October 2, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mel Orpilla, FANHS National President
October Marks Filipino American History Month
“Cooking, Planting, Serving: Filipinos Feeding America”
California – The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) announces “Cooking, Planting, Serving: Filipinos Feeding America” as the theme for this year’s Filipino American History Month. The theme was chosen to recognize the countless Filipinos that have contributed and worked in the agricultural, food service and culinary industries from the great culinary exchanges of the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade of the 1500 – 1800s, to the Filipina/o Cajun shrimpers who pioneered shrimp farming in Louisiana in the 1800s, to the farm workers who helped build California’s agricultural empire to the Navy chefs and home cooks.
Historically, Filipinos were cooks to some of the highest ranking officers in the U.S. Armed Forces. One of the more notable Filipino Americans to reflect this year’s theme is Cristeta Pasia Comerford, a Filipina American chef who has been the White House Executive Chef since 2005. She is the first woman to be selected for the post, and also the first of Asian descent to hold the position. Chef Comerford continues to serve in the position of White House Executive Chef to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
October’s significance as Filipino American History Month is due to the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental United States when on October 18, 1587, “Luzones Indios” came ashore from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esparanza and landed at what is now Morro Bay, California.
In November of 2009, both the United States House of Representatives and Senate passed laws – House Resolution 780 and Senate Resolution 298 respectively, officially recognizing October as Filipino American History Month in the United States. Various states, counties and cities in the U.S. have since followed suit and have established proclamations and resolutions declaring observance of Filipino American History Month in their regions. The late Dr. Fred Cordova, who along with his wife Dorothy founded FANHS, first introduced October as Filipino American History Month in 1992 with a resolution from the FANHS National Board of Trustees.
Throughout the nation, the thirty FANHS Chapters, colleges and universities, museums, and other community groups, will be commemorating Filipino American History Month with various activities and events to bring awareness of the valuable contributions Filipinos have made to the fabric of American society.
For more information about events and activities taking place during Filipino American History Month nationwide, please visit the National FANHS website: www.fanhs-national.org