Famous Filipino Americans

Gain wisdom from Filipino Americans who triumphantly fused best of two cultures. They retain their Filipino identity while adjusting to their new American lifestyles. 

Filipino Americans are Filipinos who have chosen to live in the United States majority of whom are in search of greener pastures. Their children comprise the second generation of Fil-Am’s (shortened).

Migration to USA

History bears records of Filipinos migrating to US even before our country became US territory. They were sailors leaving Spanish ships due to cruelty and some introduced shrimp drying skills to America. 

More Filipinos migrated to America in 1900’s when the country was under American rule. These were the “Pensionados” or the cream of Filipino students sent to America to study with government subsidy to prepare them as country’s future leaders.

White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford

Some were agricultural workers, others were employed in the US Navy, many were world war veterans including their wives and children and some Filipinas with their children left the country to be with their American husbands. America has been home to many of our nurses, doctors, therapists, engineers, entrepreneurs, chefs, nannies, caregivers, helpers and other workers searching for greener pastures.

White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford

Per Commission on Filipinos Overseas, there were 2.37 million permanent residents or emigrants of the 7.29 million overseas Filipinos in 2000, with United States of America as the highest major destination. Emigrants include spouses and fiancées of foreign nationals.

Later census of 2010 reveals that Filipinos living in US have reached 3.4 million majority are in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, New York, Colorado and Utah.

Popular Filipino-Americans

Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra
Natalie Coughline

Coach Erik Spoelstra and Famous Swimmer Natalie Coughline

Although a minority group, Filipino Americans have hurdled hardships and shown determination, courage, industry, wisdom and balance in adjusting between two or more cultures. The following men and women have made excellent records in their chosen fields.

Major General Antonio Taguba and Rear Admiral Eleanor Mariano

  • Major General Antonio MarioTaguba-a retired Philippine born American who became US Army general officer, known for his relevant report about Iraqi prison.
  • Rear Admiral Eleanor Mariano-the first Fil-Am US Navy admiral and first woman White House Medical Unit director
  • Cristeta Comerford-the first woman White House Executive Chef beginning 2005
  • Natalie Coughline-among America’s prime swimmers winning 6 medals in one Olympics, garnering 46 medals in major international competitions
  • Erik Spoelstra-head coach of Miami Heat, first Fil-Am to coach American professional sports team.
  • Tia Carrere-an award winning actress, Grammy Award winning singer and model.
  • Tani Cantil-Sakauye-appointed Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court in 2010
  • Alfredo Alcala-famous comic book artist
  • Lynda Barry-creator of TV hit series “The Simpsons”
  • Josefino Comiso-NASA physics expert
  • Marc Loinaz-inventor with six US patents, invented one-chip video camera
  • Josie Natori-fashion designer of RTW clothes, elegant lingerie, sleepwear, towels and beddings
  • Fe del Mundo-pediatrician who made the invention of an incubator and jaundice relieving device possible
  • Jose B. Cruz, Jr.-Ohio State University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering distinguished professor
  • Baldomero Olivera-discovered many cone snail toxins beneficial to neuroscience, first Fil-Am member of the United States National Academy of Sciences
  • Alfonso A. Ossorio-an abstract expressionist artist who left behind great legacy of arts and historic documents of an artist
  • Alex S. Fabros, Jr.-great historian and retired US army officer; created important documentaries about Filipinos and New American Media’s “Ethnic Pulitzer Prize” winner
  • Emil Guillermo-journalist, broadcaster and writer, 2000 American Book Award winner, first Fil-Am to have a regular news program

These persons indeed have given inspirations and hopes not only to Filipino Americans and expats but to everybody that sowing hard work, determination and faith among others will produce good yields.

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