Filipino American Historical Society

About Us

Mission Statement

The mission of the Filipino American National Historical Society is to promote understanding, education, enlightenment, appreciation, and enrichment through the identification, gathering, preservation and dissemination of the history and culture of Filipino Americans in the United States.

To achieve our mission, we conduct research, provide repositories for data and materials gathered, create and promote published works, and hold public forums. Society members are available upon request to share historical information through presentations, exhibits, and referrals to appropriate resources.

Board Members

President – Karen Mejia Pennrich

Vice President – Alicia Viloria Watson

Secretary & Treasurer – Michael Viloria

Member at Large – Fay Mendoza

Member at Large – James Gimenez

Chapter History

In 1972, members of the Pilipino Youth Alliance of Sonoma County (PYA), an organization dedicated to youth, cultural, and community activities, began collecting oral histories of local manongs (elders) who first settled in Sonoma County during the early 20th century. Thirty-three years later on a sunny December morning, former PYA members, along with friends and family, gathered at Carrows Restaurant in Santa Rosa to reminisce and revive the effort. On that day, we established the Sonoma County chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS). On February 2, 2006, our chapter was officially chartered by FANHS National, which is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Ten days later we held our first official chapter meeting. We then contracted with the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County to hold monthly meetings at their Santa Rosa conference facilities.

Our initial goal was to finish documenting the history of the original manong settlers. By now, most of them had passed away, so chapter members immediately began interviewing their relatives and friends who recalled the manongs' stories, and provided memorabilia chronicling their experiences. Shortly thereafter, our chapter joined Access Healdsburg TV(AHTV), where several members received basic training on filming interviews. AHTV also assisted with our production of a 10-minute documentary film preview. Later that year we joined the Community Media Center of Santa Rosa. That membership proved to be a worthy investment, enabling us to successfully produce the film, Remembering Our Manongs (Elders), Sonoma County's Filipino History.

The rest of our chapter history is captured in the timeline below.

Chapter Timeline

  • February 2006: Chartered FANHS Sonoma County chapter
  • June 2006: Commenced oral history project about first Filipino settlers of Sonoma County
  • November 2006: Produced trailer for planned documentary film. Hosted public screening of trailer.
  • Spring 2007: Received grant from California Council for the Humanities for partial funding of documentary film
  • November 2008: Completed production of documentary film entitled Remembering Our Manongs, Sonoma County’s Filipino History. Hosted public screenings and panel discussions at
    • Rohnert Park Community Center
    • Sonoma County Office of Education
    • Finley Community Center
  • Spring 2009: Remembering Our Manongs aired on PBS, followed by additional Bay Area broadcasts
  • September 2009: Established Kay Baguio Annual Scholarship fund to promote higher education among local youth. Awarded scholarships to graduating high school students annually, 2010- 2015.
  • October 2009: Hosted Remembering Our Manongs screening at San Francisco Asian art Museum
  • June 2010: Presented workshop on “How to Produce and Fund Your Documentary” at FANHS National Conference, Seattle, WA
  • January 2011-2013: Sponsored Warm Clothes Drive, free clothes give-away for those in need
  • May 2011: Hosted Remembering Our Manongs screening, Sonoma State University
  • June 2011-2014: Presented historical exhibits at Filipino-American Community annual Fiesta, Fulton
  • Summer 2011-14: Hosted Annual Picnic for Filipino-American community
  • 2011, 2013: Received Resolution from Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, recognizing chapter’s community contributions
  • November 2011-February 2012: Partnered with Sonoma County Museum to co-sponsor Singgalot, Ties that Bind, a cultural exhibit traveling throughout the U.S. since 2006. Local events included
    • November 2011 Opening reception featuring Kulintang musicians, dances and food of the Philippines
    • December 2011 Remembering Our Manongs film screening and panel discussion
    • February 2012 Family Day in conjunction with closing ceremony and Bay Area FANHS Consortium Holiday party/meeting
  • March 2012: Co-sponsored reading by author Lysley Tenorio, Santa Rosa
  • April 2012: Co-sponsored Asian American Forum, “Embracing and Celebrating Diversity: an Asian American Community Forum,” Sonoma State University
  • June 2012:
    • Presented screening of Remembering Our Manongs at FANHS National Conference, Albuquerque, NM
    • Participated in Human Race fundraiser and Marketplace (4 years)
    • Sponsored reading by author Evelina Galang, Penngrove
  • March 2013: Participated in Santa Rosa International Film Festival with Remembering Our Manongs short screening
  • April 2013: Represented FANHS as performer in Vagina Monologues, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
  • June 2013: Co-sponsored public concert of visiting Filipino indigenous musician, Waway Saway
  • October 2013: Participated in Catwalk for a Cure cancer research fundraiser, Santa Rosa
  • October 2013-2014: Participated in Opening Ceremony of Filipino American History Month at San Francisco Asian Art Museum
  • November 2013-2014: Performed cultural dance and opening chant at Dia de Los Muertos event, Santa Rosa
  • November 2013:
    • Participated in Rededication of Victoria Manalo Park, with music and dance, San Francisco
    • Coordinated collection, packing, and shipping of donations to victims of Typhoon Haiyan
  • January 2014: Participated in Typhoon Haiyan fundraiser, St. Eugene’s Cathedral, Santa Rosa
  • May 2014: Received grant from St. Farm Insurance for community work
  • May 2015: Received Public Proclamation from Santa Rosa City Council, recognizing chapter’s community contributions


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