Filipino American Families and
JOCELYN ECLARIN AZADA
You have to realize that the Filipino people are in diaspora. We are
in our wilderness journey, our exile, looking for the promised land
that is livelihood.
Philippine Seafarers Organizing Ministry
It is the current moment of capitalism as a global mode of pro-
duction that has necessitated the maintenance of family ties and
political allegiances among persons spread across the globe.
Mobility—of culture and people, information and markets, capital and labor—is a hallmark of globalization. In the scheme of an exportoriented national economy without enough jobs for its people, workers are the Philippines’ greatest export. As millions of Filipinos find their livelihoods outside their homeland, scholars have rightly identified a Filipino diaspora. The destination for thousands of Filipino immigrants every year is the United States. Focusing on conditions from 1965 to the present, this chapter examines some of the effects of this migration on the Filipino family in the context of the macroeconomic conditions determining this flow of migration. Some patterns can be seen in contemporary Filipino American families’ creative adaptations—despite some harmful consequences—to a complex historical context: globalization and the Filipino diaspora.
For Filipinos, one’s family is the “primary source of individual and social identity and material and emotional support and security.”1