Filipino Communities on the West Coast in the Early 20th Century

These communities were often adjacent to, or included within larger Asian or “international” neighborhoods. There were certainly other historic Filipino communities in the West, and these will be included as more information is found.

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Little Manila: Stockton, CA
“…before World War II, Filipinos were not allowed to frequent, much less live, most places north of Main Street. Signs on public places read ‘Positively No Filipinos allowed’ and ‘No Dogs and No Filipinos Allowed.’ The Fox Theater relegated Filipinos to the sides and balcony. In response, Filipinos created their own community: a six-block area in downtown Stockton known as Little Manila that was centered on Lafayette and El Dorado Streets near Chinatown and Nihonmachi.” 
—Dawn B. Mabalon, Ph.D., and Rico Reyes, Filipinos in Stockton

Chinatown: Seattle, WA
“King Street—and what a city! Her bright lights glittering compares with Broadway, neon signs, limousines and cars parked along the sidewalks, Chop Suey houses, cafes and stores packed to capacity with eager people and satisfied customers; laughing, dancing to the music of syncopated jazz.”
— Emily Angelo, “I Cover Chinatown,” Philippine Advocate, 1935

“Headed up the street to where the old Manila Hotel was and up Eighth Avenue… I was told that the Filipino intelligencias and the elites make the Rizal Hall [t]heir evening [headquarters]. Taken “in tow” by my friend Willy Torrin, I was indeed given a swell treat and had quite an experience. The booths, as he explained to me “were especially reserved for the Seattle scribes.”
— Staff writer, “Random Ramblings,” Philippine Advocate, June 1935.

Seattle Manilatown/Chinatown/International District

Manilatown: San Francisco, CA
“There were three Filipino barbershops on Kearny Street.  One next door to the International Hotel. This was Tino’s Shop.  And next door to that was the Bataan Drug Store, the Bataan Pool Hall, the Bataan Restaurant.  And across the street where Mike’s Pool Hall is now, I mean Lucky-M that used to be a clothing store in 1930 or 1928 or 1929, he sold this building to a Filipino old timer, then they made this into a pool hall.  The first owner’s name was Julian, and the second, a Filipino boxer name Tano.  He owned it for a long time. Another Filipino name Samposa, from Mindanao, wants to buy it for $3,500 but was turned down. And Muyco and his wife took it over.  They still manage the pool hall.  The pool hall has a history all he way up to now.  The Filipino boys all know each other.  We are drawn together.  We all come from the same place.  We feel at home here.”
— A Manong talking about Kearny St. Manilatown Heritage Foundation.


Manilatown Heritage Foundation:

“Oriental District”: Salinas, CA (now called “Chinatown”)
The “Manilatown” of Salinas was part of the “Oriental District,” centered on and around Soledad St. Filipino businesses included the Baguio Hotel, Universal Barbershop and Pool Hall, and the Oriental Restaurant (all on Soledad St.; the Baguio Hotel later moved to Lake St.).  The NRA and Center Cafes did not appear to be owned by Filipinos, but announced that they had Filipino cooks. From the ads that appeared in the Philippines Mail newspaper, it’s clear that businesses with Chinese and Japanese owners were also patronized by Filipinos. Dances were held at the Salinas Athletic Club on Monterey St. On Oct. 1, 1934, over 500 Filipino field workers gathered defensively in front of the Filipino Labor Union on Lake St. after Rufo Canete’s ranch near Spreckels was attacked by vigilantes and burned down.       

Chinatown Renewal Project:

Little Manila / Filipinotown: Los Angeles, CA
“We walked back to Broadway and Fifth streets, and climbed down the stairs of the Arcade Bowling center. I met some of the Pangasinan boys. Alviar went to the bar. George and I walked around the place; then we played pool; then Joslyn, the serving girl, came to show me her letters from home. Then we went to the bar, and the three of us went to the Union Station. We read some of the books and magazines. We sat on the soft chairs. We walked around. Then we went to the counter. I introduced George and Alviar to Ellen Pranye, the teller. After awhile we went to Olvera Street….On the park opposite the market, a crowd was gathered around a movie star. She was Olivia de Haviland. There was a man with her who was probably a Hollywood writer. Alviar got his camera and took three shots. Then we walked to First street again.  — Carlos Bulosan, “Look at All These Women.” Philippine Commonwealth Times, 1941.

Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles: