They are proud of their Filipino heritage and equally as proud of America, now their home.
And so the Filipino-American Association was formed. In fact their motto is, "The Philippines is Our Heritage - America is Our Home."
Seventeen years later and many members later (from 13 families to over 60) they still enjoy getting together for a unique gathering.
The Midwest group met pre-New Year's Eve in Storm Lake for fun and games. And lots and lots of food!
Nestled among the traditional Filipino dishes of fried rice, egg rolls and vegetables were the American favorites - hot dogs and fried chicken. A true collaboration.
Flor Johnsen of Laurens helped in the organization of the group and is so pleased with the number of members who reside in such committees as Storm Lake, Laurens, Cherokee and as far away as Estherville, Sioux City, Clear Lake and Humboldt.
An annual membership fee of $15 for families, $5 for singles - is charged. The dollars are used for a variety of things including providing scholarships to students still residing in the Philippines and showing concern for members.
The gathering always begins with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem as well as "God Bless America." One of the highlights of the gathering is a friendly fashion competition consisting of colorful native costumes from the Philippines.
A small number of members gather at other times throughout the year to promote their group, appearing in many parades, including the Star Spangled Spectacular.