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Interview with Benigno Andrada


Benigno Andrada came to Minnesota from the Philippines in 1928 at the age of 16. His first job was as a waiter at the Minneapolis Athletic Club. In 1930 he married a Norwegian-American woman, and they had three sons. His wife died in 1956, and in 1957 he married his second wife, Belen, a Filipino woman. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: In the first interview, Mr. Andrada discusses his adjustment to life in Minnesota, his family, his jobs and the Filipino community in the Twin Cities. In the second interview he tells about the Philippine Echo newspaper, work during the depression and World War II, Filipinos who worked on the farms near Albert Lea and Chaska, Minnesota and his return trip to the Philippines in 1966.





World Region



Benigno Andrada Narrator Sarah Mason Interviewer October 9, 1978 November 1, 1978 Richfield, Minnesota

Sarah Mason Benigno Andrada


SM: This is an interview with Benigno Andrada at Richfield, Minnesota, October 9, 1978. This interview is conducted under the auspices of the Minnesota Historical Society as part of the ethnic history project. The interviewer is Sarah Mason. Ben, would you start by just telling us about your early life in the Philippines when you were a child and about your family and community? BA: I was born in Bauang La Union. La Union language. I was . . . I went to a Northern Luzon College. [According to the Minnesota Death Index, Benigno Untalasco Andrada was born October 23, 1908 and died November 22, 1979.] SM: Yes. Was that located . . .? BA: In my . . . Luzon College. SM: Yes. BA: In La Union, Philippines. La Union. Then I came to the United States when I was sixteen years, seven months, and twelve days. SM: Oh, you remember exactly. [Chuckles] Before you came, before we get into that, could you tell us a little bit about what you did as a child and your brothers and sisters and . . .? BA: My . . . I have two brothers and one sister. SM: What kind of work did your father do? BA: My father was a farmer. SM: Oh. What did he grow? 1

BA: He grew rice and corn. SM: I see. And were most of his family farmers, too? BA: Most of all my family are the farmers, yes. SM: All the family was. BA: All the whole family. SM: Yes. BA: And the only way they could get food was fishing . . . and then they have the farm. SM: Yes. Did you eat quite a bit of fish in your diet? BA: We ate the fish and the chicken. SM: Oh. Yes. BA: And we had the figs. SM: Oh. BA: And we had the cows in there, too. SM: Cows? BA: Cows, yes. SM: Yes. Yes. BA: But we don’t have any . . . And then coconuts. Yes. SM: Yes. And your mother, did she help with the farming? BA: My mother helped with the farming, too. We helped. SM: What were some of the community activities? Was there a church that most of the town belonged to or were there several churches? BA: Yes. There are so many . . . we have a Catholic Church in Bauang. SM: Yes. 2

BA: And that’s all . . . we always go on Sunday [unclear]. Catholic. SM: Yes. Did they have other activities for the people besides church? Was the school Catholic? BA: Ah, we have school Catholic going there. SM: Oh, I see. Yes. BA: And we have school in the community. It’s a . . . oh, an English school. SM: Oh. Yes. School was in English then. BA: Yes. Yes. SM: Did you speak English before you went to school or just when you went to school you learned it? BA: Yes. We . . . went to a school and our . . . yes, in English. SM: Yes. What language did you speak at home? What was that called? BA: Oh. Oh. [Chuckles] SM: [Laughs] BA: It’s called Ilokano. SM: Oh, yes. Yes. Ilokano. BA: First, yes. SM: Yes. BA: And then we had the English school and then we . . . in Bauang. SM: I see. Well, wasn’t that hard when you first went to school? [Chuckles] Did they make a provision for the children to learn English? BA: Well, we are under the United States, so it’s really . . . and then after the grade school then we . . . I went to . . . Northern Luzon College. SM: I see. BA: After the grade school. 3

SM: Yes. Was that in a different town or in the same town you lived in, the college? BA: Ah, the college . . . La Union. SM: I see. It was in the same town. BA: Yes. SM: Was that a Catholic college? BA: No. SM: No, it was the government . . .? BA: That’s a government college. SM: I see. Yes. And then how did you happen to decide to go to the United States? BA: Well, my . . . as soon as . . . I was in Northern Luzon College. My brother came first to the United States. SM: Did he come to Minnesota? BA: And he came direct to Minnesota. SM: I see. BA: As so many . . . there were some boys that was in here, so he came direct to Minnesota. SM: Oh, he had heard from others that . . .? BA: [Unclear] from others then. SM: I see. That came from your town and then they wrote back. BA: They wrote back. SM: I see. BA: And then my brother came here. So as soon as my brother came here, and I went to Northern Luzon College and then I came here and see him. SM: Oh, I see. What year was that? BA: That was May 1928. 4

SM: May 1928. BA: Yes. SM: And you were sixteen years old? BA: I was sixteen years old, seven months, and twelve days. SM: I see. BA: That was a . . . SM: Did your brother study at the University of Minnesota? BA: He was in the university farm. But he didn’t . . . SM: Oh, the Saint Paul campus? BA: Saint Paul campus. SM: Oh, I see. BA: But he didn’t finish it because he was sick. SM: Oh. BA: So we . . . I told him to go home. SM: Yes. BA: And I stayed. SM: I see. So he was studying agriculture? BA: Yes, agriculture school. SM: I see. Did you come to study agriculture or something else? BA: Well, I intended to study. SM: Yes. BA: But during the . . . here comes in the Depression. 5

SM: Oh, yes. You came just when it was beginning. BA: Yes. When it was beginning. SM: So did you start school at all or did you have to find work right away? BA: I had to find work. I started to find work right away. SM: I see. What kind of work did you do? BA: I . . . [chuckles] I worked in the Minneapolis Athletic Club as a busboy first. And then they gave me a waiter job there. And then [unclear]. SM: I see. BA: And then in 1929 I met a girl and why, I got married. SM: I see. How did you meet her? BA: Well, I . . . [chuckles] I was a bellhop first. And then I worked as a bellboy, bellhop, at the [unclear] Hotel. SM: I see. BA: And then . . . SM: You met her there? BA: I met her in [unclear]. SM: Ah ha. BA: After work, then we go to there and have dinner. And that’s how I happened to meet her. SM: I see. I see. Well, there were hardly any Filipino girls here then, were there? BA: There were only two. SM: Only two when you came. Yes. BA: So that this . . . I met this Norwegian girl. [Unclear.] SM: Oh. There were quite a few of them. BA: Yes. [Laughter] Norwegian. 6

SM: I see. What was her name? BA: Thina. SM: Thina. Yes. That’s a good Norwegian name. BA: Yes. Thina Brothen. [According to the Minnesota Death Index, Thina Brothen was born June 18, 1908 and died September 26, 1956.] SM: How do you spell that? BA: B-R-O-T-H-E-N. SM: I see. And so . . . BA: Then I . . . in 1930, I think, I got married. SM: I see. BA: With her. And I have three boys. SM: Three boys. BA: Yes. Blaine, Virgil, and Dennis. SM: Yes. And do they still live in this area? BA: Oh, Blaine died. [According to the Minnesota Death Index, Blaine Andrada was born on December 13, 1930 and died January 16, 1978.] SM: Oh. Yes. BA: But Dennis . . . Virgil and Dennis live in this area. SM: I see. So they’re still Minnesotans. BA: They are still Minnesotan, yes. SM: Yes. When you arrived in Seattle were there recruiters that met the ship to try to persuade you to go somewhere else? BA: Yes. He wanted me to go to Alaska but I . . . I told him no, I’m going to see my brother in Minnesota. 7

SM: So he was recruiting for jobs in the canneries and so on? BA: For jobs. Canneries, yes, in Alaska. SM: Yes. Did quite a few Filipino people take this offer? BA: Oh, yes. Most . . . some of them. There are lots of them taking those offers. Because that was the only jobs they can find, I suppose. SM: Oh, yes. Did they know about these jobs before they came? BA: No. SM: They just took a chance? BA: They took the chance, yes. SM: Took a chance. BA: Yes. SM: What was the recruiter’s name? BA: That . . . [chuckles] SM: You don’t remember? BA: I don’t . . . no, I don’t remember. SM: Hmmm. Did other people on your ship come to the Midwest, to Minnesota or Illinois? BA: Yes. There were plenty of them. My cousin came. SM: Oh, your cousin. BA: Yes. But he died. He died in 1938, I think. SM: Oh, I see. Here in Minnesota? BA: Yes. SM: I see. And were there others, too, that came to Minnesota? BA: Well, that . . . there were lots of them. 8

SM: Yes. But on that ship did some? BA: On that. SM: I see. When you . . . were there other people from your town coming to Minnesota? BA: Yes. SM: Oh, yes. BA: Just my cousin George did. George [unclear]. SM: I see. And this was because your brother had written letters of . . . BA: Yes. SM: What did he say about Minnesota that made you want to come? BA: Well, he was going to school there. And I . . . [chuckles] SM: It’s a long time ago. [Chuckles] BA: It’s a long time that I didn’t . . . SM: Yes. Well, did he sound like . . . in his letters, sound like Minnesota was a good place for people to come from the Philippines? BA: Yes. Yes. SM: That they would be accepted and . . .? BA: Yes, that they will be accepted. But then he didn’t promise us that it was easy work here. SM: Oh, and work was a little bit hard to find when you got here. BA: That’s right. SM: But earlier, was work easier for him to find? Or he came to study first, didn’t he? BA: Well, he . . . he was a houseboy for a . . . SM: Oh, while he was a student he was a houseboy? BA: Yes. He was a houseboy while was . . . And then he worked for Mr. and Mrs. John Ordway as a houseboy. 9

SM: Yes. BA: As a houseboy. SM: I’ll get the spellings afterwards from you. I see, so while he was studying he had to support himself, too. BA: Yes. Yes. SM: And was that pretty difficult to do? BA: Well, it’s really [unclear] are really very hard, difficult. SM: Yes. Well, after you were working here, did you have enough to send back some money to your town or your relatives or . . .? BA: No, I didn’t have . . . SM: You just barely had enough to . . . BA: It’s very hard. SM: Yes. Was that the intention that many had? They would be able to send back some money? BA: Most . . . no, mostly all of them had the intention to go school here. SM: Yes. I see. Were there very many students from the Philippines at the university? BA: Yes, there were quite a bit. SM: Oh. Yes. BA: Like . . . oh we had quite a few Filipinos. SM: Yes. Did others study agriculture or did they study all subjects there? BA: No, they . . . they have different . . . SM: Yes. BA: Some of them went to university like . . . like John [unclear], some . . . [unclear], Sixto Runez.


SM: Yes. When you were living here in the old days, did you hear other people talk about Filipinos who worked on the railroad, or were cooks for J.J. Hill, or . . .? BA: Oh, yes. Yes. SM: Yes. BA: I’m sure that’s how they happened to be cooks. I know they did that. SM: Yes. How did that happen, that the Filipinos were chosen to cook for the big shots? BA: Well, some of them went to . . . applied for the railroad and then all those . . . it depended on how that they can cook there. Worked there as a cook, some of them. SM: Oh, I see. BA: But some of them worked in the private homes. Like this Sixto Runez, John Orendain. SM: Yes. In the restaurant? BA: No. In the private homes, like John Pillsbury had Sixto Runez and John Orendain. SM: I see. BA: John Pillsbury. And then Rudolph Runez worked for John Pillsbury, too, as a butler. SM: I see. BA: He worked as a butler. SM: I see. So when they applied to the railroad, would that have been on the West Coast or here in Minnesota? BA: There are so many in here. SM: Yes. BA: Well, they had so many that had applied to Great Northern. SM: In written . . .? BA: Great Northern. SM: Oh, yes. I see. So they worked for the Great Northern. 11

BA: Yes, Northern [unclear]. SM: I see. Did you plan to stay here when you came? BA: I did not. SM: [Chuckles] BA: I [chuckles] I intended to go home after . . . SM: After earning some money? BA: Earning some money and have my schooling. SM: I see. How did it happen that you stayed? Was it because you met your wife or that was part of it? BA: Yes. And then . . . it’s very hard, very . . . well, there was not many jobs at all anymore. At all. SM: Oh, I see. So it would be hard to save enough money to go back. BA: Oh, yes. Very hard then. SM: Yes. Oh, so you almost had to stay then. BA: To stay, yes. And then we got married . . . I got married. SM: Did your wife have any desire to go to the Philippines? BA: No. SM: No. BA: No. SM: She wanted to stay here. BA: So I have my three boys and then that was during the Depression. During the 1930s. SM: Yes. That was a very hard time. BA: Very hard time. SM: Yes. 12

BA: I don’t think anybody can . . . SM: Right. Did you have a job through the Depression? Or was it on and off or . . .? BA: That I have . . . yes. I’m the only one that has a job during the Depression. Because I was a waiter first, and then a butler, and then bellboy. SM: Yes. BA: But there are a few Filipinos that had no jobs. SM: Oh, yes. What happened to them? Did you help them or what happened? BA: Well . . . we had to help one another. When I was a bellboy, I was not married yet at that time, so it was all the Filipinos helped one another. SM: Did they? BA: Yes. SM: But even that must have been hard because you didn’t get too much pay in these jobs, did you? BA: No, no. SM: Yes. But you managed to help each other to survive at least. BA: Yes. But when my three boys came . . . then I managed to have . . . and then the work came, so I managed to have three jobs. SM: Oh, you did? [Chuckles] What were they? BA: I worked at the . . . in the private home for two hours. SM: Each day for two hours? BA: Yes. Each day for two hours. And then after seven o’clock . . . after nine o’clock in the morning I worked for . . . as a waiter in the Minneapolis Athletic Club. SM: Oh, I see. BA: And then at three o’clock in the afternoon I worked in the . . . in the . . . oh, what’s it called? New Brighton as adjuster. 13

SM: As a . . . what was that? BA: Adjuster. SM: Adjuster? BA: Yes. SM: Hmmm. BA: There are so many mistakes in there, and then we adjusted the . . . I was one of them who adjusted the mistakes. SM: I see. You were an adjuster. BA: Yes. SM: I see. Hmmm. And so between three jobs you had enough money to live on. BA: Enough money to live, for my children, for my boys. SM: Oh, I see. But you couldn’t have had much left over to help other Filipinos. BA: No. [Chuckles] SM: [Chuckles] Or anybody. BA: No. No. SM: So that was . . . BA: But on top of that, when I was . . . I managed to . . . myself to donate blood, to recruit all . . . recruit Filipinos to donate blood for the war. SM: I see. Oh, for the war. BA: For Red Cross. SM: This was during World War II? BA: Yes. Yes. SM: I see. Did they pay you for that or was that just a voluntary . . .? BA: No. That’s a voluntary position. Because I was one of the heads of the Filipinos then. 14

SM: I see. So you were a leader in the Filipino community. BA: Community, yes. SM: How did your wife relate to the Filipino community? Did she feel pretty much at home there? BA: Well, we felt very much at home. SM: Yes. BA: She felt at home while I working. SM: Yes. I see. BA: To take care of the children. SM: Sure. Right. And were your friends both Filipino and Caucasian or . . .? BA: Yes. SM: She had her family here, too? BA: Well, yes. SM: I see. She was from the Twin Cities area. BA: From the Twin Cities, yes. SM: Yes. I see. BA: And then my American wife died. SM: What year was that? BA: In 1956. SM: 1956. Yes. And where were you working then? BA: I still worked as a . . . as a waiter . . . I still worked three jobs. SM: You still had three jobs. BA: Yes. 15

SM: The same three jobs? BA: The same three jobs. SM: Oh, you did that for twenty years or . . .? BA: No. SM: Oh, let’s see. You married her in . . . 1930. 1930. BA: 1930. SM: Yes. I see. So you still had three jobs. BA: When my wife died, my first wife died. SM: I see. How old were your children then, were they...? BA: Well . . . Blaine must be . . . oh, he was in college then [unclear]. SM: I see. And the other one was . . . was he the oldest one? BA: He was the oldest. SM: Yes. BA: He was a teacher then. SM: Oh, he was a teacher. BA: Yes. And he’d just gotten married at that time. And the two boys are in college. SM: I see. So they were pretty much grown up. BA: Grown up, yes. SM: Yes. I see. What about . . .? Oh, go ahead. BA: And then after . . . he wasn’t . . . she died in 1956 and I meet Belen. SM: Yes. BA: In 1957. 16

SM: I see. Where did you meet Belen? BA: Well [chuckles] Belen has an uncle here. SM: Oh, I see. BA: And being I was one of the heads of the Filipinos, so I knew him. And I knew his uncle. SM: I see. And then he introduced you to her? BA: I introduced . . . oh, yes. SM: I see. BA: He introduced me to . . . George introduced me to her. SM: I see. And she had come for a visit in this area from Chicago? BA: Yes. Yes. SM: I see. BA: She came to visit the uncle from Chicago. SM: I see. BA: That was during Christmas. SM: Oh. Was she a student at that time? BA: She was a student in Chicago. SM: I see. What university did she go to? BA: University of Chicago. SM: Oh, I see. And so . . . BA: And then I was really very lonely and so I was really in love with her. SM: [Chuckles] That’s understandable. BA: [Chuckles] Very. SM: I see. And so . . . 17

BA: Being I was married for at least twenty-five years with that . . . I don’t . . . SM: Yes, with your first wife. BA: My first wife, yes. So I was really very lonely and . . . SM: Sure. BA: Then I meet her. SM: Ah ha. And what year did you marry then? BA: 1957. SM: Oh, I see. And then you’ve lived here from that time, in Minnesota? BA: Yes. I live here in Minnesota. SM: Yes. Had she finished her studies or did she continue here or . . .? BA: She finished in . . . SM: In Chicago? BA: Chicago. SM: I see. BA: That was in 1956, I think. SM: Yes. BA: 1956 or 1955, in there. SM: I see. And so then you had more children, is that right? BA: We have two. SM: Two daughters? BA: Two daughters. SM: I see. And what part of the Philippines did Belen come from? Was it near your home? 18

BA: Oh, Belen, Northern . . . and Southern. SM: Southern. BA: Yes. Part of the Philippines. SM: I see. So the languages, the Filipino language is different. BA: It’s different, yes it is. Yes. SM: So you spoke English to each other all the time? BA: All the time we speak English. [Chuckles] SM: [Chuckles] And you still do. BA: And I don’t know her language, she don’t . . . well, she knows some . . . a little bit in my language because her father [unclear]. SM: Oh, she does? Oh, because her father was from the North. BA: Her father is from the North. SM: Oh, I see. Well, her father was from the North but she grew up in the South, is that right? BA: But she grew up in the South. SM: I see. I see. BA: And then we got married and she came here in Minnesota. SM: Yes. And you continued in these three jobs? Or . . . did you get any rest from that? [Chuckles] BA: And then when I got . . . I [chuckles] I only have one job then. SM: Oh, good. [Chuckles] BA: [Chuckles] SM: Which job was that? A different one or one of those . . .? BA: A waiter job. SM: I see. Was that hard to support your family on that or . . .? 19

BA: Well, I didn’t have to support anymore of the boys, so I . . . SM: Oh, they were grown. Right. BA: Yes, they were grown. SM: I see. BA: But it was really hard for me to support [unclear] but Belen has a job in the University of Minnesota, so . . . SM: Oh, I see. So then it was easier, financially. BA: It was much easier for me to . . . SM: I see. One thing I was interested in is when you first arrived, in Seattle, was it? BA: Yes. Yes. SM: What your first impression of the United States was? Was it as you expected? [Chuckles] BA: Oh, boy. I . . . my impressions. I really didn’t work in Seattle, Washington, but I came here and worked here. SM: Oh, yes. What was your impression of Minnesota? BA: [Chuckles] SM: What did you expect to find here and then what did you actually find? Were they similar? I suppose you had heard from your brother about Minnesota. BA: Yes. But it’s really very hard . . . SM: Very hard to . . . BA: Understand, yes. SM: Yes. BA: Understand the people here. SM: Can you talk a little more about that? What were the things that puzzled you about the people? That would be very interesting, I think. 20

BA: Well . . . it’s really very hard and it’s the . . . the people [unclear] the American people cannot give you much job. SM: Oh, yes. BA: Yes, it’s hard and easier job than waiter, a busboy and a waiter. SM: So that was one thing. It was very hard to get a job. BA: That’s . . . thats right. SM: Hmmm. BA: And the Americans cannot give you better job at all because well [chuckles] the . . . SM: First it was bad times. BA: It’s a bad time, yes. SM: That was one thing. Yes. BA: And you cannot do anything in bad times. SM: Did you feel that being Filipino meant you got some of the worst jobs? Or did you think you had a fair chance? BA: Well, being a . . . they have to [unclear] people first then the Filipinos. SM: They would hire the Caucasians first? BA: Yes. SM: Was that pretty obvious or . . . or a little bit hidden? BA: It’s a little bit hidden. [Unclear] [chuckles] SM: [Chuckles] Oh, yes. BA: I suppose. SM: Well, what about . . . was it easy to make friends here with Caucasians? BA: Well, I . . . to me, it’s . . . it’s easier for me but some of these people are harder. SM: Yes. You were more outgoing maybe or . . .? 21

BA: I was more outgoing, I suppose. But some of the Filipinos, and there, it’s really hard for them to understand the American and the Filipinos. SM: Was there quite a sizeable Filipino community that you could be with and feel at home with? BA: Well, yes. SM: Yes. How many, about, would there be? BA: Well, about . . . we have . . . oh, a club. SM: Oh, you had a club. BA: Yes. SM: Back in the 1930s there was a club? BA: In the 1930s, yes, we had a little club in there. SM: What was it called? BA: Filipino American Club. SM: I see. BA: But there are not much . . . Filipinas, so . . . [Chuckles] SM: Oh, yes. So it was mostly men. BA: Yes. SM: Right. BA: Yes, mostly men in here. Then they . . . well, some of the American girls can . . . SM: What kind of activities did the club do? Did they cook meals together or . . .? BA: They . . . we’d have dances. SM: Dances. BA: Yes. 22

SM: So these would include Caucasian girls then, too. BA: Yes. Yes. SM: Yes. Was there any objection to that in the Cities or was that pretty acceptable? BA: Well [chuckles] some of us we cannot . . . it’s really . . . ah . . . well, some of them . . . some of the Americans really very objected to it, I suppose. SM: Oh, they did. They complained about it? They didn’t try to stop it, did they? Or did they? BA: No. SM: No. Well, do you think this was different in this respect from California, from what you heard or was it just smaller numbers? Was there more exceptions here? BA: It must be . . . [Sounds of a plane flying over—both chuckle at it] BA: It’s really hard to say. SM: Yes, right. What about housing? Was it hard to get housing or . . .? BA: Boy, yes. It was really very hard. SM: The rents were high or they wouldn’t rent to you or what? BA: They won’t rent to us. We can get only . . . find some housing in some parts of the city. SM: Only in certain parts you could . . . BA: In certain parts of the city. SM: What were the parts that were most easy to get a house to rent or an apartment or a room? BA: Well, you cannot get the apartment down South. SM: In the Southern part of Minneapolis? BA: No. SM: South Minneapolis, you couldn’t get anything there. BA: No. You can get . . . some up North. 23

SM: You could get some in the North. BA: Or Northeast. SM: What about Saint Paul? Was that hard to get housing? BA: Oh, it was very . . . [Chuckles] I don’t know. I have not been in Saint Paul at that time. SM: Oh. Did most of the Filipinos live in Minneapolis in the early days? BA: Mostly . . . some of them, they were in Saint Paul. Some in Minneapolis. SM: Yes. Well, what would they tell you when you wanted to rent a house? They just said it was already rented or . . .? BA: It’s already rented, yes. [Chuckles] They will tell you it’s already rented but there is a sign there. SM: [Chuckles] That says “For Rent.” BA: For rent. SM: Yes. So this was a common problem then. BA: It’s really a common problem for the Filipinos in all the . . . you know, and the Chinese as well. SM: Yes. Probably for all the minority groups. BA: The colored, all of them. Colored and Chinese and Japanese. SM: Did you know any Chinese here in the early days? BA: Yes. Oh, yes. Some of the Chinese lived where the Filipinos lived. SM: Oh, I see. Would that have been in an apartment building or a rooming house or . . .? BA: Well [chuckles] there were two Chinese and Filipino . . . I have a Chinese family where we lived. Where we lived . . . SM: I see. BA: That and living it in that one place. 24

SM: I see. It was an apartment house? BA: That’s an apartment house. SM: Oh, I see. And well, who owned it? Do you know? I mean, was it a Caucasian that owned the building or . . .? BA: Yes, it was a Caucasian. SM: But this one was willing to rent to Filipinos and Chinese. BA: Filipinos and Chinese, yes. SM: Yes. And who were the other renters? Were they Caucasian or Asian or . . .? BA: Well [chuckles] . . . I don’t think there are some . . . Americans there. [Chuckles] SM: You don’t think they were? BA: No. SM: Oh. Yes. BA: And lived in that one place. SM: I see. BA: But it’s really hard for Filipinos and Chinese to arrange if there’s a place if there are some Caucasians in there. SM: I see. Yes. What about Japanese or other Asian groups? BA: Well, the Japanese are just the same. SM: Yes. Were there very many Japanese here in the 1930s that you remember? BA: 1930s, I . . . there are some Japanese, too. Because the . . . I know that some Chinese and some Japanese still live in the same . . . where the Filipinos are. SM: I see. So did most of the Filipinos have the same kinds of jobs you had? BA: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. SM: Yes. 25

BA: You can . . . some of the Filipinos or Japanese, they cannot get any job except . . . [Chuckles] SM: Right. BA: You know, busboys or waiters. SM: Yes. That’s pretty hard. Did the Chinese ever employ other Asians in their restaurants or laundries or whatever their businesses were? BA: I don’t think so. SM: Oh. They hired just their relatives maybe. BA: Yes, they hired their own relatives, yes. SM: Yes. BA: Even the . . . SM: Do you know whether there are any . . . were there any Filipino newspapers in those days that . . .? Or were there too few to write this kind of thing? Were there newspapers that the Filipinos printed in the Twin Cities? BA: No. [Chuckles] SM: No. [Chuckles] Too few, I suppose. What about . . . do you know if there are any people that might have pictures or letters or diaries or some kind of record of their old days in the 1930s? BA: I don’t that there are some. SM: Well, they were too busy working. BA: [Chuckles] Yes. SM: Just a minute . . . . [Brief recording interruption] SM: Could you describe the Rizal Day celebrations and explain what you were celebrating? BA: Well, we have the Rizal Day and we have a dance there. We have some Rizal Day [unclear]. 26

SM: Oh, yes. BA: For the heroes. SM: Who was [José] Rizal? What did he do? BA: Rizal is the Filipino hero. SM: Yes. What was . . .? BA: That died for us. SM: Was that during the war for independence? BA: No, it’s during . . . the old days that it’s . . . he died for us. SM: In a war, was it? BA: No, for a . . . for the . . . he died for us. SM: Yes. So this is celebrated every year then. BA: Every year, yes. SM: And this was brought from the Philippines? BA: From the Philippines, yes. SM: What day of the year is that? BA: Ah . . . . [Recording interruption] SM: I’m talking to Ben Andrada again on November 1, 1978. And there are just a few more questions, Ben, I’d like to ask you. I’m wondering if you have any information about an early newspaper that was published by the Filipinos here in Minneapolis. The Philippine Echo? BA: The Philippine Echo. Well, I . . . we used that in 1900s, some of the people, the news people. But I know the one that started it. The Philippine Echo, it was started with the English and Spanish. SM: Oh, both languages. BA: Both languages. 27

SM: Oh. Do you know what year? Was that in the 1920s? BA: It was 1926, I think. SM: Ah ha. And how many Filipinos would there be in the city then to buy it? Maybe several hundred or . . .? BA: Oh, there were around two hundred Filipinos now. SM: Around two hundred. Yes. And did you buy it and read it or did you subscribe? [Chuckles] BA: Well, I . . . I subscribed to it. SM: Yes. Was it mainly local news or news of the Philippines? BA: It was local news. SM: Ah. Yes. And was that a pretty interesting paper? BA: It’s really very nice, very interesting paper, very . . . well written. SM: Oh, I hope we can find some copies to look at some time. BA: You should contact [unclear]. SM: Yes. BA: I’m really sure that he will know all those . . . SM: Yes. Oh, that’s very helpful. Another question was did any Filipinos . . . Filipinos in Minnesota live in the country, outside of The Cities? BA: Yes. We have so many Filipinos during the Depression then that had to go to the farms in Albert Lea, Minnesota. SM: Ah. And they worked on farm in Albert Lea. BA: And they worked on the farms. SM: I see. BA: And then there are Filipinos that was hired to work on the sugar beets plantation in Chaska, Minnesota. 28

SM: Oh. Ah ha. In the Depression? BA: During the Depression. SM: During the Depression. I see. So was that the only time that they worked out on the farms? BA: Ah . . . yes. During . . . because you cannot get any jobs then in . . . SM: In The Cities. BA: In the city. SM: Yes. But the ones in the city, were they better paying usually or not? BA: The ones in the city are . . . they . . . [chuckles] they don’t have any pay. [Chuckles] SM: Oh, in the Depression there were no jobs in the city. BA: During the Depression. SM: Yes. But . . . BA: I remember I get twenty-six cents an hour to be a busboy. SM: Oh, so there were some jobs, but the pay was so terrible. BA: That’s . . . yes. SM: Oh. Sixty cents an hour. BA: Twenty-six cents. SM: Twenty-six, I mean. Excuse me. Twenty-six cents an hour for a busboy. BA: Yes. SM: Did you live on that? BA: Well, no. That’s only . . . at that time I worked two jobs. SM: Oh, yes. BA: I had to work at the Athletic Club for forty-eight dollars a month. And then [unclear] Curtis Hotel for twenty-six cents an hour; that was around a dollar a day. 29

SM: Was that where you were busboy? BA: Yes. SM: Oh, at the Curtis Hotel. BA: Yes. SM: So you had two jobs. BA: So I had two jobs. SM: And this was during the Depression. BA: During the Depression, yes. SM: Oh, yes. What did they pay out on the farm? BA: They have the . . . the Filipinos have the concession that the owner of the farm give them some food and shelter. And then when they are . . . when it’s time for the harvest, they have one fourth of the harvest and . . . no. One fourth of the harvest and three fourths goes to the farm and the people got [unclear]. SM: To the owner. BA: Yes. SM: Well, how many people would have to share this one fourth? That must not be very much that each one would get, is it? Or . . . BA: Each one will only . . . well, I remember we had the onion farm. SM: Yes. BA: And there are . . . it cost them maybe two dollars per hundred, the onion. SM: I see. BA: So they really made maybe around a hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars a . . . SM: Hundred and fifty dollars at the end, at the harvest. BA: And the end of the summer. Harvest. SM: Yes. And then how many people would share that? 30

BA: Well, of each. SM: Oh, each person. BA: Yes, each person. SM: I see. So for the season each one would get about a hundred . . . BA: Hundred and fifty or two hundred dollars. SM: Yes. Was this people with families to support or . . .? BA: No, those people didn’t have any family. SM: They were single. BA: But some of them, towards the end, towards . . . when the deer come in there some of them got married with the American people. SM: Yes. I see. Were there any other places besides Albert Lea that they went? BA: They went to Chaska. SM: Chaska, for the sugar beets. BA: Yes, for the sugar beets. SM: Was that a concession, too, of the same kind? BA: Of the sugar beets it’s not the concession. SM: Oh, they were . . . BA: They were paid fifty cents a day . . . oh, fifty cents an hour. SM: Fifty cents an hour. And did they get food and shelter? BA: And make . . . yes, and there for them shelter. SM: So that was a little better pay than in the city. BA: In the city, yes. SM: Yes. But if you had a family, could you go? You couldn’t go and take your family there. 31

BA: No. No. SM: I see. So after the Depression then they all worked in the city again? BA: After the Depression they [unclear] come in and work in the city. SM: I see. BA: Yes, were able to find jobs. SM: During the World War II there were more jobs? BA: During World War II. There were lots of jobs then but they are cheaper during . . . cheaper to pay. SM: Yes. Less pay there? BA: Well, when the war came in, then they started at seventy-four cents an hour. SM: Oh. Seventy-four cents an hour during World War II. BA: Yes. SM: Would that be some kind of war jobs? BA: War jobs, yes. SM: Oh, in factories? BA: In the factories. SM: I see. BA: Yes, they have . . . those are the people that...most of the [unclear] at through the [unclear] and through the [unclear] and [unclear] all those. SM: I see, so they worked on machines. BA: Yes. SM: Ah ha. So that was a little better . . . quite a bit better pay. BA: I started in there during the war as a . . . a workman first. 32

SM: Yes. BA: And then I found a nice friend there and he put me as an adjuster to the machine. SM: Ah ha. I see. BA: And then towards . . . six months later, he put me as the chief adjuster. SM: I see. BA: And I controlled eighty-six personnel. SM: I see. Eighty-six persons? BA: Persons, personnel. I controlled eighty-six personnel to help my . . . one of the . . . problems with the machines. SM: I see. Well, do you know the name of any of those factories? BA: New Brighton. SM: New Brighton. I see. BA: There were . . . you can go Northern Farm, New Brighton, that’s an ammunition plant. SM: I see. Those were ammunition plants. BA: Yes. SM: In this area here. I see. Well, that’s very helpful information. BA: And that’s . . . that’s the time when I have three boys in college, so . . . SM: I see. Did any of the old timers go into the armed services or were they older than that . . .? BA: Well, mostly all of them went. Just younger . . . SM: The younger ones went in. BA: Yes, the younger ones. But I had three boys to support so I’m . . . SM: You couldn’t go into it. BA: I cannot go until the last like . . . 33

SM: Oh. Did you go in? BA: On the other hand, I was one eight, when I started to go to New Brighton. SM: Oh. BA: But that’s what New Brighton made me, and [unclear] made me. SM: I see. BA: Then there are so many that are single yet at the time. SM: I see. So you didn’t go in the army. BA: No. SM: Yes. I see. BA: But at the same time I . . . I have done something that’s very nice for the country. SM: Oh, yes. BA: I . . . I told you I donated . . . I recruited Filipinos on Sundays to donate blood for the army. SM: Oh, yes. I see. And you gave blood and recruited other people. BA: Recruited other people. And seventy-five of them all were recruited to donate blood. SM: Oh, that’s a lot. Yes. I guess I was just going to ask one more question about the use of the term Pilipino and Filipino. If you could explain a little bit why they . . . why the people now would prefer that term? BA: The term Filipino was used during 1926 here. And we used it until the young immigrants came here. I just happen to know that they are using...that when the Filipino Minnesota now had ... SM: Had their meeting? BA: And they’re . . . well they . . . SM: Their meeting? BA: Meeting. SM: Ah ha. I see. Were you . . . that was the first time you noticed they were using . . .? 34

BA: And the first time I noticed it, yes. SM: I see. What year was that maybe? BA: That was 19 . . . SM: In the 1960s or..? BA: In . . . yes, 1960 or . . . around 1960. SM: Yes. I see. And so that’s the term they use in the Philippines now. BA: In the Philippines now. SM: And they brought it with them here. BA: I think that was [unclear], yes. SM: Yes. But they still call the country the Philippines. BA: The Philippines, yes. SM: Yes. But the people, the Pilopinos. BA: That’s right. SM: I see. And that’s because that fits better into the Pilipino languages? BA: The Filipino language. SM: Yes. The [unclear]. Well, thank you very much for your information, and it’s been very helpful. Did you want to say anything else or . . .? BA: Well, I’m not going to tell you that . . . when I went to . . . when my wife and I and my family went to the Philippines since the last time in 1966, the Philippines is always clean now. SM: Oh. Yes. You noticed a big change? BA: Yes. I noticed, yes, a big . . . a big change. But then these are the [unclear] . . . they should have only one . . . they should have the term of the president in two years or something like that. SM: Oh, because Marcos . . . how long has he been there now? BA: Marcos has been there for . . . almost eight years, I could imagine. 35

SM: Oh, yes. So you would like to see a new government. BA: A new government. Because, after all, some of the Filipinos have very brilliant ideas, too. SM: Yes. BA: And some of them are very brilliant. So in my eyes, my idea in my mind, they should change government every two years. SM: That sounds like a good idea. Did you find that your relatives have a hard life under Marcos? BA: I think . . . well, I can say that it’s very hard [unclear] the dollars. SM: Yes. BA: And that is the only country that the dollars are very high. SM: I see. Yes. BA: You look at, for example, Japan. Japanese . . . when I went in there, the first time I went there, the exchange was the three hundred yen . . . no, three hundred sixty yen, three dollars. SM: Yes. BA: Today, the exchange is a hundred and seventy four yen to a dollar. SM: I see. And what is the exchange in the Philippines? BA: The exchange in there is seven pesos and forty centavos to a dollar. SM: I see. Has that changed at all [unclear]? BA: And that has not been changed for a long time. SM: I see. Yes. I see, so that’s . . . that’s important for people going back and forth. BA: That’s right. SM: Yes. I see. BA: But then it will be hard for the Filipinos to stay there. SM: Yes. 36

BA: Because they’re wages there are maybe eight pesos a day. SM: I see. Oh, yes. They earn eight pesos a day. BA: And mangoes, I noticed mangoes are one peso for one mango. SM: Oh. BA: So how can you live on that? Unless you are . . . can just live on rice and salt. [Chuckles] SM: Yes. So living . . . earning a living is getting harder? BA: It’s very hard in there. SM: I see. Is that the main reason people are emigrating? Or maybe are there political reasons, too? BA: Well, the . . . maybe it’s such a thing that it’s a political . . . SM: They go together, don’t they? [Chuckles] BA: Yes. SM: Yes. BA: And then there are . . . it’s very hard to live there, I suppose. SM: I see. BA: And I know it’s seven and a half to one and then the food is very high. SM: Oh, yes. Yes. Well, thank you very much, Ben, for your answers and your information. If we have some more questions, we’ll ask you again on another day. BA: You are welcome and thank you. SM: Thank you.