CHINESE AND IMMIGRANTS IN THE PHILIPPINES

CHINESE IN THE PHILIPPINES

The Philippines has a large population of people of Chinese ancestry. As in Thailand, Chinese in the Philippines have intermarried with Filipino and largely been assimilated into the population. Chinese make up between 1 percent and 1.5 percent of the population. Chinese language instruction has been restricted since 1973. Many young Filipino-Chinese consider themselves to be more Filipino than Chinese. Hokkein, the Southern Min dialect of Fujian, has traditionally been the primary dialect of many Overseas Chinese communities in Malaysia, Singapore Indonesia, and the Philippines whereas Teochew, the Southern Min dialect of Chaozhou, is the primary dialect of the Overseas Chinese communities in Thailand.

In 1990 the approximately 600,000 ethnic Chinese made up less than 1 percent of the population. Because Manila is close to Taiwan and the mainland of China, the Philippines has for centuries attracted both Chinese traders and semipermanent residents. The Chinese have been viewed as a source of cheap labor and of capital and business enterprise. Government policy toward the Chinese has been inconsistent. Spanish, American, and Filipino regimes alternately welcomed and restricted the entry and activities of the Chinese. Most early Chinese migrants were male, resulting in a sex ratio, at one time, as high as 113 to 1, although in the 1990s it was more nearly equal, reflecting a population based more on natural increase than on immigration. [Source: Library of Congress *]

There has been a good deal of intermarriage between the Chinese and lowland Christians, although the exact amount is impossible to determine. Although many prominent Filipinos, including José Rizal, President Corazon Aquino, and Cardinal Jaime Sin have mixed Chinese ancestry, intermarriage has not necessarily led to ethnic understanding. Mestizos, over a period of years, tended to deprecate their Chinese ancestry and to identify as Filipino. The Chinese tended to regard their culture as superior and sought to maintain it by establishing a separate school system in which about half the curriculum consisted of Chinese literature, history, and language. *

Intermarriage and changing governmental policies made it difficult to define who was Chinese. The popular usage of "Chinese" included Chinese aliens, both legal and illegal, as well as those of Chinese ancestry who had become citizens. "Ethnic Chinese" was another term often used but hard to define. Mestizos could be considered either Chinese or Filipino, depending on the group with which they associated to the greatest extent. *

Research indicates that Chinese were one of the least accepted ethnic groups. The common Filipino perception of the Chinese was of rich businessmen backed by Chinese cartels who stamped out competition from other groups. There was, however, a sizable Chinese working class in the Philippines, and there was a sharp gap between rich and poor Chinese. *

Chinese and Chinese Mestizos in the Philippines in the Spanish Era

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, deep-seated Spanish suspicion of the Chinese gave way to recognition of their potentially constructive role in economic development. Chinese expulsion orders issued in 1755 and 1766 were repealed in 1788. Nevertheless, the Chinese remained concentrated in towns around Manila, particularly Binondo and Santa Cruz. In 1839 the government issued a decree granting them freedom of occupation and residence. [Source: Library of Congress *]

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, immigration into the archipelago, largely from the maritime province of Fujian on the southeastern coast of China, increased, and a growing proportion of Chinese settled in outlying areas. In 1849 more than 90 percent of the approximately 6,000 Chinese lived in or around Manila, whereas in 1886 this proportion decreased to 77 percent of the 66,000 Chinese in the Philippines at that time, declining still further in the 1890s. The Chinese presence in the hinterland went hand in hand with the transformation of the insular economy. Spanish policy encouraged immigrants to become agricultural laborers. Some became gardeners, supplying vegetables to the towns, but most shunned the fields and set themselves up as small retailers and moneylenders. The Chinese soon gained a central position in the cash-crop economy on the provincial and local levels. *

Of equal, if not greater, significance for subsequent political, cultural, and economic developments were the Chinese mestizos. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, they composed about 5 percent of the total population of around 2.5 million and were concentrated in the most developed provinces of Central Luzon and in Manila and its environs. A much smaller number lived in the more important towns of the Visayan Islands, such as Cebu and Iloilo, and on Mindanao. Converts to Catholicism and speakers of Filipino languages or Spanish rather than Chinese dialects, the mestizos enjoyed a legal status as subjects of Spain that was denied the Chinese. In the words of historian Edgar Vickberg, they were considered, unlike the mixed-Chinese of other Southeast Asian countries, not "a special kind of local Chinese" but "a special kind of Filipino."

The eighteenth-century expulsion edicts had given the Chinese mestizos the opportunity to enter retailing and the skilled craft occupations formerly dominated by the Chinese. The removal of legal restrictions on Chinese economic activity and the competition of new Chinese immigrants, however, drove a large number of mestizos out of the commercial sector in mid-nineteenth century. As a result, many Chinese mestizos invested in land, particularly in Central Luzon. The estates of the religious orders were concentrated in this region, and mestizos became inquilinos (lessees) of these lands, subletting them to cultivators; a portion of the rent was given by the inquilino to the friary estate. Like the Chinese, the mestizos were moneylenders and acquired land when debtors defaulted. *

By the late nineteenth century, prominent mestizo families, despite the inroads of the Chinese, were noted for their wealth and formed the major component of a Filipino elite. As the export economy grew and foreign contact increased, the mestizos and other members of this Filipino elite, known collectively as ilustrados, obtained higher education (in some cases abroad), entered professions such as law or medicine, and were particularly receptive to the liberal and democratic ideas that were beginning to reach the Philippines despite the efforts of the generally reactionary--and friar-dominated--Spanish establishment. *

Chinese Rebellion in the Philippines

Spanish rule was punctuated by periodic revolts, many of them involving Chinese who lived outside the walls of Manila in a place called the Parian. In 1574, a Chinese pirate named Lin Tao Kien unsuccessfully attacked Manila. In 1574, the governor of Manila was assassinated by Chinese mutineers on his galley. Even though 12,000 Chinese were expelled in 1596, settlers continued to arrive from the mainland.

There were anti-Chinese riots in 1603, 1639, 1662, 1686, 1762 and 1819. The one in 1603 was particularly nasty: some 6,000 armed Chinese set fire to Spanish settlement outside Manila and began marching on Manila itself. A Spanish attack was quickly repelled and Spanish leaders were beheaded and had their heads displayed on stakes. Spanish reinforcements from the south saved for the Spaniards. The rebels were turned back and Parian was set on fire. The Spaniards and their Filipino and Japanese allies then took their revenge and massacred 20,000 Chinese.

The Chinese remained afterwards because the Spaniards couldn’t conduct trade without them.

Chinese in the Philippines in the 19th and 20th Centureies

Spanish decline of the Philippines began in the 1700s when the power of Spain was eclipsed in Europe by the England, France and the Netherlands. Foreign competition in the late 1700s disrupted the trans-Pacific trade routes and independence of Mexico and other Latin countries in the early 1800s brought an end to Spain's trans-Pacific monopoly.

Mestizos (people of mixed Malay, Chinese and Spanish ancestry) began to move into positions of influence and take the place of the Spanish. The opening of trade created a wealthy class that was educated in Europe, where they were exposed to the same kind of liberal ideas and philosophies that fostered the independence movements in the U.S., France and Latin America.

In the late nineteenth century, Chinese immigration, now with official approval, increased, and Chinese mestizos became a feature in Filipino social and economic life.

In 1931 there were between 80,000 and 100,000 Chinese in the islands active in the local economy; many of them had arrived after United States rule had been established. Some 16,000 Japanese were concentrated largely in the Mindanao province of Davao (the incorporated city of Davao was labeled by local boosters the "Little Tokyo of the South") and were predominant in the abaca industry. Yet the immigration of foreign laborers never reached a volume sufficient to threaten indigenous control of the economy or the traditional social structure as it did in British Malaya and Burma.

Filipino Chinese Weddings

The Chinese, like the Filipinos, have unique wedding traditions, ceremonies, and even superstitions. Because China is a large country, each clan has its own special tradition and customs. Their traditions mixed with the Filipinos, made Filipino-Chinese weddings even more colorful. Here is a guide on the basic wedding rituals of the Filipino-Chinese. [Source: Jonathan Dionisio, July 13, 2009 /*/]

The elements of ancestor worship and elder reverence, the lookout for omens, the use of professional matchmakers, the ornate gift-giving rituals and patrilineal kinship are similarly present in both traditional Chinese weddings and Chinese marriages in Philippine soil, along with the primary objectives of enhancing families and perpetuation of lineage. The element of time likewise plays a major part in Chinese weddings. Compatibility between bride and groom, for one, is more often than not determined by their respective star signs and horoscopes, which are in turn determined by the date and time of their births. The time of the ceremony is carefully picked, again for purposes of adherence to what their horoscopes dictate. [Source: kasal.com *^*]

Unlike their western counterparts, Chinese weddings make extensive use of the color red, for it is believed that the color symbolizes joy and luck. On the other hand, the practice of showering the newlyweds with rice is remarkably present in both cultures. In a marriage, the dragon symbolizes the male role while the phoenix symbolizes the female role. Dragon and Phoenix designs symbolize male and female harmony and a balanced relationship. The motif is rooted in mythology where the dragon symbolizes the Emperor and at his side stands the magically powerful phoenix with her life-giving song. *^*

Chinese elders usually play a major role in the Chinese wedding. This role traditionally starts even before the child to be wed is born, when parents arrange for the weddings of their children. Sometimes, couples seek the help of a professional matchmaker, usually an elderly local woman of reputable character. Children, for their part, customarily follow their parents, as dictated by the analects of Confucius. *^*

For the Chinese, the preferred partner is also Chinese. Chinese parents usually dislike Filipinos for in-laws. This prejudice against Filipinos mainly stems from their values which are different from those of Filipinos. Thus, inter-racial marriages are rare. In a culture where ancestral worship is practiced, it comes as no surprise that weddings are held in front of the family altar. The local Chinoy version varies little, as ceremonies are usually held before ancestral shrines in clan halls. *^*

Once the future bride has accepted the marriage proposal of the future groom, the couple consults a Feng Shui expert to assist them in choosing the date of their Kiu Tsin or Kiu Hun or pamamanhikan (asking of hand in marriage), Ting Hun or engagement, and Kan Chiu or wedding ceremony. The Feng Shui expert determines the most auspicious date and time for these three important occasions based on the Chinese Zodiac sign of the marrying couple, their parents, and grandparents. [Source: Jonathan Dionisio, July 13, 2009 /*/]

See Weddings

Kidnapping of Ethnic Chinese in the 1990s

Because they are seen as being richer than other Filipinos, Chinese Filipino are often the targets of crime such as kidnapping. Seth Mydans wrote in the New York Times, “The highly visible role of the Chinese in Philippine economic growth -- the Chinese-owned shopping malls and high-rises that are transforming Manila -- have made them obvious targets for extortion. Members of the Chinese business community agree that investment has been affected but say it is impossible to estimate the amounts involved.” [Source: Seth Mydans, New York Times, March 17, 1996 <<<]

On one incident, Mydans wrote: “The kidnapper's speech impediment gave him away. As he negotiated with Jepson Dichaves over the amount of ransom for the businessman's two small sons, he kept stumbling over the word for cheapskate. "He tried to disguise his voice by making it lower," Mr. Dichaves said, "but I recognized him. He has a short tongue, and there was one word he could not pronounce: kakuriputan. It means cheapskate. He kept telling me I was a cheapskate and did not love my sons." In the end, Mr. Dichaves, a wealthy Filipino-Chinese importer of fan belts and other rubber goods, talked the ransom down to 1.5 million pesos -- about $60,000 -- and the kidnapper, whom he recognized from his Tagalog-language pronunciation as a business associate named Ernesto Uyboco, freed his sons, aged 2 and 5. [Source: Seth Mydans, New York Times, March 17, 1996]

“In the last three years, 665 people have been kidnapped in the Philippines, most of them ethnic Chinese, said Teresita Ang See, who heads a citizens' group that monitors the issue. Of these, 31 have been killed. Victims have acknowledged paying more than $11 million in ransom in this period, though Mrs. Ang See said the true figure was probably much higher. Thw highly visible role of the Chinese in Philippine economic growth -- the Chinese-owned shopping malls and high-rises that are transforming Manila -- have made them obvious targets for extortion. Members of the Chinese business community agree that investment has been affected but say it is impossible to estimate the amounts involved. <<<

"I am told that some members of the Chinese community keep 5 or 10 million pesos at home," said Solita Monsod, a leading economist, "and hope that when it's their turn they will be kidnapped by the professionals, because then they know they will not get hurt. They just budget for it." It is the parents of young children who worry the most. Hundreds of Filipino-Chinese families have sent their children abroad to school, Mrs. Ang See said. Those who have not mostly keep them at home, a number of parents say, forbidding visits to malls, video parlors and movies. One Chinese high school recently canceled its prom. <<<

With danger seeming to lurk around every corner, many ethnic Chinese here have learned to live defensively, varying their routines, avoiding strangers, screening employees and eliminating much of their night life. In Binondo, Manila's Chinese quarter, shops close at 5 or 6 P.M. now and business at restaurants is down. "Me, I try to avoid Manila," said Benson Dakay, a Filipino-Chinese entrepreneur on the central island of Cebu, which is comparatively isolated from the kidnapping wave. And when he does visit, he said, he varies his schedule and where he stays. "Now I have to apologize to my kids for being very paranoid," Mrs. Ang See said. "My younger child -- he is 10 years old -- feels very bad that he has to stick to me all the time in the mall. I tell him, 'Sorry, but I don't have the money to ransom you.' " <<<

See Kidnapping Under Crime Under Government

Vietnamese Boat People

After the fall of Saigon in 1975, more than a million people left Vietnam, about 5 percent of South Vietnam’s population, most of them by boat. Many sailed long distances in overcrowded small boats, at risk of shipwreck and pirate attacks. Many were Chinese Vietnamese. Some didn’t make it to their final destinations. Some died. Most settled in the United States, which accepted political refugees but turned back economic refugees. Many of those who didn't make it were detained at camps in Hong Kong or the Philippines.

More than 3 million people fled Communist-controlled Vietnam and neighboring Laos and Cambodia after the Vietnam War ended in 1975. More than a million Southerners, including about 560,000 "boat people," fled the country soon after the communist takeover, fearing persecution and seizure of their land and businesses. The plight of the so-called "boat people" turned into a humanitarian crisis as they came under sometimes deadly assault. More than 125,000 refugees from Vietnam were resettled in the U.S. between 1975 and 1980, according to the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

For this privilege of leaving Vietnam Chinese had to pay the Vietnamese government about US$2,000 a head in gold. At the time these fees were Vietnam's main source of hard currency. At that time the Chinese owned many businesses in Vietnam and there was a lot of hostility towards Chinese in Vietnam. China and Vietnam have long history of animosity. Many Chinese were thrown out of Vietnam at the time China and Vietnam fought a border war in 1979. In the early 1970s there were about a half million ethnic Chinese in Vietnam. In the early 1980s there were practically none. Vietnam made US$2 billion from the forced migration. [Source: William Ellis, National Geographic, November 1979]

Many Vietnamese ended up in the Philippines. After being refused admission to the U.S. because they were not seeking political asylum, thousands of Vietnamese were stranded at refuge camps in the Philippines. When the Philippine government decided in 1993 to repatriate them some of the Vietnamese involved threatened to commit suicide if they were forced to return to Vietnam. Some were carried kicking and screaming onto planes.

Last Vietnamese Boat People in the Philippines

In the mid-2000s there were still some unsettled Vietnamese refugees in the Philippines waiting for a chance at a new life in the U.S. David Haldane wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “ Hanh Luong and her two young sons spend their days and nights huddled next to a packed suitcase with their cellphone nearby. For more than two months they have lived in a small dank room that a refugee organization has leased in one of the poorest sections of the Philippine capital, awaiting a call they know will soon come. Luong, who is Vietnamese, says she doesn't mind the long hours of boredom sitting on the hard floor her family shares with seven others, who also use the same hot plate and toilet. For at the end of that coveted phone call, she says, lies fulfillment of a powerful dream: Escape, after 16 years in the Philippines, to a new life in the United States. "I'm just happy that my family has a future," says Luong, 48, who will join a sister in El Monte. "Whatever job is offered me, I will take it, even if it's washing dishes or cleaning the bathroom." [Source: David Haldane, Los Angeles Times, December 28, 2005 ^^]

“Luong and hundreds of her compatriots in the Philippines constitute the world's last group of unsettled Vietnamese refugees. Thirty years after the end of the Vietnam War, the majority of the refugees are at last proceeding to hopeful futures in the United States. The less fortunate talk of suicide and weep over being left behind. Goodbyes are bittersweet. "I feel lonely when I send some of my friends to the airport," Luong says, "because I don't know when I will see them again." ^^

“Resettlement in the U.S. became possible only after American and Philippine officials hammered out an agreement last year. Until 1989, anyone escaping Vietnam was classified a political refugee. Since, however, the international community has screened refugees to determine whether they left for economic reasons, a finding that often bars them from legal immigration. Having left their country about the time the policy changed, the Vietnamese still in the Philippines, many of them the last of those who escaped their homeland by sea, have been living a stateless existence. Unwanted by other countries and unable to own businesses, buy homes or hold most jobs here, the majority have eked out sparse livings as illegal street vendors. ^^

“Most initially lived in a refugee camp on Palawan, a remote island about 360 miles southwest of Manila. In 1996, the camp was closed and the Philippine government, under United Nations supervision, began sending them back to Vietnam. Some refugees responded by attempting suicide, community workers say, and others rioted at the airport. Finally, after the intervention of human rights groups and the Philippine Catholic Church, the repatriation was halted. Under the revised resettlement program, the first of the displaced refugees, 229 of them, left for the U.S. in September. By March 2006, an estimated 1,600 are expected to have made the trip. ^^

“Tam Do Tran, 42, who is married and has two Philippine-born children, says her family is very happy about their imminent departure. "We're too excited to eat," she says. "For 16 years, every night I've gone to bed dreaming of going to the USA. We want a country where we can find freedom and have a better life." ^^

Vietnamese Boat People in the Philippines Barred from Entering the U.S.

David Haldane wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “ Hanh Luong and her two young sons spend their days and nights huddled next to a packed suitcase with their cellphone nearby. For more than two months they have lived in a small dank room that a refugee organization has leased in one of the poorest sections of the Philippine capital, awaiting a call they know will soon come. Luong, who is Vietnamese, says she doesn't mind the long hours of boredom sitting on the hard floor her family shares with seven others, who also use the same hot plate and toilet. For at the end of that coveted phone call, she says, lies fulfillment of a powerful dream: Escape, after 16 years in the Philippines, to a new life in the United States. "I'm just happy that my family has a future," says Luong, 48, who will join a sister in El Monte. "Whatever job is offered me, I will take it, even if it's washing dishes or cleaning the bathroom." [Source: David Haldane, Los Angeles Times, December 28, 2005 ^^]

“For years her family had cared for the child of an American soldier and a Vietnamese woman, she says. Such children are afforded special immigration status by the United States government. In their haste to escape, she says, the family falsely claimed the child as a relative. The child has since emigrated to the America, but U.S. immigration officials denied the family's request to follow, she says, sobbing. "I see nothing but pitch darkness," Le says. "I'd commit suicide if it weren't for my children and religion." ^^

“Similar stories of anticipation and dejection are heard on Palawan. After the closing of the camp in 1996, at least 400 refugees were moved 10 miles away to a site called Vietville that the Catholic Church built. Today about 40 remain, living in two-room huts made of concrete and bamboo. A few doors away, Van Teo Nguyen, 31, is in complete despair. He is married to a Filipina, which precludes resettlement for his family. Praying that the U.S. will reconsider, he struggles to support his wife and three children on the $71 a month he earns cleaning the village grounds. "It's not enough to feed the children," he says. "They are hungry all the time. I'm just like the other refugees, but now they can go, and I must say goodbye." ^^

“Nguyen's case is far from the most hopeless. That distinction may belong to Phong Huynh, 48, who has spent 20 years, the last eight at Vietville, sitting naked in a locked room with dirty walls and no furniture. Huynh escaped from Vietnam in 1983, but the boat was lost at sea for several weeks. To survive, neighbors say, the refugees resorted to cannibalism, killing and eating Huynh's brother. "That's why he became crazy," says Minh Dung Tran, 35, a refugee assigned by one of Vietville's nuns to feed and clean up after Huynh. Huynh spends his days carrying on conversations with his dead brother and babbling to passersby through an open window about finding a good woman and going to America. "As long as I stay here I will take good care of him," promises Tran, who has been denied emigration because he's married to a Filipina. ^^

“Ten miles down a thinly paved road, the abandoned refugee camp is a ghost town marked by the cracked concrete foundations that once bore barracks and a leaning wooden tower at the spot where a church used to stand. "We had to catch rainwater in buckets," recalls Niem Thoa Quy Le, 19, who spent his childhood here with his mother. Later, the pair moved into a tiny room nearby. Like hundreds of others, they have been denied permission to move on. ^^

“Amid the dust of the camp, one corner remains alive. It is a small white coral grotto made by refugees in the trunk of a tree. There's a cross in the cave, and a statue of the Virgin Mary surrounded by engraved ceramic tiles, fresh flowers and half a dozen lighted candles. For the Vietnamese refugees, many of whom are Catholic, the place is a shrine. "Every week they make offerings," Le says. "Those who have been approved offer flowers as thanks. Those who've been denied come to pray that they'll be accepted." ^^

Americans and Foreigners in the Philippines

In the late 1990s there were more than 100,000 Americans who have retired in the Philippines. Many are retired serviceman, who spend some time in the archipelago when they were in the service. In some towns they make up the majority of customers in some red light districts.

In the 1980s, jets planes full of Japanese men arrived in Thailand and the Philippines on per-paid sex tours that included airfare, accommodations, transfers and a local girl waiting for them in their room. Many Japanese-Filipino children produced by marriages and liaisons between Japanese men and Filipinas have worked in Japan as "entertainers," a euphemism for prostitutes. A Manila-based woman's organizations estimates that there might be as many as 65,000 Japanese-Filipino children abandoned by their fathers in the Philippines.

Koreans are the biggest expatriate community in the Philippines. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 88,000 Koreans were living in the Philippines in 2012.The Philippine Department of Tourism said more than 1.16 million Koreans entered the country in 2013

Dennis Rodman Meets His Father in the Philippines After 42 Years of Separation

Former NBA basketball Dennis Rodman's father, Philander Rodman Jr. lives in the Philippines. In the early 2000s he lived with two wives and 15 of his 27 children and said he was shooting for 30 children.

In 2012, Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo Sports wrote: “Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman doesn't know his father well. The aptly named Philander Rodman left Dennis' mother 48 years ago, and the former Pistons, Spurs, Bulls, Lakers and Mavericks forward hadn't seen his father for 42 years. Until recently, that is, when a barnstorming team Dennis plays for stumbled into Manila in the Philippines, and Dennis surprisingly agreed to a short meeting with his father. [Source: Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don't Lie, Yahoo Sports, July 19, 2012 ***]

Associated Press: “Philander Rodman Jr., who has acknowledged fathering 29 children by 16 mothers, says he was happy and surprised that his son agreed to meet him late Wednesday. He tried to meet the basketball Hall of Famer during another game in Manila in 2006. Philander, who has been living in the Philippines for nearly 50 years, said Thursday he wanted to explain to his son that he didn't abandon his family in the United States, but they only had time for greetings and handshakes.”

Here's Dennis' take on his father, from his 1996 memoir "Bad As I Want To Be," with some cursing removed: "I never really knew my father, Philander Rodman. He was in the Air Force in New Jersey, where I was born, and when I was three we packed up and came back to Dallas where my mother is from. We did this when my father stopped coming home. My father isn't part of my life. I haven't seen him in more than thirty years, so what is there to miss? I just look at it like this: Some man brought me into this world. That doesn't mean I have a father; I don't. I could say, 'This is my father. This is my dad,' but that doesn't sound right to me. I grew up with my mother and two younger sisters, Debra and Kim. There wasn't a male role model in my life until I got to college and started getting my [act] together."

Dwyer wrote: “The AP went on to mention that Rodman's father currently runs something called Rodman's Rainbow Obamaburger in the Philippines; which I'm sure is about as tactful and classy an establishment as can be expected by the father of 29 children by 16 women who tried to cram two different famous names into the name of his restaurant while appearing on the restaurant's website wearing a bootleg Chicago Bulls jersey with the name "Rodman" emblazoned on the front instead of the word "CHICAGO."

After the meeting Rodman told Associated Press: ''I've been trying to meet him for years. And then last night, boom, I met him. I was really, really happy and very surprised. ''I really, really felt good,'' he said. ''It's the beginning of something new.''

Filipino Immigrants

Out migration (in millions): 1) Mexico (-6.0); 2) Bangladesh (-4.1); 3) Afghanistan (-4.1); 4) Philippines (-2.9). [Source: United Nations Population Division]

Filipinos are the forth largest ethnic group in Japan. Many are Filipinas married to Japanese men. There are an estimated 350,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong. Many are maids or domestic workers.

Alisa Krutovsky wrote in Examiner.com: My friend’s Filipino grandfather told her mom: "The Chinese treat the Filipinos, like second-class citizens." On their recent trip to Hong Kong and Macau, they experienced it, since most of the domestics (housekeepers) are Filipino. There are a lot of Chinese-Filipinos in the Philippines, and they are very wealthy. [Source: Alisa Krutovsky, Examiner.com, DC International Travel Examiner, December 27, 2009]

See Separate Article FILIPINA WIVES AND MAIL-ORDER BRIDES Under People and OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS Under Economics

Filipinos in the United States

Countries where the most U.S. visas are issued (visas given in 1998): 1) South Korea (619,011); 2) Brazil (575,041): 3) Mexico (548,716); 4) Taiwan (344,901); 5) China (250,503); 6) India (249,715); 7) Britain (243,921); 8) Columbia (176,438); 9) the Philippines (145,043); 10) Israel (129,580).

About 4 million Filipinos live in the United States either as citzen or temporary workers. There are not so many in New York City. There are many more or on the West Coast, particularly in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. It is estimated that there are 1.5 million Filipinos in California. There are 15 Filipino-language newspapers in San Francisco.

About 16,200 Filipinos emigrated to the United States in 1998. The top five sources of legal immigrants in the United States in 1995 were: 1) Mexico; 2) the Philippines; 3) Vietnam; 4) the Dominican Republic; and 5) China. Source of immigrants in the United States (1992): 1) Mexico (22 percent); 2) Vietnam (8 percent); 3) Philippines (6.3 percent); 4) former Soviet Union (4.5 percent); 5) Dominican Republic (4.3 percent); 6) China (4 percent); 7) India (3.8 percent); 8) El Salvador (2.7 percent); 9) Poland (2.6 percent); 10) United Kingdom (22 percent).

There is great demand for U.S. visas in the Philippines. Applicants sometimes pretend they are dentists, doctors, priests or nuns, submit high-quality fake documents and spend thousands of dollars for classes that offer tips on what to say in during the embassy interviews. In the early 1990s, 72 percent of the female immigrants to New York City from the Philippines were trained nurses.

On being Filipino-American, Tricia Capistrano wrote in Newsweek, “When I was a kid, my grandmother would get upset whenever I told her that I'd be spending the afternoon swimming in my cousin's pool, because it meant that my skin would get darker than it already was. My mom, whose nose I acquired, has one of the widest among her brothers and sisters. She taught me to pinch the bridge daily so that the arch would be higher, like my cousins. Most of her girlfriends got blond highlights and nose jobs as soon as they received their first paychecks, almost as a rite of passage. [Source: Tricia Capistrano, Newsweek, June 19, 2006 */*]

“As a teenager, I tried to hang out with the mestizas, because I wanted to be popular like them. It was only when I was 22 years old and moved to New York, where people of different colors, beliefs and sexual orientations are embraced, that I learned to appreciate my brown skin, wide nose, straight, black hair and five-foot stature. Because of the self-confidence I saw in the people I met, I found everyone--in the subway, on the street, in restaurants--beautiful.” */*

American-Filipino Child in the Philippines

Tricia Capistrano wrote in Newsweek, “I took my infant son on a trip to the Philippines two years ago. I walked away from him for a moment at a baby- goods store in Manila and when I returned, he was surrounded by four women in their 20s who were ogling him. "He is so cute!" they said. "So fair-skinned!" Whether we were in the mall or at church, people would gather around to look at his face. My son is mestizo, of mixed race. My husband is Caucasian with ancestors from Sweden and Slovakia. I am a brown-skinned woman from the Philippines, where many people I know have a fascination with the lighter skinned--probably because our islands were invaded so many times by whites who tried to convince us that they were better and more beautiful than us. We were under Spain's rule for nearly 400 years, the United States' for almost 50. As a result, skin-whitening products fly off the pharmacy shelves. [Source: Tricia Capistrano, Newsweek, June 19, 2006 */*]

"Any plans to move back here?" my relatives ask when I visit. "I'll send Emil when he is a teenager so he can become a matinee idol and fund our retirement," I joke. Most of the country's famous actors are of mixed race, and the teen actors who are on their way up don't have to be talented, just fair-skinned and preferably of Spanish, American or Chinese descent. */*

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Philippines Department of Tourism, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated June 2015

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