Filipino Americans

Today there are more than 2.5 million Filipino Americans in the U.S. This book list includes literature written by Filipino American authors, as well as histories of Filipinos in America, and America in the Philippines.

Filipino American Authors | Filipinos in America | America in the Philippines

Filipino American Authors

At the Drive-In Volcano: Poems
By Aimee Nezhukumatathil
This collection of elegant and exuberant poems from the award-winning author of Miracle Fruit will charm and surprise. A calm and gentle wisdom wafts through Aimee Nezhukumatathil's sharp and unpretentious poetry, guiding the reader eloquently though physical and emotional scenery, shaping insight from a miscellany of images and emotions. Nezhukumatathil uses a dark and lovely natural world as a backdrop and elemental character in her poems. Here, worms glow in the dark, lizards speak, the most delicious soup in the world turns out to be deadly, and a woman eats soil as if it were candy. At the Drive-In Volcano explodes with brazen charm, verve, and wit.

By Peter Bacho
This remarkable first novel follows the struggle of Ben Lucero, a young Filipino American priest who must come to terms with his bifurcated notion of home as well as his own religious commitment.

Letters to Montgomery Clift: A Novel
By Noël Alumit
This haunting and compelling novel of a Filipino boy sent to America by his parents to escape the brutal Marcos regime is a story of hope set against a backdrop of abuse and alienation. Following the Filipino tradition of writing letters to the ghosts of ancestors, Bong Bong Luwad begins to write letters to the ghost of Montgomery Clift, at first asking to be reunited with his family, but as he undergoes the pains of adolescence, sexual discovery, and mental illness, the letters form a journal of self-discovery.

Fixer Chao
By Han Ong
A novel about love, revenge, art, and Feng Shui, as a Filipino street hustler assumes the persona of Master Chao, a revered Feng Shui practitioner from Hong Kong. Distorting the Eastern concept of Feng Shui to accommodate Western demands, he peddles his peculiar brand of holistic philosophy among New York City's elite. Fixer Chao raises questions of race and privilege, character and identity, and of what it means to be Asian at the turn of the 21st century.

Dream Jungle book jacket

Dream Jungle
By Jessica Hagedorn
Set in a Philippines of desperate beauty and rank corruption, Dream Jungle feverishly traces the consequences of two seemingly unrelated events: the discovery of an alleged "lost tribe" and the arrival of a celebrity-studded American film crew filming an epic Vietnam War movie. Caught in the turmoil unleashed by these two incidents are four unforgettable characters -- a wealthy, iconoclastic playboy, a woman ensnared in the sex industry, a Filipino-American writer, and a jaded actor -- who find themselves drawn irrevocably together in this lavish, sensual portrait of a nation in crisis.

One Tribe
By M. Evelina Galang
In One Tribe, the dealth of Isabel Manalo's unborn child stirs widespread speculation in her small Midwestern suburb. Fed up with the noise of tsismosas (gossips), she moves to Virginia Beach to teach myth and history to Filipino-American youth, and walks into a chaotic world of drive-by shootings, beauty pageants and community politicking. At every turn she butts heads with the youth gangs who distrust her, the community elders who disapprove of her loose outsider ways, and a Filipino boyfriend who accuses her of acting too white. Eventually Isa fights back. As hurricane Emilia brews at the edge of the east coast, Isa opens her house to a local girl gang and nourishes their troubled spirits, instigating change as sudden as the shift of tropical winds.

The Disinherited
By Han Ong
In this incisive and illuminating exploration of the impulse to do good and the paradoxical harm brought on by generosity, Roger Caracera is stunned to discover that his late Filipino father has left him $500,000. Unwilling to accept the inheritance, Roger sets out to find a worthy recipient.

The Gangster of Love
By Jessica Hagedorn
Alternating between the Philippines and the United States, The Gangster of Love is the story of Rocky Rivera, who plays in a dissolute rock band with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Elvis Chang; Rocky's spirited and deeply traditional mother, Milagros; her troubled and bedeviled brother, Voltaire; her wonderfully eccentric uncle, Marlon; and her best friend, the wildly unpredictable, enigmatic Keiko. These, along with other characters real and imagined, form a family story spanning generations and cultures. Together they grow to and through adulthood, acquiring spouses, lovers, companions, children, and in-laws; making a place for themselves in the world; shattering myths, icons, and expectations; struggling to find that point where alienation and assimilation, identity and dignity, coincide.

American Son: A Novel
By Brian Ascalon Roley
A powerful novel about ethnically fluid California, American Son is the story of two Filipino brothers adrift in contemporary California. Their mother struggles to keep her sons in line while working two dead-end jobs. Full of the ache of being caught in a violent and alienating world, this novel captures the underbelly of the modern immigrant experience.

Filipinos in America

Locating Filipino Americans book jacket

The Filipino Americans
By Barbara M. Posadas
This book provides a detailed historical study of the major post-1965 immigration of Filipinos to the United States. It provides comprehensive coverage of the recent Filipino American experience, from the pivotal Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, under which most Filipinos entered this country, to their values and customs, economic and political status, organizational affiliations, and contemporary issues and problems.

Locating Filipino Americans: Ethnicity and the Cultural Politics of Space
By Rick Bonus
Locating Filipino Americans, an ethnographic study of Filipino American communities in Los Angeles and San Diego, presents a multi-disciplinary cultural analysis of the relationship between ethnic identity and social space. Author Rick Bonus argues that alternative community spaces enable Filipino Americans to respond to and resist the ways in which the larger society has historically and institutionally rendered them invisible, silenced, and racialized.

Imagining the Filipino American Diaspora: Transnational Relations, Identities, and Communities
By Jonathan Y. Okamura
The Philippines play a major role in expanding the international Filipino community through its promotion of international labor migration – Filipinos can currently be found in over 130 countries throughout the world. This work conceives of Filipino immigration as a diaspora, analyzing the diasporic nature of Filipino relations, identities, and communities and showing how these transnational phenomena are socially constructed by the everyday actions and activities of Filipino Americans. Instead of focusing on an ethnic minority and its relation to its host society, a diasporic perspective places emphasis on the transnational relations created and maintained among that minority, its homeland, and other diasporic communities. Transnational ties are evident in the movement of people, money, consumer goods, information, and ideas.

America in the Philippines

In Our Image book jacket

The Star-Entangled Banner: One Hundred Years of America in the Philippines
By Sharon Delmendo
During a ceremony held in 1996 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of formal Philippine independence, the U.S. flag was being lowered while the Philippine flag was being raised, and the two became entangled. In The Star-Entangled Banner, Sharon Delmendo demonstrates that this incident is indicative of the longstanding problematic relationship between the two countries. When faced with a national crisis or a compelling need to reestablish its autonomy, each nation paradoxically turns to its history with the other to define its place in the world. Each chapter of the book deals with a separate issue in this linked history.

In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines
By Stanley Karnow
In a swiftly paced, brilliantly vivid narrative, Karnow focuses on the relationship that has existed between the two nations since the United States acquired the country from Spain in 1898, examining how we have sought to remake the Philippines 'in our image,' an experiment marked from the outset by blundering, ignorance, and mutual misunderstanding.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.