Americans in the Philippines

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American settlement in the Philippines
Filipino American family.jpg
Filipino-American family, Philippines
Regions with significant populations
Angeles City · Baguio · San Fernando, La Union · Calamba · Tuguegarao · Calapan · Legazpi · Iloilo · Olongapo · Pagadian · Cagayan de Oro · Davao · Koronadal · Butuan · Cotabato · Metro Cebu · Metro Manila
Filipino · American English · Philippine English
Protestantism · Roman Catholicism · Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
White Americans, European Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans, Black Hispanic and Latino Americans, Multiracial Americans

American settlement in the Philippines began during the Spanish colonial period, when Americans came to the islands primarily to conduct business and trade. They owned many businesses in the sugar industry. There was not much American inflow to the Philippines until after the Philippine–American War. After the USA won the war and colonized the Philippines, thousands of Americans settled there temporarily or permanently. Most were either members of the U.S. military or Christian missionaries.[citation needed]

After independence in 1946, many Americans chose to remain in the Philippines while maintaining relations with relatives in the US. Most of them were professionals[vague], but missionaries continued to settle the country.[citation needed] In 2015, the U.S. State Department estimated that there were more than 220,000 U.S. citizens living in the Philippines, with a significant mixed population of Amerasians and descendants from the colonial era as well.[1]

History of immigration[edit]

Spanish colonization[edit]

American colonization[edit]

American colonial rule in the Philippines saw an increase in immigration to the Philippines. Retiring soldiers and other military-men were among the first Americans to become long-term Philippine residents and settlers; these included African-American Soldiers and former volunteer Soldiers primarily from the Western states.[2] The Education Act of 1901 authorized the colonial government to recruit American teachers to help establish the new educational system, and 80 former soldiers became teachers. They were soon joined by 48 teachers recruited in America who arrived in June 1901 on the ship Sheridan, and by 523 others who arrived on August 1, 1901, on the Thomas. Collectively, these teachers became known as the Thomasites.[3] Besides English, the Thomasites taught agriculture, reading, grammar, geography, mathematics, general courses, trade courses, housekeeping and household arts (sewing, crocheting and cooking), manual trading, mechanical drawing, freehand drawing and athletics (baseball, track and field, tennis, indoor baseball and basketball). Many of these people settled in the Philippines and had Philippine spouses.[citation needed]

By 1913, there were more than 1,400 mestizos with American parentage, the product of the nearly 8,000 Americans living in the Philippines.[4] 15% of the children of Americans who settled in the Philippines were orphans.[4] Prior to World War II, Americans were not prevalent in the Philippines, most living in enclaves, particularly around Fort Santiago;[5] one term for those who settled in the Philippines was Manila Americans.[6] By 1939, 8,709 Americans were in the Philippines, primarily in Manila, and of whom only 4,022 were working age and employed.[6] The Japanese invasion of the Philippines brought about an abrupt end to the distinctions of race, due to the external threat caused by the invasion.[7]

Post independence[edit]

The 1940s was a period of large-scale American immigration to the Philippines.[citation needed] However, this abruptly ended after the Philippines gained independence from the United States in 1946 and Many Americans chose to permanently settle in the Philippines. The Americans, until the mid-1990s, had a heavy presence in the cities of Angeles and Olongapo, northeast of Metro Manila, due to the presence of large US military bases there. During the American colonial period (1898–1946), a recorded number of more than 800,000 Americans were born in the Philippines.[8][unreliable source] Large concentrations of Filipinos with American ancestry aside from Metro Manila are located in the areas of the former US bases such as the Subic Bay area in Zambales and Clark Field in Angeles.


As the Philippines lies in Southeast Asia, the offspring of a Filipino national and an American service member or contractor is termed an Amerasian.[9] These individuals were not covered under the American Homecoming Act.[10]

In 1939, there were an estimated 50,000 mixed race American mestizos.[11] In 2012, the number of American mestizos is estimated to be 52,000.[12] Most speak English, Tagalog and/or other Philippine languages. The majority are to be found in Angeles City, which has the largest proportion of Amerasians in the Philippines.[13] Amerasians born in the Philippines also intermarried with other Amerasian and Filipino natives creating a large number of Amerasian people with either half or quarter Amerasian heritages.[14][15]

A 2012 paper by an Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines Amerasian college research study unit suggests that the number of military origin, biracial Filipino Amerasians probably lie between 200,000 and 250,000, and possibly substantially more. The paper maintained that the number of Filipino Amerasians, the progeny of U.S. servicemen, private corporate contractor and government employees stationed over the years in the Philippines, is so significant that mixed-heritage Anglo, African and Latino Amerasians qualify as a genuine human diaspora. It focused on stigmatization, discrimination, psychosocial risks, and mental disorders among a sample of African and Anglo Amerasians residing in Angeles, site of the Clark Air Force Base. The paper asserts that the Angeles-Manila-Olongapo Triangle (AMO) contains the highest concentration of biracial Anglo, African and Latino Amerasians in the world.[16]

Today, the Philippines has a large population of Americans and people with American roots, including a significant Amerasian population;[13] there are estimates of 52,000 to 250,000 Amerasians in the Philippines in 1992.[17] These Americans have been joined by a number of Filipino Americans with U.S. citizenship who had immigrated to the United States, then returned to their country of birth.[18] In addition, there is a population of Filipino Americans, who were born in the United States, who are immigrating to the Philippines, known as "baliktad".[19] The total number of US citizens living in the Philippines is more than 220,000,[1] with estimates reaching as high as 600,000.[20]


American international schools in the Philippines include:

Notable people[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Background Note: Philippines". U.S. Department of State: Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. November 13, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2016. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Nicholas Trajano Molnar (1 June 2017). American Mestizos, The Philippines, and the Malleability of Race: 1898-1961. University of Missouri Press. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-8262-7388-8.
  3. ^ Tan, Michael L. (September 3, 2001). "The Thomasite experiment". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved October 10, 2006.
  4. ^ a b Nicholas Trajano Molnar (1 June 2017). American Mestizos, The Philippines, and the Malleability of Race: 1898-1961. University of Missouri Press. pp. 36–37. ISBN 978-0-8262-7388-8.
  5. ^ Sionil Jose, F. (9 May 2004). "Manila 7 Decades Ago". The Philippine Star. Mandaluyong City, Philippines. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b Wheeler, Gerald E. (1966). "The American Minority in the Philippines During the Prewar Commonwealth Period" (PDF). Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia. 4 (2): 362–373. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  7. ^ Nicholas Trajano Molnar (1 June 2017). American Mestizos, The Philippines, and the Malleability of Race: 1898-1961. University of Missouri Press. pp. 123–124. ISBN 978-0-8262-7388-8.
  8. ^ Bagel Boy's Club Website: There are a total of 800,000 Americans born in the Philippines during its American colonial period.
  9. ^ Charbonneau, Jeanne Margaret (August 1985). Alien or American? Immigration Laws and Amerasian People (PDF) (Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Arts). University of Virginia. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
    Kutschera, P.C.; Caputi, Marie A.; Pelayo III, Jose Maria G. (15 September 2013). Formulating Mental Health Treatment Paradigms for Military Filipino Amerasians: A Social Work Education Challenge (PDF). International Conference on Education and Social Sciences. Higher Education Forum.
  10. ^ Sharon H Chang (11 December 2015). Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World. Routledge. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-1-317-33050-9.
    Huval, Rebecca (25 May 2012). "Explainer: How Can You Be Half-American and Still Not a Citizen?". Independent Lens. PBS. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  11. ^ Nicholas Trajano Molnar (1 June 2017). American Mestizos, The Philippines, and the Malleability of Race: 1898-1961. University of Missouri Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-8262-7388-8.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2017-01-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ a b Beech, Hannah (April 16, 2001). "The Forgotten Angels". Time. Archived from the original on January 23, 2007. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  14. ^ Beech, Hannah (2001-04-16). "The Forgotten Angels". Time. Time Inc. Archived from the original on 2007-01-23. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
  15. ^ Mixed Marriage...Interreligious, Interracial, Interethnic By Dr. Robert H. Schram
  16. ^ "200,000-250,000 or More Military Filipino Amerasians Alive Today in Republic of the Philippines according to USA-RP Joint Research Paper Finding" (PDF). Amerasian Research Network, Ltd. (Press release). November 5, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
    Kutschera, P.C.; Caputi, Marie A. (October 2012). "The Case for Categorization of Military Filipino Amerasians as Diaspora" (PDF). 9TH International Conference On the Philippines, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  17. ^ Lichauco de Leon, Sunshine (3 March 2012). "'Amerasians' in the Philippines fight for recognition". CNN. Retrieved 21 April 2018. The daughter of an American naval pilot and a Filipino mother, Lopez is one of an estimated 52,000 "Amerasians" fathered by American military servicemen during the decades the U.S. Navy and Air Force had bases in the Philippines.
    Kutschera, P.C.; Pelayo III, Jose Maria G. (March 2012). The Amerasian Paradox (PDF). Online Conference on Multidisciplinary Social Sciences. Australian International Cultural & Educational Institute. Kutschera and Caputi (2012) recently projected that there may be as many as 250,000 or more military origin Filipino Amerasians residing in the archipelago today; substantially more than the commonly thought Filipino Amerasian population of 52,000, a figure widely reported when permanent U.S. military bases were ejected by the Philippine Senate in 1992.
  18. ^ Taylor, Marisa (27 March 2006). "Filipinos follow their hearts home". The Virginian-Pilot. Norfolk, Virginia. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  19. ^ Trinidad, Charisse (April 2018). "Coming Home: Relocating back to the Philippines as a young Filipino-American". Balikbayan. Los Angeles: Asian Journal Media Group. Archived from the original on 22 April 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
    Macasero, Ryan (4 May 2013). "Why I left America for the Philippines". Rappler. Pasig City, Philippines. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  20. ^ Cooper, Matthew (November 15, 2013). "Why the Philippines Is America's Forgotten Colony". National Journal. Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2015. Some 600,000 Americans live in the Philippines and there are 3 million Filipino-Americans, many of whom are devoting themselves to typhoon relief.