Alaskeros, the original Filipino overseas workers (OFWs), are long gone but their contribution to the development of Alaska has not been forgotten.
A busy downtown location in the Alaskan capital of Juneau has been named Manila Square and a bust of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal placed atop a stone pedestal to honor contributions of Filipinos past and present.
“It was a long time coming but a well deserved honor,” said Dante Reyes, a board member of Filipino Community Inc. (FCI), a social, non-profit body formed more than 50 years ago to foster better understanding and brotherhood among Filipinos and other ethnic groups and keep alive their culture, customs and traditions.
Today the Filipinos, estimated at between 2,000 and 2,500, continue to make their mark in Juneau, the third largest city in Alaska after Anchorage and Fairbanks, with a population of about 30,000.
Many of them are immigrants from the early 1970s when immigration to the US was still relatively simple and uncomplicated.
Unlike their nomadic Alaskero forefathers, who worked in the salmon canneries of Alaska in the summer and the farms of California, Washington and Oregon in other seasons, the Filipinos of today are mostly professionals who work for the state or own their businesses.
Read more at Philippine Star