Filipino Love Stories

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet HomeHome is where the heart is, as the saying goes, but purchasing property or settling in certain areas was not an option equally available across racial/ethnic groups. Despite the hurdles of discrimination or housing covenants that created segregated neighborhoods, such as laws barring Asian immigrants from purchasing property, or dispossession of Native American then later Mexican lands, some individuals still found ways to make a home here.
collage of new Filipino American homes
In 1913 and 1920, California state legislature passed alien land laws which barred aliens ineligible to citizenship, in other words Asian immigrants, from owning or leasing land. Some Japanese immigrants found ways to circumvent the law by purchasing land under the names of their U.S.-born children or creating corporations that purchased land.

Filipinos were also prevented from owning property until 1945. In the California Supreme Court case Alfafara v. Fross, the court held that Celestino Alfafara, a Filipino who came to the U.S. as a “national” when the Philippines was under U.S. colonial rule, was legally not an “alien” and thus not subject to California’s alien land law.

Pete Guion served during World War II and was the first Filipino in Arroyo Grande to purchase a home in town.
Antonio family at their farmAbove: Pete Guion served during World War II and was the first Filipino in Arroyo Grande to purchase a home in town, according to Aida Betita. The purchase of his home was an important event for local Filipinos. Filipino families shared how they were not allowed to purchase homes, perhaps because of restrictions placed on deeds but also because Filipinos were not allowed to buy property until 1945. According to Juliet and Aida Betita, Pete worked for Gabe de Leon on the farm. For a brief period, he managed a small grocery store in Pismo Beach, CA. c. 1949. Courtesy of Juliet Betita.

Left: Fermina “Minnie” Antonio is holding daughter JoAnn. Vicente Antonio and Vincent Antonio, Jr. are standing next to them at the family farm in Grover City (now Grover Beach), CA in 1944. They grew Kentucky Wonder beans. According to Vincent Antonio, his parents had to purchase land under his mother’s name because she was an American citizen while his father, a Filipino migrant, was not allowed to purchase property. Vicente Antonio became a citizen in 1947. He finally bought property (the family home) in Oceano, CA under his name in 1949. Courtesy of Vincent A. Antonio, Jr.

Explore the archive Back to stories

Back to top