About the title (CommonwealthCafe) of this website:

Cafes and restaurants were common meeting places for Filipinx editors and writers in the U.S. during the Depression era. They often gathered in Chinatown and Manilatown cafés to write, offer feedback and criticism, read and share news, chat, argue, and commiserate over coffee and meals. In “Look at All These Women,” Carlos Bulosan mentions the crowded Commonwealth Café on Temple St., one of many that he frequented. “Commonwealth” held another meaning for Filipinx then, aside from the “common good.” It also referred to the liminal, unequal status of the Philippines as a “Commonwealth” of the United States after its colonization and during the “waiting period” for independence from 1935 to 1946.


Jean Vengua received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley (English), and is the  author of Corporeal,  Prau and The Aching Vicinities, and winner of the 2007 Filamore Tabios Sr. Memorial Poetry Prize (Meritage Press). With Mark Young (Australia), Jean co-edited The First Hay(na)ku Anthology, and The Hay(na)ku Anthology Vol. II. With Elizabeth H. Pisares, she co-edited and published The Debut: the Making of a Filipino-American Film (by Gene Cajayon and John Manal Castro), and The Flipside: a Filipino American Comedy (and diary of a filmmaker’s first experience at the Sundance Film Festival) by Rod Pulido. Jean’s writing has been published in many anthologies and journals. She is co-chair of the Asian Cultural Experience (ACE), Salinas, CA, and is a member of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) of Monterey Bay & the Tri-County area. She is also an artist, and needs to get back to playing her ukulele.

Abraham (Abe) Ignacio, Jr. graduated from San Jose State University with a Master in Library and Information Science (MLIS) in 2014. He received his B.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. With Enrique de la Cruz, Jorge Emmanuel, and Helen Toribio, Abe co-authored The Forbidden Book: The Philippine-American War in Political Cartoons. In 2005, the book won the Gustavus Myers Book award and the Calatagan award. While interning at the San Francisco Public Library, he wrote several historical pieces on Filipino American history. He is a member of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) and is trying to learn how to play the ukulele.