Pilipino American History Month was established by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FAHNS) to recognize the achievements, contributions, and the historical presence of Pilipinos in the United States. October was likely chosen because the first recorded presence of a Pilipino in the Continental United States was in October 1587.
Throughout American History, Pilipinos have made their impact on the United States, and even around the world. A few of note: In Oct 6, 1763 Pilipinos, known as "Manilamen" escaped their Spanish captors aboard Galleon ships and made the first Pilipino settlement in Louisiana, and introduced the process of sun-drying shrimp. The Flourescent Bulb was invented in the 1940s by a Pilipino, Agapito Flores. Pilipinos like Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong have led progressive movements such as the United Farm Workers Union of the 1960's, and created little versions of the Philippines in metropolitan areas all across the U.S. Pilipinos have fought along side the United States military in wars and conflicts against Spain and Japan in the past, and even today in Iraq and Afghanistan. The highest ranking Pilipino in the U.S. military is Maj. Gen. Edward Soriano, United States Army. Some Pilipinos have held political office, such as Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano and Tess Santiago as Mayor from the City of Delano, CA.
In 1991, the Filipino American National Historical Society unanimously adopted a resolution declaring October as Pilipino American Heritage Month (PAHM). States where Pilipinos largely reside, such as California and Hawaii widely celebrate Pilipino American History Month. The Legislature of State of Michigan passed a resolution in 2004 recognizing October as well. California's school system also recognizes October as Pilipino American History Month. Most recently, on Oct 2008, the House of Representatives introduced H. RES. 1523 to recognize October as "[P]ilipino American History Month and celebrating the heritage and culture of Filipino Americans and their immense contributions to the Nation.
What does PAHM mean to you? Feel free to share your personal histories--we're all part of the continuing history of Pilipinos in the United States.