Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana

October is Filipino American History Month, which celebrates the past, present, and future of Filipino-Americans. It’s been celebrated since the late 1980s and was set during this month because the earliest recorded proof of Filipinos entering what would become the United States took place in October of 1587. California and Hawaii now have large Filipino populations and communities have sprung up like Historic Filipinotown (also known as P-Town) in the Echo Park/Silverlake area of Los Angeles.

I was actually in Silverlake last week for a job interview and decided to stop by the nation’s largest Filipino American mural, “Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana (Filipino Americans: A Glorious History, A Golden Legacy)” located in the small Unidad Park. I’ve actually been to this place multiple times since I was involved in a few Filipino organizations at UCLA, but it’s been recently renovated with new images being added to represent the more modern era. I also once organized a trip open to all UCLA students that included us visiting the mural to learn a little bit more about Filipino and Filipino-American history. The mural was created by Eliseo Art Silva in 1995 and is one of Historic Filipinotown’s key landmarks.

As you go along from the left side of the mural to the right, you see important people and historical events that influenced the lives of Filipinos and Filipino Americans, past and present. A large span of time is covered, showcasing our common legacy. Here are some of the key figures and images that you can expect to find:

  • Lapu Lapu, a datu who fought Magellan and resisted early colonization
  • Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras
  • Baybayin writing script of the Philippines
  • Jose Rizal, wearing a barong, even though he was often photographed in Western attire
  • Gabriela Silang, Emilio Aguinaldo, and Andres Bonifacio
  • Philippine eagle and a carabao

  • Carlos Bulosan, author of America is in the Heart
  • Boxer Pancho Villa and Olympic gold medalist Victoria Manalo Draves
  • “Positively No Filipinos Allowed”
  • Bataan Death March of World War II
  • Pete Velasco, Andy Imutan, Cesar Chavez, farm workers, and the Delano Grape Strike
  • Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong
  • To the left and not pictured: Manila Village in Louisiana, one of the first settlements of Filipinos in the United States

  • Corazon Aquino and the People Power revolution
  • Two images of Ninoy Aquino, one in life and one in death
  • Roman Gabriel, football player for the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles
  • Filipinos in the arts such as Alfonso Ossorio, Cecile Licad, and Lea Solonga
  • Pedro Flores, considered the first yo-yo maker in the United States
  • Historic Filipinotown freeway sign and WWII Veterans memorial

  • Various community leaders, including Helen Brown, founder of the Filipino American Library in Historic Filipinotown
  • Hollywood stars representing Filipinos in entertainment
  • Jessica Sanchez, runner up on Season 11 of American Idol
  • Ben Cayetano of Hawaii, first Filipino-American to serve as a governor
  • Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)
  • Charice, Manny Pacquiao, and Apl.de.ap

Of course, there are many more things that I didn’t mention so it really is worth going to check out this amazing piece of art in person. It’ll be interesting to see what else the mural will end up depicting in the future.

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