Anti-Filipino sentiment

Anti-Filipino sentiment refers to the general dislike or hate towards the Philippines, Filipinos or Filipino culture.

Incidents by country

United States


A newspaper clipping from the Boston Sunday Globe depicting a Filipino blackface before and after the expansion of the United States to the Philippines. The clipping portrays the transformation of the Filipino from being "barbaric" to a "civilized man".

It was the American colonization of the Philippines that instigated the immigration of many Filipinos into America, either as pensionados, who came to further pursue their studies, or as laborers, who worked for Hawaii plantations, California farms, and the Alaska fishing industry. The 1924 Immigration Act stipulated that Filipinos were neither U.S. citizens nor foreigners but rather were colonized people. Technically they were American nationals.[1]

Ethnic discrimination towards Filipinos in America was evident during the American colonial period in the Philippines. Filipinos were often labelled as half-civilized or half-savage, worthless, uneducated and unscrupulous.[citation needed] Filipinos were perceived to be taking the jobs of white Americans. They were accused of attracting white women which led to the passing of an anti-miscegenation law.[2] Crime and violence were likely to be associated with Filipinos and they were shunned for their substandard living conditions where, in one instance, there were as many as twenty people sleeping in one room.[citation needed] These were merely racial prejudices. Filipino immigrants in America were affected by various socio-economic factors. The majority of Filipino immigrants of that era were men. The gender ratio of Filipino males to females in California then was approximately 14 to 1. Filipino workers were forced to live in poor conditions since they were poorly paid. [3]

The first documented incident occurred on New Year's Eve 1926, in Stockton, when Filipinos were stabbed and beaten.[2][4] These anti-Filipino attacks increased with the Great Depression.[5] Thus the Stockton 1926 attack was not the last: in November 1927 Filipinos were attacked in Yakima Valley, Washington;[6] in September 1928, Filipinos were attacked in Wenatchee Valley, Washington;[7] in October 1929, Filipinos were attacked in Exeter, California;[4] and in January 1930, Filipinos were attacked in Watsonville, California during the Watsonville Riots leading to the death of Fermin Tobera.[4][8] In Stockton's Little Manila, the Filipino Federation of America building was bombed.[9]

World War II was a significant turning point for American views towards Filipinos. During the early period of the war, Filipinos were prohibited to join the army.[10] However, in 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt allowed Filipinos to serve in the armed forces. Many Filipinos fought with Americans in Asia and Europe while some opted to be civilians involved in mobilization efforts during the war. Filipinos earned acceptance and admiration by the end of the war. The United States recognized and affirmed the Filipinos' right to citizenship with the amended Nationality Act of 1940. Through the amendment, non-citizens who joined the military were given opportunity to attain citizenship. About ten thousand Filipinos became American citizens through the amendment.[11]


Hong Kong

Between 1970–80s, Hong Kong saw the rise of Filipino population. Many of these Filipinos are working as domestic helpers.[12] The increase number of Filipino population there has created clash between Hong Kong residents and Filipino workers. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong launched an advocacy that Filipinos were causing a significant rise of local unemployment in Hong Kong and costing billions in welfare treatment.[13]

Anti-Filipino sentiment in Hong Kong rose after the 2010 hostage crisis, in which a bus full of mostly Hong Kong tourists was fatally besieged by a disgruntled Filipino police officer,[12] and where subsequent investigations found Filipino officials' handling of the hostage crisis to be directly responsible for the hostages' deaths.[13][14][15] Tensions eased after Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras and Joseph Estrada secretly went to Hong Kong to talk to officials and the victim's families.[16]


In 2016, anti-Filipino sentiment exists within the Confederation of Indonesian Worker's Unions (KPSI) organization after the recent kidnappings of Indonesian citizens by Sulu-based terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf. A protest was held by a group of Indonesian protesters of KPSI when they gathered in front of the Philippine Embassy in Indonesia, holding banners that read "Go to hell Philippines and Abu Sayyaf" and "Destroy the Philippines and Abu Sayyaf" to demanding more action from the Philippine government to fighting terrorism in their country which has since affected neighbouring countries.[17][18]



The anti-Filipino sentiment is most notable in the state of Sabah in Malaysia due to a large presence of Filipino Moro illegal immigrants causing simmering resentment in the state.[19] The Sabahan locals refer to the illegal immigrants from the southern Philippines as "Pilak" which means (Filipino illegal immigrants) pejoratively.[20] The cause of this anti sentiment is due to the Muslims Filipino illegals immigrants who arrived in the 1970s from the Southern Philippines insurgency[21] bringing along their social problems, culture of crime, and poverty conditions as well as taking away jobs, business opportunities and allegedly stealing Sabahan native land (NCR) in the state.[19] This hatred was further strengthened when many of these illegal immigrants were involved in crime mostly robbery, murder and rape. Locals became the main victims which has affected the security of the state as evidenced by the recent 1985 ambush, 2000 kidnappings and 2013 standoff.[22][23][24][25][26] Large amounts had been spent for these Filipino illegal immigrants life maintenance and the amount remains unpaid until today despite attempts to recover the monies. Sabah Health Department said that infectious disease among the illegal immigrants was on the rise resulting to more expenditures, as well as provisions for more funds to accommodate the logistics such as medical officers and others.[27]


The estimated number of Filipinos working in Singapore tripled in the past decade to about 167,000 as of 2013, according to Philippines census data. Amid increasing general resentment towards foreigners, a backlash towards Filipinos has taken place in Singapore. In 2014, a plan to hold a Philippine Independence Day celebration on Singapore's main shopping street Orchard Road was cancelled following online complaints by some Singaporeans who said the space was special to locals. One blogger called the move "insensitive", saying: "Celebrating your Independence Day openly in the public (especially [at a] iconic/tourist location like Orchard Road) is provocative".[28][29]

Anti-Filipino sentiment has continued to swirl online, culminating in a blog titled "Blood Stained Singapore" suggesting ways to abuse Filipinos, calling them "an infestation". The suggestions, which included pushing Filipinos out of trains and threats to spray insecticide on them eventually caused the blog to be taken down by Google for infringing content rules.[30][31]


Anti-Filipino sentiment in Taiwan was noticeable in 2013 as a result of the Philippine Coast Guard killing a Taiwanese fisherman.[32] Subsequently, there was widespread discrimination towards Filipino workers with Taiwanese businesses taking off any Filipino related products from their shelves and some shops refusing to welcome Filipino customers.[32][33] Sanctions placed by the Taiwanese government were removed after an official apology from the Philippine side was made.[34]

United Kingdom

Following a poisoning incident in a United Kingdom hospital in 2011, hundreds of Filipino nurses complained of a rise in racist attacks and discrimination towards them. This was especially true after a report by British tabloid, the Daily Mail with a headline of “NHS still hiring Filipino nurses” was published shortly after a Filipino nurse, Victorino Chua was found guilty of murdering two patients and poisoning 19 more.[35][36][37]