UPDATE on October 24, 2023: It was standing-room-only at Mel’s talk last night. I purchased an autographed copy of his book after his amazing talk that included insights such as the first known Filipinos to arrive in California were slaves escaping from Spanish and Japanese cargo ships, and the first Filipino to arrive at Mare Island was a nurse for a U.S. Navy officer’s family. Mel mentioned his book is available for sale at Alibi Bookshop in downtown Vallejo.
UPDATE on Oct. 22, 2023: I just learned that Filipino-Americans represent 28% of the population in our 94591 zip code, as compared to 4% statewide and 1% in the United States overall, according to ZIPatlas at https://zipatlas.com/us/ca/vallejo/zip-code-comparison/percentage-filipino-population.htm. That’s fascinating to me. I’m eager to learn more about Filipinos in Vallejo tomorrow.
Did you know that October is Filipino American History Month? When I first moved to Hiddenbrooke in 2012 I was surprised to see so many neighbors of Fil-Am descent. But it made more sense when I considered our proximity to the former Mare Island naval base. During my Navy years stationed in San Diego, I got to know a little about Filipino cuisine and enjoyed visiting the Philippines when my ship pulled into Subic Bay.
I’m eager to learn about the history of Filipinos in Vallejo so I plan to attend a talk by Mel Orpilla on Monday, October 23 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Joseph room at the downtown library branch at 505 Santa Clara Street in Vallejo. The talk is free and no reservation is needed. I learned from Mel’s website that he is the author of the book “Filipinos in Vallejo” and a lifelong resident of Vallejo. His father arrived in America in 1926. You can learn more about Mel and Fil-Am history at https://www.orpilla.com/filipino_american_history.
The Solano County Library’s Facebook page about the October 23 event promises that “Author, historian and Filipino American advocate Mel Orpilla will discuss his book “Filipinos in Vallejo”, providing a fascinating insider’s look at Filipino history and culture. Passionate about the importance of this rich heritage, Mel has dedicated his efforts towards a greater understanding and awareness of Vallejo’s Filipino community. Join us for Mel’s presentation followed by a book signing. Traditional Filipino “merienda” or snacks will be served.” Learn more about the library at https://solanolibrary.com/
Before Mel’s talk, you’re invited to a Hiddenbrooke Neighbor Meet-up on Monday, October 23, 2023, from 4:00-5:30 p.m. @ Bambino’s Pizza which is at 301 Georgia Street in downtown Vallejo, just a block from the library. No RSVP needed; just show up at Bambino’s and then, if you want, you can go with me over to the library just before the 6:00 p.m. start for the talk. I haven’t been to Bambino’s, but Vanessa Nelson and several others have suggested we meet there, and I noticed they have a happy hour menu every weekday. See their menu at https://www.bambinosvallejo.com/.