PETER’S PINOY PATTER — DECEMBER 2017

Bridge Generation News

BG Personality of the Month – Dorothy Cordova, Executive Director, Filipino American Historical Society (FANHS).  Following are her own words in the AARP-AAPI #Filipino American Story series: When I was nine, our neighbor accused my family of stealing his dog so that we could eat it. Our mother was so angry, but I was so embarrassed! The other neighbors might actually believe that because we were Filipinos, we really ate dogs! While we lived in a predominantly white community, I grew up with the trappings of Filipino culture: we went to a Catholic school a couple of miles out of the neighborhood, we ate different food (our playmates loved the “Filipino apples” served with vinegar and salt), and the girls in our family were not allowed to go to dances until age 16. While most kids of immigrants would wish to be called American, I realized that we were living with a dichotomy. We were both Filipino and American. But because our skin was not white and our parents had an accent, a majority of the people would not consider us as Americans. It was very frustrating to grow up aware of that perception, but I stayed silent for many years because I didn’t think I could say or do anything about it. I found my voice when I began capturing oral histories of Asian immigrants—first for the Washington State Archives and later as director of the Demonstration Project for Asian Americans. I discovered the different reasons why Filipinos came to the USA and the struggles we had gone through in making a home here. Meanwhile, we were being left out of the history books—strange, I thought, since we were the largest ethnic group that had migrated at the time. I realized our story needed to be told, accurately and completely. So, my husband and I founded the Filipino American National Historical Society, focusing our research and media expertise here. Today, FANHS houses one of the largest collections of Filipino American history in the world—over thirty thousand written pieces of personal history! Finally, we have on record who we are as a people. We are different, but we are not freaks or dog eaters. We are members of American society, we have fought its wars and sent our own boys to fight, and we continue to contribute to the growth of this country………………. October turned out to be a month for Filipino celebrations.  The National Federation of Filipino American Associations celebrated its 20th Anniversary in Washington, D.C.  FANHS celebrated its 35th Anniversary in Seattle. Filipino American History Month was celebrated in all corners of America.  But at San Francisco’s City Hall, they had the wrong celebration.  Rather than a celebration of the history of Filipino experience in America, SF celebrated heritage — its entire program consisted of Philippine arts and culture!……………….. Contrast San Francisco’s event with Seattle’s where its City Council issued a Proclamation that recognized twenty-one former and current Filipino American residents “who have made a national contribution to American culture and society.”  Honored in the Proclamation were: Albert Acena, Jadine Acena, Bobby Balcena, Carlos Bulosan, Fred Cordova, Dorothy Cordova, Pio DeCano Sr., Silme Domingo, Frank Irigon, David Della, Peter Jamero, Ernesto Mangaoang, Tony Ogilvie, Trinidad Rojo, Bob Santos, Dolores Sibonga, Silvestre Tangalan, Velma Veloria, Bernie Reyes Whitebear, and Romero Yumul.  More than half were Bridge Generation Filipino/a Americans. So proud of my generation!…………….. I listened transfixed as Fonso Hullana of Merced CA, still powerful looking as when he was a football lineman for Cal Poly in the early 1960s, recounted the life of his mother, Rosie (Hernandez) Hullana, at her rosary services on September 25.  Through misty eyes, he remembered how his mother started each day getting up before 6 a.m. to toil in the fields.  It is a routine that Fonso follows today.  Since graduating from college, he has presided over such crops as tomatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers grown on the successful family farm. I too remember getting up at dawn and working until sunset as a youth.  This was what most young Bridge Generation Filipino/a Americans in rural America experienced.  How times have changed! Thanks to greater educational and employment opportunities, many BG individuals were able to leave the arduous life of farm labor. Thank you Fonso for modeling the traditional values of hard work, much as the Bridge and Manong/Manang Generations did in their days……………….. During the 1970s-80s Greg Custodio (1938-1998) was commissioned by the City of Stockton to help beautify the city through murals depicting its history.  Perhaps the best known of his works adorns the downtown Fair Hotel honoring twelve local historical figures, including long time Filipino community leader, Eddie Olamit.  Sadly, of the murals painted by the prolific Custodio, four have been destroyed over the years due to weather, remodeling, or neglect……………… Congratulations to Mike Nisperos on his appointment to the Oakland Police Commission on October 24.  There is no one more qualified than this retired civil rights attorney……………. Happy December Birthdays:  Rose (Bucol) Jamero, Sam Gonzalez, Clem Morales, Mike Nisperos, Rosemary (Quitiquit) Figueroa, Nancy (Dugenia) Tagupa, Phil Ventura.

Pinakbet – News Across America

75 years too late for deserved recognition – At the outset of World War II 260,000 Filipinos soldiers joined the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) to defend the Philippines — then a colony of America — against the invading Japanese. They fought alongside Americans in Corregidor and Bataan, where 57,000 Filipino troops perished, before falling to overwhelming Japanese numbers. At the end of the war Filipino USAFFE veterans, as American nationals, were eligible to receive the same benefits as other American soldiers.  However, in a cost cutting move Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946 which stripped such benefits as citizenship and the GI Bill from them. Of the original 260,000 USAFFE veterans, only 17,000 are alive today. Each day their numbers dwindle. On October 25 — 75 years after joining USAFFE — they were belatedly recognized for their service by the U.S. Congress.  Twenty-one Filipino survivors of the WWII war in the Philippines were personally bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal –the highest civilian award presented by Congress — in a moving ceremony at Emancipation Hall of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  While Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan expressed tributes to the veterans, it was 100-year-old Filipino veteran Celestino Almeda who captured the audience and who received a standing ovation. Walking slowly to the podium from his wheelchair with the aid of a cane, Almeda’s strong voice eloquently spoke for the 21 CGM  recipients, for the many who could not be there, and for those who already passed away.  He said, After the war, thousands of us felt underappreciated and unrecognized for fighting for our country. I wondered why and what else could we have done in defeating the enemy, in defending the United States of America, and bringing victory during a long war in the Philippines. But we stand loyal to our country, relied on our faith and prayer.……………. Stockton college student Angelo Cabuang  and his mother were called “pigs” by two white women and told, Go back to Filipinoville and get out of our country. A great number of posts went viral resulting in overwhelming public support for the student and his mother.  Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs immediately declared,  Sorry about what happened to you and your family.  Racism has no place in our great city.……………. Dean Devlin, writer/producer of the movie hit “Independence Day”, is making his feature film directorial debut with Warner Brothers Pictures’ current first-run thriller “Geostorm”……………… Alleluia Panis received the first ever Artistic Legacy Award from the San Francisco Arts Commission on September 26. With an artistic career spanning over forty years, she has been a vital force in creating Filipino American artistic works through dance, choreography, as well as contributing to San Francisco’s cultural landscape…………………. The U.S. Senate voted 50-47 on September 19 to narrowly confirm Noel John Francisco, 48, as Solicitor General.  As Solicitor General, the New York State born and bred Francisco’s primary role will be to conduct and supervise government litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court……………. In New York City artists Emmy Catedral and PJ Gubatina Policarpio continue to take pop-ups of the Pilipinx American Library, their mobile library of Filipino American literature, all over the Big Apple……………… History Trivia: Who was the Most Valuable Player of a NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament, five-time member of a USA Olympics team, and a successful beach volleyball player?

 Musings

Countdown: 3 months – For the Board of Trustees, Filipino American National Historical Society, to provide critically needed financing to assure keeping open the FANHS National Museum in Stockton — the historic center of Filipino immigration……………….. According to Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute, the public policy think tank — white nationalists, militia movements, anti-Muslim attackers, abortion clinic bombers, and other right-wing groups were responsible for 12 times as many fatalities and 36 times as many injuries as communists, socialists, animal rights and environmental activists, and anti-white and Black Lives Matter inspired attackers and other left-wing groups.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

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