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Growing number of Filipinos finding opportunity in northwestern ND

Posted 7/17/18 (Tue)

Growing number of Filipinos finding opportunity in northwestern ND

This two-part series follows the journeys of three Filipino families who have emigrated from the Philippines to northwestern North Dakota.

By Sydney Glasoe Caraballo

Sleek and beautiful, distant planes gleamed past in the sky above the young girl. Every night she would think about those planes as she drifted off to sleep between her nine brothers and sisters and father in the one-bedroom, bamboo shack.  She would lie there – hot and cramped in the humid dwelling in San Pablo in the Laguna province of the Philippines in the 1960s – and imagine she was flying away to some far and away place.

“That was my dream when I was a kid. I wanted to fly away on that plane. I was always thinking I want to go to America,” says Loyola (Yola) Corvera Peterson, who is married to Larrett Peterson and has lived in Crosby for three years. “For me, America was a very rich country. A big country.”

Yola and multiple families have legally emigrated from the Philippines to Crosby during the past decade. More than 20 Filipinos currently live in Divide County. Whether for professional opportunity, economic advancement, free education for their children, family/work balance or love, the Filipino community here is growing and contributing to the local workforce, culture and identity.

For many, their 7,000-mile journey here began as a childhood dream and demanded many years of planning, determination and luck.

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