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Filipino American National Historical Society

Designed by Herb Delute, Judy Patacsil

FANHS contributed to Filipino Studies curriculum and was founded by Dorothy and Fred Cordova. FANHS with over 40 US chapters initiated the nationwide movement to commemorate October as Filipino American History Month (FAHM). FANHS San Diego Chapter hosted the 2014 National FANHS Conference and consistently celebrates FAHM on college campuses and at countless community events.

The Mission of FANHS

The Mission of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) is:

To promote understanding, education, enlightenment, appreciation, and enrichment through the identification, gathering, preservation and dissemination of the history and culture of Filipino Americans in the United States.

To learn more about FANHS visit:

The Founders of FANHS

FANHS was founded by Dorothy and Fred Cordova. They were actively involved in the Filipino American community on the West Coast which included establishing of the Far West Conventions. In the early 1980s, the Cordova’s focused their work to form a new organization, FANHS, where Dorothy is Founder and Executive Director. The late Fred Cordova, the author of Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans, served as Founding President Emeritus, Trustee, and Archivist of FANHS.

Picture of Fred Cordova and Dorothy Cordova Courtesy of FANHS, Cordova Family

FANHS is Nationwide

FANHS now has more than 40 chapters around the United States. In Seattle, it houses the National Pinoy Archives, which is one of the largest collections on Filipino American history anywhere. It includes thousands of materials on individuals and organizations throughout the United States. The FANHS National Museum is in Fred Cordova’s hometown of Stockton, California. FANHS Museum

October is Filipino American History Month

The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) has been observing October as Filipino American History Month (FAHM) since 1991. The month was established to commemorate the first documented landing of Filipinos in the continental United States over 430 years ago. FANHS was the first organization to pass a resolution to commemorate FAHM.
  • FANHS was the first to pass a resolution to commemorate Filipino American History Month.Click here for the FANHS original proposal.
  • The United States Congress passed subsequent Resolutions to Recognize October as Filipino American History Month nationally in 2009, 2010, and in 2011. Thank you to all the friends of FANHS nationwide and in D.C. who made it possible.
Click here to download the full text from 2009: and here to read the September 29, 2010 Congressional Record: and here for the Senate Resolution from October 5, 2011.
Pictures Courtesy of
Herb  Delute

The First Filipinos of California

There is documented historical evidence of Filipinos arriving in what is now present-day California, dating back to 1587.  Filipinos were used as shipbuilders, militiamen, navigators, sailors, and slave laborers on board the Spanish Galleon Trade ships. On October 18, 1587, Spanish explorer Pedro Unamuno recorded that Filipinos (referred to as Luzones Indios) were part of an expedition to map the area known as Morro Bay in the central California coast. This documentation was the basis for the FANHS designating October as Filipino American History Month.
Inscription on the Historical Marker
at Morro Bay, Coleman Park

Founding of FANHS

FANHS San Diego was founded as the 18th Chapter of this national organization and established in 1995.

FANHS San Diego Slide
Courtesy of Herb  Delute


In 2014 FANHS San Diego hosted the 15th Biennial 2014 National FANHS Conference and Gala at the Kona Kai Hotel and Resort with a Pre-Conference Tour of Historical Filipino American Sites of San Diego.   The FANHS 2014 Conference Theme  was “Kapwa: Moving Forward in Unity” FANHS understands the importance of Filipino Americans moving forward in unity. “Kapwa” refers to an indigenous and decolonized term which means shared identity. The core value of kapwa encompasses:
  1. Interaction with others on an equal basis
  2. Sensitivity to and regard for others 
  3. Respect and concern
  4. Helping each others 
  5. Understanding each other’s limitations
  6. Rapport with and acceptance of others  
Gala Booklet, Conference Booklet and Tour Brochure Courtesy of Judy Patacsil

FANHS San Diego Chapter

FANHS San Diego Chapter was one of the 1st organizations to commemorate and consistently celebrate Filipino American History Month on college campuses and at countless community events in San Diego County.
FANHS San Diego co-sponsored the Filipino American Connections  and Contributions, 100 Years and Beyond, Smithsonian Centennial Event.
In 2010 Judy Patacsil, Rudy Guevarra, and Felix Tuyay of FANHS San Diego co-authored Filipinos In San Diego with pictures solicited from the Filipino Community of San Diego. The book was a collection of photos and stories of the Filipino American experience from 1900 – 2010. It was the source of many of the  pictures for the FOSBE.

Smithsonian Booklet, Filipinos in SD Book, and Itliong-Vera Cruz Bridge Dedication Program

Courtesy of Judy Patacsil

In 2015, FANHS San Diego took the lead to name and fundraise for the Itliong/Vera Cruz Memorial Bridge on the Woodman Street overpass on the Filipino American Highway (State 54)
In Oct. 2018, under the Filipino Veteran Recognition Education Project (FilVetREP), 10 living Filipino WWII Veterans received the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) and 60 family members received the CGM on behalf of their Filipino WWII Veterans.
FANHS San Diego cosponsored The National Book Tour 2019 for “Journey for Justice – The Life of Larry Itliong”.

CGM Booklet, Journey for Justice Flier, and Miramar College Certificate of Performance

Courtesy of Judy Patacsil

FANHS San Diego collaborated with Miramar College to create the Certificate of Performance: Filipino Studies. (State 54)

Want to Learn More About This Exhibit?

Check out our presentation slide show to get an in-depth look at the history of Filipinos in the military.

Schedule A Tour

Schedule a tour today to learn more about Filipino and Filipino American history in South Bay.