Filipino American Lives

Yen Le Espiritu
Book Cover

PB: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-317-1
Publication: Mar 95

HC: $77.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-316-4
Publication: Mar 95

Ebook: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0557-9

240 pages
6 x 9
1 tables, 1 figs., 13 halftones, 1 maps

First person narratives by Filipino Americans reveal the range of their experiences—before and after immigration

Read an excerpt from the Introduction (pdf).


Filipino Americans are now the second largest group of Asian Americans as well as the second largest immigrant group in the United States. As reflected in this collection, their lives represent the diversity of the immigrant experience and their narratives are a way to understand ethnic identity and Filipino American history.

Men and women, old and young, middle and working class, first and second generation, all openly discuss their changing sense of identity, the effects of generational and cultural differences on their families, and the role of community involvement in their lives. Pre- and post-1965 immigrants share their experiences, from the working students who came before WWII, to the manongs in the field, to the stewards and officers in the U.S. Navy, to the "brain drain" professionals, to the Filipinos born and raised in the United States.

As Yen Le Espiritu writes in the Introduction, "each of the narratives reveals ways in which Filipino American identity has been and continues to be shaped by a colonial history and a white-dominated culture. It is through recognizing how profoundly race has affected their lives that Filipino Americans forge their ethnic identities—identities that challenge stereotypes and undermine practices of cultural domination."


"...a useful means of understanding ethnic identity and Filipino American history."
The Diversity Factor

"Filipino American Lives offers a collection of 13 life stories as told by the people who lived them.... (F)rom these disparate backgrounds, a Filipino American identity emerges and Espiritu does an excellent job of letting the reader see its complexity."
Pacific Reader

Table of Contents

Introduction: Filipino Settlements in the United States
1. "We Have to Show the Americans that We Can Be as Good as Anybody" – A. B. Santos and Juanita Santos
2. "I Was Used to the American Way of Life" – Ruth Abad
3. "Sometimes, I Am Not Sure What It Means to Be an American" – Connie Tirona
4. "My Dream Is to Be Able to Give Something Back to My Country and My People" – Luz Latus
5. "My Experience Is Atypical" – Paz Jensen
6. "I Sacrificed My Five-Year College Education to Become a Steward" – Leo Sicat
7. "I Only Finished First Grade" – Nemesia Cortez
8. "International Medical Graduates Are Tested Every Step of the Way" – Edgar Gamboa
9. "PASACAT Became My Whole Life" – Anamaria Labao Cabato
10. "I Knew that I Wanted to Be a Naval Officer" – Daniel Gruta
11. "I Offended Many Filipinos Because I Was an FOB" – Dario Villa
12. "I Could Not Cope with Life" – Joey Laguda
13. "Everybody Seemed to Be Either White or Black, a Full Race" – Lisa Graham

About the Author(s)

Yen Le Espiritu is Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of Asian American Panethnicity: Bridging Institutions and Identities (Temple).


In the Series

  • Asian American History and Culture edited by Cathy Schlund-Vials, Rick Bonus, and Shelley Sang-Hee Lee

    Founded by Sucheng Chan in 1991, the Asian American History and Culture series has sponsored innovative scholarship that has redefined, expanded, and advanced the field of Asian American studies while strengthening its links to related areas of scholarly inquiry and engaged critique. Like the field from which it emerged, the series remains rooted in the social sciences and humanities, encompassing multiple regions, formations, communities, and identities. Extending the vision of founding editor Sucheng Chan and emeriti editor Michael Omi, David Palumbo-Liu, K. Scott Wong and Linda Trinh Võ, series editors Cathy Schlund-Vials, Rick Bonus, and Shelley Sang-Hee Lee continue to develop a foundational collection that embodies a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to Asian American studies.