American settlement in the Philippines

American settlement in the Philippines
Total population
600,000[1] (850,000 if Amerasians are included)
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
Americans (especially African Americans and White Americans.)

American settlement in the Philippines (or Americo–Filipino) began during the Spanish period, when Americans came to the islands primarily to conduct business. They owned many businesses in trade and in the sugar industry. Although not harassed by Spanish laws, the American inflow to the Philippines was minimal until the Philippine–American War. Following the colonization of the islands by the United States of America, thousands of Americans have settled, either temporarily or permanently. Most were either members of the U.S. military, or missionaries sent by North American mission groups.

After independence in 1946, many Americans chose to remain in the Philippines while maintaining relations with relatives in the United States. During the post-independence period, most Americans who settled in the Philippines were largely professionals, although missionaries still continue to settle in the country. In 2015, the U.S. State Department estimated that there were more than 220,000 U.S. citizens living in the Philippines.[2]

Commencement of major American immigration to the Philippines

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. 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. By 1930, there were already thriving American and Filipino mestizo communities.

American settlement following Independence

The 1940s was a period of large-scale American immigration to the Philippines. However, this was abruptly ended by World War II. Many Americans, as well as American mestizos in the Philippines, were interred and killed by the Japanese. After the Philippines gained independence from the United States in 1946, 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.[4] 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.


Main article: Amerasian

As the Philippines lies in Southeast Asia, the offspring of a Filipino national and an American national is termed an Amerasian.

The number of American mestizos is thought to be between 200,000 and 250,000. 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.[5]

The majority of black people in the Philippines who are sometimes classified as African-Filipinos or Afro-Filipino as an umbrella term are of part-African American descent, mostly descending from United States military servicemen.

The Philippine Children's Fund of America, based in Angeles City, was created by the US and Philippine governments in 1991 to assist impoverished Filipino children of American ancestry, also known as Amerasians, by providing educational scholarships, employment and working visas to the United States. Around 56,000 children under the age of 16 benefit from the fund today.

An academic research paper presented in the U.S. (in 2012) 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, (co-authored by Pete C. Kutschera, Ph.D., visiting professor and director of the Philippine Amerasian Research Center at Systems Plus College Foundation) maintained that the number of FilipinoAmerasians, 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 amplified on an earlier theme Dr. Kutschera surfaced in his 2010 doctorate dissertation which focused on stigmatization, discrimination and psychosocial risk and mental disorder among a sample of African and Anglo Amerasians residing in Angeles, site of the Clark Air Force Base. The author asserts that the Angeles-Manila-Olongapo Triangle (AMO) is believed to contain the highest concentration of biracial Anglo, African and Latino Amerasians on the globe.[6][7]


Today, the Philippines has a large population of Americans and people with American roots, as well as a burgeoning Amerasian population,[5] along with a number of Filipino Americans with U.S. citizenship who returned to their country of birth. The total number of US citizens living in the Philippines is more than 250,000,[2] with estimates reaching as high as 600,000.[1] The total population of those who have American descent, once the 250,000 Amerasians are counted,[5] adds up to 850,000.


American international schools in the Philippines include:

Prominent descendants of American settlers

For a list of prominent or noteworthy descendants of American settlers, see Category:Filipino people of American descent.

See also


  1. 1 2 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.
  2. 1 2 "Background Note: Philippines". U.S. Department of State: Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. November 13, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  3. Tan, Michael L. (September 3, 2001). "The Thomasite experiment". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved October 10, 2006.
  4. Bagel Boy's Club Website: "There are a total of 800,000 Americans born in the Philippines during it's American colonial period.
  5. 1 2 3 Beech, Hannah (April 16, 2001). "The Forgotten Angels". Time. Archived from the original on January 23, 2007. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  6. "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.
  7. 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.
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