Site Dedication

Site Dedication

Inscription on the Historical Marker

A resolution was passed in 1992 by FANHS board of trustees, to proclaim October as Filipino American History Month, commencing in the year 1992 to mark the 405th Anniversary of the presence of Filipinos in the United States.

One of FANHS’s priorities is to encourage each of FANHS chapters to submit to the trustees, proper historical sites in the development of Filipino Americans in their respective areas – up to 1945. Chapters elected to spearhead the efforts of installing a Historical Marker in Morro Bay to commemorate the landing of the First Filipinos in the Continental United States in 1587.

With copies of FANHS’s resolution for Filipino American History Month and the Morro Bay landing, we contacted Dave Howell, City Administrator of Morro Bay. Honored to be a part of Filipino American history, the City of Morro Bay invited representatives of our chapter to their meeting on September 26, 1994. Mayor William Yates presented our chapter with a Proclamation endorsing the month of October as Filipino History Month, with permission to install a historical marker. In November, we met with Andrea Luker, Recreation and Parks Director of Morro Bay to choose a mutually acceptable site. Which is in Coleman Park near the foot of the famous Morro Rock.

We contacted FANHS National Office of our chapter’s efforts and needed approval to make this a National project for FANHS. And to allow our chapter to solicit funds from the trustees, chapters, and members, to help undermine the purchase and engraving of a large bronze plaque to be mounted to a three (3) ton granite boulder. We also suggested FANHS to hold the next Board of Trustees meeting in Morro Bay to coincide with the dedication ceremonies to be held on October 21, 1995. All these requests were presented to FANHS Board of Trustees for approval at their next Board of Trustees meeting in Seattle, Washington on February 18, 1995.

On February 22, 1995, Virgil Pilapil, Trustees’ President informed us that everything we asked for had been approved. FANHS chapters and members were notified of our project.

During a year of planning, our chapter held numerous fund raising activities. The overwhelming congratulatory responses and donations we received from FANHS chapters and members enabled us to meet our target date for the dedication on October 21, 1995.

To celebrate the dedication at noon on Saturday, October 21, 1995, more than 500 persons twice the amount we had anticipated, including more than 300 FANHS members nationwide, college students and interested persons gathered at Coleman Park to witness the dedication and unveiling of the historical marker. “The atmosphere was charged with anticipation and unification”, stated a member of FANHS. Cameras, video and tape recorders were abundant.

Margie Cabatuan Talaugon, Master of ceremonies and chapter member, welcomed everyone for attending and introduced the dignitaries.

One of the guest speakers during the ceremony, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bud Laurant, said “This memorial is long overdue in recognizing the many contributions of the Filipino Americans not only in this county, not in this state, but throughout the nation. This rock (marker) you have chosen will be a symbol of the abiding strength of the Filipino American community in this country.”

Dr. Virgilio Pilapil, FANHS President, emphasized, “In today’s installation of the historic marker, we have begun to acknowledge the beginning of an on-going role of Filipino Americans towards the pursuit of our country’s evolution and towards what it is today. I thank the members of the California Central Coast Chapter for initiating this worthy project.”

Impromptu speakers were: FANHS Executive Director, Dorothy Cordova who said, “We the Filipino people are sleeping giants politically, economically and historically,” and founding President Emeritus, Fred Cordova declared, “We are always talking about unity and today we should hold hands because this landmark is Unity.”

Peter Jamero, FANHS First Vice-President, and chapter member Joe Talaugon a Filipino-Chumash Indian descent, both thanked everyone for their support and attending the ceremonies. Joe Talaugon also thanked everyone on behalf of the Chumash Indians.

The introduction of two city officials of Filipino American descent from the nearby City of Guadalupe, Mayor Renee Pili and City Councilman Ariston Julian, sons’ of pioneer immigrants, was a nice surprise to many as there have not been many Filipino Americans of our generation elected to public office in their region.

Chapter members, Vice-President, Ted Munar; Iree Abenido Cabreana and member Raoul Bagood slowly unveiled the maroon cover off the marker as Chapter President, Ernie Cabreana read the inscription on the marker.

Entertainment and lunch followed at the Morro Bay Community Center. The crowds’ hearts were warmed as they entered the Center and during the luncheon, by The Little Rondallas from Santa Maria, grade school youngsters playing native Filipino songs with stringed instruments. The group was sponsored by the Central Coast Filipino Coalition. The luncheon was catered by the Los Osos Filipino Community, who donated their services led by their President, Albert Calizo, also a member of our chapter.

The Pilipino Cultural Exchange Club from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo delighted the audience with Filipino native songs and dances. Highlighted by their stick dance and their modified version of the Tinikling, a bamboo dance. Rosalie Salutan Marquez, a member of FANHS-CCCC ended the entertainment with a Hawaiian hula dance.

Main speakers at the Community Center were, Dr. Virglio Pilapil, Fred Cordova and Eloisa Gomez Borha. Pilapil was proud to say, “Today is a great day for Filipino Americans and I am really especially happy because we have finally recognized something that should have been known for a long time to all of us that is the presence and participation of Filipinos in the exploration of our country and subsequent involvement in the evolution of today’s celebration.”

Eloisa Gomez Borha, Head of public Services, UCLA and Trustee of FANHS, and primary researcher of the Manila Galleon Trade history, concentrated on Unamuno’s voyage from the Philippines to Morro Bay and the participation of the Filipinos in the landing and exploration at Morro Bay.

One of the programs highlight was an Indian ceremony performed by Choi Slo, who is of Chumash and Filipino descent. Slo’s given name is George Pagaling, Jr. His father was an immigrant pioneer who married a Chumash Indian. Choi Slo was joined by his partner, Running Water to perform dances welcoming the Filipinos. After 400 years, the Filipino adventurers were finally welcomed by the original settlers.

FANHS Board of Trustee held their bi-annual meeting at the Center, following the festivities, capping off a very inspiring, memorable, and successful celebration. Certainly one FANHS is proud of.


“Native Americans CF California and Nevada”
Revised Edition by Jack Forbes
1989 Printing
Copyright@1982 by Naturegraph Publishers

“The March of Portola and the Discovery of the Bay of San Franciso”
By Zoeth S. Eldredge
The California Promotion Committee
San Francisco 1909

Morro Bay RockHistorical Landmark located at Coleman Park, Morro Bay, CA

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