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Interview with Belen S. Andrada



Belen S. Andrada was born in the Philippines in 1926 and came to the United States in 1956 to continue her studies. In 1957 she married Benigno Andrada in Minnesota. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Her family in the Philippines - the importance of her family - her reasons for coming to the United States - her reactions to living in Minnesota - and prejudice against her as a Filipino.





World Region



Belen S. Andrada Narrator Sarah Mason Interviewer October 20, 1978 Minnesota Historical Society Richfield, Minnesota

Sarah Mason Belen S. Andrada


SM: I’m talking to Belen Andrada on October 20, 1978. The interview is conducted under the auspices of the Minnesota Historical Society; the Ethnic History Project. The interviewer is Sarah Mason. Belen, could you tell us about your childhood in the Philippines and your early life there? BA: Okay. I am one of ten children. I lived in the Southern part of the Philippines, in Mindanao. I am from Butuan City. Went to school in a Jesuit-run school, and lived in the city until after high school graduation. Then I went on to Manila to pursue a college education where I graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a major in mathematics. I started teaching after graduation, went back to the same school I graduated from. And two years later, took my master’s degree in education. Went back to teach in the same school. However, my health kept me from continuing the next year. SM: Can I interrupt just a minute? BA: Yes. SM: Before you go on, could you tell a little bit about what your family did and . . .? BA: Oh, okay. My father was the provincial auditor in Butuan City. My mother was a housewife. And we were a very close family that believed in education. As children we shared a lot, being many in the family. My father always had strict rules for us to eat our meals together. There could only be an exception that we can’t be at the table during mealtime. Life was very comfortable because we were lucky to be in a middle income group. We were blessed with help in the family, so as children our main responsibility was really our studies. SM: Yes. BA: One thing that I can never forget is what my father has always told us time and time again. That education is the only thing he could leave us that nobody can take away from us. 1

SM: So education is a very important value in your childhood. Is that true of the Philippines in general or . . .? BA: I think that most families probably look to education as a passport to everything. SM: Yes. BA: Another thing, I think, that was very true in our family was religion. SM: Oh, yes. BA: My father was a very religious man. Every day we always got together at six o’clock in the evening to say our prayers as a family. And this was really imbibed in us all through our lives. SM: And this was the Catholic religion? BA: This is the Catholic religion. He’s been very active with the Knights of Columbus. Of course, my mother died when I was ten. SM: Oh, I see. BA: And my father remarried a year later. He remarried an aunt of ours. SM: Oh, I see. BA: And so there were eight children in the first marriage and two in the second, who are all alive now. SM: Oh, they’re all alive still. BA: Yes. There were thirteen of us. Three died. SM: Oh. Was that in the first group or . . .? BA: In the first group there were ten. Yes. And then in the second marriage there were three. Yes [unclear]. SM: I see. What kind of activities did your mother engage in outside of the home? Or were they mainly within the home or . . .? BA: It was . . . my mother was, like I said, my own mother [chuckles] was really the very traditional housewife. SM: Yes. 2

BA: Her place was in the home. We had our meals ready when we came home. And she supervised the farm. SM: Oh, she also supervised the farm there. BA: She would visit . . . we had tenants and she would go and supervise what they were doing. SM: I see. BA: She was half Chinese. SM: I see. BA: And my stepmother was also in the government service. She was a bookkeeper for the city. SM: Oh, I see. BA: And having been a career woman, when she married my father, she continued to work. SM: Yes. BA: Leaving the care of the children to a nursemaid. SM: Yes. BA: [Unclear] true. Well, I think when my mother was living though, we had also helps in the house but she personally took care of the children. SM: I see. Was this a break from tradition for your second mother or your father’s second wife to work, too? BA: Yes. Yes. Although I think it wasn’t really something frowned upon because it was already there. [Chuckles] She was already working before she got married. SM: Right. BA: So it was just kind of accepted. SM: So it was understood. BA: It was just understood. And then she . . . my father did not object to her working either. SM: Yes. I see. 3

BA: And another interesting thing, too, is that my own mother grew up with my stepmother’s family. SM: Oh! That is interesting. So they were very close and then had similar ideas. BA: Yes. Right. In fact, we . . . we were neighbors, you know, too. [Chuckles] SM: Oh. Ah ha. BA: So they were first cousins, like her father and my mother were . . . my mother’s mother were brother and sister. SM: Would this be a common occurrence? To remarry a close relative of your wife or . . .? BA: I really don’t know. [Chuckles] SM: Yes. It wasn’t . . . BA: I think it just . . . probably it just happened. SM: It just happened in that case. BA: Right. SM: Well, that happens here, too. BA: Right. [Chuckles] SM: Especially . . . more often in the early years of [unclear]. BA: Yes. SM: That’s really interesting. Did all of your brothers and sisters go on to school, too? BA: Yes. All of us graduated from college. SM: Yes. BA: Our oldest brother . . . I mean, our oldest sister is a pharmacist. And my second sister is a teacher. And my older brother went into law, and then I followed —teacher-counselor. SM: Yes. BA: And then my next brother is a fine arts graduate. My sister is a nurse. 4

SM: Oh. BA: She lives in California. SM: So they’re all professionals. BA: And then my next sister is an accountant, and she’s the one who lives behind me. SM: I see. BA: You will meet her tomorrow. SM: Have quite a few of your family come over? BA: There were . . . at one time there were five of us here. SM: Oh. And some have gone back? BA: Four of us are here now. Yes, four of us are here now. SM: I see. BA: Okay, her, and I’ve got a younger brother who is an architect and he is in San Francisco. And another brother who is a med tech, and he’s in the Philippines. And the youngest, our youngest sister is a dietician. SM: I see. BA: She’s still in the Philippines. And they are also preparing to come here. SM: I see. Yes. BA: But for a while there was me, and my sister behind me, and my sister who is in California. She was . . . they were all here. And then my brother who is in San Francisco and that sister now who is a dietician who is in the Philippines, the five of us were all here in Minnesota! SM: Oh, that was very nice. BA: Yes. I am here, my sister has always worked at Wards, you know, Montgomery Ward in Southtown, and my sister was at Golden Valley [unclear] hospital, and then my brother was with Honeywell. SM: Oh. BA: And then my younger sister was with the University of Minnesota. 5

SM: So your children have lots of cousins and family or . . . yes. BA: Oh yes, thirty-seven! SM: Thirty-seven cousins?! [Chuckles] BA: I . . . I think. Now I have to go back. See, when my father died in April, that is when we had put down how many . . . I could look that up, you know. SM: Yes. BA: How many grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Oh, yes. We are already starting into our fourth generation now. SM: I see . . . BA: Because our nieces now are married and then also having children. SM: I see, so your children don’t feel as though they’re in a different country from many of their relatives or . . . BA: No. I guess we are lucky that we . . . I have a sister here who’s also got two kids here. SM: Yes. BA: And then these are the only cousins here, because my sister in California does not have children. SM: I see. BA: And my brother in San Francisco is not married. SM: I see. BA: But over in the Philippines . . . [chuckles] lots of them! SM: [Chuckles] Oh. Yes. BA: In fact, right now my very oldest sister has, you know, this is the one I was talking to you about, has been visiting us while living over here. One, two . . . five of her kids were with her. SM: Oh, that’s really nice.


BA: And they’re still in Los Angeles now, but they’re also visiting their daughter who is in Washington state and has married a Caucasian man. SM: I see. BA: She is a nurse and she married a psychiatrist. SM: Yes. BA: In Everett, Washington. SM: I see. Well, would these be thirty-seven first cousins your children have? BA: Oh, yes. These are first cousins. SM: Oh, and that’s in this country. No. BA: Oh, not in this country. SM: Oh, I see. BA: Just four are here. SM: Oh. BA: And just . . . there’s just four of them here. All the rest are in the Philippines. SM: I see. BA: Because . . . no, I have to correct that, too. There’s one cousin in Everett, Washington, the one who is married. Yes. SM: Yes. BA: But the ones . . . the sisters and brothers that are visiting are here only as tourists. They’re just visiting the country. SM: I see. BA: They will be going home before Christmas. SM: Yes. Well, do your children know their cousins in the Philippines pretty well, too? BA: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. 7

SM: They feel at home with each other. BA: They feel at home with them. We have taken them to the Philippines many times. SM: Yes. BA: Let’s see now . . . in . . . of course, 1959 was our first visit to the Philippines after Ben and I got married. SM: Oh, yes. BA: But at that time Tita was only six months old. And then we went back in 1969 and Tita was then ten and Cristy was five. Tita was almost eleven, yes. And Cristy was five years old in 1969. SM: Yes. BA: And we were back . . . we were all back in 1976. Tita returned to the Philippines in 1964 with her other cousin here behind us, with my sister. SM: Oh. BA: My sister took them home. SM: What year was that? BA: 1964. SM: 1964. BA: Just Tita and Missy, you know, the daughter of my sister next door, went with my younger sister when she went for vacation at Christmas time. SM: How nice. BA: And then . . . that was 1964. And then in 1969 all of us went, my sister and her family and my family, and my sister who was then not married, and my brother, you know, who was not married, all went home and we had a big reunion in the Philippines. SM: Oh. Are any of Ben’s relatives here? BA: Yes. Yes. Ben has an older brother and a younger sister living. SM: Oh. BA: And we visited him also. 8

SM: Oh, they’re in the Philippines. BA: They are in the Philippines. SM: I see. He has no other relatives here. BA: No. SM: Except through his children and marriage. BA: Yes. SM: Yes. Oh, that’s . . . BA: Only that older brother, Pat, was the first one who came to Minneapolis. SM: I see. And he’s still living then. BA: He is living in the Philippines. And we have visited them there, too. SM: Yes. BA: I did not really have . . . like his older brother Pat has only one daughter. See, [unclear] has, I think, thirteen children. [Chuckles] SM: Oh. BA: And his sister has three children. SM: I see. BA: So with us, because we are a big family, when we go back to the Philippines we really spend more time then with my family. SM: Yes. I see. Yes. BA: Than with Ben’s family. SM: Yes. BA: So our children are very comfortable with their cousins. SM: Oh, that’s really quite a help, I imagine, in keeping in touch. 9

BA: It is good because, do you know, like I think before we went to the Philippines, you know, they know these names, you know, read letters . . . we receive letters from them very regularly. And going back there, they know their cousins. SM: Yes, it’s a big difference. BA: Especially, I think, they had their best time in 1976. SM: Did they? [Chuckles] BA: Yes. They were catching up. You know, they were very little in 1969. SM: Sure. BA: But then in 1976 they were almost as big as the cousins who, you know . . . who were really big at that time. SM: Yes. BA: In fact, it was interesting because when these cousins came here this summer . . . you know, you look at their pictures and they’re . . . in fact, Cristy is bigger than . . . than some of them [chuckles] that, you know, they’re in their twenties now, you know, almost thirty. SM: Yes. BA: And here our kids have caught up with them! [Chuckles] SM: [Chuckles] BA: But we . . . I think on the whole our family is very, very close. SM: Yes. Is that usually the case in the Philippines with family as a very important . . .? BA: Family there is very important. SM: Yes. BA: And it is not unusual to find several generations in one house. SM: I see. And does that carry over here, too, that . . .? BA: I guess . . . so. You will probably, among the new Filipino families, you will very seldom, I think, see a parent living apart from the family. SM: I see. 10

BA: I think in Caucasian, in mixed marriages, it may not be that easy. SM: Yes. Yes. BA: Because it’s not . . . you know. Among the Americans, I think, that is not . . . it has always been hard for them to take, but so far, what I have seen has really been good. SM: Yes. BA: I think that . . . especially, I think, if the husband or the wife has been over to the Philippines. SM: Yes. BA: I think they’re more accepting of having another generation live with them. SM: Yes. Yes. BA: There was a time where in the house when I had everybody and this is a small house! SM: [Chuckles] BA: My neighbors would tell me . . . whether I still see my husband! [Chuckles] SM: [Chuckles] BA: Yes, because when my sister arrived, they first lived here. All of them when they first came to Minnesota lived here. SM: Well, that is a big help, to have a place to stay until you get established. BA: And we were very lucky that when my sister was ready to buy a house that we could . . . we were able to find this house at the back of us. SM: That really is nice. BA: Because that really gives us, you know, like we . . . one Sunday they eat dinner here and the next Sunday we eat dinner there. SM: Oh, yes. BA: Kind of alternate that, you know. And most of the time we’re sharing. SM: That’s very nice. 11

BA: And when letters come from the Philipppines, shared, you know . . . SM: Oh, sure. BA: From here, you go to the next house, and you get a letter there and then it comes here, you know. SM: [Chuckles] BA: And it’s really nice. SM: So there’s a very warm family feeling, I can see. BA: Oh, yes. Yes. And I think that is something that you will notice probably as you visit families. SM: Yes. BA: That . . . especially, I think, in the second generation or the new immigrant families. You will find this to be true. SM: Oh. Yes. Do you think it’s more so in the new immigrants or . . .? BA: Well, not . . . well, maybe I am saying that because really among our old immigrants, you know, they were . . . it’s almost all mixed marriages. SM: Oh. I see. Yes, right. BA: And then with the new immigrants it’s . . . this really has been a new life coming here. SM: Yes. And so they would tend to bring . . . BA: [Unclear] father and mother comes here. SM: Right. So with the mixed marriages they didn’t bring as many relatives from the Philippines? BA: No. No. SM: I see. That was because, I suppose, the wife didn’t encourage it too much or . . .? BA: I don’t know. Or else maybe at that time . . . they really had a hard time, too. And there was no time for that. 12

SM: Financially, it was probably very hard. Yes. BA: Yes. There was no time for that. Like Ben said he worked three jobs. SM: Yes. Right. BA: You know, to keep his family going. SM: Right. BA: [Unclear] like when he said during the Depression he took care of his in-laws also. SM: Oh, he did? BA: But it’s just his big heart, I mean, you know. It’s . . . and I think that is where probably the in-laws kind of looked at the marriage in a different light, you know. SM: That changed their attitudes somewhat. BA: Yes. SM: Well, that would be good if he talked about that on his tape. BA: Yes. SM: Maybe we should go to how you happened to come to the United States. BA: Okay, I was getting to that. SM: [Chuckles] BA: I think when . . . when you . . . SM: Yes, when I distracted you. BA: Yes, when you wanted to bring me back to . . . I’ve probably covered my childhood too quickly, but yes. I guess I was saying that that year I wasn’t really physically well and I was told to take a leave of absence. And my brother . . . SM: Which year was this? BA: 1956. SM: 1956. 13

BA: Yes. My brother-in-law was just returned from Minnesota. SM: Oh. BA: He was here on a training program through the World Health Organization as a doctor. SM: I see. BA: And it was at that time that he suggested, “If you’re not going to be doing anything, why don’t you try and go to school in the States?” SM: Oh. BA: And actually, what happened to me, I think, was just sheer exhaustion. I mean, I was just physically exhausted in everything. I guess I felt obligated to the school that paid for my education, you know, when I went for my master’s degree, they sent me. SM: Yes. BA: So when I returned, I just . . . launched myself into all kinds of activities and just got physically exhausted. And my doctor told me that I just had to rest. And [unclear] you know, I mean, I never rest. [Laughter] SM: You don’t rest too much. BA: No. And so the idea of coming abroad was, of course, a dream when I was younger. However, I never thought it would materialize. SM: Why was it a dream? It seems to be often this . . . BA: I guess I kind of read about people who had been sent by the government, you know, sent by institutions, and [unclear] studies abroad. I just felt that my education would be more rounded, better. The facilities here are probably a lot better, and that I think I’d get a better education. And also with education in the United States, when you go back to your country, you really are looked up to. SM: I see. So that was a pattern then of students wanting to go. BA: The ambitions of wanting to continue because the education here is much, much better. I really don’t know if it is. [Laughter] After I got here, you know. SM: Actuality and the dream. [Chuckles] BA: Yes, and the dream and the reality. But I must admit that the facilities are . . . are more, I think that your opportunities are better, you know. 14

SM: Yes. BA: But I guess when you go to school, it really depends upon you and how much you want to get out. SM: Right. BA: And how much you put in and how much you want to get out of it. And I found that to be true. But that is how it all started. And I wrote home. I was in Manila then, you know, when this suggestion came about. And I wrote to my father and he was very happy to say yes. SM: Yes. BA: And the papers started, you know. I applied very quickly, that was already in July. And, you know, classes here start in September. SM: Oh. Oh, you were going right away. BA: Yes. And so in August I received . . . the first reply that I got was from the University of Chicago. And I had applied to Stanford, University of Minnesota, and the University of Chicago. SM: Oh, you did apply to Minnesota. BA: Yes. Because I have an uncle here. SM: That’s right. BA: However, my professor . . . my Fulbright professor when I was taking my graduate school in the Philippines also recommended me to the three universities for me. SM: I see. BA: He already knew I was interested in counseling. SM: This was an American Fulbright . . .? BA: Yes, an American Fulbright professor. SM: I see. BA: And I had taken my counseling courses with him. And he suggested that I try the three universities. SM: Oh, I see. 15

BA: So my first reply came from the University of Chicago. And because of the time element involved, I proceeded with my papers. SM: I see. BA: With that acceptance from the University of Chicago. And in about two weeks I was in Chicago! [Laughter] It was just like . . . SM: Really! BA: I could not believe it. SM: Well, of course, that’s a very prestigious school, too. BA: Yes, it is. SM: So that’s not a bad choice. [Chuckles] BA: I didn’t even [unclear]. Well, actually, I didn’t know much about the university. It was really . . . SM: Oh. Yes. BA: It was really a strange thing except that I probably I trusted my Fulbright professor’s decision, I mean, you know, advice. SM: Oh, yes. BA: And I took his advice and I applied at three universities which, I found out later, were really prestigious universities! [Chuckles] SM: Yes. He gave you good advice. [Chuckles] BA: Stanford. And so I arrived in Chicago and that is where I started my graduate work also in counseling. SM: Oh, that’s where you studied counseling. BA: Yes. I stayed at International House. SM: I see. BA: Which was a house for foreign students, but there were also American students as well, because my roommate was an American. 16

SM: Oh, I see. Well, I think it would be interesting if we talk about your year as a student at the University of Chicago. BA: Oh, yes. That was very interesting, because that was the first time that I became aware of prejudice and discrimination. I think studying American history in the Philippines, you know, you read about the black movement and everything. So but I did not realize how bad it was until I came to Chicago. Because the South Side of Chicago is predominantly black. SM: Yes. BA: And the first debate that I attended—that was, I think, the second week I was at the university—was how prejudiced are the Americans towards the colored people. SM: Yes. BA: And I guess I have probably never paid attention to the black and white movement before I came here. But I realized, gee, there is really a problem. Especially there when some of the African students were telling stories about their own experiences. SM: Were they at the university, these experiences? BA: Yes, they were at the University of Chicago. SM: I mean . . . BA: Well, I think not just university experiences, you know, just going downtown and . . . SM: In the city. BA: In the city. And the discrimination against the black . . . whereas, you know, being brown, I guess, we are, quote, “in the middle” ethnically, kind of. SM: Yes. BA: You know, usually the blacks are very nice and then you know when you really know some white Americans, you know, they also are nice. But maybe in an academic environment, it is not as bad as really in a social . . . SM: Right. That’s more protected and a more selected group of people. BA: Yes. Right. And especially, I think, at International House. My own experience at International House has been very, very good. I mean, I think, because the students there are all from different countries, I think they are more accepting of each other. 17

SM: Sure. BA: But when you get into the social environment, I think you are still looked at . . . looked upon as something different. Like when you go shopping, you know. SM: Yes. BA: And people recognize your accent. People look at you like [chuckles] you know, where are you from? SM: Was this true in Hyde Park there right around the university? It breaches quite a mixed . . . BA: It is quite a mix there. SM: But there are tensions there, too? BA: Yes. Yes. I think we find that we feel that whenever we are downtown, when we are in the downtown area of Chicago. SM: When you go to downtown Chicago. BA: When we go shopping or when we go to someplace or whatever, you know, you’re really looked at as something [chuckles] different. However, because Chicago is such a cosmopolitan place, I don’t think it was very obvious, you know. SM: Yes. BA: It was just kind of some of the . . . oh, how would I put this? All will be . . . it’s underneath, I mean, you know. SM: Oh, yes. How would it compare with the Twin Cities in that? BA: I think the Twin Cities, too, it’s . . . what is the term that I would like to use for the Twin Cities? It’s also a very, very subtle—that’s the term that I want to use. SM: Subtle. Yes. BA: It’s a very subtle discrimination, you know, you can . . . you feel it but . . . SM: That’s the example. BA: In fact, I can tell you, I guess, as an incident. When I first worked at the University of Minnesota I was at the Student Counseling Bureau. And at that time, I guess . . . I was young, I was the only Oriental there. 18

SM: At the Counseling Bureau? BA: Yes. I was actually at the specific section where I worked was the testing division in our own office there. I was the only Oriental and the only colored one. And of course when I first came in, I guess the other employees, you know, in that section, I guess, didn’t really know what kind of background I had. And they . . . I guess they thought that I was a college student. SM: Yes. BA: I think my . . . my appearance kind of belies my age. But . . . and I think more . . . I don’t know if it was more curiosity or more prejudice, it was really hard to pinpoint, you know, the reason for the aloofness at first. SM: Oh, they were rather aloof? BA: Yes. And then wondering why the director was always calling on me to do this, to do that. And so that was, I think, also part jealousy, I suppose. SM: He would give you more work? BA: He would give me more work. I would be called into the office more. But I found out later, too, that in that office, I was probably . . . I mean as far as the background, educational background, academically, I guess, I was above everybody else there, you know. SM: I see. BA: However, this was not known to the employees and especially for those who had been there for years, this was kind of a threat, I think. SM: Sure. Belen, could you compare the kind of prejudice in the Twin Cities with that in Chicago? You mentioned that it’s rather subtle in the Twin Cities. Is it more open in Chicago or . . .? BA: I really don’t know. I have not been socially active with the community in Chicago although I can say that it is a very cosmopolitan community. There are many blacks, there are many minorities around Chicago, so maybe I have not really paid much attention to it. And as a student, my experiences have been quite different. SM: Yes, you were a little removed from the . . . BA: Yes. Yes. SM: What about as a student? Did you encounter any real prejudice from other students or was this pretty much of an elite group, in a sense? [Chuckles] 19

BA: I think that the University of Chicago has probably quite an elite group. SM: Yes. BA: And international students were nothing new, I guess, on campus. With the International House right on the University of Chicago campus, this is . . . in fact, we kind of considered ourselves special, I think. SM: Sure. BA: Because there were many activities centered around international students. SM: Yes. Were there many programs to orient you when you came? BA: Yes. In fact, there was . . . there is a foreign student advisor. SM: Yes. BA: Who also has his offices at the International House. SM: I see. BA: And orientation takes place during the first week of the arrival of international students. We are told what to be aware of . . . I mean, what dangers are there around the campus. SM: Oh. Yes. BA: What is expected of us if we are invited to an American home. SM: Oh, sort of practical tips. [Chuckles] BA: Yes, practical tips on how to survive and what to do and . . . it’s been very helpful. SM: Sure. BA: And of course the foreign student advisor is also there to listen to our problems if we do have problems. I mean, that’s their job is to help the foreign students with their problems. SM: Yes. Well, I suppose language was not a problem. Had your education been in English? BA: Yes. Yes, our education . . . oh, let me tell you a very interesting experience, too, as far as English, which just shows how much people know sometimes. But my professor in one of my courses had asked me to do an oral report on a paper that I had written. SM: Yes. 20

BA: And he didn’t tell me what his motive was for asking me to do the report. It only came out afterwards. And he asked me how long I’ve been in this country and I told him this is my first quarter in this country. And then he said, “Interesting.” He says, “Could you do an oral report tomorrow?” And I said, “Sure.” SM: [Chuckles] Not much time to prepare. BA: No. This was a written paper, he wanted me to do it orally before the class. SM: Oh, I see. BA: And so I hardly even looked at the paper because I knew it by heart. [Chuckles] And then he said to me after the report, “I really owe you a public apology,” he says, “ Because when you told me that you had only been here this quarter, I could not believe you could write a paper like that.” And he says, “I’m so amused at your accent [unclear],” he said, “Forgive me,” he says, “I didn’t really know how much of English you had.” SM: Oh, he suspected you hadn’t really written it. BA: That I had somebody write it. SM: Oh, yes. Yes. BA: Because if I have only been here for one quarter, I could not possibly speak English like that. And so when I told him that I had . . . my education has been in English since Kindergarten, you know, it was really kind of a surprise to him. SM: I see. BA: I mean, I think, here is a professor in college, I think, who is still, I think . . . did not really know that . . . And of course, I suppose, he didn’t . . . SM: He didn’t know much about the Philippines. BA: Yes. Yes. I think that when you don’t . . . when you’re not really involved with someone, I think, like that, you don’t just pay attention to it. SM: What did you speak at home? BA: We speak Visayan. SM: Visayan? BA: Yes. 21

SM: Yes. BA: That is a dialect in the South and in the middle part of the country. SM: I see. BA: And there are so many dialects in the Philippines. [Chuckles] SM: Yes. BA: That Ben and I have to speak English to each other. [Laughter] SM: Is that common among Filipinos in the United States? BA: Yes. SM: Well, then did you learn English when you went to Kindergarten or did you know some before? BA: I knew some before I went. SM: Yes, I see. So that your father, I’m sure, spoke it. BA: My father spoke . . . spoke Spanish, and also his native language, which is Ilocano. SM: Oh. Oh, he was from the North? BA: He was from the North. And he learned English by himself, because when he went to school, it was really during the Spanish time yet, you know. SM: I see. So during the Spanish rule, school was in Spanish? BA: In Spanish and the vernacular. SM: I see. And then English became . . . BA: Came when America . . . SM: I see, at the turn of the century. BA: During [unclear] yes. SM: But so many . . . 22

BA: And in my time it was already in English. SM: So you didn’t learn Spanish? BA: I took it as a language. SM: I see. BA: As a second language. SM: I see, so it’s mainly the older people that speak Spanish as their second language. BA: Yes. Yes. SM: And the younger generations mainly . . . BA: Speak English. SM: Yes. But may know Spanish to a certain extent. BA: Oh, yes. SM: Well, how much is Spanish a useful language in the . . . or used language in the Philippines? BA: Well, I think among the older families, they still use it. And I think there are really families, I think, who still have bred it down to their children. SM: Oh, yes. BA: But not as, I guess . . . I don’t know. SM: Would these be people that were Spanish blood or . . .? [Chuckles] BA: Not necessarily. Not necessarily. I think they were people who just really learned to love the language and they have just continued to have it spoken by their families. SM: I see. Yes. It’s a tradition in their family. BA: Yes. SM: I see. Well, that’s interesting. Well, I don’t know if there’s anything else you want to add to that about your student life. Did many Americans approach you as friends or . . .?


BA: Oh, yes. In fact, this is one thing that was a plus at the International House because they always had us spend holidays with American families. SM: I see. BA: In fact, my younger sister was with me at International House and we were not allowed to stay on the same . . . SM: [Chuckles] BA: On the same floor and in the same room. SM: I see. BA: Because they were really trying to encourage us to get to know the American community a little better. SM: Yes. Sure. And these were usually pleasant experiences? BA: These were usually pleasant experiences because these were families who wanted us. [Chuckles] SM: They invited you, yes. BA: And were also interested in our culture. SM: Yes. BA: In fact, I spent a week in Hammond, Indiana, once with the Girl Scout organization because they had an international workshop. SM: Oh. BA: And having been active in Girl Scouting also in the Philippines, I was one of their resource people. SM: I see. BA: And that was kind of an interesting experience. SM: Oh, that would be rather interesting. BA: It was an interesting experience. Yes. SM: Hmmm. So you’d been active in the Girl Scouts in the Philippines. 24

BA: Oh, yes. SM: I see. Was that when you were a student? BA: When I was a teacher. SM: When you were a teacher. Yes. BA: I was a scout leader. SM: I see. Well, let’s see. Then maybe we should move on to how you came to stay in this country. BA: How I came to stay in this country. SM: And met your husband and so on. BA: Okay. I got married in 1957. SM: Well first, how did you meet Ben? [Chuckles] BA: Oh! [Chuckles] I met Ben through my uncle and aunt. I visited here at Christmas time and . .. SM: That was in 1957, too? BA: 1956. SM: 1956. BA: Christmas of 1956. And through my uncle I met him. He was also a friend of my brother-inlaw. My brother-in-law the doctor. SM: Oh, I see. BA: The one, you know, when he was here in Minneapolis. Have known Ben and his wife and the family. SM: I see. Your brother now came for some kind of international meeting here, is that it? BA: [Unclear]. No, he stayed here for a year. He was in medical . . . he studied in medicine and he was . . . I don’t know what . . . I know he worked with Dr. [unclear] while he was here. But he was sent by the World Health Organization. 25

SM: I see. BA: To do some internship at the University of Minnesota. And he stayed with my uncle and aunt when he was here. SM: Oh, he lived with them. BA: Yes. Yes. SM: I see. BA: And so it was through them also that he met Ben and family. SM: I see. Did many Filipinos come to study at the University of Minnesota Hospital or Medical School or . . .? BA: Or the University of Minnesota, period. SM: Or at the university. BA: I would not say many but I think before the 1950s there were some students here. SM: Before the 1950s. BA: Yes. And afterwards, I guess, the numbers just kept increasing. I mean, you know, after war, I guess, there had been more opportunities. SM: Oh, so it was largely a postwar phenomenon. BA: Yes. SM: Well, of course, Ben and his brother came with the idea of studying. BA: Yes. I guess at that time came with the idea of studying, however, and the Depression came and that’s what happened to all of them. SM: [Unclear]. Oh. BA: Some of them finished and some didn’t. SM: I see, so during the Depression that fizzled out. BA: Right, fizzled out. Yes, right. And that was just hard times, I guess. SM: Hmmm. But quite an increase then after World War II. 26

BA: Oh, yes. Yes. SM: I see. So you had known of him for some time then? BA: Oh, yes. Yes. Well, I knew about him because of pictures that my brother-in-law brought home with him, you know, after coming from here. But I never dreamed I would be in the States anyway! [Chuckles] SM: Oh, yes. And he was at that time married. BA: Yes. Right. [Chuckles] SM: Well, that’s interesting. Had you any idea of staying? BA: No, not really. As a matter of fact, when I came I . . . I had already plans of what I would do when I went back home. SM: Yes. BA: In fact, the dissertation that I did in my graduate study was a comparison between our school system and here. SM: Oh. BA: And how I would probably apply some of the things that I have learned here, you know, when I went back to the Philippines. But that never happened. [Chuckles] SM: I see. This was in the public school system? BA: No, it was a Jesuit . . . is a Jesuit school. SM: I see. So you were comparing educational methods in elementary teaching or . . .? BA: And high school. SM: In high school teaching. BA: Yes. SM: Oh, that’s interesting. So when did you go back after that? You stayed here for a number of years then? BA: Yes, I stayed here . . . Okay, we were married in 1957. 27

SM: Yes. BA: And then I started working at the Student Counseling Bureau at the University of Minnesota a few months after that. And we went back to the Philippines in 1959. SM: I see. So soon after you were married, you went back. BA: Yes. And it was Ben’s first visit in umpteen years. SM: Oh . . . BA: Oh, he hadn’t been home since he came. SM: Well, that was an exciting trip for him then. BA: So it was kind of an exciting trip for him. SM: Yes. BA: And we spent two months in the Philippines. SM: I see. His children were what, grown by then or . . .? BA: Oh, yes. Yes. When we married, his . . . two of his boys were already married. [Chuckles] SM: Oh, I see. So none of them went back with you on this trip? BA: None of them went back, none of them have been to the Philippines. SM: Oh, they haven’t been ever. BA: They haven’t been to the Philippines. SM: I see. Are they a little less interested than Tita and Cristy are? [Chuckles] Actually, would be [unclear]. BA: Well, the farthest that Dennis had gone was in Japan. SM: Oh, he did go there. BA: And I guess they are interested in going, however, financially, with their own families now, too, it’s hard. SM: Yes. 28

BA: And I guess they would . . . they would like to really go if we were there. I think we were there, that would be . . . they would be more motivated to go, but . . . SM: Oh, sure. They don’t have direct ties that they’re familiar with. BA: Yes. Right. They really don’t, because that is something, I think, that was missing also in that marriage of Ben. I think he was too busy that he . . . he did not really keep in touch with his brothers and sisters in the Philippines. SM: Oh, sure. And then with their mother not having the ties there. BA: Yes. SM: She would probably be . . . BA: She was not very well either. I mean, you know, she had always that heart problem. SM: I see. BA: And so they have not really . . . we, I think we resumed the contact after Ben and I got married. SM: I see. Yes. BA: And we were very excited about seeing them, you know, when we went back in 1959. SM: Oh, yes. BA: And since then it’s been kind of a regular contact with them. SM: Yes. So it had been like thirty years since Ben had been there. BA: Oh, yes. It was . . . yes. When we went home in 1959 . . . that’s right, thirty years. SM: Oh! That must have been an exciting trip. BA: His sister did not recognize him. SM: Oh . . . BA: Yes, because I suppose she was just very little, you know, when he left. SM: Sure. Oh, that is . . .


BA: I think that it has really kind of resumed our regular contact then with his family. And of course in my case, I’ve always been close to my family, I guess. You know, I regularly hear from them and we remember each other’s birthdays even now, and anniversaries and so on. SM: What about when you were in that counseling job, did you . . . were there any Asian students you were counseling? BA: Yes. Yes. In fact, at Saint Louis Park it’s very interesting how . . . I’ve never been assigned . . . when I took the job, I never was assigned the foreign students. SM: Why is that? BA: But they just fell my way. You know, I mean, we were just counseling A through G or whatever. SM: Oh. I see. BA: And but it just seems like the Native American kids, the black kids . . . you know, were attracted to come and see me instead. SM: I see. Well, that’s very interesting. BA: It was kind of interesting. SM: This is after you left your university job and went . . .? BA: After I left my university job I was in a girl’s high school, Saint Margaret’s Academy. SM: Oh, I see. BA: And I started there as a part time counselor and I taught math for two periods. And then eventually it became a full time counseling job. And it is a girl’s school. SM: Yes. BA: But I was . . . it was a very good experience for me. There were some funny experiences there that I had, which really had something to do with people, too. The involvement now, like when I was at Saint Margaret’s, there was a Chinese student who became friends with a white girl, and I think started to bring her home to their house, met her family. And one day this mother called me up on the phone and she said, “Now, is it possible that this friendship only stays in school?” SM: This is the white mother or the Chinese mother?


BA: Yes, this is the white mother. And I said, “Why?” And she said, “Well, you know, I have nothing against her, she’s a beautiful girl. But is it eventually this will lead to my daughter meeting maybe Chinese boys, you know, and on and so forth.” And she says, “Not that I have anything against them,” you know. But . . . SM: That’s what they always say. BA: Yes, that’s always what they say. “I know at our churches they preach about accepting, you know, other races, but,” she said, “I don’t know. I just have very strong feelings about it.” I said, “Well, I’m sorry, but, you know, we cannot really control friendships that way.” SM: Did she know you were Asian, too? BA: She did not know I was Asian, so I said, “You know, we’re having an open house this coming week. I would really invite you to come in and see me.” SM: Yes. BA: And she said, “Sure, yes, I’ll stop in and see you.” [Chuckles] Her mouth just hung . . . I mean, when she walked in the door and found out that I was an Asian, you know. SM: Yes. BA: And she started apologizing. And I said, “No, there is really . . . ” SM: [Chuckles] BA: And really reassuring me that was really okay, that I was okay, you see. But I thought that was just . . . and I guess that is why I really feel that people will have to know someone. That exposure is really important. SM: Yes. That’s the key. BA: That is the key to it. Because, you see, after they see you . . . and that has been true. We had a class on the nature of prejudice, you know, at Saint Margaret’s when I was there. SM: Oh. BA: And the teacher who was teaching it is a very, very good friend of mine, she’s a nun. And there was an incident, I think, in Wayzata. It was a racial thing. And they discussed that. And then it was . . . it involved Orientals. And so she used me as an example. And then she said, “Okay, girls, now what about Mrs. Andrada? How do you feel about it?” Oh, this is . . . this is different. She said, “What makes her different? She’s just as Oriental as all these others, you know.” But I think it’s because they know me. 31

SM: Yes. BA: And that was true here in our neighborhood. You know, I told you about the . . . the comment that was made by the fellow who put in our telephone. SM: Oh, do you want to recount that on the tape? BA: Yes. I guess, like when we first moved here, we had a . . . the wife of our doctor was staying with us at that time. And when she took the bus to town from here, she came home saying, “Gee, that was strange. Nobody sat with me all the way through town.” And then our telephone then was put in. The guy asked me if we came here in the dark, under candlelight. And I said, “But why?” I said, “That never really occurred to me that something like this is still existing in 1959.” And . . . SM: Didn’t he ask you, too, how your neighbors are or something? BA: Yes, then he asked me how our neighbors would accept us. I said, “Well, I haven’t had a chance to meet my neighbors yet.” [Chuckles] “But,” I said, “That would be interesting to find out.” So we really were a little bit careful of how we approached our neighbors. There was only one neighbor who came and welcomed us to the neighborhood, and she was Cuban. SM: Oh. Yes. BA: And she identified with our Spanish background. SM: I see. BA: That we would, you know, eat probably some things that are similar. And she came to the house and brought us some goodies and welcomed us to the neighborhood here. SM: And that’s the only one. BA: Yes, we moved here on December 8th and then the lady across the street . . . I mean, to the side of us, her son goes to Benilde and she knew that I was working at Saint Margaret’s Academy. So she was very friendly. And besides the fact that an aunt and uncle . . . . [Recording interruption] SM: Do you want to just continue then? BA: Okay. And . . . so she was very accepting of us. I mean, you know, the baby was [unclear] relatives [unclear]. But, after that, Anna, who was the Cuban lady, had a welcome party for us and I met more of the ladies in the neighborhood. SM: I see. 32

BA: That was quite a change, I think. People began asking questions about the Philippines. In fact, whenever something on the Philippines is on television, they would go and let us know that. SM: Oh. BA: So I . . . but again there, I go back to this getting to know people. I think that is really important, too. Exposure to people in that certain racial group. I think that is [unclear] even with the blacks, I mean . . . SM: Yes. BA: You know, when you know that . . . I think that the stereotype is really dangerous, you know. SM: Oh, yes. BA: Even one person who will stereotype that way. And kids are curious, you know, too. SM: [Chuckles] BA: In fact, one of our kids here in the neighborhood asked me one time if I was Chinese. And I said, “No, I’m not.” I said, “Why did you [unclear]. Do you know any Chinese?” “Oh, yes,” he said, “When we were in Michigan, you know, our neighbors were Chinese.” SM: Oh. BA: And he said, “I just thought if . . . if you were Chinese.” I mean, even kids are curious, you know, too. SM: Well, this seems to fit the pattern of this subtle . . . I mean, nobody came and threw rocks or something like that. BA: No, no. SM: But just kept to themselves more or less. BA: And yet when you open it up, you know, they really have all kinds of questions that they like to ask you. SM: Yes. BA: Yes, and so . . . so we’ve lived in this neighborhood now for . . . well, since 1959. And it’s been a very pleasant experience. 33

SM: Oh, I see. Now you have rather good relations. BA: Oh, yes. And I think that we have probably educationally rehabilitated [chuckles] some of those people to be more aware of other races, you know. SM: Yes. BA: And other nationalities. And they see us here also having company, you know. SM: Yes. BA: Whenever we have Filipino families come here and it’s not only that, we have entertained also people from work. SM: Yes. Sure. BA: And they see that we have a good time. [Chuckles] SM: Yes. BA: With all these people. And so . . . SM: So you feel pretty comfortable with them. BA: I feel pretty comfortable. Oh, yes. Yes. SM: Yes. BA: And I guess now, I guess, I feel very comfortable even if I feel some subtle discrimination once in a while. I always tell myself, well, maybe they really don’t know any better. SM: [Chuckles] BA: You know. SM: Yes. BA: And I guess that’s always . . . that always makes me feel good. [Chuckles] SM: Yes. BA: Because I . . . I really believe in that. The more they know about you, the lesser the prejudice or discrimination.


SM: Yes. Right. I suppose with the high school students it’s . . . there’s no problem, is there? Or is there towards yourself or toward other students? BA: Again, I think they’re [unclear] you really don’t know. I think that again, if there is, then it’s a subtle thing. I think you have to prove yourself, too, that you really know what you’re doing. And I think that when you have . . . when you have really gone over that and believe really in what you do is right, you know, that what you’re doing with them, that you really know what you are doing. SM: Yes. BA: I don’t think it’s even an issue. SM: Yes. Well, that’s good if they use that kind of a criteria as [unclear]. BA: I mean, that has been my feeling all the years that I have worked with American kids. And I think that the minute you really go over that curiosity . . . I’m sure that when they come in they are curious, you know. Your accent is very obvious, my accent is obvious. And when I go to a classroom for the first time and we introduce ourselves, you know, the counselors always go to the classrooms at the beginning of the year and introduce ourselves and what we do and so on. I always start out by saying I am originally from the Philippines. SM: Yes. BA: So that then they hear my accent, you know, they are not going to be asking, oh, is she Hawaiian, or Japanese, or Chinese, or whatever. SM: Yes. Right. BA: And then I tell them my background. I think that because they are curious, I think we present ourselves [unclear]. SM: Sure. BA: That we know that you know what you’re doing. SM: Sure. BA: And especially, I think, amongst the parents then, too. SM: Oh yes, sure. BA: It’s very important. SM: So do most of the minority students gravitate to you for counseling? 35

BA: This has been my experience at Park. Now at Minnetonka where I am this year, they don’t really have that many and I . . . and because I am there only as a substitute, I guess I have not really experienced much of that yet. SM: Oh, yes. BA: Because there is somebody else that I work with. SM: Oh, so you’ve taken over his students more or less. BA: Yes, and now we’re there part time. Like he comes the first two hours in the morning and then the last two hours in the afternoon; I’m in between. SM: I see. BA: So [unclear] it’s too soon, really, to say that. It took me a while, I guess, at Park, for people to kind of recognize that. SM: Sure. You’re very new at this Minnetonka. BA: I’m very new at Minnetonka. And I think . . . I think that with students with that kind of background, not just . . . not just Asians or blacks, also the Cuban Americans and then the Jewish. You know, it’s kind of interesting because I think that the background is almost the same, that strictness in the family, you know, that [unclear] authority. SM: Yes. Yes. BA: I think in some ways I really feel that I’ve been very helpful in here making them see both sides. Being a parent myself and coming from that kind of environment and helping meet the needs in the kids, you know. SM: Yes. BA: [Unclear] different [unclear]. [Clunky noises – brief recording interruption?] SM: Belen, are there some American values that are talked about a lot, democracy, equality, and so on, that you have always identified with or you have identified with more since you’ve lived here or . . .? BA: I think that the democracy, of course, you know, when I left the Philippines before martial law in 1972, we always had a democratic government. So that, to me, is still the same kind of 36

value. I think I like it. In fact, that is the reason why martial law has really been a painful thing for us to see. SM: Yes. BA: Equality, yes. I guess, yes, there is more of that here. Maybe because of our social structure in the Philippines where the rich keep to themselves and try to really maintain their aristocracy within the family. SM: Oh, I see. Yes. BA: Still a part of the Spanish . . . you know, I think that is something that we picked up from the Spaniards. SM: I see. BA: There is more openness here as far as jobs, I guess. I am really impressed with the friendly . . . oh, how do I want to say the term? Camaraderie [chuckles] amongst employers and employees here. Which, of course, is still in the Philippines does not exist. And my sense as a teacher, you are the authority and your students are students. You know, you’re talking one way. That is also coming from our own culture of practices as far as parents and children. I think it’s a one-way communication. It’s from parent to child. SM: Yes. BA: I think I like the . . . I like the openness of relationships, I think, in American families. I like the independence here that individuals enjoy. And there is more of that. Like children are allowed to make mistakes. I think that young people gain their independence early. I like that part of it, and yet I also want to cling to the family. [Chuckles] I mean, I want to cling to that family closeness. I hope that that can really . . . that that can be worked out together. Even still make them feel independent and still maintain their close family ties. SM: Yes. BA: Which is a hard thing to do. SM: Right. BA: Because I find that kids, I think, after they have their own jobs, then they think that they can run their own lives, because that makes them independent. But how you can . . . how you can bridge that, you know, where you can still maintain . . . because that’s one of the things that I’d like to maintain, is to keep our, you know, close family ties. And I think . . . I think so far, so good. We have succeeded, I think, in really making our children aware of their families. SM: Yes. 37

BA: And that is one reason why we always take them to Filipino gatherings, because there have been more of that in the Twin Cities lately with the new immigrants coming in. So that they will not lose that cultural identity. SM: You see that as rather important for their mental health and so on. BA: It is very important. And I think it makes them understand us, too. You know, why we do the things we do. SM: Sure. Oh, yes. BA: I think when we understand our culture then because they are living in a very . . . in a totally American environment, then they can also understand some of the things that we do. SM: Right. That’s very important. BA: Yes. That to me is important. So that if we have to accept them as they are, they have to accept us, too, the way we are. There are things that we cannot change, because it’s already part of us. SM: Yes. [Unclear]. BA: This is why I tell my girls, you know, yes, if I were to do that to Grandpa, you know what’s going to happen! [Chuckles] And of course that’s in the past, but it’s still [unclear] them to realize that this is part of me. SM: Right. BA: Why [unclear] certain things, certainly there are many theories that I have learned to listen, to do this, to do that. But then when you’re emotionally involved, then you’re kind of . . . return to where you’re . . . we’re accustomed to respond. SM: Sure. It’s always part of you. BA: That . . . yes. The emotion really overrules your head, and so that whenever we sit down to talk about it, then I . . . you know. They can understand that, I think. And I think that they understand me better that way. Even their dad, who has lived here all his life, almost all of his life. They’d always say, [speaking in a high voice] “Why is it this way about us?” And all this and all that. SM: [Chuckles] BA: And I said, “Well, you are girls. And I think if we were in the Philippines . . . in fact, girls are chaperoned when they go out. And you know, it’s something . . . even if he’s lived here all 38

his life, almost now, but it still . . . that is just the way he projected his feelings about women, they are to be protected. SM: [Unclear] BA: Those are . . . I think those are some of the things that we still would really like to keep, is the close family ties. I think I miss some of that once in a while. SM: Yes. BA: And it’s very good for my children to see that whenever we bring them back to the Philippines. SM: Oh, yes. BA: And then when they come back here they always say, “Now I can see why, you know, you talk of Auntie [unclear] and Auntie so and so, you know, and all of this and all of that.” But they see that, you know. It’s not a put-on thing. It’s there. It happens. SM: Well, you seem to have been able to take what you want from each culture and to adapt but still . . . BA: Meet them halfway. And I think we still need to meet them halfway, too. SM: Yes. Of course, even if you didn’t come from another country, there are generational changes. BA: Yes. SM: But it’s exaggerated when . . . BA: Yes. SM: But you seem to have been very successful in . . . BA: I think I’m very happy to . . . I think I feel very lucky to be, I guess, in an occupation that kind of lends to this. SM: Oh, sure. Yes. BA: Because in hearing . . . in hearing kids, you know, their problems. I think I can also transfer that to my own children. SM: Sure. Well, do you think that’s helped you with adapting to another country and culture? 39

BA: Oh, I . . . very much so. I think especially in becoming and being a parent. SM: Oh yes, that has to. Do you ever talk with other immigrant people about this? BA: I do. I do. In fact . . . SM: Do they come to you for help? BA: Within our community right now, mothers are kind of wanting me to run just a seminar or workshop for parents. SM: This is in your American . . .? BA: In our own Filipino. [Unclear]. SM: Oh, in the Filipino, that’s what I wondered. Oh, yes. BA: Because their children are also growing up as teenagers and they just feel that . . . that my experience with young American teenagers here and with my own teenagers, that this will really throw light into some ways that they could handle, you know, some of their situations at home. SM: Oh, you could be of great help to them. BA: And I told them they’ve just got to name the place and time and, you know, I’d be available. SM: Yes. BA: But . . . and I think the need has become a little bit stronger now that many of the young families are having teenagers in the homes. SM: Right. BA: I really feel that my occupation has been very helpful to me. SM: Yes. BA: And of course as a person, I guess, I’m kind of curious. [Chuckles] SM: Yes. Well, you’ve had a lot of contact with the Caucasian society and so on. I wondered if maybe some families haven’t had as much, whether they have contacts at work, probably. But maybe the mother doesn’t. And are there . . . is there a lot of social intermixing or not? BA: You mean amongst the . . .? SM: Amongst, say, Filipino-Americans and Caucasian-Americans. 40

BA: I think so. SM: You think there’s [unclear]. BA: I think so. I think more so now with the new immigrants. SM: I see. So the further along in time, has made it a little easier. BA: Yes. It’s very interesting, too, that many are, you know, like some older children who are dating American boys, too. SM: Yes. BA: And I think because partly what is lacking in our community is how to get these kids together. But of course they . . . you know, in their own high schools, there are not too many of them. SM: Yes. BA: So naturally they find American boys and . . . SM: Are their families worried about this or do they . . .? BA: I think there are families that are worried about it. And yet that is something they cannot control for sure. SM: I mean the Filipino families are worried. BA: Yes. SM: Yes. What about the Caucasian . . .? BA: And it could be true with a Caucasian family, too. It really depends upon that family, you know. SM: Right. BA: There are families who are accepting and there are families who aren’t. SM: Yes. BA: And so it’s going to be a problem.


SM: You mentioned a little bit about the martial law in the Philippines and so on. What’s the general feeling here about that? Or are there strong feelings, are there . . .? BA: Well, Minneapolis, I guess, is very subtle, too, that way. SM: [Chuckles] BA: It hasn’t really been a big issue. SM: You mean among the Filipinos. BA: Among the Filipinos here, yes. SM: Oh, yes. So they’re busy with their own lives? BA: Yes, their busy with their own and as long as they are here they feel safe and, you know, if you have families over there, you probably kind of worry about them. But other than that, it hasn’t really been a big issue. SM: Have people come as political refugees at all? BA: Yes, there are. Yes, now we do not have any here in Minneapolis, but I know in California. We have read about it in the papers, yes. SM: Oh. Well, do you subscribe to Filipino newspapers? BA: Yes. Yes, we subscribe to the Philippine News. SM: I see. BA: And there is a Philippine Press. SM: That comes from Chicago, Philippine Press? And there is a Philippine Press locally or . . .? BA: Locally, we have a Filipino newsletter, which is put out by the Cultural Society of Filipino Americans. SM: I see. BA: And the Fil-Minnesotan Association. Tita is now, as a matter of fact, is the editor of the FilMinnesotan newsletter. SM: Oh. BA: And it’s going to be coming out pretty soon. 42

SM: Oh, I see. So that’s the new immigrant group, isn’t it. BA: Yes. Yes. SM: And the Cultural Society is a combination of new-old or what is that? BA: Predominantly new immigrants. SM: Oh, the Cultural Society is new immigrants, too. BA: Yes. SM: What is the old immigrants . . .? BA: Filipino American Club. SM: Filipino American Club is the old one. BA: Yes. Although they are beginning to have young people, you know, as members, too. SM: Yes. But that’s an older organization. BA: Yes, but it’s really the old organization, it’s really predominantly the older group. SM: I see. But that one may eventually be a combination new-old? BA: Could be, yes. The president right now is a young gentleman. [Chuckles] But I guess it’s also their way of . . . handing down now, you know, to the younger people, the responsibilities. SM: Yes. Hmmm. Do you think most of the Filipino families subscribe to one of those papers or . . .? BA: You mean the Filipino newsletter that we have here? It is not . . . there is no subscription. SM: Oh, it just . . . [unclear] to members. BA: It is just sent free, yes. Yes. SM: What about Philippine News? That’s a sort of the liberal paper, isn’t it, from Chicago? BA: Yes, well, it’s really a . . . it’s really an anti-Marcos [Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos] paper. SM: Yes. So that would be [unclear]. 43

BA: Yes. SM: Oh, it was started as an anti-Marcos paper? BA: I don’t know. I don’t know if it is. I really don’t know the history behind the paper. But I think we just kind of became interested in subscribing to it without even knowing. I think it was only . . . so, I mean, you know, several times reading the paper, you can feel what the sentiment was. SM: Yes. BA: But when we . . . when we subscribed to it, it was just the idea of knowing what is happening in other place, you know. SM: Oh, so maybe it’s recently that it’s become anti. BA: Yes. Yes. Well, I don’t know how old the paper is [unclear]. SM: Yes. But there are quite a few papers in Chicago. BA: Oh, yes. Yes. SM: Were there when you were a student there, too? BA: No. I guess when I was a student I wasn’t even aware that [chuckles] there was a Philippine newspaper. SM: [Unclear] reading into things. BA: Yes. Yes. SM: So this must reflect a large number of professional people in the Filipino community. BA: Right. SM: Oh, yes. Well, have we left out anything? What about Detroit? Do many Filipinos live there? BA: I don’t know. I think there are quite a number of Filipinos there because I have a cousin who is very active. He runs a radio station there. SM: I see.


BA: And I know that they have a large group. And this conference in Chicago took place, I think it was in 1972, I’m not so sure now. They had a good delegation that came from Detroit. SM: Oh, yes. BA: So there must be a big community there. SM: So that’s probably a big community, too. Hmmm. Do you think of anything we’ve missed? Let’s see, I know you celebrate Filipino holidays. BA: Yes. SM: Do you eat Filipino food, largely, or sometimes, or . . .? BA: Largely, yes. [Chuckles] Largely, yes. SM: You like that best. [Chuckles] BA: Yes. Unknown female speaker: [Unclear]. BA: Okay, good. See, talking about food. So I think that should be [unclear]. SM: Okay. Well, thank you very much, Belen. BA: Yes. You’re welcome.