On October 18, 1587, 33 years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, the first documented Filipinos arrived in what is now considered Morro Bay, California.
The Filipino men, or Indios Luzones as they were referred to at that time, crewed the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza (Our Lady of Hope), which was commanded by Spanish sailor and soldier Pedro de Unamuno. Along with them were pilot Alonso Gómez, a dozen soldiers, and three Franciscan friars including the grandnephew of Ignatius of Loyola, Martín Ignacio de Loyola, who brought with him a young Japanese boy. The voyage was part of an expedition to find the purported Rica de Oro, Rica de Plata and Armenio islands, and to trade Chinese goods in modern-day Mexico. It would be the second time a galleon would cross from Asia to America.
Upon docking, the party scouted the shore and claimed the land for the King of Spain. For two days, the crew explored the newfound land. But on the third day, violence struck as they encountered Native Indians. The skirmish resulted in the deaths of one Spaniard and one Filipino, and with that, the galleon departed to complete its journey.
The 1587 event is often pointed out as the first time Asians were in modern day California, the United States, North America, and in the Americas itself. In 1995, a plaque was placed at the bay to recognize the landings of the Filipinos.