 minutes.
Serve Adobo with rice. Season with fish sauce, if you’d like.
Bok Choy Stir-fry
Half of a head of bok choy cabbage, cut into diagonal pieces
1 small carrot, cut into diagonal pieces
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, quartered and separated into pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Fish sauce or salt and pepper to taste
In a deep skillet, heat oil and saute garlic and onion.
Add bok choy and carrot and stir cook for a minute then add oyster sauce.
Simmer for 2-3 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a serving plate and serve with fish sauce.
Maruya (Banana Fritters)
1/2 cup flour, plus extra for coating bananas
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 ripe saba (banana plantain) or regular bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise
Cut each banana strip into 3-inch lengths. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add milk and egg, beat until smooth.
Heat oil in a frying pan (or a large saucepan) over medium heat.
In batches, roll banana slices in flour and then dip in batter. Fry in hot oil until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels. Roll in sugar. Place in a serving dish and serve for a snack or dessert.