Filipinos in Hawai'i (with Roderick N. Labrador)

Please visit filipinosinhawaii.info for sample galleries, a reading list, an historical timeline of U.S.-Philippine & Hawai'i history, and links to other digital photo collections.

Nearly one in four persons in Hawai'i is of Filipino heritage. Representing one-fifth of the state's workforce, Filipinos have been in Hawai'i for more than a century, turning the rough and raw materials of sugar and pineapple into billion-dollar commodities. This book traces a history from 1946—the last year that sakadas (plantation workers) were imported from the Philippines—to the centennial year of their settlement in Hawai'i. Filipinos are central to much that has been built and cherished in the state, including the agricultural industry, tourism, military presence, labor movements, community activism, politics, education, entertainment, and sports. Co-authored with ethnic studies scholar Roderick N. Labrador; a collaboration with the Filipino American Historical Society of Hawai'i.


Filipinos in Hawaiʻi performs a most poignant and powerful task of narrating history through photography. It captures moments in time and space that take us to the past not just to recover and recreate personal memory but also to locate such memory within a global, national, and local imaginary. They are, therefore, photographs of imperial subjecthood, national exclusion, and racialized labor exploitation. Simultaneously—and defiantly—these photographs are also records of collective pleasure, uplift, and empowerment. Not yet quite timeworn, they remind us of how the past continues to speak to us, why they matter in our present, and what we still need to do in the future.”
— Rick Bonus, author of Locating Filipino Americans: Ethnicity and the Cultural Politics of Space

 

“If a picture is worth a thousand words—it also tells the personal story of people in the photograph. Images in Theodore S. Gonzalves and Roderick N. Labrador’s new Arcadia book, Filipinos in Hawaiʻi, chronicles the unique life of Filipino Americans who settled in Hawaiʻi since 1906. This book touches many facets of their life—at work, school and play, celebrating weddings and fiestas, and participating in social movements during the ‘70s through ‘90s. Of special interest to me were chapters on trail blazers Dr. Mario Bautista and Amy Agbayani. This book provides valuable insights to Filipino history in America.
— Dorothy L. Cordova, executive director of the Filipino American National Historical Society

 

"Who are the Filipinos in Hawaii? This is difficult to answer because, as Theo Gonzalves and Rod Labrador show in their new pictorial history, the Filipinos in Hawaiʻi have complex identities. The authors present pictures in chapters organized by themes (rituals, portraits, labor, places, communities, social movements and play), showing how Filipinos celebrate their heritage and how they’ve integrated in their new Hawaiʻi home.  Pictures in the last chapters focus on two outstanding Filipino Americans (Mario Bautista and Amy Agbayani). Filipinos started to arrive in Hawaiʻi in 1906 to work in sugarcane plantations and though today they comprise a major ethnic group in Hawaiʻi, there are only a few books about them. Filipinos in Hawaiʻi is an important book that fills this huge gap and helps counter lazy interpretations and ethnic stereotyping."
— Melinda T. Kerkvliet, author of Unbending Cane: Pablo Manlapit, a Filipino Labor Leader in Hawaiʻi

 

“Theo Gonzalves and Rod Labrador’s Filipinos in Hawai‘i is a major contribution to the Arcadia Publishing series on Filipino American communities in capturing in photographs the diverse and significant contributions of Filipinos to Hawai‘i society, culture and history. Their book colorfully demonstrates how Filipinos became Hawayanos (Filipinos from Hawai‘i) over time, transforming the islands and themselves in the process. As a pictorial history, it provocatively reveals what a textual history could indicate about the Filipino American experience in Hawai‘i.”
—Jonathan Y. Okamura, author of Imagining the Filipino American Diaspora: Transnational Relations, Identities, and Communities