Exhibit: Pinoytown Rising: Filipino Americans in Santa Clara Valley

Pinoytown Rising logo with a collage of black and white photos

Pinoytown Rising Exhibit: September 8 – November 30, 2023

Image: Filipinas pose near Pinoytown canneries in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of the Bacosa Family.
Image: Filipinas pose near Pinoytown canneries in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of the Bacosa Family.

San José Public Library's California Room, in collaboration with local historian Robert Ragsac, proudly presents Pinoytown Rising: Filipino Americans in Santa Clara Valley.

About the Exhibit

The exhibit focuses on the "First Wave" Filipinos who immigrated to the U.S. and settled in the Santa Clara Valley during the first half of the 20th century. Many worked in agriculture and settled in San José's "Pinoytown," an area nestled between Heinlenville Chinatown and Japantown. Attendees can expect a rich display of artifacts, historical photographs, traditional clothing, uniforms, and various materials generously loaned by the descendants of these pioneer families.

More Details

Special Event: October 14

Join the descendants of local pioneer Filipino families as they recount family stories and discuss their experiences growing up as second-generation Filipino Americans during the Depression, World War II, and the Post-War era.

View the event here:

Talk Story:  Tales of First Wave Filipinos in the Valley of Heart's Delight


Robert Ragsac: Robert is a retired aerospace engineer who devotes his time to the local Filipino American community. He is a board member of the Filipino American National Museum in Stockton, the organizer of the San Jose Pinoytown walking tour, and a frequent guest speaker with academic and community groups.

Ben Lagasca: Ben is a retired electro-mechanical engineer, a college art instructor, activist, and contemporary artist. He is a founding member of SIPA (Search To Involve Pilipino Americans), and has served with many organizations and councils including the Asian American Service Committee, the California Art Council, the Filipino Service Center, and more.

Myrna Undajon: Myrna grew up on San Jose’s Undajon Farms, where she discovered a love of food that would last a lifetime. She is a Master Food Preservers agent through UC Cooperative Extension, and active with the Bald Eagle Preservation Program through Friends of Lakes Folsom and Natoma.

Elaine Ragsac Quibelan: Elaine was born in 1936 and grew up in San Jose’s Pinoytown. She worked as a director at Mary Kay and an Executive Administrator with the Intel Corporation.

Pinky Reintar: Eugene “Pinky” Reintar was born in the WWII relocation camp at Topaz, Utah, and grew up on Sixth Street in San Jose, where he experienced Pinoytown in its heyday. He worked as a barber until retiring in 2011, and remains active in the Filipino community.

Additional Resources

Further Reading from the California Room