Book on California’s ‘Little Manila’ to have a New York debut on Feb. 12

manila book Not long after 1898, when the United States claimed the Philippines as an American colony, Filipinos became a vital part of the agricultural economy of California’s fertile San Joaquin Delta.

In downtown Stockton, they created Little Manila, a vibrant community of hotels, pool halls, dance halls, restaurants, grocery stores, churches, union halls, and barbershops. It became home to the largest community of Filipinos outside of the Philippines until the neighborhood was decimated by urban redevelopment in the 1960s.

Narrating a history spanning much of the 20th century, Dawn Bohulano Mabalon traces the growth of Stockton’s Filipino American community in the book “Little Manila Is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, CA,” which will launch in New York on February 12 at Purple Yam Restaurant in Brooklyn. The book also chronicles the birth and eventual destruction of Little Manila and recent efforts to preserve it.

“Little Manila Is in the Heart” is a painstakingly researched history of the Filipina/o American community in Stockton,” writes author and scholar Dorothy B. Fujita-Rony. “Dawn Bohulano Mabalon connects that local history to national and global phenomena; examines in depth the roles of gender, religion, and community organizing within Stockton’s Filipina/o American community; and carefully documents the role of development on an urban Asian American community over the past several decades.”

Dawn Bohulano Mabalon

Dawn Bohulano Mabalon

Mabalon is associate professor of history at San Francisco State University, a founder of the Little Manila Foundation, and a national trustee of the Filipino American National Historical Society.

Writer and professor Catherine Ceniza Choy says Mabalon draws on oral histories to “illuminate the pain and joy of building, sustaining, losing, and attempting to preserve Little Manila in Stockton, weaving in with great finesse family history, archival research, and her own activism on behalf of Little Manila’s preservation.”

The book launch is sponsored by Purple Yam Restaurant, Little Manila Foundation, and the New York Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society.

To confirm attendance, RSVP to Amy Besa at To order the book go to:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: