The first recorded Filipino migrant would have to be Enrique (Trapobana), who as a slave of Ferdinand Magellan, accompanied his expedition that literally went around the world. Magellan had bought Enrique during a stint in Melaka, and subsequently brought him to Portugal (as “pasalubong”?). Enrique’s native tongue was Cebuano Visayan, since he was only able to fully understand the natives upon landing in Limasawa and later Cebu. Anyway, the point is that even then, Enrique distinguished himself as a hard working, skilled and loyal worker. He was also a seaman. Eventually, Enrique became a balikbayan (a quite unique one, since he was the first person to circumnavigate the globe), and reintegrated into Cebuano society after Magellan’s death.
During the period of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade, Filipino seamen sometimes jumped ship upon arrival in Acapulco. Some of them made their way westward. A Filipino community was recorded to
have been established the Saint Malo village in Louisiana, USA at around 1830. Later, Filipinos went to Spain, especially after the opening of the Suez canal in the late 1800s. While the intellectuals among them made a lasting impression (especially those involved in the first and second Propaganda movements), there were also seamen and other workers who ended up in Spain. There were certainly Filipina nannies in the late 1800s in Spain – it seems that even then, Filipina domestics were already in demand among aristocratic Spanish families.
Taken from: Paper presented during the Ecumenical Conference Philippines-Germany (Vallendar, Rhineland, Germany) By: Carlo Butalid.