Filipinos in the City: Seattle
I moved to Seattle three years ago after getting married. We decided to settle in Seattle since my husband had been working here for around 15 years and we were fortunate to already be living in a cute little neighborhood located in the northeastern part of the city. We have an active 18-month old daughter, a 10 year old puggle and another little girl on the way, so finding family friendly places and ways to help my children learn more about their Filipino identity has become a priority.
The Pacific Northwest has a more laid back, enjoy nature kind of vibe that I’m slowly learning to appreciate. We live around 10 minutes away from the zoo and there are several parks and playgrounds that are walking distance from where we live. For the days when the weather is not so great, Seattle Parks and Recreations provides free indoor play spaces in various community centers and the Seattle Public Library offers storytime for babies, toddlers and families at their different locations. I am hoping Seattle will be our home for a few more years at least and want to take full advantage of all it has to offer -- do a little more hiking, try crabbing and foraging and maybe experience sleeping in a yurt!
Finding our Filipino
I honestly didn’t know that much about the Filipino community in Seattle before moving here. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was a population of around 90,000 Filipinos in Washington State, large enough to warrant having a Jollibee (Red Ribbon and Chowking)! I have heard that there are more Filipinos who live south of the city but even up north, it feels that I bump into or hear Tagalog every so often, especially when I’m in shopping malls such as Northgate.
I have also found out that Filipinos have a place in Seattle history, with a “Little Manila” in the International District in the past as well as Jose Rizal Park near Beacon Hill.
So far the Filipinos I’ve met have been friends of friends but I’m hoping to connect with the greater Filipino community here as well. I’ve been to the Filipino Community of Seattle once to register that I was married but they do offer senior and youth programs and sponsor a lot of different events. I plan to explore this community a little more and keep you posted!
While not specifically Filipino, the Families of Color organizes parent groups and has also been a good way to connect with other families with young children. In the parent group I recently I did meet some Filipinos and hoping to meet more this way too.
Seafood City is located in the Southcenter Mall and is a big Filipino grocery chain from California. There is a food court where you can get inihaw and all things grilled and some sweets and is also next to the Jollibee and Chowking. When I go here, I feel like I’m back in Manila with the sheer number of Filipinos in the vicinity.
Oriental Mart is a small Filipino grocery and restaurant at the heart of Pike Place Market! They have a decent selection of Filipino essentials in their store (e.g. Mang Tomas, Datu Puti, Jufran etc.). I haven’t tried the food from the turo-turo myself but I’ve heard the Sinigang na Salmon and Longganisa are pretty good! The other unique thing about this place that I just laugh about are the number of “interesting” signs with attitude the owner has placed to make her opinions clear.
Manila, Manila – small Filipino grocery that also sells food in Lake City which is probably the closest to where I live. I have not gone here because I always think of coming on a Sunday when it is closed! It looks like it has gotten great reviews so hopefully make it over soon.
Surprisingly I recently found out that the Fred Meyer and QFC, two big American chain grocery stores near me sells clover chip, piattos and v-cut! 😊
Unfortunately a couple of Filipino restaurants have closed recently but new ones seem to be opening up, and there also seems to be Filipino pop-ups coming every so often. Here are a few places where I’ve had Filipino/Filipino inspired food that I’ve tried (and are still around as of this writing)
Hood Famous – I haven’t tried their famous cheesecake but their ube cookies and calamansi bars are super yummy! 😊
Barkada – an actual restaurant (not turo-turo) that has a nice atmosphere and good food.
Ludi’s - surprisingly good silog meals. I brought a non-Filipino friend over and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
SOME OTHER ESSENTIALS
Tahanan books – I recently found out that Tahanan books has a branch in Seattle and you can pick up some of their Filipino children’s books here