Bridge Generation News

“A pillar of our community and our Church,” was how the Rev. Msgr. Harvey Fonseca began the funeral mass for Genevieve “Jean” (Hipolito) Labuga on February 9.  The ceremony, at St. Jude Thaddeus Church in Livingston CA where she resided since childhood, drew a capacity assembly of Filipino Americans plus many from the ethnically diverse local community.  Her eldest child, Carol Holcomb, delivered a moving, often humorous, eulogy.  Serving communion for the faithful as Eucharistic Minister was just one of the ways Jean gave to her hometown.  She also gave to her community as a life-long member of the Legionarios Del Trabajo, the Santo Nino de Cebu Club, and the VFW Auxiliary. Jean, 92, was born on May 17, 1925 in Walnut Grove CA — the second of thirteen children of Leoncio and Francesca Hipolito who immigrated from Cebu, Philippines to America via Hawaii in 1919.  Of the thirteen Hipolito children only the two youngest, Flo and Judy, survive today.  Jean’s marriage to Celestino Labuga in 1941 produced 7 sons and 3 daughters plus 20 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren, and 1 great great grandchild.  Like other Bridge Generation Filipinas of the Depression years, she toiled in the fields alongside men harvesting sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peaches, grapes, and apricots.  Later, Jean worked herself up to floor supervisor at a local cannery before retiring.  After her retirement she cared for her grandchildren, drove friends to Bingo, and took trips to casinos with her sisters. She loved reading, playing Scrabble, crocheting, and baking –  especially apple and sweet potato pies during the holidays for family and friends. I’ve known Jean since 1933 and will always remember her quiet, kind, and selfless demeanor…………….. Sad also to report the February 9 death of Dorothy (Garcia) Briones of San Francisco.  The last of seven children of Henry Demetria Garcia and Felisa Saavedra Catiel, she was born and raised in Salinas CA — America’s Salad Bowl.  Dorothy met her  husband Odeon at the University of California at Berkeley where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree……………… Although I was born in America, English is my second language; I only spoke the Cebuano (Visayan) dialect until I started school when I was six.  After the passing of the Manong/Manang Generation with no one left in which to converse in Cebuano, I soon lost my fluency — much to my regret.  Like me, most of my generation have been exclusive English speakers. But I’m glad there are still a few BG/FAs fluent in Cebuano; such as my old Navy shipmate Vic Gorre of Costa Mesa CA and my kumadre Connie (Viernes) Pasquil of Walnut Grove CA………………. The University of Washington’s new $40 million Ethnic Cultural Center building features a large mural consisting of pictures depicting actions taken in 1968 by Black, Latino, Native American, and Asian American students to establish programs for ethnic minorities. The Asian American photo features Bridge Generation Filipino Americans Tony Ogilvie and Sonny Tangalin and Japanese American Larry Matsuda in the office of the Director of the Office of Minority Student Affairs, demanding the creation of Asian American programs. Their demands led to the erection of the first UW Ethnic Cultural Center building in 1972 with the late BG Filipino American Roy Flores as its first director. Today, in its new quarters, the Ethnic Cultural Center remains in the forefront of university programs benefiting minorities ………………. “The show was a smash hit — an artistic and economic success”, declared an excited Carlene (Sobrino) Bonnivier, co-writer with Reme Grefalda of “WARRIOR: The Musical Reading, A Producers Showcase”, after its run on February 24-25 at The Sanctuary in Los Angeles.  Inspired by the long struggle by predominantly Filipino elderly against eviction from the International Hotel in San Francisco, the show featured Charmaine Clamor, as an activist lawyer.  You may recall Clamor as the originator of Jazzipino, whose rendition of “My Funny Brown Pinay” (sang to the tune of “My Funny Valentine”) was a 2007 hit.  Other members of the virtual all Filipino American/Filipino cast included Sal Malaki of the Los Angeles Opera as the Warrior, Virgil Apostol as an Ifagao ancestor, Ferdinand Galang as an Asian businessman,  and San Francisco writer/activist Oscar Penaranda, as The Narrator.  Music was produced through the joint efforts of internationally known jazz composer/pianist Winston Raval and the tireless Bonnivier who wrote the lyrics.  The show is scheduled to perform in Toronto, Canada in August………… Elected as Stockton FANHS Chapter Officers for the 2018-2019 term were: Thomas Sanchez, President; former Stockton City Councilwoman Gloria (Carido) Nomura, Vice President; Beverley (Cabalar) Bilge, Secretary; and Terri Torres, Treasurer. The new officers have the daunting task of keeping the Filipino American Historical Museum at its location in Stockton…………….  Answer to March’s BG History Trivia question: Rey Urbano — (Who was the San Francisco professional wrestler who fought under the name of “Tokyo Tom” during the 1940s-50s?)……………… Happy April Birthdays to: Mary (Gorre) Cantil, Mel LaGasca, Esther (Navarro) Romero, Ray Paular, Dolores (Rosales) Supat, Art Villarruz

Pinakbet – News Across America

Speed skater J.R. Celski of Federal Way WA and first time snowboarder Hailey Langland of San Clemente CA were the only Filipino American athletes on the U.S. team at the recently concluded Winter Olympics in Peong Chang, South Korea.  Neither medalled.  (Celski was a three-time winner in two previous Olympics, capturing bronze in the 5000-meter relay and the 1500-meter individual event in 2010 in Vancouver, Canada and a silver in the 5,000-meters event in 2014 in Sochi, Russia)…………… The energetic Vanessa Garcia has owned the popular 7 Mile House restaurant in Brisbane CA for the past fourteen years. She recently co-authored a book with Regina Abuyuan  — “See you at the 7: Stories from the Bay Area’s Last Original Mile House” that chronicles the restaurant’s historical contributions.  Seven miles from the San Francisco Ferry Building, it was built in 1858 as a stagecoach stop. Mile houses served in the old days as local post offices and stagecoach stops where horses were rested and exchanged.  Vanessa took over 7 Mile House in 2004 and turned it into an award-winning family and dog-friendly restaurant, sports bar, and live music venue. She is also a pioneer of the Filipino food movement in the Bay Area, introducing dishes like adobo and sisig to non-Filipinos…………… On February 19 The American Library Association announced Erin (Entrada) Kelly of Philadelphia, author of “Hello, Universe”, as the winner of the coveted John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature……………… The Lompoc CA Filipino American Club celebrated its 50 year anniversary on February 17 by unveiling Eliseo Art Arambulo Silva’s latest mural Crossing Ocean.  The 12 x 65 foot mural includes the first visual depiction of the fabled “Luzon Indians”  — Filipino crewmen on the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esparanza. (At least one seaman reportedly went ashore in what is now Morro Bay on October 18, 1587).  Also depicted in the mural are author Carlos Bulosan, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, manong farm workers, Manila Village in New Orleans, Agbayani Village in Delano CA, and union leader Larry Itliong……………. Talented Bruno Mars of Honolulu swept all major awards in his category at the 60th annual Grammy Awards on January 28.  He ended up with six gold awards for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Album, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Performance……………… The recent election of Filipina American Erika Tenefrancia as University of Washington Student Body President reminded me of FA Mark Pulido’s trail blazing win for the same position at UCLA 20 years ago.  Today, Mark is the progressive Mayor of Cerritos CA (pop. 50,000)……………… On February 8, the Los Angeles Lakers traded Jordan Clarkson, the National Basketball Association’s  only Filipino American player, to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he joins superstar LeBron James……………… Nice to hear from San Francisco harmonica virtuoso Carlos Zialcita, who was in Cebu City, Philippines on January 21 for the Sinulog-Santo Niño Festival, which routinely attracts crowds of 1-2 million people…………. FA History trivia: Who won the world middleweight boxing championship in 1939?


Adolph Hitler Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.  Donald Trump in his book ‘”Art of the DealYou tell people a lie three times, they will believe anything.  You tell people what they want to hear, play to their fantasies, and then you close the deal………………. The Browning of America: What the White majority secretly fear………………. My October blog reported on the President’s calling of quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s kneeling during the national anthem as unpatriotic.  Time magazine strongly disagreed, writing in its December 11 issue that NFL players were protesting racial inequality in America’s justice system. Also disagreeing with Trump was Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen who opined, Black athletes are not attacking the national anthem, or the flag, or the troops.  Americans disrespect the flag every day.  We wear it as a bandana, or a t-shirt, or as a swimsuit. White men salute the Confederate flag and the Nazi flag.  We use the flag to sell beer.  Nothing in the Constitution says we have to stand at the national anthem. Trump is a four-time draft dodger professing patriotism.  He’s a hypocrite.





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