FANHS honors and celebrates Houston’s Filipino history

by Cheryl Piccio, ABS-CBN News

HOUSTON — After publishing books profiling Filipinos in cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Washington DC, the Filipino American National Historical Society or FANHS of Houston is now gathering materials for the city’s own edition, aimed at remembering and celebrating Houston’s Filipino history.

“We think our story is important to tell on a national level. But nobody knows about the Filipino community in Texas. So that’s why we started the organization and said we need to have our own book too,” said Christy Poisot.

The organization recently held an event calling on the Pinoy community to bring their old family photos for inclusion in the book, hoping to capture the history of the generations of Filipinos who have come to call Houston their home.

While most Filipinos in Texas arrived in the state relatively recently, the history of Pinoys in the southern US stretches back to the mid-eighteenth century, with records of established Filipino communities in the south as early as 1763.

“We really want to find out who those first families were, that were pioneers and have contributed to the history of Filipinos in Houston. We are here to also make sure that families realize how important their own personal story is to the timeline of this great city.”

Houston has one of the largest concentrations of Filipinos in the south, and is one of the largest in the US. With a history spanning back to the 1800’s, this book will have plenty of history to celebrate.

“History does show that the Filipino community was very strong back when Texas was first founded, so I think this book is absolutely phenomenal,” said Dolly Alexander.

The gathering also served as an opportunity to reminisce and share stories of the early days when the Filipino community in Houston was much smaller — and life much simpler.

“When we came here there was only like 50 families. Maybe less. In the 1970s. When there is a birthday, everybody is there. At a picnic, everybody is there. It is really different now. I like the old times,” says Louella Compoas.

For Filipino Texan Lieszl Compas, sharing her family photos is her own way of helping Houston Fil-Ams keep the connection to their heritage alive and well for the years to come.

“In the future, we hope that the future generations will appreciate all the Filipinos that made their way here and tried to go for that American dream.”

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