Bookshop celebrates Carlos Bulosan on Filipino American History Month

Novelist and poet Carlos Bulosan. Photo: From the Collection of the University of Washington Libraries

Novelist and poet Carlos Bulosan. Photo: From the Collection of the University of Washington Libraries

The book, “America Is in the Heart: A Personal History” by Carlos Bulosan will be the center of the Filipino American History Month celebration on Saturday, October 25. The event is sponsored by Philippine Expressions Bookshop and is free and open to the public.

It will be held at Search to Involve Filipino Americans (SIPA) from 2:00pm to 5:00pm. SIPA is located at 3200 West Temple St., Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles. RSVP is requested via Facebook of Friends of Philippine Expressions Bookshop or via email: linda@philippineexpressionsbookshop or by phone: 310-514-9139. The 2014 republication of “America Is in the Heart” comes with a new Introduction by Marilyn C. Alquizola and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi.

At 2:00pm, “Remembering our Manongs,” a 56-minute documentary on Sonoma County’s Filipino history will be shown to open the program. The film was produced by the Filipino American Historical Society (FANHS), Sonoma County Chapter and the California Council for Humanities. The film explores the history of the earliest Filipino immigrants in Sonoma County. Their story is one of tenacity and endurance coupled with an extraordinary sense of community. Mostly single young men, they began arriving in California during the 1920’s. Attracted by the promise of year-round work and pleasant weather, approximately 100 Manongs settled in the area at a time when Sonoma County’s agricultural production was the fifth largest in the United States. Their inspirational story is told by surviving members and their families, as well as descendants of former employers, and other key figures in Sonoma County. The film’s Project Team include Patricia Viloria Romero, Alicia Viloria Watson, Karen Mejia Pennrich, Josie Quimado, Delia Lanosa Rapolla and Florianne Noweksky.

At 3:15pm, Marilyn C. Alquizola and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi will share fresh insights on Bulosan’s classic memoir. First published in 1946, “America is in the Heart” has been described as the premier text on the Filipino American Experience. The book describes Bulosan’s boyhood in the Philippines, his voyage to America, and his years of hardship and despair as an itinerant laborer following the harvest trail in the rural West.

Carlos Bulosan (1913-1956) was an English-language Filipino novelist and poet. He immigrated to the United States at age 17 and worked as a farmworker, dishwasher, and ultimately, as a labor organizer in both Washington and California. An autobiographical masterpiece, his book gives an unflinching account of the oppressive poverty that drove young men like Bulosan from their homeland and the brutality of life in America during the 1920s and 1930s.

In the new 2014 edition, Alquizola and Hirabayashi eloquently situate this classic work within a contemporary context while also highlighting the book’s legacy in Filipino American literature as well as in labor and immigration history. Alquizola, formerly professor of Asian American Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is an expert on Carlos Bulosan and had taught Filipino American Literature courses at various universities. She is co-author of Bulosan’s Laughter: The Making of Carlos Bulosan; Our Own Voice (2006) and Privileging Positions: The Sites of Asian American Studies (1995). book

Lane Ryo Hirabayashi is The George and Sakaye Aratani Professor of the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community at UCLA and co-author of “A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States.”

Both of them will be signing copies of the book, which is now also available in an unabridged audio edition. Consisting of ten compact discs, total playing time is approximately 12 hours. Narrator Jose Hortsman Omila is the executive director of the Philippine Performance Arts Company and the Bayanihan Arts Center in Tampa Bay, Florida. Both the book and audio can be ordered after the event by phone (310) 514-9139 or thru Literally Yours, the bookshop’s blog: or by email:

At 4:00pm is the Q & A with Carlene Sobrino Bonnivie, a resource discussant for questions regarding early Filipinos of an area in Los Angeles which has since been declared as Historic Filipinotown. She is the co-editor of “Filipinotown: Voices from Los Angeles,” together with Gerald C. Gubatan and Gregory Villanueva.

The Philippine Expressions Bookshop is based in Rancho Palos Verdes. It was established in 1984 as a mail-order bookshop dedicated to Filipino Americans in search
of their roots. For major community events, it sets up a Pop Up Bookshop where people can browse. This year, it celebrates 30 years of service to the FilAm community all over the US. Visit Friends of Philippine Expressions Bookshop on facebook and be a Friend. Also visit Literally Yours, the bookshop’s blog: Co-sponsors of the celebration include SIPA, The Friends of Echo Park Library and Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier. Both SIPA and Echo Park Library are located in Historic Filipinotown where Bonnivier grew up.

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