Filipinos in New Mexico
Category : History
With New Mexico’s 2 million population, there are 4,647 Filipinos (one race) (Reference: ACS_13_3YR_B02015 NM) or 8,074 Filipino Americans (combination of races) (Reference: ACS_13_3YR_B02018 NM) in New Mexico, according to the US Census Bureau, American Fact Finder, 3-year (2011-2013) survey estimate. Also see: Cities with the highest percentage of Filipinos in NM.
See bottom for the Highlights in Philippine-New Mexico connection.
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Filipino American 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in Albuquerque, NM:
- Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (FAFNM) is the MAIN organization where majority of the Fil-Ams participate, founded in 2004. The Filipino American Association of NM (founded in 1975) paved the way for FAFNM.
- Filipino American National Historical Society Rio Grande (FANHS RG) is one of the 38 chapters of FANHS all over the US. (It is a different organization from FAFNM although all of the FANHS RG members are also with FAFNM.) All the chapters meet biennially in the FANHS National Conference. The 2016 FANHS Conference will be held from June 22 to 25 in New York. FANHS focuses on the history of Filipino Americans. FANHS RG, the 20th chapter, was founded in 1998 by Dr. Dely Alcantara and David Galbiso.
- Filipino American Community Council (FACC) is an umbrella organization and the main purpose is grant-seeking for the benefit of the Filipino-American community and other Filipino organizations that serve the Filipino-American community. Although the council was formed in 2012, some of the members, specifically Dr. Dely Alcantara, had obtained several grants for the Filipino community in New Mexico several years before.
- Others that are non profit and independent groups:
- For UNM Students, check out: Filipino Student Organization at UNM.
- Filipino American Athletics of New Mexico, statewide sports group. They play basketball and volleyball where they hold tournaments around the state.
- For Christian groups, check out your churches for Couples for Christ and Youth for Christ. Many members are Filipinos.
- See “Where to Find Filipinos in NM” below.
The Filipino community is represented in many organizations and/or has participated in activities in the state. Many Filipinos have served/are serving as presidents or organizers.
- Asian American Association of New Mexico (including their Oral History Group). Past presidents who are Filipinos: Dr. Dely Alcantara and Rod Ventura. 2019: Co-presidents are also Filipinos: Anni Leming and Robert Nelson. Ligaya White has also been one of the key organizers of the annual event: Festival of Asian Cultures for several years.
- Bataan Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico. The Filipino community co-sponsors the annual Bataan ceremony in April (photos below). Current president: Dr. Dely Alcantara. It was also during Dely’s presidency when the Bataan Memorial was finally completed: Bataan Memorial 2002.
- Federal Asian Pacific American Council – Rio Grande Chapter (FAPAC). Current president: Michelle Wolffe. Past presidents: Vilma Lopez, Gloria Kauz, and Ligaya White.
- New Mexico Asian Family Center. This was founded by Dr. Dely Alcantara.
- City of Albuquerque Cultural Services. FAFNM and the City sponsor the annual Santacruzan event at the Old Town Plaza usually during the third Saturday in May.
- National Hispanic Cultural Center. The Philippine flag is one of the many flags flown at NHCC to show countries that were/are under Spanish colonization. NHCC has also sponsored with FANHS RG the Manila Galleon Trade Exhibit (2007-2008).
Hosting National/Regional Filipino American Events in Albuquerque:
All these major events were chaired by Emilie Underwood.
- 2003: FANHS National Trustees’ Meeting, UNM Zimmerman Library. Host: FANHS Rio Grande.
- 2005: Filipino and Asian American Conference and National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Regional Meeting, Marriott Convention Center. Host: Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico.
- 2012: FANHS National Conference (attended by members from 30 chapters all over the US), Marriott Hotel. Host: FANHS Rio Grande.
Outstanding Filipinas in New Mexico
Did you know that:
- The first registered female professional engineer in New Mexico is a Filipina? She was also the first minority to found and own an engineering company, Rhombus which existed for 25 years until 2008. Read about her memoir, Celia Ruiz Tomlinson. Learn more: Celia in Filipinas Mag
- Dr. Dely Alcantara founded the New Mexico Asian Family Center which has helped a lot of Asians. (NOTE: Dely passed away on Nov. 3, 2019. Check: Dely.)
- Two Filipinas received the Governor’s Award for New Mexico Outstanding Women sponsored by the Women’s Commission:
- 1993: Celia Ruiz Tomlinson. NOTE: Celia is the first professional female engineer in NM and the first minority woman to own an engineering firm in NM, Rhombus, for 25 years until 2008.
- 2004: Dr. Dely Alcantara. Learn more: Dely in Boomer Magazine and FANHS RG book/eBook: Filipino American Experience in New Mexico. Dely is a recipient of Human Rights award and Dolores Huerta Si Se Puede Award (Cesar Chavez NM, 2018). View her speech: Dely.
Filipino students who graduated with honors (& doctorate):
- 2019: Rryod Sarimones, Magna Cum Laude, UNM, BS in Nursing.
- 2019: Zeke Racca, Cum Laude, UNM, Masters in Mechanical Engineering.
- 2019: Jared Fernandez, Magna Cum Laude on both majors: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwest University.
- 2017 (December): Lyle Leonen, Cum Laude, UNM, BS in Psychology.
- 2017: Ronadel Joy Ronquillo graduated with a Doctorate of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.
- 2017: Princeton Early King graduated again with high honors (4.07 GPA), Masters in Business Administration, Finance, at UNM Anderson School of Management. It took him only a little over a year to complete his masters. See below, 2016.
- 2017: Zeke Racca graduated cum laude from UNM with a degree in Engineering. He was the co-chair of the Youth Committee (dissolved in 2017).
- 2016: Princeton Earl King graduated summa cum laude from UNM with Business Administration in Financial Management. He is the son of Pearl King who also graduated summa cum laude (see 2015 below).
- 2016: Ace Leonen graduated cum laude from UNM with a degree in Biology. He is the treasurer of the FAFNM Young Professional and Youth Committee (dissolved in 2017).
- 2015: Carlo James Aragon graduated magna cum laude at UNM, Bachelor of Arts with double majors in Political Science and Foreign Languages.
- 2015: Pearl King, FANHS RG President, at 65 years old, graduated summa cum laude, Nursing degree, NM Highland University.
- 2014: Ardee Napolitano graduated summa cum laude, from UNM with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (Communication Arts) and French.
(NOTE: We just started this list in 2015. If you know any Filipino college student in NM who graduated with honors in the past or whom we missed here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.)
Where can you find Filipinos in New Mexico?
- Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Santa Fe and Surrounding areas: May is the Asian/Pacific Heritage Month. The Filipinos celebrate the annual Santacruzan (FAFNM) at the Old Town Plaza (usually on the third Saturday of May, 5:30 pm) and the Filipinos perform at the Asian Festival of Cultures. You will also find Filipinos in Catholic Churches like the Prince of Peace where you find choirs and Couples for Christ. In December, FAFNM members and friends attend the Sambang Gabi (Evening Mass Celebration), raise funds through caroling and celebrate their annual Christmas Party. Go to EVENTS.
- Espanola: Many of the school teachers at the Public Schools are Filipinos. Photo shows three sets of Filipino twins from Espanola: Sagisi (Sharmaine & Shaine), Germino (Guillmer and Guillian) and the youngest set: Kinglet (Rio & Crio). (The photo was retrieved, with permission, from Shaine Sagisi’s FB.)
Many of the Filipino teens/young adults from Espanola are founders of the Filipino Student Organization at UNM. They usually participate at the annual FAFNM Santacruzan.
- Las Cruces. The Filipino American Association of Las Cruces celebrates Valentine’s Day, Independence Day and Christmas days. President: Tommy Tomenbang.
Support our Filipino American businesses:
- Filipino-American-businesses: Filipino-American-businesses (Updated 2016 Jan)
Highlights on the Philippines-New Mexico Connection
- The first Filipinos came to New Mexico in the 18th Century. They came as sailors with the Manila-Galleon Acapulco Galleon Trade. According to the 1790 Spanish Census, some of their descendants became teachers who settled near Isleta Pueblo. In 1910 Census, there were 10 native born Filipinos. In 1930, the number increased to 27. Now, we have more than 8,000 Filipino Americans.
- Our Philippines and New Mexico histories (both under Spanish colonization) have a lot of similarities, as highlighted in the FANHS RG 2005 brochure: Philippine NM Connection.
- On December 8, 1941, the 200th New Mexico Coast Artillery engaged Japanese bombers at Clark Field and Fort Stotsenberg, Philippines. The 200th, composed of 1,800 men, became the first unit to go into action in defense of the United States flag in the Philippines. Visit: Bataan Corregidor Memorial Foundation of NM.
- George Curry was the governor of three provinces in the Philippines (Camarines, Isabela and Samar) during the American occupation. He also became the governor of New Mexico before its statehood.
- Read more about the history of the Filipinos in NM in our book/eBook: The Filipino American Experience in New Mexico (2014).
To read more about similarities of Philippines and New Mexico histories, click: Philippine NM Connection
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