The Filipino Culture in the
San Fernando Valley
Background/History of the Filipino-American Community
Many Filipinos began coming to America in 1924. In 1924 there was an Immigration Act which banned any immigrants from Asian countries, but the Philippines at this time belonged to the United States, so Filipinos continue to migrate to the U.S. But most of the Filipinos in Southern California immigrated after the Immigration Act of 1965. It continued to increase along with the growing economy and the changes of the Immigration Act. It started to become a little bit easier to disperse in the state. There are many Filipino communities all over the state of California. This is a different situation than other Asian American communities. One of the reasons that Filipinos could integrate with other ethnicities is because most Filipinos were educated in English and are able to communicate better than other ethnicities.
More Asian Americans reside in Panorama City than any other city in Los Angeles. Finding how many Asian Americans are Filipinos was difficult to find. Of the whole state of California the San Fernando Valley holds the spot for the most Asian American Population according the Economic Alliance in 1998.
Panorama City has received an increase in Filipinos in the past few decades. This is due to the low cost in housing as well as the Kaiser Hospital located in the city. Many Filipino women are nurses and relocate to where there are good positions in hospitals. Nursing is a very popular profession in the Philippines and as a result when they immigrate to the United States, they seek out positions in hospitals and clinics. Many Filipinos have professional medical backgrounds and are located all over the county of Los Angeles. Due to the growing population of Filipinos in Panorama City, there are many Filipino supermarkets and restaurants that have sprung up in the past few years as a result such as Seafood City, Goldilocks, and Chow King.
Filipinos communities have emerged as a result of different generations who immigrated during certain points in history such as the early 1900’s, post-World War II, and post-1965 (after the Immigration Act was passed). Therefore, differences can be seen with older family generations of Filipinos and those families who have immigrated within the last 20 years. The older generations are more Americanized while the newer generation have kept the preservation of their personal ties in the Philippines due to the ease of mobility (such as the use of affordable commercial airlines).
Contemporary Situation of the Filipino-American Community
By studying the demographic data on the San Fernando Valley, you can see that Asian-Americans compose a huge amount of the population in Panorama City. There is no place this is shown more than inside the Kababayan Center. The Kababayan Center is located on Roscoe and Van Nuys and inside of it are a Goldilocks, Island Pacific Supermarket, and a Pinoy/Pinay Filipino Restaurant. It is a basically an indoor mall but with a market. There are so also many other tiny shops and stores that sells dresses, cell phones, and art work by Filipino artists. Right next to the Kababayan Center is a Toto’s Lechon, a D.J. Bibinchakan restaurant, and a Bao’s Hair Stylist. This is a huge cultural center as many Filipino’s shop and eats in this little plaza. Many Filipino’s live right around the Kababayan Center in the many apartment buildings and houses in the neighborhood. Kaiser employs a large amount of them as many have their nursing degrees and there is always a shortage of nurses.
The Filipino community in Panorama City doesn’t have their own cultural center so many of them go to other cities such as Eagle Rock or Downtown Los Angeles to participate in cultural activities. They also throw many parties in their houses to celebrate birthdays, debuts, and anniversaries.
Demographic Data of the Asian Community in the San Fernando Valley
As you can see from the statistics done in 2000, Panorama City has the largest percentage of Asians in the entire valley, reaching over twenty percent.
Interview with Sheryl Llacuna.
Interview with John Cervantes.