From the first Filipinos who stepped ashore at Morro Rock in 1587 to the most recent immigrants, Filipino Americans have left their mark on the Central Coast of California. This online exhibit recollects the lives of Filipino Americans, men and women who transformed the agricultural communities of San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Santa Barbara Counties. 

ROUTES. This section gives a glimpse into the lives and experiences of Filipino migrant laborers (1920 – 1934) on California's Central Coast. It focuses specifically on the living and working conditions of those who traveled throughout the state following the crops.

Farm workers displaying tomato harvest
Santa Maria Valley, circa 1930
Photo courtesy of the Central Coast FANHS

ROOTS. This section focuses on the communities and cultures formed by pioneering Filipino Americans not only to survive their harsh reality but also to create for themselves a sense of home or belonging. It follows the transformations of these Filipino American communities through WWII and after.

Visayan Welfare League of America, inc.
Guadalupe, CA - Nov 20, 1938
Photo courtesy of GCAEC

The original South County Historical Society exhibit opened on March 17, 2010 at the IOOF Hall in Arroyo Grande, California. Routes and Roots: Cultivating Filipino American History on the Central Coast was co-directed by Craig Rock and Grace Yeh with assistance provided by Doug Jenzen, Barbara Main, Susan Rock, Joe Swigert, Margaret Ikeda and Evan Jones, Bing Aradanas, the Bancroft Library, the Monterey Historical Society, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts and Education Center, FANHS-CCCC, and members of the Filipino American Community. 

Using original exhibit materials and their own research, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo students created this online version of the exhibit for the South County Historical Society and Professor Yeh's Ethnic Studies course, Asian American Cultural Images.

Routes and Roots gathers and shares stories, photographs, and documents related to Central Coast Filipino American history. Please take a look and let us know how we are doing!