Filipino American Heritage Month

by Elpidio R. Estioko

Filipino American History Month is celebrated in October. It is an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Filipino Americans in the United States.

The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) suggested possible activities to participate such as the following:

– Read Filipino American Studies books of the past and present. For example, 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the edited text Filipino Americans: Transformation and Identity, (edited by Maria P. P. Root) – regarded as a foundational comprehensive text in Filipino American Studies;

– Support arts and media that advance Filipino American Studies, such as Lumpia with a Vengeance (film) or Larry: The Musical (theater);

– Learn about the history of the Luzones Indios who first set foot in California on October 18, 1587 (435 years ago);

– Conduct and share oral histories that highlight regional experiences of Filipino American history; and

– Curate a panel of Filipino American artists to describe their contributions to the arts (e.g., music, dance, theater, hip hop).

Foremost of the celebration, lately, is Larry Itliong’s contribution to the California labor movement and the cannery industry in Alaska with some info on the sugar cane industry in Hawaii. He is a highly influential leader whose pivotal role in the farm labor movement left a long-lasting legacy for all of us.

An adjunct celebration is the Delano Grape Strike of 1965where the 1,500 farm laborers of Delano, called Manongs, led by Larry Itliong, went on strike clamoring for better pay for farm labor and equal justice/opportunity for farm laborers.

In Milpitas, after naming a park in honor of Larry Itliong, this time another park, a new one, is being named by the City Council as Delano Manongs Park and the grand opening will be on Saturday, October 14, 2023 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm.

The new park is located at 1576 McCandless Drive in Milpitas, next to the Mabel Mattos Elementary School. The celebration includes aplaque unveiling/ribbon cutting, food, resource tables, music, and dancing performances.

There will be reading part of the park dedication proclamation by leaders in the community, according to Renee Lorentzen, Director of Recreation and Community Services.

Moreover, the Asian American Stories Video Contest 2023 launched with the theme: All of Us Belong Here! For more information about the entry guidelines, prizes and judges, visit The deadline for the submission of entries is January 15, 2024.

This is open to all and not only confined in California but all over the country for as long as entries stick to the theme. That means fellow Filipinos in Hawaii, you are welcome to participate in the video contest. 

Two of the 15 distinguished judges are Filipino-Americans. The first one is Don Orozco, Host of Radyo Agila Sa Amerika, journalist, and a director of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley.

The other judge is Elpidio R. Estioko, a long-time educator, public relations (PR) practitioner, author, and award-winning journalist. He is a regular columnist of Philippine News Today (PNT), a weekly newspaper circulating in the Bay Area and also a regular columnist of Hawaii Filipino Chronicle (HFC) circulating on the island of Hawaii.

Fellow Asians, tell your stories! Join the contest!

Also, last October 8, I timed my book launching and signing during this month to drum up support and share my story with fellow Asian Americans, my book “Unlocking the Chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream.”

Before talking about the book, itself, I thanked the people who supported me and made the book possible. Without them, I couldn’t have done it. Their encouragement has meant the world to me.

To my beloved wife Delia, who stood with me throughout the entire process through thick and thin; Former Assemblymember of CA District 25 Kansen Chu, who wrote the foreword and helped me publish the book financially; Ruel Manipis, who took the picture of the cover design of the book; Denis Marks, who patiently copy-read and edited my manuscript to the very end; and everyone who helped make this book possible.

I wrote the book because I believe that everyone has a story to tell. I have a story to tell, so I wanted to share it with the world through my book!

The book is a book of guts, survival, and the will to persevere against all odds. All it needed to succeed, ultimately, was hard work, strong commitment, having a very supportive wife, a strong belief in God, and the will to move on and pursue one’s dreams.

Dr. Roman Dannug, former PUP Dean who settled in California said: “Congratulations my friend! FilAms, OFWs, and young people will surely get some precious gems of practical pointers on how to get a beautiful life journey as one flows onto the winds of life’s stability, growth and change!”

Fellow FilAms, let’s know our roots, let’s participate in celebrating the Filipino American History Month!

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ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. He just published his book Unlocking the Chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream which is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris Publishing. For feedbacks, comments… please email author at

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