Keeping it real since 2014

What’s Lumpia?! – Part 1

lumpiaOne quirk about joining the civilian world is people are far less apt to know about Filipino culture, more importantly, they don’t know about Filipino food. I’m terribly surprised when someone asks me, what’s Lumpia? How do you not know about this crispy delicious treat of Filipino culture? Why don’t you know the Filipino Mafia is a thing in the military? If you read a bit of this history, I’ll share my Lumpia recipe with you… eventually.

About the Philippines350px-map_of_philippines

The Republic of the Philippines is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia situated in
the western Pacific Ocean. Its home to a population of 85 million people and its landmass covers 111,831 square miles. 94% of Filipinos are Christian, mostly Roman Catholic. The major languages spoken there are English and Filipino/Tagalog, the latter having 8 distinct dialects. Mom speaks Bisaya… I think. People from the Philippines are called Filipinos (male) or Filipinas (female). I am only 50% Filipina, so I guess you could call me a “Hapa Hoale”… but I prefer Julianne.

palawan-philippines-coron-cr-alamyIn 1521 Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Philippines for Spain, which ceded the islands to the U.S. in 1898. The violent Philippine-America War followed from 1899 to 1902, resulting in a U.S. victory and conquest of the island nation. For 42 years the U.S. claimed the Philippines as a U.S. territory, directing its government, altering its religious institutions, and mandating English become the language of business and education. During this time Filipinos were unrestricted from immigrating to the US by the Immigration Act of 1917 that restricted other Asians. The U.S. granted independence in 1946, following World War II and the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, through the Treaty of Manila.

The Philippines & The U.S. Navy: AKA the Filipino Mafia787c98294524d1428f5d41f5b95b785a1

Why are there so many darn Filipinos in the Navy anyway?

Filipino culture is deeply intertwined in naval culture for many reasons. Tens of thousands of Filipinos
have served in the Navy since the end of the Spanish-American War, when the Philippines became a U.S. colony. In addition, thousands of American servicemen served and visited U.S. Naval Station Subic Bay, meeting and marrying Filipina women (my dad was one of them!)

In 1898 President William McKinley released an Executive order stating that the U.S. military would seize military assets, bases and land, in the Philippines. Part of that Executive Order was the opportunity for Filipinos to enlist as American Sailors. Potenciano Parel abandoned his theological studies, assumed the name Tomas Dolopo and became the first Filipino to officially join the U.S. Navy. Since then, Filipino sailors have fought in every conflict involving the U.S. armed forces since 1900.1438290750125

The Navy formally began recruiting 400 men a year in 1947, when the United States and
the Philippines signed the military bases agreement. During this time, Filipinos were the only foreign nationals allowed to enlist in the U.S. armed forces without first immigrating to this country. And the Navy was the only military branch they could join.

Though many Filipino Sailors faced racist attitudes and hard labor at sea, Navy service held many benefits for them. Filipino veterans of conflicts, from World War I through Vietnam, were granted a swift and relatively easy path through the naturalization process. The formal recruitment program ended in 1992 with the establishment of a new Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

On the eve of Philippine independence, the US Congress passed the War Brides Act of 1945 titled, “Admission of Alien Spouses and Alien Minor Children of Citizen Members of the United States Armed Forces.” Of the estimated 300,000 foreign war brides, 51,747 were Filipinos, and 2,215 immediately immigrated to the United States.

300px-nas_cubi_point_and_ns_subic_bayIn addition to the Navy enlisting Filipino men for service, many servicemen also married Filipina women. Because they are the prettiest, most awesome women ever. But also because from 1945-1992 the U.S. Navy base in the Philippines, Subic Bay was the largest overseas military installation in United States History.

Several studies have shown that a confluence of factors led to the emergence of Filipino war brides. As with many locales juxtaposed near warzone, women married American servicemen in the aftermath of the war because of the population imbalance after the war, economic insecurity, racial biases, prevailing cultural norms and perceptions, and intimacy.

Filipino America Today

Immigration reform in the 1960s increased Filipino migration to the United States. The 2010 Census counted 3.4 million Filipino Americans, while the United States Department of State in 2011 estimated the total at 4 million, or 1.1% of the U.S. population.

“Pinoy” is an informal demonym referring to the Filipino people in the Philippines and their culture as well as to overseas Filipinos in the Filipino diaspora. Significant populations of Filipino Americans can be found in California, Hawaii, the New York metropolitan area and Washington, New Jersey, Illinois, and Texas. Filipino Americans may be mistaken for members of other racial/ethnic groups, such as Latinos or Pacific Islanders, as evident by the amount of times I have to say, daily, “I DON’T speak Spanish!”

Of the ten largest immigrant groups, Filipino Americans have the highest rate of assimilation.[97] with exception to the cuisine;[98] Filipino Americans have been described as the most “Americanized” of the Asian American ethnicities.

Famous Pinoys include all these peeps:

Cheryl Burke, Monique Lhuillier , Vanessa Minnillo , Vanessa Hudgens, Rob Schneider, Cris Judd, Allan Pineda Lindo (Black Eyed Peas), Nicole Scherzinger, Bruno Mars, Lou Diamond Phillips, Dave Bautista


Conclusion: Lumpia is delicious. 

download-2SO! There’s a ton of Filipinos and half Filipinos in the Navy. Either they followed in their parent’s footsteps, or their fathers married a Filipina lady. I did both!  Anyway, if you’ve read all of that, I’ll finally get around to telling you what Lumpia is.

Lumpia is a spring roll of Chinese origin commonly found in Indonesia] and the Philippines. It is a savory snack made of thin crepe pastry skin called “lumpia wrapper” enveloping a mixture of savory fillings, consists of chopped vegetables (carrots, cabbages, green beans, bamboo shoots and leeks) or sometimes also minced meat (chicken, shrimp, pork or beef). It is often served as an appetizer or snack, and might be served deep fried.

The Lumpia you care about is Lumpiang Shanghai.

These meat-laden, fried type lumpia are filled with ground pork or beef, minced onion, lumpiacarrots, and spices with the mixture held together by beaten egg. Lumpiang Shanghai is commonly served with sweet and sour sauce owing to the influence of Chinese cuisine, but ketchup is my favorite.

Anyway… Here’s my sources, because America, you suck at recognizing accurate information from credible sources, and lots of recipes. I will post *MY* personal recipe soon. 



Bakery, L. (2015). Lumpiang Shanghai – Filipino Spring Rolls (Lumpia) Http://Kitchenconfidante.Com/Lumpiang-Shanghai-Filipino-Spring-Rolls-Lumpia-Recipe


Lumpaing Shanghai.

Lumpia Recipe.

Meiser, J. (2015). Power and Restraint: The Rise of the United States, 1898-1941.

Philippine–American War. Wikipedia.

Reza, H. G. (1992). Navy to Stop Recruiting Filipino Nationals : Defense: The end of the military base agreement with the Philippines will terminate the nearly century-old program. The LA Times.

Rowe, P. (2015). Deep ties connect Filipinos, Navy and San Diego. The San Diego Tribune.

Ubac, M. (2012) Whatever happened to Filipino war brides in US? The Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Whatever happened to Filipino war brides in US


2 Responses to “What’s Lumpia?! – Part 1”

  1. jack burton

    Lumpia is often referred to as Filipino crack. It is highly addictive if you start with a quality chef making it for you. The best is found in kitchens where the mothers started in rolling it around the age of four and have been doing it for at least several decades now.



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