Kabayan Remit Blog
Top 5 states for Filipinos in America

Top 5 states for Filipinos in America

Filipinos in America have had a long history—from the first Filipinos arriving in Spanish galleons in 1587 to the first Filipino settlement in Louisiana in 1763. Since the 1900s, Filipinos have been migrating to America for work, education, and new opportunities, so it’s no wonder that we still find compatriots moving here today.

Filipinos in America

Filipinos in America

Though newly emigrated Filipinos will likely find a kabayan anywhere in the U.S., they will find the largest communities spread out in these states:

  • California
  • New York
  • Hawaii
  • Nevada
  • Illinois

Here, Filipinos can participate in organizations like the Filipino American National Historical Society, enjoy Filipino food festivals, or even ride a jeepney around town.

Best states for Filipinos in America

1. California


The largest population of Filipinos in California can be found in Los Angeles at 506,000. For a Filipino missing the Philippines, Los Angeles offers Historic Filipinotown or HiFi, a Preserve America Community that honours and cares for Filipino-American history in California.

If you are in HiFi, make sure you have time to visit these sites in one of Time Out Magazine’s Coolest Neighborhoods of 2019:

  • Visit Unidad Park – At Unidad Park, you can pose with the Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana (Filipino Americans: A Glorious History, A Golden Legacy) mural, which pays homage to influential Filipinos who have shaped Philippine and American history.
  • Honour our veterans – HiFi’s Lake Street Park holds the only World War II memorial that pays tribute to the Filipino-Americans who fought in this war.
  • Take a jeepney tour – If you miss commuting in the Philippines, you can take a Sarao jeep to learn about the local Filipino-American community and visit HiFi’s popular locations.

For Filipinos craving a taste of home, HiFi offers the following sites:

  • Dollar Hits – An eatery near Temple Seafood Market that serves the street food you grew up eating in the Philippines
  • Little Ongpin – A Filipino-Chinese restaurant that serves lomi, miki bihon, and pancit

Apart from Los Angeles, Filipinos in California also reside in:

  • San Francisco
  • San Diego
  • Riverside-San Bernardino
  • San Jose

For Filipino workers seeking support groups, California has the Pilipino Workers Center, which offers free legal consultations and tax filing assistance for Filipinos in America who are adjusting to a new way of life.

2. New York

New York

There are over 236,000 Filipinos living in New York’s metropolitan area, and Filipinos in America have long had a history here. In fact, the Philippines’ national hero Jose Rizal visited New York City in 1888, staying in the Fifth Avenue Hotel.

Many scholars or pensionados also went to New York to study in prestigious universities, such as Fordham, Columbia, New York University, and Cornell. Eventually, Filipinos formed communities in New York City’s different boroughs, including Brooklyn and Queens.

If you are a Filipino adjusting to New York today, you can find a support group in the Philippine Consulate General’s latest Fil-Am Community Directory. Filipino workers can also visit the Damayan Migrant Workers Association for legal consultations, leadership development programs, or a chance to participate in their Damayan Workers Cooperative (DWC).

When you miss home, take the time to eat from these popular Filipino food establishments in New York:

  • Bilao – Opened by three Filipino nurses amid the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bilao serves Filipino comfort food like kare-kare, lumpia, ginataang hipon, goto, and sisig.
  • Tradisyon – This casual Filipino restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen delivers go-to hits like squid adobo, chicken inasal, and pancit palabok. For Filipinos looking for familiar desserts, Tradisyon serves ube silvana and sans rival.
  • Kora – Located in Queens, this pandemic era bake shop serves donuts stuffed with the popular Filipino sweets ube and leche flan as well as the savory itlog na pula (salted egg).

3. Hawaii


Filipinos in America trace their Hawaiian roots from the first 15 Filipinos who moved to the tropical state to work in U.S. sugar plantations.

Since then, Filipinos have become an integral part of Hawaiian society. In fact, Hawaii’s popular food chain L&L Hawaiian Barbecue was co-founded by a Filipino named Eddie Flores Jr. Today, the barbecue joint is found all over the United States, serving its signature plate lunches inspired by Filipino, East Asian, Portuguese, and New England cooking.

If you’re ever inspired by Flores and wish to open a business of your own, try seeking advice at the Filipino Chamber of Commerce in Hawaii, which offers networking, mentorship, and professional development opportunities for entrepreneurial Filipinos. The organization also teaches financial literacy through its Kinabukasan (Future) Series.

4. Nevada


Nevada has a growing population of Filipinos in America, with Filipinos numbering 147,000 in Las Vegas alone. Tagalog was even added to the state ballot in 2020.

If you’re in the area and miss Filipino food, make sure to visit these restaurants:

  • Fiesta Filipina Cuisine – This family-owned brand runs two branches in West Valley and a branch in Henderson. Order their crispy patabangus (milkfish) sisig, and laing.
  • Full House BBQ – Run by Alex Irlandes (who has worked in Mandalay Bay, The Gold Nugget, and Westgate), Full House BBQ serves Filipino food with a twist. Try the spicy beef osso buco, sisig birria tacos, and the sinigang hot pot. You can even take friends here to try the restaurant’s kamayan feast.
  • Thelma’s Filipino Restaurant – Located in both Hawaii and Nevada, Thelma’s Las Vegas branch serves a mean baby bangus sarciado, beef pinapaitan, and pork gisantes.
  • Kapuso Kapamilya – This karaoke bar in Chinatown is open until 5 am and is known for its bar food. Order the pork sisig with a bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen or Red Horse.

5. Illinois


Many Filipinos in Illinois live in Chicago and enjoy a thriving Filipino food scene

If you choose to move to this area, you’ll never miss home with these Filipino food spots:

  • Kasama – One of New York Times’ 50 most exciting restaurants in America, Kasama is a restaurant bakery that serves favourites like adobo and kare-kare along with Western-influenced pastries like their black truffle croissant. 
  • Uncle Mike’s Place – This restaurant prides itself as the Home of Chicago’s Famous Filipino Breakfast, serving longganisa, tocino, and bangus along with pancakes and bacon and eggs. Eater lists Uncle Mike’s as one of Chicago’s best breakfast restaurants.
  • Bayan Ko – Bayan Ko is a Filipino-Cuban restaurant known for having lechon and ginataang gulay along with empanada and ropa vieja in its menu. Come here to eat with your hands.
  • Pecking Order – Run by a mother-and-daughter team, Pecking Order is currently cooking in the Logan Square Winter Market. It serves pancit and pork adobo and barbecue rice bowls. It is also open for catering.
  • Cebu – This restaurant is run by three Philippine-born Filipinos. It offers a brunch menu that includes tortang talong and their ube chicken waffle sandwich before switching to a dinner menu with Cebuano bam-I noodles, lechon, and sisig.

For Filipinos in America adjusting to life in Chicago, there are these support groups to help them thrive in the city while feeling in tune with their culture:

  • AFIRE Chicago – The Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment offer free legal clinics, citizenship assistance, and even first aid training for Filipino workers in Chicago.
  • Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago – This organization upholds Filipino-American history in Chicago. They also offer a chance for Filipinos to socialize by hosting events, such as their Santacruzan Annual Fashion Show and Filipino fiesta.

How Filipinos in America send money home

How Filipinos in America send money home

Between work and fun, Filipinos in America still take time to send money to their loved ones in the Philippines.

They do this by using convenient remittance services like Kabayan Remit.

Kabayan Remit allows Filipinos in America to send money to major banks in the Philippines (coming soon), including:

  • BPI
  • RCBC
  • Metrobank
  • BDO

It even facilitates cash deliveries through home delivery or through to major cash pick-up locations, such as:

  • Cebuana Llhuillier
  • Palawan Pawnshop
  • LBC

And while Filipinos in America are stuck in their commute, they use the Kabayan Remit app to conveniently pay these bills:

  • Government contributions
  • Insurance
  • Philippine real estate investments
  • Car fees

Life for Filipinos in America can be challenging, but they have a community of kabayans and Filipino-centred services like Kabayan Remit that look out for them.

For more information on Kabayan Remit, visit kabayanremit.com or download the mobile app (iOS or Android) to open a free account. Your first remittance is free of charge.


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