The eldest son of Filipino immigrants, Peter was born in 1930 in Oakdale, California and raised on a Filipino farm worker camp operated by his parents in nearby Livingston.  After attending public schools, he spent four years with the U.S. Navy and saw duty in the Korean War.  He married the former Terri Romero in 1953.  Peter balanced raising a family with part-time work while attending college at San Jose State and UCLA, where he received a master’s degree in 1957.  Later he attended Stanford University as a Public Affairs Fellow in 1969-70.

Despite not speaking English until the first grade and without the benefit of affirmative action programs (yet to be enacted), he went on to a successful career as a top level executive directing multi-million dollar health and human service programs in federal, state, and local government and in the private non-profit sector.  He also served as a faculty member at the medical school of the University of Washington.

Specifically, he was formerly assistant secretary of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, director of the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, director of the King County (WA)  Department of Human Resources, vice president of the United Way of King County, executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, assistant professor of Rehabilitation Medicine of the University of Washington, branch chief in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in Washington, D.C.; and executive director of the Asian American Recovery Services in San Francisco. 

He did not neglect his Filipino roots, and was active with numerous community organizations and boards including several terms as founding national vice-president of the Filipino American National Historical Society.

Peter credits whatever success he may have enjoyed in life to the hard work of his parents, the strong support from his wife, and the promise of a better future for his children and grandchildren.  

Peter lost his wife Terri in 2009 after fifty-six happy years of marriage.  Retired since 1995, Peter lives in Atwater, California.  He spends most of his time listening to jazz, folowing the New York Yankees, doing yard work, solving crossword puzzles and being a loving father to his six children and doting grandfather to his fifteen grandchildren. He did find the time, however, to write his book,Growing Up Brown: Memoirs of a Filipino American, published by the University of Washington Press in 2006. His latest book is Vanishing Filipino Americans: The Bridge Generation published by University Press of America in 2011.



  1. Its been many many years…I do remember you and Terri, your family in Livingston. I am Don del Pilar’s cousin Teddy (Tabellija) Tjaden. My father was Ted C. Tabellija (1924 – 1983) and my mother was Lena Caliso Tabellija (1925 -2014) Its wonderful to see how well you have done. Enjoy all the fruits of your labors.

    1. Of course I remember you. So good to hear from you after all these years. I saw your Mom a number of times at old timer reunions, but not you. She was a wonderful woman, we all miss her. I’ve also seen Don. Thanks for your kind words about what you learned from my blog.

  2. I came across your home page by accident while looking for information about Frederick A. Cordova. However, it was not my first to know of you. I first came to know about you some years ago when I was asked by a publisher friend in the Philippines to write about my experience as an American-born American Filipino and while doing research for it came across Growing Up Brown: Memoirs of a Filipino American. I had expressed some reluctance to write about myself as a Filipino to the publisher and she put me onto your book. I read it and felt encouraged to write about myself. Nevertheless, except for the overlapping Filipino aspect our early experiences are quite different.

    I am an 81-year-old Filipino American who went through the unusual experience of receiving my elementary school until the age of 13 in New York City and continuing my high school and college education in Manila. My Filipino father and my American mother decided in 1947 to take their four children to the Philippines so that we could learn first hand about Philippine culture, including the language. I returned to the States in 1956 for graduate studies.

    My early experiences as a Filipino American also vastly deviate in that I did not know any other Filipinos or Asians until I went to the Philippines. I grew up in a white neighborhood and had only white friends. In addition, I am I am different because I grew as an American child in America able to speak the language as a native and living without the hardships that Filipinos were undergoing on the west coast and as a young Filipino in the Philippines able to speak the language as a native and living in comparable comfort.

    My experiences are presented in my latest book, “Amadio’s Box: How I Became Filipino”, that was published by Anvil Publishing, Inc. in the Philippines earlier this year:


    I thought you might be interested in this type of experience as part of the continuing story of Filipino Americans and Filipinos because it provides one of many other voices of Filipinos who were growing up in America at the time.

    Amadio Arboleda
    Adjunct Professor
    Josai International University
    Tokyo, Japan

    1. Hi Amadio: Your experiences as a Filipino American sounds much different than most of your contemporaries. Thanks for letting me know about your book. I’ll be sure to get hold of it. My last book “Vanishing Filipino Americans: the Bridge Generation” exclusively focuses on our generation. However, the book is limited to West Coast Filipino Americans. I’m considering writing another book that would expand our generation’s history to communities with significant Bridge Generation populations such as New York, New Orleans, and Chicago. Your story would be a great addition. You also may be interested in my blog http://www.peterjamero.net, which regularly features Bridge Generation news items.

      Thanks for thinking of me……Peter

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