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Welcome to The Alvarado Project

Ricardo Ocreto Alvarado, 1914-1976

Ricardo Alvarado arrived in California in 1928 as a 14-year-old in the first wave of Filipino immigrants. Working as a janitor and houseboy, he enlisted in the U.S. Army First Filipino Infantry Regiment in 1942. After serving in combat in the South Pacific during World War II as a medic, he became a civilian cook at San Francisco’s Letterman Army Hospital.

For 20 years he studied the city and nearby rural areas in his free time with his view camera in hand, recording Filipino community life at dances, banquets, baptisms, funerals, and other gatherings. In 1959, Alvarado ended his work in photography and returned to the Philippines to marry Norberta Magallanes. They had two children, Janet and Joseph Alvarado, who currently live in San Francisco.

When he died in 1976, Ricardo Ocreto Alvarado left an archive of nearly 3,000 rare photographs, a vital portrait of early Filipino Americans.

The Alvarado Project about image

Organization Information

The Alvarado Project, a non-profit founded in 1998, is headed by Executive Director Janet Alvarado. The Alvarado Project has an advisory board. It is a community-based volunteer organization of artists, students, and educators. The project seeks to foster multicultural understanding, strengthen the community through art, cultural programs, and collect historically significant artifacts and material about the Filipino American community.

Founding Members

  • Janet M Alvarado, 1997 – present
  • Joseph J Alvarado, 1997 – present
  • Elsie J Rapisura, 1997 – present
  • Barbara Tiry Banez, 1997 – present
  • Wynona Demaray, 1997 – present
  • Carmencita Monteclaro Choy, 1997 – 2019
  • Prof. Albert A Acena, 1997 – 2019
  • Felipe M Floresca, 1997 – 2019
  • Rodelia “Melie” Asuncion, 2002 – 2018


  • Mark A Hernandez
  • Staci Caston
  • Michelle Arimboanga Parker
  • Alohi Vega Alvarado
  • Lucille Supnet Liang

Advisory Members

  • Von Ryan Hernandez
  • Rebecca Delgado Rottman
  • Prof. Lewis Watts
  • Teresa Yanga
  • Prof. Estella Habal
  • Joe Cowan
  • Zenny Yagen
  • Adelina Arcelona
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)
What sets him apart was his eye for capturing on film the special celebrations and daily rituals of the Filipino American (Pinoy) community in San Francisco after the war. More than a hobby, photography was his passion. He canvassed the Bay Area’s city streets and rural back roads for subjects.