Filipinos in Hawaii

People of Filipino descent make up a large and growing part of the State of Hawaii's population. In 2000 they were the third largest ethnic group and represented 22.8% of the population,[3] but more recently, according to the 2010 United States Census data indicates they have become the second largest ethnicity in Hawaii (25.1% in 2010), after Whites.

Total population
342,095 (22.8%)[1]
English, Tagalog, Ilocano, Visayan, other Philippine languages[2]
Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Muslim, Irreligion, Others
Related ethnic groups
Filipino American


Filipino immigrant family in Hawaii, c. 1906
Filipino immigrants, c. 1906

During the colonial era, the Spanish East Indies, which included the Philippine Islands, were administered as part of New Spain. It is likely, but not documented, that people from the Philippines visited the Hawaiian Islands en route to/from Mexico.

19th century

A few Filipinos, known as "Manila men" settled in the Kingdom of Hawaii during the 19th century. They mainly worked as cooks and musicians in the Royal Hawaiian Band. No deliberate migration existed during this period.[4]

Manila Men

The Manila Men were some of the first Filipino overseas workers. They were the first Filipinos to be documented having come to North America.[5]

Early to Mid 20th century

The importation of Filipinos workers called “Sakadas,” which roughly translates to “Filipino migrant workers” and also referred to the actual importation of these workers, began in 1906 and continued until 1946. During that time an estimated 125,000 Filipinos were recruited from the Ilocos and Visayas regions of the Philippines to work in Hawaii.  Initially, Filipino men were recruited by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association (HSPA) from the Philippines to Hawaii to work in the sugarcane fields. Later sakadas were recruited for work in both sugarcane and pineapple fields. Filipino migrant workers were recruited to replace Japanese workers that had been going on strike because of low pay, long work hours and substandard living conditions. These ethnic groups were segregated so that Filipinos would not be influenced by the striking Japanese workers and so the Filipinos could be used as leverage against the striking Japanese. Filipino workers that lacked education and had previous experience in agricultural work were preferred by recruiters because they were perceived to be easier exploit and control. Sakadas were 3 year contract workers and did not have the intention to stay in Hawaii. Most wanted to make their riches and go back home with enough money to buy land. This was common practice up until the 1940s. The contracts gave them passage to Hawaii and then back to the Philippines after their contract was over. In the 1940s the perception of working in Hawaii became glorya (glory) and so more Filipinos sought to stay in Hawaii. Workers were housed in plantation barracks that they paid rent for, worked long 10-hour days, 6 days a week and were paid 90 cents a day. They were the lowest paid workers of all the ethnicities working on the plantations. Most sakadas were single males; however, over time sakadas would send for relatives or bring families with them.  The last sakadas in 1946 were notable and different compared to all the sakadas prior and are referred to as the Sakada ‘46. Several factors making the Sakada ‘46 different was that it included more women, children and relatives of previous sakadas. It was also different in that some had an American colonial education, and professionals were included.[6]

US Navy 090406-N-5476H-002 Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars attend a memorial ceremony
Filipino-American World War II veterans during Araw ng Kagitingan memorial ceremony, 2009

Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association

Many Filipino farm laborers were recruited to go to Hawaii in 1906 by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association (HSPA) to work on the sugar plantations in Hawaii.[4] Albert F. Judd, an HSPA recruiter tried to get three hundred Filipinos to work in Hawaii. Those Filipinos were sent to the Olaa Plantation on the Big Island of Hawaii[7]. The sugar industry was a booming at the time so the newly annexed countries of Hawai’i and the Philippines were used in concert to support the industry for the United States.

By the 1920s there was an average of 7,600 Filipinos arriving in Hawaii annually.[8] Most Filipinos considered themselves temporary residents in Hawaii until around the 1940s. The HSPA preferred Filipinos to work on sugar plantations because they were known to be hard working and were given the lowest wage of all ethnicities working in the plantation.

Impact on Hawaii's working class

Some Native Hawaiians worked alongside Filipinos in the sugar plantations. Since the sugar industry in Hawaii was the main source of income for the working class, there was high demand for these jobs. American sugar plantation owners weren’t able to get Native Hawaiians to work for them so they relied heavily on the importation of other ethnicities.[7]

After 1965

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 allowed more Filipinos to bring family to Hawaii and this allowed more Filipino arrivals, particularly Filipino women, to enter the state. The increase in arrivals also caused some backlash and in the 1970s Filipinos felt discriminated against. They also tended to do more poorly at schools than average in that decade.[9] The reasons why Filipino students underperformed in school in the 1970s is unknown, but discrimination may have contributed. In 1970, of the 93,915 Filipinos living in Hawaii, only 34.4% were high school graduates.[10]

Ethnic plurality

The 2010 census showed that Filipinos surpassed Japanese as Hawaii’s second largest racial group. The total population of Filipinos was 342,095 of which 197,497 were full Filipinos, the total population of Japanese was 312,292 of which 185,502 were full Japanese.[11][1] According to surveys conducted by the American Community Survey showed that Filipinos overtook Japanese between 2007 and 2008.[12]


  1. ^ a b Gutierrez, Ben (17 June 2011). "Filipinos now second-largest racial group in Hawaii". Hawaii News Now. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  2. ^ Magdelena, Federico V.; Aquino, Belinda A. (2010). "A Brief History of Filipinos in Hawaii". Center for Philippine Studies. University of Hawaii Manoa. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
    "The Non-English Speaking Population in Hawaii" (PDF). Hawaii Economic Issues. State of Hawaii. 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  3. ^ Okamura, Jonathan Y. (2008). Ethnicity and Inequality in Hawai'i. Temple University Press.
  4. ^ a b Why did Filipinos come to Hawaii? Many were lured by false promises of plantation work By Belinda A. Aquino. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Vol. 10, Issue 345 - Sunday, December 11, 2005
  5. ^ Prince, James A. (4 October 2014). "Notable Filipinos: Manila Men: The First Filipino Overseas Workers". Notable Filipinos. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  6. ^ "Filipino Migration to the U.S.: Introduction". Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  7. ^ a b Bohulano Mabalon, Dawn (2013). Little Manila is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0822353393.
  8. ^ Mateo, Grace. "Labor Migration in Hawaii". The Philippine History Site. Office of Multicultural Student Services, University of Hawaii. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  9. ^ McDermott, John F.; Tseng, Wen-Shing; Maretzki, Thomas W., eds. (1980). People and Cultures of Hawaii: A Psychocultural Profile. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 171–181. ISBN 9780824807061.
  10. ^ Shepard, George (July 1974). "Population Profiles, Vol. 5: Demographic and Socioeconomic Profiles of the American Indian, Black, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Spanish Heritage, and White Populations of Washington State in 1970" (PDF). Education Resources Information Center. Washington Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Olympia. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  11. ^ Kelleher, Jennifer Sinco (21 May 2011). "Census shows Hispanics grow presence in Hawaii". The Maui News. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  12. ^ Levine, Michael (2011-05-25). "Filipinos Overtake Japanese As Top Hawaii Group". Honolulu Civil Beat.

Further reading


Bagoóng (Tagalog pronunciation: [bɐɡuˈoŋ]; Ilocano: bugguong) is a Philippine condiment partially or completely made of either fermented fish (bagoóng isdâ) or krill (bagoóng alamáng) with salt. The fermentation process also produces fish sauce known as patís.The preparation of bagoóng can vary regionally in the Philippines.

Demographics of Filipino Americans

The demographics of Filipino Americans describe a heterogeneous group of people in the United States who trace their ancestry to the Philippines. As of the 2010 Census, there were 3.4 million Filipino Americans, including Multiracial Americans who were part Filipino living in the US; in 2011 the United States Department of State estimating the population at four million. Filipino Americans constitute the second-largest population of Asian Americans, and the largest population of Overseas Filipinos.

The first recorded presence of Filipinos in what is now the United States dates to October 1587, with the first permanent settlement of Filipinos in present-day Louisiana in 1763. Migration of significant numbers of Filipinos to the United States did not occur until the early 20th century, when the Philippines was an overseas territory of the United States. After World War II, and until 1965, migration of Filipinos to the United States was reduced limited to primarily military and medically connected immigration. Since 1965, due to changes in immigration policy, the population of Filipino Americans has expanded significantly.

Filipino Americans can be found throughout the United States, especially in the Western United States and metropolitan areas. In California, Filipinos were initially concentrated in its Central Valley, especially in Stockton, but later shifted to Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. Other states with significant populations of Filipinos include: Hawaii, Illinois, Texas, and Washington. New Jersey and the New York Metropolitan area also has a significant population of Filipinos. There are smaller populations of Filipino Americans elsewhere.

As a population, Filipino Americans are multilingual, with Tagalog being the largest non-English language being spoken. A majority of Filipino Americans are Christian, with smaller populations having other religious views. On average, Filipino Americans earn a higher average household income and achieve a higher level of education than the national average.

Filipino Americans

Filipino Americans (Filipino: Mga Pilipinong Amerikano) are Americans of Filipino descent. The term Filipino American is sometimes shortened to Fil-Am or Pinoy. The earliest appearance of the term Pinoy (feminine Pinay), was in a 1926 issue of the Filipino Student Bulletin. Some Filipinos believe that the term Pinoy was coined by Filipinos who came to the United States to distinguish themselves from Filipinos living in the Philippines.Filipinos in North America were first documented in the 16th century, and other small settlements beginning in the 18th century. Mass migration did not begin until the early 20th century, when the Philippines was ceded from Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris.


Filipinos (Filipino: Mga Pilipino) are the people who are native to or identified with the country of the Philippines. Filipinos come from various Austronesian ethnolinguistic groups. Currently, there are more than 175 ethnolinguistic groups, each with its own language, identity, culture and history. The modern Filipino identity, with its Austronesian roots, was mainly influenced by China, the United States and Spain.


Hawaii ( (listen) hə-WY-ee; Hawaiian: Hawaiʻi [həˈvɐjʔi]) is a state of the United States of America. It is the only state located in the Pacific Ocean and the only state composed entirely of islands.

The state encompasses nearly the entire Hawaiian archipelago, 137 islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). The volcanic archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania. At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight main islands are, in order from northwest to southeast: Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest island in the group; it is often called the "Big Island" or "Hawaiʻi Island" to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago.

Hawaii is the 8th smallest geographically and the 11th least populous, but the 13th most densely populated of the 50 states. It is the only state with an Asian American plurality. Hawaii has over 1.4 million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. The state capital and largest city is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. The state's ocean coastline is about 750 miles (1,210 km) long, the fourth longest in the U.S., after the coastlines of Alaska, Florida, and California. Hawaii is the most recent state to join the union, on August 21, 1959. It was an independent nation until 1898.

Hawaii's diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. Because of its central location in the Pacific and 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii's culture is strongly influenced by North American and East Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture.

History of Filipino Americans

The History of Filipino Americans begins in the 16th Century when Filipinos first arrived in what is now the United States. The first Filipinos came to what is now the United States due to the Philippines being part of New Spain; until the 19th Century the Philippines was connected to the rest of New Spain in the Americas via the Manila galleon. Filipino seamen in the Americas would settle in Louisiana, and Alta California, beginning in the 18th Century. By the 19th Century, Filipinos were living in the United States, fighting in the Battle of New Orleans and the American Civil War; by the end of the century the first Filipino became a naturalized citizen of the United States, and the United States went to war with Spain, ultimately annexing the Philippine Islands from Spain. Due to this the History of the Philippines merged with that of the United States, beginning with the Philippine-American War which resulted in the defeat of the First Philippine Republic and the attempted Americanization of the Philippines.

Mass migration of Filipinos to the United States began in the early 20th Century, due to Filipinos being U.S. Nationals. These included Filipinos who enlisted as Sailors of the United States Navy, Pensionados, and laborers. During the Great Depression, Filipino Americans became targets of race based violence, to include race riots such as the one in Watsonville. The Philippine Independence Act was passed in 1934, redefining Filipinos as aliens for the purpose of immigration, encouraged Filipinos to return to the Philippines, and established the Commonwealth of the Philippines. During World War II, the Philippines was occupied leading to resistance, formation of segregated Filipino regiments, and liberation of the islands.

After World War II, the Philippines gained independence in 1946. Benefits for most Filipino veterans were rescinded with passage of the Rescission Act of 1946. Filipinos, primarily war brides, immigrated to the United States; further immigration was set to 100 persons a year due to the Luce-Celler Act of 1946, this though did not limit the number of Filipinos able to enlist into the United States Navy. In 1965, Filipino agricultural laborers, including Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, began the Delano grape strike. That same year the 100 person per year quota of Filipino immigrants was lifted and began the current wave of immigration; many of these immigrants were nurses. Filipino Americans began to become better integrated into American society, achieving many firsts. In 1992, enlistment of Filipinos in the Philippines into the United States ended. By the early 21st century Filipino American History Month was recognized.

Ilocano language

Ilocano (also Ilokano; ; Ilocano: Pagsasao nga Ilokano) is the third most-spoken native language of the Philippines.

An Austronesian language, it is related to such languages as Malay (Indonesian and Malaysian), Tetum, Chamorro, Fijian, Maori, Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian, Paiwan and Malagasy. It is closely related to some of the other Austronesian languages of Northern Luzon, and has slight mutual intelligibility with the Balangao language and the eastern dialects of the Bontoc language. The Ilokano people had their own distinct indigenous writing system and script known as kur-itan. There have been proposals to revive the kur-itan script by teaching it in Ilokano-majority public and private schools in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.

Ilocos Sur

Ilocos Sur (Ilokano: Makin-abagatan nga Ilocos) is a province in the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in Luzon. Vigan City, located on the mouth of the Mestizo River is the provincial capital. Ilocos Sur is bordered by Ilocos Norte and Abra to the north, Mountain Province to the east, La Union and Benguet to the south and the South China Sea to the west.

Ilocos Sur was founded by the Spanish conquistador, Juan de Salcedo in 1572. It was formed when the north (now Ilocos Norte) split from the south (Ilocos Sur). At that time it included parts of Abra and the upper half of present-day La Unión. The current boundary of the province was permanently defined through Act 2683, which was signed in March 1917.

The province is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, namely, the Heritage City of Vigan and the Baroque Church of Santa Maria

Jacob Batalon

Jacob Batalon (, born October 9, 1996) is an American-Filipino actor, best known for his role as Ned Leeds in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019).

Japanese in Hawaii

The Japanese in Hawaii (simply Japanese or “Local Japanese”, rarely Kepanī) are the second largest ethnic group in Hawaii. At their height in 1920, they constituted 43% of Hawaii's population. They now number about 16.7% of the islands' population, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The U.S. Census categorizes mixed-race individuals separately, so the proportion of people with some Japanese ancestry is likely much larger.

List of first minority male lawyers and judges in Hawaii

This is a list of the first minority male lawyer(s) and judge(s) in Hawaii. It includes the year in which the men were admitted to practice law (in parentheses). Also included are other distinctions such as the first minority men in their state to obtain a law degree or become a political figure.

Outline of Hawaii

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the U.S. state of Hawaii:

Hawaii is the newest state among the 50 states of the United States of America. It is also the southernmost state, the only tropical state, and the only state that was previously an independent monarchy. The state comprises the Hawaiian Islands (with the exception of Midway) in the North Pacific Ocean and is the only U.S. state that is not primarily located on the continent of North America.

Portuguese immigration to Hawaii

Portuguese immigration to Hawaii began in 1878 when Portuguese residents made up less than 1% of the Island population. However, the migration that began that year of laborers from Madeira and the Azores to work in the sugarcane plantations rapidly increased the Portuguese presence in Hawaii, and by the end of 1911 nearly 16,000 Portuguese immigrants had arrived.

Rolling the R's

Rolling the R's is a coming of age novel written by Filipino-American author R. Zamora Linmark and published in 1997. Rolling the R's, set in the 1970s in Hawaii, follows several adolescent Filipino characters as they grapple with the difficulties of fitting in as immigrants, discovering their sexualities, and deal with the social structure of in their community. The novel is written from a variety of perspectives, switching between main characters' perspectives in order to develop individual narratives. Linmark draws partially on his own experience as a Filipino-American immigrant to guide the plot. Linmark frequently references pop culture (Charlie's Angels, Donna Summer, and countless other unmistakable cultural relics of the 1970s), demonstrating his characters' awareness of mainstream American culture. Narrated in Pidgin English, Linmark develops his characters across various settings including the home, school, and the streets of Hawaii. The story is told in non-linear progression, presenting the young, queer characters across settings to show how they all stray from typical depictions of pre-teen protagonists. Throughout the novel, Linmark shows how racism and ethnic prejudice, conflicts over language, social norms regarding sexuality outside of marriage, and prejudice against gay men and boys govern the lives of his young protagonists.

The novel was well received, prompting a 20th anniversary reprinting in 2015. Linmark also adapted his novel into a play by the same name set to be performed in Honolulu, Hawaii in late 2018.


Sakadas were Filipino men imported by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association to Hawaii as "skilled laborers" from 1906 to 1946 mainly from the Visayas and Ilocos regions of the Philippines.

Spanish immigration to Hawaii

Spanish immigration to Hawaii began in 1907 when the Hawaiian government and the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association (HSPA) decided to supplement their ongoing importation of Portuguese workers to Hawaii with workers recruited from Spain. Importation of Spanish laborers, along with their families, continued until 1913, at which time more than 9,000 Spanish immigrants had been brought in, most recruited to work primarily on the Hawaiian sugarcane plantations.

Territory of Hawaii

The Territory of Hawaii or Hawaii Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from April 30, 1900 until August 21, 1959, when most of its territory, excluding Palmyra Island and the Stewart Islands, was admitted to the Union as the fiftieth U.S. state, the State of Hawaii. The Hawaii Admission Act specified that the State of Hawaii would not include the distant Palmyra Island, the Midway Islands, Kingman Reef, and Johnston Atoll, which includes Johnston (or Kalama) Island and Sand Island, and the Act was silent regarding the Stewart Islands.On July 4, 1898, the United States Congress passed the Newlands Resolution authorizing the U.S. annexation of the Republic of Hawaii, and five weeks later, on August 12, Hawaii became a U.S. territory. In April 1900 Congress approved the Hawaiian Organic Act which organized the territory. Hawaii's territorial history includes a period from 1941 to 1944, during World War II, when the islands were placed under martial law. Civilian government was dissolved and a military governor was appointed.

Ethnic groups in Hawaii
By location


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