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.
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Filipino American 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in Albuquerque, NM:
- Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (former Filipino American ASSOCIATION of NM) or FAFNM is an independent organization founded in 1973. It is the MAIN organization where majority of the Fil-Ams participate.
- Filipino American National Historical Society Rio Grande (FANHS RG) is one of the 30 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.
- For UNM Students, check out: Filipino Student Organization at UNM.
- 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 president: Dr. Dely Alcantara and current president: Rod Ventura. 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). Past presidents: Vilma Lopez and Gloria Kauz. Current president: 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.
Did you know that:
- The first registered female professional engineer in New Mexico is a Filipina? Read about her memoir, Celia Ruiz Tomlinson and below.
- Two Filipinas received the Governor’s Award for New Mexico Outstanding Women sponsored by the Women’s Commission:
Filipino college students who graduated with honors:
- 2016: Princeton Earl King graduated summa cum laude from UNM on May 14, 2016, with a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration in Financial Management. He is the son of Pearl King, FANHS RG President, who also graduated summa cum laude in Dec. 2015 with a Nursing Degree. Like mother, like son!
- Ace Leonen graduated cum laude from UNM in May 2106 with a degree in Biology. He is the treasurer of the FAFNM Young Professional and Youth Committee. He is the son of Dale Leonen, brother to Lyle and Ashley and grandson of Vicky Adaoag.
- 2015: Carlo James Aragon graduated magna cum laude at UNM, Bachelor of Arts with double majors in Political Science and Foreign Languages. He is the son of Cindy & Cel Aragon.
- 2014: Ardee Napolitano graduated summa cum laude, from UNM with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (Communication Arts) and French. He is the son of Domingo and Ruella Napolitano.
See photos from Youth Page.
(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 email@example.com. Thanks.)
Where can you find Filipinos in New Mexico?
- Albuquerque: 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 FAFNM Cultural Dance Group usually performs at the Asian Festival of Cultures. You will also find Filipinos in Catholic Churches like the Prince of Peace where there are choirs and Couples for Christ. In December, FAFNM members and friends also 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:
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).
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Compiled by Tessie Greenfield for this website.