Social Life

Social Life

Bowling

Courtesy of Stockton Chapter, Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS)

Little Manila in the mid century was a vibrant and diverse city full of entertainment. From pool halls to dancing, Little Manila had all the entertainment of a large city packed into a couple square blocks. For Filipino/as, the intersection of South El Dorado and East Lafayette served as the city center where tradition intertwined with the new age.  Filipino men would flock to the streets in their best macintosh suits and florsheim shoes and engage in a multitude of social activities such as gambling or even cockfighting, which was a traditional social activity brought over from the Philippines. Restaurants were scattered on every block and served a variety of cuisines from chinese food at places like Gan Chy Restaurant to traditional dishes such as adobo and lumpia at the Lafayette Lunch Counter, and they were always full. Restaurants and Caf├ęs were not only places to get your favorites meals, but they were also places for community members to congregate and tell stories, conversate, and reconnect.

Cock Fighting

Courtesy of Stockton Chapter, Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS)

Socially, Little Manila was a hub of FIlipino culture not only because of the businesses that were present but because it was a space for Filipinos to safely and without prejudice live and act the Filipino way. For instance, when Filipinos first immigrated to America they were told to gather in the intersection of El Dorado and Lafayette street in order to meet up with family members and friends, essentially being sent right to the heart of Filipino American society. Little Manila  truly was the heart of society for many Filipinos for it was not only where they began their journeys but in many ways where they could embody their cultural identities without fear of prejudice.

Queen Anita Bautista

Courtesy of FANHS