FILIPINO COMMUNITY IN OAKLAND
by Mary Sylvia
Oakland has been an important base for Filipinos in California since the 1920s. To survive in the face of racism and economic hardship, they established a strong, resilient community. Oakland was different from other Filipino enclaves on the West Coast with its mix of military, urban and farm workers. It was a popular stopping point for many Filipino laborers traveling from Central Valley fields to Alaskan fisheries.  The first Filipino families in Oakland created a supportive community, sustaining one another and providing hospitality and support to single Filipino laborers and servicemen. In the early days, Oakland Chinatown was “the hub of commerce and a gathering place for Filipinos”.  Like other Chinatowns and Manilatowns, it was a refuge from the severe discrimination that Filipinos faced in the U.S.. Downtown Oakland churches and halls outside of Chinatown have also been an important part of Filipino community life. Oakland branches of Filipino fraternal and fellowship organizations provided support to the local Filipino community.  Hoping to better the lives of their countrymen, some Filipinos became labor and community activists. In the 1940s, the situation of Filipino-Americans began to improve. During the decades that followed the entry of the U.S. into World War II, they made important gains in employment opportunities and civil rights. Although these advances enabled many Filipino-Americans to move to communities throughout the Bay Area, downtown Oakland still has a Filipino presence1 and Filipino Advocates for Justice, established in Oakland in 1973, continues to promote social justice and economic advancement for the Filipino community. To echo Dawn Mabolon's eloquent words about Stockton's Little Manila, the fact that Filipinos weathered so many difficulties while refusing to leave shows that the community that they had built in Oakland had given them the resources that allowed them to survive, and even flourish, in America. 
ARRIVAL IN AMERICA
The situation of early Filipino immigrants to the United States was unique in that they were U.S. nationals and had more prior exposure to western and American culture than other Asian immigrants of that period since the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years and a U.S. possession from 1898 to 1946.  Despite these differences, Filipinos experienced much of the same prejudice and discrimination in the U.S. as other Asians. They were not allowed to become U.S. citizens or to marry whites, and they were restricted from many jobs, from owning property, and from living in most neighborhoods. Some early Filipina immigrants were the wives of African-American soldiers, known as “buffalo soldiers”, who had fought in the Philippines. They and their children were also subjected to anti-Black racism. The discrimination that Filipino immigrants encountered came as a painful shock to those who had been taught American ideals of justice and democracy in schools in the Philippines and to those who served in the U.S. military. Nevertheless, most held onto their hopes for a good life in America.
These sentiments are poignantly expressed in the writings of the acclaimed Filipino-American writer, Carlos Bulosan. His brother, Macario, had told him that American was “not a land of one race or one class of men”, but ”a new world” of respect and unconditional opportunities for all who toiled and suffered from oppression, from the “first Indian that offered peace in Manhattan to the last Filipino pea-picker.”  In his landmark book, “America is in the Heart”, Bulosan “captured the heart-wrenching plight of the Manongs” and “the leadership role they had played in union organizing on the West Coast”.  The following excerpts from his poem “I Want the Wide American Earth” express the hopes of Filipino immigrants and the solidarity that allowed them to survive, and eventually thrive, in America:
“Before the brave, before the proud builders and workers,
I say I want the wide American Earth.
Its beautiful rivers, and long valleys and fertile plains,
Its numberless hamlets and expanding towns and towering cities,
Its limitless frontiers, its probing intelligence,
For all the free.
Free men everywhere in my land--
This wide American earth—do not wander homeless.
And we are not alone; friendship is our bread, love our air;
And we shall call each other comrade, each growing with the other,
Each a neighbor to the other, boundless in freedom.” 
FIRST FILIPINOS IN CALIFORNIA
Filipino immigration to California began in the early 1900s. The first wave of immigration continued until the start of World War II. The first to arrive were college students on government scholarships, veterans of the Philippine-American War and their families, and young men recruited in the Philippines to serve in the U.S. military. Starting in the 1920s, large numbers of laborers, mostly men, began to arrive. The majority of these laborers became farmworkers and the rest worked primarily in domestic service or in the fisheries of the Northwest and Alaska. The laborer jobs were very low paid, but they were the only jobs open to the majority of Filipino immigrants. The service workers worked in hotels, laundries, restaurants, homes of the wealthy, and on military bases, and had to be docile, servile and eternally patient. “Alaskeros”, Filipinos who worked in Alaskan fisheries, worked long days for many months at a time. After the season, they returned to the West Coast without much money because of debts to labor contractors and deductions for food and other expenses. The farmworkers worked long, backbreaking days for very low pay, often in oppressive heat and dust. They were mostly housed in overcrowded, dilapidated shacks without sewage disposal.  This first generation of Filipino immigrants are often referred to as “manong” (elder brother) and “manang” (elder sister).
FIRST FILIPINOS IN OAKLAND
The majority of early Filipino residents in Oakland were single men working in service jobs, farms or military bases in the local area.  Many Filipino farm and cannery laborers lived in Oakland on a part-time basis, either passing through en route between fields and fisheries  or when they were not working for the season.  A small number of Filipino families settled in Oakland in the early days, mostly U.S. veterans and their Filipino wives and children.  Most of the single Filipino men
boarded in rooms in Oakland Chinatown  or in the homes of local Filipino families. 
The experience of most first generation Filipinos was a very difficult one. Employment open to Filipinos was mostly restricted to low paid jobs in agriculture, canneries or service work. College graduates could not get jobs in their fields. In the U.S. military, Filipinos were restricted to low-level positions.
The first generation experienced a great deal of discrimation. They were frequently confronted with anti-Filipino stereotypes and were seen as savages and criminally-minded.  Although they were U.S. nationals, and some served in the U.S. military, Filipinos were not considered “white” and, thus, were not eligible to naturalized citizenship under the 1790 U.S. Naturalization Law.  As non-citizens, Filipinos could not purchase homes or land in California due to the 1913 California Alien Land Law.  Many landlords in Oakland would not rent to Filipinos.  Filipinos were frequently refused service in stores, restaurants, barber and coffee shops, and were excluded from many hotels and theaters.  Due to anti-miscegenation laws, Filipinos were not allowed to marry whites.  Many Filipino males never married due to the shortage of Filipina immigrants2 and the ban on marrying white women. Due to their lack of families, these single men often remained on the margins of American society. 
Filipino farmworkers were subjected to intense hostility from white working class men because of labor competition and sexual jealousy. Growers often preferred Filipino workers because they would work long hours in difficult conditions for very low wages. Resentment intensified as jobs became scarce during the Depression. Because of the extreme shortage of Filipino women, Filipino men often sought out white women which enraged many white men. These antagonisms frequently erupted into violence. 
In the 1930s, Filipinos became less welcome in the U.S. In the 1920s, they had been recruited as cheap, docile laborers, but as they began to agitate for better pay and working conditions and as the economy worsened during the Depression, the U.S. sought to restrict immigration and encourage Filipinos already in the country to leave. The 1934 Tydings-McDuffie Act, which provided for Philippine independence, restricted Filipino immigration to 50 persons per year.  The 1935 Repatriation Act offered Filipinos transportation to Philippines at U.S. expense on the condition that they never return to the U.S. Few Filipinos chose to return to the Philippines since the economic prospects there were poor, and because they had not given up hope for a better life in America. 
During World War II, Oakland was in the grips of anti-Japanese hysteria, some of which was directed towards other Asian groups, including Filipinos.  “The desperate need for wartime workers offered opportunity to women, blacks, and members of other groups whose chances of employment elsewhere was limited. Intense prejudice of male workers against women, of whites against blacks, and of all groups against Asiatics, showed itself in several violent incidents” in Oakland. 
Evangeline Buell, a Filipina-American who grew up in Oakland in the 1930s and 1940s, described her personal experiences of discrimination in her memoir, Twenty-Five Chickens and a Pig for a Bride:
“As my father had painfully experienced in the U.S. Navy, many still believed that people in the Philippines were monkeys that lived on trees. People with perplexed looks would rudely stop me on the streets, in markets, and other public places and bluntly asked me, “What are you? What is a Filipino? Where did you come from?” Our family had a difficult time to either rent or buy a place to live. When we approached a house or an apartment with a “For Rent” sign, the owner, upon seeing us, would immediately tell us that it had already been leased. In order for Grandma Roberta to buy a home, one of Grandpa Stokes's friends had to purchase the property in his name. She was only able to legally change the deed in 1945...The Caucasian kids in my grammar school would taunt me and say that their parents had told them to keep or away from us because we were “dirty”. The prejudice against Filipino and other people of color intensified during periods of economic downturn. During the Depression, Caucasians turned against Asians, including Filipinos, accusing them of taking jobs away from citizens. There were signs posted on hotels, restaurants and public facilities warning “Positively No Filipinos Allowed” or “No Dogs and No Filipinos Allowed.” My family's fears of being treated as “foreign”, “strange”, and “dirty slobs” escalated even more after the U.S. declared war on Japan in 1941...The U.S. began interning Japanese-Americans at concentration camps...Other Asians, who were mistaken for Japanese, were also treated in a discriminatory and humiliating way. Our parents, afraid for our safety, had made us wear buttons identifying us as Filipinos...I remember having to wear a large red, white and blue button that read “I am a loyal American Filipino” so the authorities would not bother us. One day...I left home without my button to go shopping downtown. The grocery clerk called me “Jap” and told me that I could not buy rice from his store...In high school, our teachers substituted our English classes with sessions on how to operate a washer and dryer, believing that we did not need to learn English literature and grammar because our future was going to be in domestic work. Luckily, I had a few concerned instructors, who tutored me and other minority students in their own time, so we could pass the college entrance exam...When I turned 16...I applied for a position at a movie theater....the only opportunities available to my “kind” were as domestics, dishwashers in restaurants, and attendants at laundries...Hank and I had scheduled our wedding date for June 1, 1952, but we had to postpone our wedding for two weeks because the California Legislature only repealed the anti-miscegenation law in early June...The priest at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Oakland refused to marry us.” 
Here she describes discrimination experienced by her step-grandmother in downtown Oakland:
“Grandma experienced blatant discrimination, especially when she went out by herself. When Caucasians couldn't understand her broken English, they turned on her angrily and called her, “You ignorant Chink”. Sometimes sales people refused to wait on her. During World War Two...people on the street called her “Jap”, and vendors sold her their lowest quality goods.” 
BUILDING A STRONG COMMUNITY
To survive in the face of these extreme difficulties, the first generation of Filipinos in Oakland banded together for mutual support, relying on the community spirit of “Bayanihan”, the Filipino tradition of lending a helping hand to each other.  Several groups, institutions and places played a critical role in promoting the well-being of Filipinos in Oakland during this challenging period. These include: the small group of Filipino families living in and around Oakland; the tiny core of Filipino women (the “Manangs”); Filipino-owned and Filipino-friendly establishments in Oakland Chinatown; Filipino and Filipino-friendly churches; Filipino fraternal and fellowship organizations; Filipino community events held in Oakland public halls; and, sympathetic members of other ethnic groups.
The first Filipino families settled in Oakland in the late teens and 1920s. Many were African-American “buffalo soldiers” and their Filipina wives and children. These families created a close, supportive community and were closely tied to the larger Filipino community in California. The wives, the “Manangs”, formed a tight sisterhood. Those fortunate enough to have homes opened them to their countrymen, offering hospitality and support. 
Some examples from the memoir of Evangeline Buell, whose family lived in West Oakland3:
“Like Grandpa Stokes, many of the African-American soldiers who had remained in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War eventually returned to the U.S. with their Filipino wives in the late 1920s and early 1930s...the men taught their wives to play poker and they spent many evenings partying and playing cards together...there were very few Filipinos and African Americans in West Oakland in the 1930s, and these minority groups had difficulty finding housing because of racial discrimination ...extended families tended to stay together to survive, especially during the Depression.” 
“My parents met in 1931 at her friend Siling's house in Oakland...Siling was also from the Philippines and she and her father often hosted dinner parties for the lonely Filipino sailors stationed in the Bay Area.” 
Buell's grandfather's second wife, Roberta, and Roberta's second husband, Manuel (both immigrants from the Philippines and referred to as “Grandma Roberta” and “Uncle Manuel” by Buell) took four Filipina girls into their home and raised them as their own. Buell recounts: “although [they] did not have children of their own, they had a house full of kids. They had adopted my cousin Rosario right after she was born in 1932 because she was abandoned.”  They also took in Buell and her sister after their mother was institutionalized  and Marie Mendoza Rivera Yip, after the death of her mother.  [“I was eight years old and my younger sister, Rosita was six when we came to live with Grandma Roberta and her husband Manuel in 1941. My mother Felicia had been confined at the Napa State Hospital, and my father Stanley had been recalled to active duty in the U.S. Navy because of the impending war...Uncle Manuel...[said] to my father..”We will treat them as if they were our own flesh and blood.” ...After the death of her mother, her father..had refused to have Marie live with him...Marie had said that her father was an obsessive gambler and did not want to cramp his free-wheeling lifestyle...Marie moved in and we grew up to be as close as real sisters. More than 60 years later, Marie and her family still remain an integral part of mine.” ]
Buell also tells of her family's hospitality to bachelor Manong laborers and of the mutual support among Filipinos:
“Grandma Roberta and Uncle Manuel kept our home open to the Manongs whenever they traveled from the farms of California north to the canneries in Alaska. Back then, Filipinos were not allowed in many hotels and restaurants. Like other Filipino families in the Bay Area, we offered food and shelter to these laborers and in return they brought us fruits and vegetables from their farms...Being in Filipino homes gave the Manongs some semblance of family life. They had no families of their own because the restrictive immigration law did not allow them to bring in wives from the Philippines. Furthermore, the anti-miscegenation law barred them from marrying Caucasian women...Despite the hard environment they worked and lived in, they tried to have fun with each other. They shared Filipino dishes...They gambled, played pool, and partied together...The Manongs felt very comfortable at these gatherings and shared stories about their back-breaking work. The Manongs did not allow their dignity to be completely taken away from them and showed it by their stylish dressing on their days off, their good manners in public and their great sense of humor...At that time, I witnessed a profound sense of community among Filipinos, which enabled the Manongs to get support from their compatriots, either in housing or other services. I often heard them say that they could not rely on outside help because of racial discrimination and their only recourse was to band together as a means of survival.” 
“Grandma cooked for 8 to 10 Filipino men who did not have families. Our family was their family. They worked in Mare Island..they worked other places too, but Mare Island mostly. They would come to our house for dinner every evening, and she would spread out a full dinner for them. She only charged for the cost of the food; she cooked primarily for free, in terms of her labor. Two of the Filipino men boarded there, on a regular basis, and that would change from year to year, depending on where they worked; some of them worked in Bay Farm Island, or in other farm areas here. When they were through with the season, they would live with us until [it was] time to go to the Alaskan fisheries to work...I remember feeling very, very good about the Filipino men. They were very caring [and] we were their children; we were a rarity to them. All of them, even the women. They were a village to us. They cared about our schooling; they encouraged education. When they gambled, they would give us money from our gambling; and it's called bulatto, and they said, “Now you go and choose whatever you want...they cared for us...would always ask us about school that day..they cared about us and paid attention to us.” 
Filipino women—Pinays—are the backbone of the Filipino community.  The first generation of Pinays are often called the “Manangs”. Buell writes about the Manangs of Oakland, the support they gave to one other and to the Filipino community, and their determination to persevere in the midst of hardship:
“Each week, Grandma Robert invited (the Manangs)...over for a serious game of high stakes poker. They were Filipino women elders aged 40 to 60 at that time. They were unique in their West Oakland neighborhood, as there were very few Filipino women living the San Francisco Bay Area before World War Two. No others shared their language and culture. For the most part, their existence was isolated and lonely. So, these weekly card games at Grandma's were their prime social outlet...They caught up on all the news about their families in the Philippines and their children and exchanged tips on how to 'cook American'...During the game, they told stories about their lives, their struggles in living in America, their feelings of isolation, and their frustration in being cut off from their families during World War Two. They often felt unwanted in their new country and longed for the love and affection of their families so far away....'Life is difficult in America,' they said. But there was also acceptance and a resolve to persevere...I savored their feisty good humor and love of life which ensured their survival...One day, I heard the Manangs talking about a family...'Anna has so many children. Her husband Joey has lost his job.' I learned later that the Manangs had helped Anna and Joey buy food and clothing and pay rent with their winnings...Many Filipinos, like the Manangs, shared their resources with other community members...All of the Manangs mothered us children...The Manangs would smile with pride and call us magandang dalaga (beautiful young women).” 
Oakland Chinatown & Filipino Town
Oakland Chinatown was a base for the early Filipino community, both for those living in East Bay, and for migrant Filipino laborers. Although originally established by Chinese immigrants, Chinatown has been a refuge from discrimination and a supportive neighborhood for other Asian immigrants, including Filipinos.  Sections of Oakland Chinatown were known as “Filipino Town” to the Filipino community. Many Filipino-owned small businesses, including restaurants, barber shops, cleaners and pool halls flourished there in the 1940s and 1950s.  (see image “List of Filipino Owned Business Located in Oakland's Chinatown from 1940 – 1960” with acccompanying map , Filipinos in the East Bay, 65). For many single first-generation Filipino men, Oakland Chinatown was home. It was also a favorite destination for local Filipinos living outside its borders. They felt at home there, identifying with the Asian culture and connecting with other Filipinos in its business establishments and churches  (see memory map: http://memorymap.oacc.cc/people/elderinterviews/evangelinebuell.html & see interview clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVY1qA8lLyY)
Many single Filipino men lived in Oakland Chinatown and created their own bachelor community.  Bachelor Filipinos depended on one another for camaraderie, hanging out together in barber shops, Chinese restaurants, pool halls, and cheering Filipino boxers.  In her review of Linda Espana-Maram's Creating Masculinity in Los Angeles's Little Manila: Working-Class Filipinos and Popular Culture, 1920s-1950s, Filipina historian Dawn Mabolon puts forth Espana-Maram's argument that Filipino ethnic enclaves with their boxing rings, pool halls, and gambling dens gave Filipino men who “found their manhood and masculinity degraded and dismissed by the exploitative labor conditions in the Alaskan salmon canneries, the horrific working conditions in the agricultural fields, and in their treatment as feminized "houseboys" in the homes of elite whites” a space in which “to wrestle with, and claim what it meant to be Filipino men within the context of a racist host society'.” 
From Buell's oral history about Oakland Chinatown:
“A lot of the Filipino men lived in boarding houses around Chinatown at that time, because they didn't have families because they couldn't marry. Many of them didn't bring wives here and they were not allowed to marry whites, but they could marry other races, but many did not: so, there were a lot of single men, so we were a mixture here in the Bay Area: Alameda, Oakland, and Berkeley. But most of the single men who worked in Alameda—Bay Farm Island—lived in Oakland Chinatown. But if they weren't working for the season, they would come in and live here in Oakland.” 
Many Filipinos did their grocery shopping in Chinatown because the availability of ingredients for Filipino cuisine.  (see interview clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9X8otdihe8). Some of the establishments where Filipinos shopped for food in Chinatown include:
⁃ many grocery shops on 8th Street,  including a vendor selling live chickens in crates 
⁃ “Sam Yick Market”, 362 8th Street 
An account by Evangeline Buell:
“ Our weekly shopping forays were an exciting array of sights, sounds, and smells. The narrow streets were lined with small, open shops displaying fresh produce, fruit and fish....The aroma of dim sum (steamed dumplings), rice cakes, and roast pork, duck, and chicken filled our nostrils and, sometimes, our hungry stomachs when we stopped at a restaurants for lunch or dinner. For just a nickel, we were treated to a large, round, char siu bow (steamed barbequed pork bun), plucked piping hot from steam baskets.” 
Filipinos were regular patrons at Chinese and Filipino restaurants in Chinatown because they were frequently barred from non-Asian restaurants and because they felt accepted and liked the food in Chinatown restaurants.  The Filipino restaurants primarily served single Filipino men who appreciated their homemade Filipino food.  Some Chinatown restaurants patronized by the Filipino community include:
⁃ “Central Cafe” (8th or 9th & Franklin St.); From Buell's oral history: “Our favorite place was the Central Cafe...It was a special restaurant because they had booths...I had my wedding dinner there...our tradition was to have Chinese food, otherwise it wouldn't be a wedding or a birthday unless we had Chinese dinner here. So those were major events for us, and very happy ones...they knew us, and they treated us wonderfully  (see interview clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwvWmRdd_Fc)
⁃ “Elite Cafe” (903 Franklin St.); “a favorite of Filipinos”  (see photos, Filipinos in the East Bay, 63)
⁃ “Manila Cafe and Pool Hall” (11th & Webster Streets); “This Filipino-owned business thrived from the 1950's through the 1960s.”  (see photo, Filipinos in the East Bay, 64)
⁃ “Silver Dragon Restaurant” (835 Webster St.)  (see photo, Oakland's Chinatown, 46)
⁃ “Economy Cafe” (8th and Franklin Streets)  (see photo, Oakland's Chinatown, 45)
⁃ “Love's Pagan Den” (9th & Webster Streets); “was at the forefront in presenting Filipino food in a formal dining setting in Oakland.”  (see photo, Filipinos in the East Bay, 75 & see interview clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frEo6ed7pp8)
Filipinos owned several barbershops in Chinatown that served both Filipino and Chinese men. Some men patronized the same barber shop for many years.  George's Movieland Barbershop, was “the last Filipino Town business to close in Oakland in the mid-1990s.”  Its owner, George Catambay, “provided a good service to the community here in Chinatown, and so did the other two [Filipino-owned] barbershops.”  (see photos, Oakland's Chinatown, 39 & Filipinos in the East Bay, 67)
From William Wong's Oakland's Chinatown:
“George Catambay...owned the legendary George's Movieland Barber Shop on Seventh Street between Webster and Franklin Streets since the early 1940s. During the early days, he served a fashion-conscious, multicultural clientele drawn to his innovative "razor cut" techniques. When he wasn't cutting hair, Catambay, a Filipino immigrant, loved ballroom dancing and fishing." 
Filipino-owned pool halls in Chinatown were another favorite haunt of Filipino men. The most popular of these was “The Elite Pool Parlor” at 9th and Franklin, also known as “Baldomero Pool Hall”, opened by Baldomero D. Tescon in 1941 (see photos, Filipinos in the East Bay, 60). It was “a local meeting and gathering place for Filipinos and their friends through the 1960s. Besides being a place to shoot pool, musicians played through the evening to entertain the customers.” 
According to Buell, the Filipino barbershops and pool halls were very important to single Filipino men. “That was home to them, that was their living room. They did quite a service to Filipinos because they had no other homes to turn to. They didn't have families, so these public places were very, very important to their social life. That's where they congregated; they would hear news, they would gossip; and they would keep up with what was going on, and that was definitely a very, very important social [place] for them.”  (see interview clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZN-HkG_8N8)
Gambling was another favorite pastime and source of social life for Filipino men. They patronized Chinese gambling halls as well as Filipino-owned ones. Since gambling was illegal, the action took place in back rooms and was restricted to adults.  The Filipino-owned gambling rooms were in the back of Filipino restaurants, including the “Manila Cafe and Pool Hall” mentioned above, and “Eddie's Restaurant” on 10th Street. (see interview clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvdX8EWVAR8)
Benjamin Mendoza on his experiences working in “Eddie's Restaurant”:
“My uncle Eddie offered me a job in his restaurant in the Chinatown section of Oakland..the only restriction was that under no circumstances was I ever to enter the backroom. The restaurant served Filipino foods...Many customers who entered the restaurant would only order a cup of coffee, talk to my uncle in Ilocano for awhile, and then disappear into the backroom. During the course of the evening, I heard the clicking and clacking of tiles and guessed what action was taking place behind the back room door...My Uncle's gambling establishment was just one of many in the Chinatown area of Oakland. Many, many years after my Uncle's restaurant closed, I would still see one of the officers who received the payoff I witnessed, still in police uniform, still patrolling the streets of Chinatown. I so wanted to talk with him about the changes that the Chinatown area had undergone during his tenure there as a policeman. As I watched him cruise down Eighth Street, I shook my head, and said to myself that it was probably better to let sleeping dogs lie. I'll leave it to the dispassionate historian to chronicle the Oakland I knew in that late 1940's.”  (see photo, Seven Card Stud..., 165)
Other Chinatown Businesses
Other Filipino businesses in Chinatown included photography studios, cleaners, an electrical shop, and insurance agencies. Some of these were:
⁃ “Photography Studio” (378 8th St.) “They did very well in terms of photos for Filipinos...they learned the lighting to light Filipino skin.  (see interview clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4o0j0RamUo)
⁃ “Franklin Electrical, New Radio Shop'” (9th & Franklin)  (see photo, Oakland's Chinatown, 38).
⁃ “Philippine Cleaners and Laundry Agency” (816 Franklin St.) (see photos, Filipinos in the East Bay, 61 & Oakland's Chinatown, 39). Business bought by a Filipina, Maria Mendoza Rivera, “from a Japanese American family who were sent to an internment camp during World War II”.  It was another “place where Filipino men congregated, because that was home; she was like host mother of Filipino single men, and that was when they could talk, and she would cook for them there.” 
Churches were another important source of support for the Filipino community in Oakland. They started their own congregation, the Filipino United Methodist Church, because Filipinos were not allowed to worship in Protestant churches in the Bay Area.  At first, the congregation met in homes and restaurants. Before settling at 1125 West Street, they were able to worship at the Congregational Chinese Church located in Oakland Chinatown.  (see photos, Filipinos in the East Bay, 24)
Buell, a former member of the congregation, describes the importance of this church for the Filipino community as well as the support and cultural exchange offered by the Chinese community to Filipinos:
“The Filipino American Methodist Church had a major influence in the lives of Filipinos in northern California in the 1940s, attracting Filipino familes from the Central Valley. The church leaders always emphasized the need to preserve the Filipino culture and encouraged their members to use the church premises for community events and social functions. After the services, we usually stayed for lunch & afternoon activities. Grandma Roberta and my father, whenever he was on furlough from the Navy, helped the others in the kitchen to prepare food for the potluck. The farmworkers provided the fresh vegetables from their farms.” ...it became a place for a cultural center, [and an] educational center for the Filipino kids, particularly. They gave us a lot about our culture, heritage, especially our food. They collaborated with the other churches in the area that accepted Filipinos, and one of them was the Chinese church here in Chinatown....we shared special programs at the Chinese church....we learned Chinese [and all the different customs]..how to count on the abacus..we did lots of drawings, sharing of stories, and dancing...these dances that we did...were not accepted in the White community. We couldn't do them there. They wouldn't accept it because they didn't accept us. So it was nice to to able to share it with another culture.” 
Many Filipinos practiced Catholicism. In addition to services at the Filipino American Methodist Church, Buell's family attended services at the ethnically diverse St. Joseph's Church in West Oakland.  Many Filipino families were members of St. Mary's Church and School at 7th and Jefferson in downtown Oakland. 
Filipino Fraternal and Fellowship Organizations
Filipinos formed fraternal and fellowship organizations to support each other. These organizations “took care of the sick, buried the dead with dignity, and provided small loans for crises or small businesses. Some also helped to organize unions to protect the rights of farm and cannery workers and participated in the union organizing drives of the time.” 
In the 1920s, Filipino immigrants began to establish branches of fraternal organizations from the Philippines such as the Caballeros de Dimas-Alang (CDA), Legionarios del Trabajo (LDT), Gran Oriente Filipino (GOF), the Knights of Rizal, the Filipino Federation of America, and the Philippine Commonwealth Club. Many drew their rituals and procedures from masonry. These organizations were a vital part of Filipino community life throughout the 20th century, and were one of the most important influences in improving the social and political position of Filipinos in California. Their goals were camaraderie, solidarity, protection and mutual assistance. Some of their efforts included: addressing problems of racial tension, promoting Filipino unity and understanding and good will between Americans and Filipinos, and fighting the repatriation of Filipino workers during the Depression. They organized many social events for the Filipino community and sponsored popular queen contests based on town fiestas in the Philippines to support themselves. 
Some Oakland branches of Filipino organizations include.
⁃ Kalapati Lodge 515, Legionarios del Trabajo, established in Oakland in 1925.  (see photo, Filipinos in the East Bay, 22)
⁃ The Tanay Club of America, established in 1924.  (see photo, Filipinos in the East Bay, 37)
⁃ The Mahubay Club of St. Mary's Immaculate Conception Church in Oakland.  (see photo, Filipinos in the East Bay, 37)
Some meetings of Filipino organizations held in Oakland during the 1930s and 1940s:
⁃ The 2nd anniversary of the Junior Philippine Commonwealth, on November 14, 1937.  (see photo, Filipinos in the East Bay, 22)
⁃ The Third Inter-Filipino Community Conference at Jenny Lind Hall, June 27 to 29, 1941.  (see photo, Filipinos in the East Bay, 18)
Another important organization for the Filipino community was American Legion Rizal Post 598 of Oakland. Eleanor Hipol Luis writes of attending their monthly meetings and many social events at the Veterans Memorial Building as a child in the 1950s and 1960s:
“I realized that the American Legion Rizal Post 598 was more than a social organization. To its members, it was a brotherhood pact that bonded those who fought for their two countries during World War II—the U.S. and the Philippines. It was a bond for those living in the States without their families and it gave them a sense of belonging. It gave the Filipino veteran yet another reason for being recognized as an “American” as well as boosting their Filipino pride. They became more determined to be recognized, despite the difficulties they endured. The members developed a new Filipino community and brought their families into this community. For their wives and offspring, this Unit became their extended family.”  (see photos, Filipinos in the East Bay, 41, 42, 43, 53, 68)
Community Events in Oakland Halls
Filipinos held and attended events at some of the major community halls in Oakland. In the 1920s and 1930s, dance halls and public recreation halls were generally not open to Filipinos , but starting in the 1940s, the Filipino community took full advantage of these spaces. The activities held in these halls opened up greater opportunities for the Filipino community to support and socialize with one another.
These halls include:
⁃ The Veterans' Memorial Building (200 Grand Avenue at Harrison) which housed the majority of events sponsored by Filipino community organizations, including those of American Legion Rizal Post 598 described above. 
⁃ Jenny Lind Hall (2215 Telegraph Avenue, near Grand) was the site of many Filipino dances, concerts, parties, weddings, baptisms, and celebrations  (see photos, Filipinos in the East Bay, 44, 45). Buell writes: “Grandma and Uncle...often took us to Filipino family dance parties at the Jenny Lind Hall...Watching Rosita practice the jitterbug for the big Saturday night Jitterbug Contest...enthralled Grandma and Uncle.”  As mentioned above, the Third Inter-Filipino Community Conference was held here in 1941.
⁃ The Oakland Auditorium (10 10th Street) was a venue for numerous boxing matches, many featuring Filipino boxers, in the 1930s and 1940s  (see Figure 1 & see photo, Filipinos in the East Bay, 66). In 1954, the Filipino Mothers of America presented “Balintawak Review”, an evening of cultural dances and a fashion show of traditional Filipino costumes here.  (see photos, Filipinos in the East Bay, 58, 59)
Support from Other Communities
The Filipino community also received support from members of other ethnic groups. For example, as described above, the Congregational Chinese Church gave the Filipino American Methodist Church a place to worship and invited its members to participate in cultural exchanges. Other examples described above are the teachers at McClymonds High School in Oakland  who tutored Buell during their own time so that she could pass the college entrance exam. During the period when Filipinos were discriminated against in housing and were not allowed to buy property, people in other ethnic groups sometimes came to their assistance. In the case of Buell's family, a Portuguese family rented them a flat in West Oakland after they had been rejected by numerous landlords.  Later, James McKinney, an African-American buffalo soldier and family friend, signed on a deed for Buell's grandmother and transferred the deed to her when property laws changed. 
In her story, “The Gift”, Elizabeth Marie Mendoza Merino, sister of Benjamin Mendoza whose story of working in “Eddie's Restaurant” appears above, recounts the tremendous generosity and support that a couple of Irish-American sisters gave to their mother, Angeles:
“She was hired by a couple of elderly Irish spinsters, Marie and Elizabeth Rickard, as a school girl with duties of helping with the laundry, housecleaning and some cooking...She eventually considered Marie her second mother since her own had died when she was 5 years old and her stepmother had treated her like the fairytale Cinderella. After graduating...she was able to get a job...the spinsters thought she was spending too much time on Sundays going to the movies and dinner with her friend...The Rickard sisters talked Mom into giving them her wages and in return they gave her a weekly allowance...Later on, Mom married Antonio...they had a lot of trouble in renting apartments. The Rickard would usually rent the places for them, but as soon as the other tenants found out they were Filipino, the tenants would force the landlord to evict them...At the time Dad had a job as a busboy at the Kress Five and Dime store at the corner of 14th Street and Broadway in Oakland. He was paid $17 a week without extra pay for overtime, and many times he would have to work ten to twelve hours a day. But in those days at least it was a job, especially since this was during the Great Depression. In 1932, they were renting a house next to the gas station on the corner of Moss Avenue (currently MacArthur Boulevard) and Webster Street. During the week..the spinsters...would buy more fruits and vegetables than they needed so they could give Mom a portion when they visited her on Sundays. They usually took my brother and me for a walk...this would give Mom a chance to do her shopping. One day while on our walk, we saw this house for sale...Filipinos and other Asians were not allowed to buy land in California. When Mom, before she was married, gave her earnings to the Rickards and received a weekly allowance, she thought they spent the money on groceries and utilities because it was hard times for the two women also. But she found out they had saved every penny of it. She later wondered how they had survived during the Depression...The Rickards presented Mom with the property as a “gift”. They had bought the property in Elizabeth's name, placed the down payment using Mom's money, and turned around and transferred the title to her name. My mother had only to pay the mortgage and the taxes...Mom lived in the same house for over 65 years.”  (see photo, Filipinos in the East Bay, 56)
The severe strains that first-generation Filipinos endured, in combination with individual frailities, sometimes resulted in difficulties inside the community. Evangeline Buell chronicles problems experienced by members of her circle of family, friends, and acquaintances—loss of parents by young children, marital breakups, mental illness, alcoholism, gambling addiction, sexual molestation, fights, and violence. Both Buell and Eleanor Hipol Luis  describe how the Filipino community pulled together when individual members resorted to violence under the stress of their lives. Buell: “They (Filipino men) got into a lot of fights at dances..there would be a stabbing; but we took care of it...would not call the police, because we knew the whole community would get into trouble...there was nothing the police would do...they..would come in and raid...and just beat up Filipinos in general.” 
Despite these fractures, the evidence in the sections above overwhelmingly points to the tremendous strength of the Filipino community and the remarkable degree to which they supported each other during the extremely difficult pre-World War II period.
Buells neatly sums up the early days in this way: “There were very few Filipinos here in America at that time, and we had to stick together in order to survive... because there were no social services for us; we had to do our own social services. Many of them couldn't read or write or understand forms or business practices, and those that did would help them do that...the Filipino church, the pool halls—these were social services, too. They acted as social services to the Filipino men who needed help.” 
THE TIDE TURNS
World War II marked the beginning of improved circumstances for Filipino-Americans. Negative public opinion towards them shifted as they proved their loyalty to the U.S. by volunteering in large numbers for military service and working in defense industries. Executive Order 8802, which ended employment discrimination in defense industries in 1941, was a turning point for Filipinos since it opened up better job opportunities. The gains that Filipinos had achieved during the war were retained, and after the war, Filipino organizations intensified their efforts to achieve full equality.  The Filipino Naturalization Act of 1946 enabled Filipino residents of U.S. to become naturalized American citizens. The California Supreme Court ruled California's anti-miscegenation law unconstitutional in 1948 and invalidated The Alien Land Laws in 1952, making it possible for Filipinos to marry whites and to own property in California. Filipinos continued to be very active in the labor movement after the war, and were among the top leadership in the farmworkers' movement. In 1970, the farmworkers signed a historic pact that brought about many improvements in wages and living conditions and gave workers the right to organize and bargain.  Filipino groups began working towards community empowerment in the late 1960. In 1973, Filipinos for Affirmative Action, now called Filipino Advocates for Justice was established in Oakland to address a wide range of social economic and political issues affecting the Oakland Filipino-American community. 
NEW WAVES OF FILIPINO IMMIGRATION
Changes in immigration laws opened the door to new waves of immigration from the Philippines. The second wave of Filipino immigration began during World War II and continued to increase afterwards, due primarily to the War Brides Act. The third wave of immigration began after the Immigration Act of 1965 raised the annual quota for Filipinos from 100 to 20,000. Prior to 1965, most of the Filipinos who arrived in California were students, laborers or servicemen. The 1965 law favored the admission of professionals and skilled workers. From a mainland population of 406 in 1910 , the Filipino-American community is now the largest Asian-American group in California, and the second largest in the United States. 
The story of the Filipino community in Oakland has, at its core, the triumph of the first Filipino immigrants in creating a resilient community under conditions of great adversity. Drawing upon their cultural heritage and inner resources, they supported one another in confronting severe discrimation and economic hardship. Their success was based on the strong social groups and institutions they established in Oakland-- extended families, a network of women, a brotherhood of single men, churches, businesses, and fraternal and activist organizations--- and on support from some members of the Oakland Chinatown community, some local churches, and a few sympathetic individuals from other ethnic groups. Together, this first generation built the foundation for the vibrant Filipino community now living in the East Bay and beyond.
 Evangeline Canonizado Buell, Twenty-five Chickens and a Pig for a Bride (San Francisco: T'Boli Publishing and Distribution, 2006), foreward.
 Evangeline Canonizado Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay (Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2008), 9.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 8.
 Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, Little Manila is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013), 10.
 Ronald T. Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans (Boston: Little, Brown, 1989), 57.
 Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore, 17-18.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 12.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 47.
 Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore, 316-321.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 4.
 Ibid., 43.
 Evangeline Canonizado Buell and Milton Lee, Interviewer, with Francis Chen. Interview August 1, 2007. Oakland Chinatown Oral History Project: Vangie Buell Oral History (Oakland, CA: Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 2008), 12.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 4-6.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 12.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 43-47.
 Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore, 325.
 Ibid., 14.
 Ibid., 203.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 9.
 Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore, 324-5.
 Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore, 330.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 15.
 Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore, 326-330.
 Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore, 14.
 Barbara Mercedes Posadas, The Filipino Americans (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999), 332-335.
 Beth Bagwell, Oakland, the Story of a City (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1982), 241.
 Ibid., 238.
 Mabalon, Little Manila is in the Heart, 152.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 9-11, 67, 90.
 Ibid., 57-58.
 Ibid., 55.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 8.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 20-21.
 Ibid., 4.
 Ibid., 21.
 Ibid., 23.
 Ibid., 164.
 Ibid., 23.
 Ibid., 164.
[40 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 1.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 43-47.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 16-17.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 32.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 69-73.
 William Wong, Oakland's Chinatown (Charleston, SC: Arcadia. 2004), 7-8.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 63.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 1.
 Ibid., 12.
 Posadas, The Filipino Americans, 24.
 Mabolon, Dawn Bohulano. “Little Brown Men in Sharp Suits: Understanding Filipino Immigrant Manhood”. Review of Creating Masculinity in Los Angeles's Little Manila: Working-Class Filipinos and Popular Culture, 1920s-1950, by Linda Espana-Maram. H-Urban Humanities & Social Sciences Online, February, 2007. http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=12824
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 12.
 Ibid., 1.
 Ibid., 20.
 Ibid., 4.
 Ibid., 20.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 66.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 5.
 Ibid., 12.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 5, 13.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 63.
 Ibid., 64.
 Ibid., 5
 Ibid., 20.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 64.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 16.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 67.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 16.
 Wong, Oakland's Chinatown, 39.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 60.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 16.
 Ibid., 7.
 Helen C. Torribio, Seven Card Stud with Seven Manangs Wild: An Anthology of Filipino-American Writings (San Francisco: East Bay Filipino National Historical Society, 2002), 160-165.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 15.
 Wong, Oakland's Chinatown, 38.4
 Buell, Filipinos in the East Bay, 61.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 13.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 6-7.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 6-7.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 24.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 6-7.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 3,
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 6-9.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 9.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 8.
 Lorraine Jacobs Crouchett, Filipinos in California: From the Days of the Galleons to the Present (El Cerrito, Calif: Downey Place Pub. House, 1982), 64-73 &
Posadas, The Filipino Americans, 62-64.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 22.
 Ibid., 37.
 Ibid., 37.
 Ibid., 22.
 Ibid., 18.
 Torribio, Seven Card Stud, 138.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 25.
 Torribio, Seven Card Stud, 129.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 44-45.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 62.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 66.
 Ibid., 59.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 2.
 Buell, Twenty-five Chickens, 21.
 Buell et al., Filipinos in the East Bay, 14.
 Torribio, Seven Card Stud, 174-176.
 Ibid., 136-137.
 Buell, Oakland Chinatown Oral History, 17.
 Ibid., 16.
 Crouchett, Filipinos in California, 60.
 Ibid., 86.
 Posadas, The Filipino Americans, 85-87.
 Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore, 315.
 U.S. Census Bureau. “The Asian Population: 2010.” Issued March 2012.
2013 ZipAtlas.Com. “Percentage of Filipinos in Oakland, CA by Zip Code”. Accessed December 14, 2013.
Bagwell, Beth. Oakland, the Story of a City. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1982.
Buell, Evangeline Canonizado, Evelyn Luluquisen, Lillian Galedo, Eleanor Hipol Luis, and Filipino American National Historical Society. Filipinos in the East Bay. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2008.
Buell, Evangeline Canonizado. Twenty-five Chickens and a Pig for a Bride. San Francisco: T'Boli Publishing and Distribution, 2006.
Buell, Evangeline Canonizado and Milton Lee, Interviewer, with Francis Chen. Interview August 1, 2007. Oakland Chinatown Oral History Project: Vangie Buell Oral History. Oakland, CA: Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 2008.
Bulosan, Carlos. America is in the Heart: A Personal History. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1973.
Cordova, Fred, Dorothy Laigo Cordova, and Albert A. Acena. Filipinos, Forgotten Asian Americans: A Pictorial Essay, 1763-circa 1963. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co., 1983.
Crouchett, Lorraine Jacobs. Filipinos in California: From the Days of the Galleons to the Present. El Cerrito, Calif: Downey Place Pub. House, 1982.
Mabolon, Dawn Bohulano. “Little Brown Men in Sharp Suits: Understanding Filipino Immigrant Manhood”. Review of Creating Masculinity in Los Angeles's Little Manila: Working-Class Filipinos and Popular Culture, 1920s-1950, by Linda Espana-Maram. H-Urban Humanities & Social Sciences Online, February, 2007. http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=12824
Mabalon, Dawn Bohulano. Little Manila is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California, Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2013.
Oakland Asian Cultural Center. “Evangeline (Vangie) Canonizado Buell.” 2013. http://memorymap.oacc.cc/people/elderinterviews/evangelinebuell.html
Posadas, Barbara Mercedes, The Filipino Americans. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Takaki, Ronald T. Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. Boston: Little, Brown, 1989.
Torribio, Helen C. Seven Card Stud with Seven Manangs Wild: An Anthology of Filipino-American Writings. San Francisco: East Bay Filipino National Historical Society, 2002.
U.S. Census Bureau. “The Asian Population: 2010.” Issued March 2012.
Wong, William. Oakland's Chinatown. Charleston, SC: Arcadia. 2004.