This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Americans in the Philippines" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (November 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
American settlement in the Philippines
Filipino-American family, Philippines
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 · Calamba · Tuguegarao · Calapan · Legazpi · Iloilo · Olongapo · Pagadian · Cagayan de Oro · Davao · Koronadal · Butuan · Cotabato · Antipolo · Metro Cebu · Metro Manila
 · and Spanish
Related ethnic groups
Filipino Americans

American settlement in the Philippines (Filipino: paninirahan sa Pilipinas ng mga Amerikano) began during the Spanish colonial period. The period of American colonialization of the Philippines was 48 years. It began with the cession of the Philippines to the U.S. by Spain in 1898 and lasted until the U.S. recognition of Philippine independence in 1946.

In 2015, the U.S. State Department estimated in 2016 that more than 220,000 U.S. citizens lived in the Philippines and more than 650,000 visited per year. They noted there was a significant mixed population of Amerasians born here since World War II, as well as descendants of Americans from the colonial era.[2]

During the Spanish–American War the United States had invaded the Philippines, then governed by Spain as the Spanish East Indies. Philippine revolutionaries that had been seeking independence renewed their fighting against Spain. The Philippine-American war followed when the U.S. imposed its own control in the Philippines after defeating Spain. The U.S. defeated the revolutionaries and held the Philippines until granting full independence on July 4, 1946.

History of immigration

American colonialization

During American colonial rule in the Philippines, there was an increase in American 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 Buffalo Soldiers and former Volunteers, primarily from the Western states.[3]

The Education Act of 1901 authorized the colonial government to recruit American teachers to help establish an English-language educational system to replace the Spanish one. Some 80 former soldiers became teachers. They were soon joined by 48 teachers recruited in the United States who arrived in June 1901 on the US Army Transport ship Sheridan (named after General Philip Sheridan, a prominent military officer during and after the Civil War.) Some 523 others arrived on August 1, 1901, on the USAT Thomas. Collectively, these teachers became known as the Thomasites.[4]

By 1913, there were more than 1,400 mestizos with American parentage, the children of the nearly 8,000 Americans living in the Philippines.[5] 15% of the Amerasian children were orphans.[5] Prior to World War I, Americans were not prevalent in the Philippines; most lived in restricted enclaves, particularly around Fort Santiago;[6] one term for those who settled in the Philippines was Manila Americans.[7] By 1939, 8,709 Americans were in the Philippines, primarily in Manila. Of these 4,022 were working age and employed.[7] 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.[8]

Commonwealth period

Main article: Commonwealth of the Philippines

The Commonwealth period (1935-1946) saw significant increases of American presence in the Philippines. By 1941, more than 20,000 U.S. military personnel were assigned to the Philippine Department of the United States Army Forces in the Far East when the Japanese invaded the Philippines. Many Americans were captured and imprisoned by Japanese forces. This U.S. military presence increased substantially during the U.S. Army actions to liberate the Philippines.[9]

Post independence

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

When the Philippines gained independence from the United States in 1946, many Americans chose to permanently settle there. Until the mid-1990s, Americans were concentrated in the cities of Angeles and Olongapo, northwest of Metro Manila, because of the 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.[10][unreliable source] Other large concentrations of Filipinos with American ancestry outside Metro Manila are located in the areas of former US bases, such as the Subic Bay area in Zambales and Clark Field in Angeles City.

Lasting impacts

The American colonization of the Philippines imposed a universal formal education system, which helped increase the number of Filipinos working in business, educational, and governmental sectors. This system was mostly taught in English, and often had Americans as teachers. [11]

Another lasting impact was on sanitation. Government officials enlisted the American military and health officers to monitor the overall sanitary conditions of the people, to the extent that soldiers took on the role of "Sanitary inspector", according to Warwick Anderson.[12]

The colonization period of the Philippines formally ended in 1946, yet scholars continue to debate about the lasting effects of American settlement there. Critical internationalists of the early Cold War saw similarities between US-Philippines relations and European imperialism. Notions of neocolonialism have been attached in describing the United States' relations with the Philippines. Some historians of American foreign relations have argued that Philippine formal independence in 1946 was incomplete and unequal, and that there exists a 'dependent' alliance between the two countries. It has also been argued that historians who have drawn conclusions mainly from hindsight should pay closer attention to contemporary views.[13]


Main article: Amerasian

As the Philippines lies in Southeast Asia, the offspring of a Filipino national and an American service member or contractor is termed an Amerasian.[14] These individuals were not covered under the American Homecoming Act.[15]

In 1939, there were an estimated 50,000 mixed-race American mestizos.[16] The 1939 census was undertaken in conformity with Section 1 of Commonwealth Act 170.[17] The Philippine population figure was 16,000,303.[18]

In 2012, the number of American mestizos is estimated to be 52,000.[19] 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.[20] Amerasians born in the Philippines have intermarried with other Amerasian and Filipino natives, creating a large number of Amerasian people with less than 50% Amerasian heritages.[21][22]

A 2012 paper by an Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines Amerasian college research study unit suggests that the number of military origin, biracial Filipino Amerasians probably lies between 200,000 and 250,000, and possibly substantially more. The paper said 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.[23]

As of 2013, the Philippines has a large population of Americans and people with American roots, including a significant Amerasian population;[20] there are estimates of 52,000 to 250,000 Amerasians in the Philippines in 1992.[24] 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.[25] 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", meaning backwards..[26] In 2016, the total number of US citizens living in the Philippines was estimated officially as more than 220,000,[2] with an unofficial source having estimated 600,000 in 2013.[27]

The newer Amerasians from the United States would add to the already older settlement of peoples from other countries in the Americas that happened when the Philippines was under Spanish rule,[28] as the Philippines once received immigrants from Spanish occupied Panama, Peru,[29] and Mexico.[30]


American international schools in the Philippines include:

Notable people

Further information: Category:Filipino people of American descent


See also: Left by the Ship

See also


  1. ^ "Immigrant and Emigrant Populations by Country of O.. |". Retrieved May 7, 2024.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Relations With the Philippines". U.S. Department of State: Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. December 15, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  3. ^ Nicholas Trajano Molnar (June 1, 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.
  4. ^ Tan, Michael L. (September 3, 2001). "The Thomasite experiment". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved October 10, 2006.
  5. ^ a b Nicholas Trajano Molnar (June 1, 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.
  6. ^ Sionil Jose, F. (May 9, 2004). "Manila 7 Decades Ago". The Philippine Star. Mandaluyong, Philippines. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  7. ^ 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 April 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Nicholas Trajano Molnar (June 1, 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.
  9. ^ "Liberation of the Philippines 1945". The National WWII Museum | New Orleans. September 1, 2020. Retrieved May 7, 2024.
  10. ^ "优游国际_优游国际如何注册登录_优游国际官方登陆". Retrieved May 7, 2024.
  11. ^ Schirmer, Daniel B.; Shalom, Stephen Rosskamm (1987). The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship, and Resistance International studies (Illustrated ed.). South End Press. pp. 20–35. ISBN 9780896082755.
  12. ^ Anderson, Warwick (August 21, 2006), Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines, Duke University Press, pp. 1–32
  13. ^ Shaffer, Robert (2012). ""Partly Disguised Imperialism": American Critical Internationalists and Philippine Independence". The Journal of American-East Asian Relations. 19 (3–4): 235–262. doi:10.1163/18765610-01904008 – via JSTOR.
  14. ^ 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. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 16, 2017. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
    Kutschera, P.C.; Caputi, Marie A.; Pelayo III, Jose Maria G. (September 15, 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.
  15. ^ Sharon H Chang (December 11, 2015). Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World. Routledge. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-1-317-33050-9.
    Huval, Rebecca (May 25, 2012). "Explainer: How Can You Be Half-American and Still Not a Citizen?". Independent Lens. PBS. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  16. ^ Nicholas Trajano Molnar (June 1, 2017). American Mestizos, The Philippines, and the Malleability of Race: 1898-1961. University of Missouri Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-8262-7388-8.
  17. ^ Millegan, Lloyd S. (November 1942). "Census of the Philippines: 1939". The Journal of Asian Studies. 2 (1). The Association for Asian Studies, Inc: 77–79. doi:10.2307/2049281. JSTOR 2049281. S2CID 162461107. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  18. ^ "Statistical Abstract of the United States" (PDF). United States Department of Commerce. 1941. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  19. ^ "Filipino Amerasians' Lifelong Fight Against Stigma". Archived from the original on March 9, 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Beech, Hannah (April 16, 2001). "The Forgotten Angels". Time. Archived from the original on January 23, 2007. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  21. ^ Beech, Hannah (April 16, 2001). "The Forgotten Angels". Time. Time Inc. Archived from the original on January 23, 2007. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  22. ^ Mixed Marriage...Interreligious, Interracial, Interethnic, by Dr. Robert H. Schram
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ Lichauco de Leon, Sunshine (March 3, 2012). "'Amerasians' in the Philippines fight for recognition". CNN. Retrieved April 21, 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.
  25. ^ Taylor, Marisa (March 27, 2006). "Filipinos follow their hearts home". The Virginian-Pilot. Norfolk, Virginia. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  26. ^ 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 April 22, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
    Macasero, Ryan (May 4, 2013). "Why I left America for the Philippines". Rappler. Pasig, Philippines. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ Stephanie Mawson, 'Between Loyalty and Disobedience: The Limits of Spanish Domination in the Seventeenth Century Pacific' (Univ. of Sydney M.Phil. thesis, 2014), appendix 3.
  29. ^ "Second Book of the Second Part of the Conquests of the Filipinas Islands, and Chronicle of the Religious of Our Father, St. Augustine" (Zamboanga City History) "He (Governor Don Sebastían Hurtado de Corcuera) brought a great reënforcements of soldiers, many of them from Perú, as he made his voyage to Acapulco from that kingdom."
  30. ^ Mehl, Eva Maria (2016). "6 - Unruly Mexicans in Manila". Forced Migration in the Spanish Pacific World: From Mexico to the Philippines, 1765–1811. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781316480120. ISBN 978-1-316-48012-0.