Milagros Tejeda Domingo

September 24, 2003

Milagros Tejeda Domingo

February 18, 1925 on a bright full moon, with a tide that was high a little girl was born to Laureano Tagnipes, a municipal secretary, and to Priscilla Maraya Tagnipes, a school teacher in the town of Hinunangan, Leyte, Philippines. They named her Milagros, Milagring as nickname. Even as the first child I was not spoiled.

October, 1926 Mom gave birth again to a baby boy named Rupert. Another lucky boy was born on August 1928. We called him Meding. September 1930 another girl was born named Flocerfina. We call her Florcer. March of 1932 Ruben was born. May 1933 number six was born. She was named Flor. June 1936 Joe (Pepe) was born. December 1937 another sibling came into our world named Elena. December 1940 a boy named Phil as Filomono after my grandfather. Now this is the last, the number 9. Being the oldest in the family, I was always the baby-sitter.

In the Philippines-Japanese arriving

People in Manila and big cities were lucky. They didn’t suffer so much as we did because they declared “open city” that means the Japanese are free to trade with them. We gathered seeds and seedlings from neighboring barrio to plant in the mountain. We carried coconuts on our head so that our hands will be free to hang on to the branches on the trail. We used the husk of the coconuts for our toilet; the meat to pair with the camotes and the shell for dishes.

More Japanese arrived in our town. They opened the school called a meeting with the community. Dad was so reluctant to go to town so the Japanese harassed my father that they will burn our house in town. We don’t care; the more we worked hard to help the guerillas who werehiding in the hills. Meanwhile, Dad took Flo and Ruben for school. They learned Japanese alphabets and songs. Japanese were suspicious why there were no teenagers only young children. Then, we have a new Mayor the Japanese convinced us to side with them not to the United States. They called us crazy people.

Their reasons were:

  1. The Filipinos and Japanese look alike, small built and darker, while the Americans are big and white.
  2. American is too far while Japan is closer.
  3. They will give us new clothes and all the necessities, while America forgot us to give something. Japanese can not buy us.

We don’t believe them. We worked harder to support America and the guerillas. We always remember General Mac Arthur’s promise, “I Shall Return”. Our faith and patience to the United States makes the guerrillas stronger and stronger.

In the mountains, we learned to weave our own clothes from abaca fiber and a bark from a tree. My father soaked the bark of the tree kept on hitting with a rock or a wooden paddle to separate the fiber and dry. Twice a week he goes to town to guard as bolo battalion with Bob. Suddenly, the Japanese left for another town. The town was empty again. Being the eldest of the family, I have to walk three miles to one of the barrios to make salt. My dad’s first cousin lived along the coast who have a little pineapple plantation, a coconut and some crops. I was welcome to stay with them for two weeks to learn how to make salt and laundry soaps. We boiled sea water over night and dry in the sun. We burn dry coconuts palms and shells to make the lye for ashes and mix with oil. We dried and dissever into bars. When it was ready, I went back to the hill “Mission Accomplished”.

JUNE 1943:

The guerrillas and USAFFE planned to celebrate our town fiesta. Dading, my relative was the queen her escort was one of the guerrilla officer. My cousin’s wife Manang Lourdes organized a folk dance. They told me to join and paired with my brother. The Cruz sisters who were nurses were paired by the officers. My cousin too arrived from Bataan. We have a big band composed by the guerrillas from other town. Our opening was “Bigadon De Honor”. I couldn’t remember what part follows. The last was “Los Bayless De Ayer”. In the middle of the folk dance, an airplane flew above us we were all scattered. One of Colonel Ganglean’s men hold me and we keep on running and running with my Maria Clara climbing the hill and never returned.

AUGUST 1943:

The guerrillas want to build a hospital at the foot of the hill where we evacuated. We, girls again carried nipas from the lowlands and the boys carried woods and bamboo. Half way as we finished, a relay from Colonel Hagleon arrived that an American submarine will land in Hiàgatungan a remote barrio of our town along the coast. All boys and men were called upon to help pick the ammunition. It took them two days and one night to walk with bruises and blisters on their feet and aches on their back. My father’s back aches for almost a week, he said “the guns were too heavy”. My brother brought a Life and Look magazine and some flyers that Mac Arthur will arrive in a couple of months. We kept their secret until the Americans arrived.

THE GREATEST NAVAL BATTLE IN AMERICAN HISTORY:

Bright light flashes glows in the dark. Boom-Boom-Boom! It was October 1944. I was sleeping in my loft when we saw the different light through the roof of our hut. It looks like lightening. The whole world shakes like earthquake only nothing was falling. It sounds like thunder, but it was not. We all went outside in the bright lights. We remember “Mac Arthur’s I Shall Return”. We could not sleep, but wait till the break of dawn. As long as we can see our footsteps, we started climbing the hill. Then we saw sea-planes and amphibious ducks crawling like ants on our beaches. There were lots of battleships at the distance.

We ran down the hill, passing rice paddies, until we reach the shore. The Americans threw candies at us. My brother’s face was hit with the Life Saver and it bled. The Americans took him to the big ship and was treated his cut. He was given a tour coming out with loads of candies. Three Americans escorted him, they were bringing canned goods, bed sheets and more candies. I made underwear, dresses and slips out of sheets.

We went home to our house downtown which was only half mile from the beach, then back to the hills. We had a good dinner that night with a boned turkey and corned beef hash. Hinunangnons were all happy and thrilled that we were liberated at last. No more carrying heavy loads up in the hill. Lucky the Americans didn’t sell Hinunangan, but they did in Dulag my mother’s home town, which was heavily damaged.

We arrived at Dulag two days after. Started to look for Grandma we found her after two weeks she came out from the fox hole. She was almost run over by the military tanks, but was saved by some Americans. She could not find her daughter and grand kids. We looked for my father’s first cousins “the Villegas Family”. They have a big land which the American occupied to build their tents and clinics. Dad still remembers their place. The garrison was off limit to civilian; unless they are related to the Villegas they met us at the gate.

The Americans asked us if we will wash their clothes so we did. Their coverall and pants were too heavy for me so they gave me a job to assist the Dentist in the clinic, memorizing the names of the apparatus, which I have to hand him when he is busy. Now, this time I was promoted, not a laundry girl, but I was dental assistant. I didn’t work long because school was about to open. We went home to Hinunangan with Grandma Sofie. The wind was favorable that it takes only 5 hours from Dulag to Hinunangan.

A year after a Catholic High School was opened in our town. I enrolled for the last year. I hate physics so we went to the beach swimming and come back for P.E. for the folk dancing and military drill. I graduated here and ready for Manila to be a nun.

I had a sack of rice and a hundred pesos. I asked some of my classmates to accompany me to the convent, but they were all busy so I registered papers, the nurse measured my height. “No way, you are one inch short”! Cipriana our class valedictorian was with me so we decided to work as a maid.

Our work in Manila as a maid was hard work, we were treated badly, and never received any payment so we decided to look for a job somewhere else. We never went to the convent. One weekend, two of my cousins from Cotabato were looking for me. They invited me to work in their restaurant. It was a big place with lots of customers. People were coming to eat anytime of the day. It was here I met lots of hacienderas with their workers who were selling their products truck after truck; but some of them lied that they were single, even if they have kids that were in college. I don’t know why men cannot tell the truth in front of women, they think they can buy me.

MEETING GEORGE TEJEDA IN THE PHILIPPINES

An older lady with two grown up sons came to the restaurant almost every day telling me that one of her sons is coming for a vacation from the United States to get a wife and I was their choice. I was really proud to hear, but I have already a secret boyfriend. Secret? Because I was only living with my relatives and I know I’ll be the subject of their criticism. I know they will kick me out and I’ll have no place to stay.

Then her son arrived, the brothers introduced me to him. His name is George Tejada, a service man who was in the United States Navy. He was light and well-mannered. He proposed and his mother advised that we will get married in the province of Bohol her hometown, to see his other brother. My mind says YES, but my heart said “no”... But how about my boyfriend? Who knows how many girlfriend he has in Manila. It was hard to decide, so I told him I have to think it over. My parents were not settled in yet.

We fled to Agusan after the typhoon. Dad, Mom and the rest were still in Leyte with Grandma Sofie with my youngest brother and Elena. I was confused where to get married. In Butuan? They don’t have a house yet. In Leyte? Our house was already damaged.

The following Sunday I went to church alone. Ramona my work mate cannot come because the restaurant was busy. I prayed and prayed that the kind Lord will give me guidance to do the right thing in life. The mass was over and I walked home. My cousin, a driver who promised to pick me up was delayed. It was so hot that I collapsed on the way to Catabato City. A Muslim saw me, picked me up and carried me to their house. His wife also was a Muslim, gave me something to eat and drink until I was feeling all right. They were so very nice; they put me in the bus to go back to the restaurant.

We met George again in the restaurant. Looks like he was serious. So we flew to Bohol got married and flew to Butuan. Mom arrived with the rest of the family from Leyte. My parents didn’t approve my wedding in Bohol. They called me a traitor and I was not a good girl anymore. I told her I am going to United States. I am tired of typhoon. In our history Ireland and America were the only countries that war didn’t touch their shores. American is rich and strong. I remember the Amphibious ducks; the Sea planes that reached the shores of Hinunangan; the big Battle ships that fought in the greatest Battle of American history in Leyte Gulf. All of these thinking came to my mind. America is always the dream of some Filipinos.

FIXING OUR PAPERS IN MANILA:

Fixing our papers in Manila was not easy. It was President Quirino’s administration. Some of the employees won’t sign our papers unless you gave them a bribe. George doesn’t like it he never give a penny. He said in America there is no bribery. His cousin Semeon Sarigumba advised him to give money to speed our paperwork. He was to graduate law school that year. So bribe we did! We kept waiting and waiting. We went back to the province, staying in Bohol again. Back to Manila nothing happens need another bribe. One worker bola bola me. “George, you are lucky to marry a girl who speaks good English. Did she go to Asunscion College or Sta. Rita?” I answered NO, still he won’t sign our papers. George gave him P20.00 pesos so he finally signed. Since then we hand them (P20.00) twenty pesos here, twenty pesos there and twenty pesos over there until we got broke. How about the restaurant? Our stomach was growling. How about the taxi? I can not walk any more I was on the family way. Once again, we are gone back to the province of Agusan. Mom doesn’t want me to go to the States fearing no one will take care of me if I’ll have the baby, but George disagreed. No matter how long the papers will take, he won’t leave me. Finally, a letter arrived that we were approved by the Immigration. We had our good-bye to our parents and back to Bohol to say thanks for the accommodation they gave us their good-bye and back to Manila.

1952 ON OUR WAY TO AMERICA:

We boarded the U.S.S. President Cleveland. It was a very big ship with chapel, swimming pool, a tennis court and lots of cabin. We stopped two days in Hong Kong and a day in Kawloon and went shopping. A typhoon was about to arrive and we stopped in Yokahoma and Kobe, Japan for two days, and proceed tot Hawaii. I forgot how many days we stayed.

Lucky, I was in good spirit. I was always going up in the deck, watching the big waves as big as our church. Other passengers were worried about me why I can not keep still. A passenger gave birth to a baby boy that day. We arrived San Francisco November 1952. We stayed in the hotel for one week.

We took the Greyhound bus for Pismo Beach. Passing Salinas, Gonzales, and Soledad. We saw clothes hung along the highway. 101 Freeway was not yet finished. Is this America where diapers were exhibited along the highway? In the Philippines we saw in the American movie the houses were mansion; women were wearing high heel; men were wearing coat and tie, and children were dressed-up like Shirley Temple. Is this real what I see? We stayed at the P.I. Market in Pismo Beach.

We arrived with disbelieve. The P.I. Market boys called Manong Seyay, my father’s friend who lived a couple of miles from the market took us to Mr. & Mrs. Bucton house. Mr. Bucton was the Principal teacher when Mom was teaching. Mrs. Bucton who I called Esing was the first woman to teach me the American way of life. I know her in Hinunangan because she was good in riding bicycle. She came here a couple of years ahead of me.

PISMO BEACH:

We stayed one week in Pismo Beach. George and the boys told me the story of the P.I.Market. George Tejada, my husband, Ralph Cespon who has a college education from the Philippines; Arsenio de Casa and Leo Bagao and Pete Ablen all from Bohol, bought a lot in Pismo Beach in the 30’s. They remodeled a little house to open a store. They worked hard sleeping only four hours a night until they completed the store. George doesn’t like to work at the register, because he felt sleepy so he preferred to work at the meat department.

Business was good, because Pismo was a gambling town. People go to their store if they won, but if they loose they atang or nothing to take home. They were planning to open another market in Soledad, a suburb of Salinas. Five years after, they invited Lor, Pete Bual and Connie Barbon to join their business. A few years after, they opened another branch in Los Angeles so they invited two Ilocanos to join them in this market.

Then war broke out George and Leo joined the service, and when Pio graduated law they invited him to manage the store. Filipino Visayans own three grocery stores in those years. They could not find another worker, because most of the Filipinos joined the service, and the rest worked in the field so they close Los Angeles. Ralph was sick and passed away. Ben, his brother took his place. A doctor’s wife whose husband was a Filipino Officer worked as a cashier.

MONTALVO

The lease of the Soledad store was expired so they moved all equipments and goods to Montalvo. It was a very big store, four times as big as Pismo Beach. George was assigned here as a meat cutter. Pio manage the store with Connie and Bagao as workers. Pete could not work for many years because he was sick, but because he was a cababayan, he was allowed to stay in the house free board and lodging. Sometimes he took over when somebody is sick and has an appointment to the doctor.

A big store is hard when only three are working. I gave birth to Vicki on December 31, 1952. She was named after George’s grandmother. That was the only time George was able to have four days off. Montalvo’s rental is hard to find. It was a newly developed housing division, but has a Post Office at the back of the P.I. Market. Mrs. Helen Glaab was the Postmaster and was the first white women I knew in that area. We were living with the boys in an old house which was walking distance to the store. Pio slept in another building adjacent to the Post Office close to the kitchen.

One night the baby was sick George can not leave the meat department because he was busy grinding meat for hamburger and the customers were in line. He called the doctor, and the doctor came at 8:30 p.m. He was a very good doctor. Lucky, I was able to understand him, and the understood my English too.

FIRST DISCRIMINATION I ENCOUNTERED.

The boys have some blond women coming to the house in the evening. I have no privacy and the baby couldn’t sleep. George was forced to get a day off so I wrapped the baby and we started to walk to look for a place to stay. A store customer told us that in certain streets a house was for rent. We went there, but we were told it was already taken. Back to another street, a neighbor told us that their next door was for rent, because he was transferred to a certain military base up north. Again, the same story, the house was already taken. It was January and it was getting cold. We started to walk home George looked like Joseph, the baby reminds me of Jesus only she was a girl, and I was a reminder of Mary walking with Joseph looking for a manger to stay. The following day, the customer told George that the house is still for rent, they just refused me because of my skin not for George because he was light. I remember a story that says “ An American landlord prefers to have their house rented to a white family with dogs that to an Oriental people”. Now it was true, those people gets groceries and meat from the store and pay later when they are paid at the end of the month. These people have no heart with prejudice and discrimination to other people that differs with their skin.

Two months passed a man came to the store and asked if they know somebody who can rent their house, because they he was transferred to Santa Barbara. What a God-given privilege it was only Next Street from our store, so we moved. The kitchen was very small enough only for a table and two chairs. There was no place for high chair, I have no washing machine so I have to kneel beside the bathtub to wash our sheets and diapers and hang outside. Then, I was pregnant again this one was another girl. I named her Priscilla after my mother. Two babies with diapers to be washed at the same time. Life continues to be full of sacrifices.

George works from 7:00 a.m. and finish cleaning all the meat equipment at 8:00 p.m. and he was home by 9:00 p.m. The babies were still sleeping when he left and sleeping again when he arrived. I was pregnant again to Barbara. When I hang clothes outside, the two children (Vicki & Priscilla) will be playing and Priscilla keeps on calling Barbara’s name to the school children passing by. Have you been to Santa Barbara or do you have a relative named Barbara? I said “no”. Why don’t you name the baby “Barbara” if she is a girl? So when the baby was born I named her Barbara. Priscilla was very good to the baby than Victoria (Vicki).

We were so crowded time to move out again. We found a duplex whose owners lived in Carpenteria. The family next door has a little girl of Vicki’s age, the other one was Priscilla’s age. The four played together in our yard. The girl’s name was Doris and her grandmother sewed a dress for Vicki same as Doris. Vicki called her “Grandma”.

FLO’S ARRIVAL

Pio told George how lucky you are, to marry Milagring. She just stays home with the kids complaining nothing. Other women, they leave you because you can not take her to the movies or eat outside, etc. Pio asked pictures of our family. She saw Flo (my sister) so he started to communicate with her. Flo was already engaged, but they say “America na yan ayan ka pa?” so they were engaged. Pio went home to the Philippines to marry Flo. They have a good wedding not like mine, but paperwork still the same slow when there is not enough tip or bribe.

Flo arrived in 1957. Pio and George bought a nicer house for us. It was a new housing with four bedrooms. The store was pink, doubled garage, living room was big and a very good neighborhood. It was modern comparing to some old houses. The house payment was so high, but with two men working it was just alright. George still works 12 hours a day, but at least I have my sister to talk with.

Bob, my brother next to me graduated Business Administration in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He visited us in Montalvo, and look for a job here in California. This was second visit in California. The first time was when Vicki was just a baby.

I gave birth to another one, this one was a boy named after my father. We have only one car so we have to walk two miles to church and to the library. There was a city bus, but we are late sometimes. I was teaching George (my son) to drop a penny in the bus machine, but the driver doesn’t like it. I argued with him. This is the only way I can teach my children honesty. You have to pay if you want something so that he will work hard.

GEORGE DEATH AND FAMILY

Then we moved to Arroyo Grande. The girls liked Arroyo, but not George, Jr. When I enrolled him in Branch School, he wouldn’t go inside the school. The school was small like a playhouse. Manong Leo our town mate drove me to Huasna, he was laughing when he heard George Jr. not going inside the school. He wanted to go back to Montalvo school. Five days of talking he agreed, and found good Filipino friends, then he started to like school. The house we rented was only $80.00 a month that year was 1966. There was no heater and we freeze to death. We bought a portable heater and put close to our heads. The owner doesn’t care if we were frozen; they just wanted the mighty dollar so we moved to Pismo Beach. The girls were always at the beach every Saturday and Sunday. George was always fishing catching sacks and sacs of smelt and red snapper which we sold to friends.

The girls discovered the Rose Garden where young boys and girls go dancing which I disapproved. Vicki cannot be stopped anymore. One time I blocked the door with our dining room chair, but she got help from her classmates by pushing back and off they go. Sometimes I don’t have enough money to give her, but her friends contributed 25 cents each to enter the Rose Garden. I realized how hard it s to raise four kids without a husband. That year there were L.S.D. in school and marijuana everywhere.

The only way I can teach my children honesty “you have to pay if you want something” so that he will work hard to live when he grows up. Yes, it works George Jr. works so hard doesn’t want to ask for a free hand.

One night George Sr. was so tired from work. He had been complaining the carcass it was so heavy lifting from the walk-in Ice Box to the cutting table. He has to work 12 hours a day to cover the loss of the P.I. Market in Pismo Beach. They were losing thousands dollars every year. I told Pio and the boys to sell Pismo store because of the loss, but they said “Philip and Benny Daquilina and some of the workers will have no job if they will sell it”. It was not fair, because they are paid the same. The boys in Pismo didn’t work so hard than the boys in Montalvo. They have a big dream that someday when the store will be sold, they will make good money. Imagine since 1952, when I arrived in States until 1966, my husband he would be paid only more than $1.00 an hour.

George passed away 1966 with cardiac arrest after working hard from the store. Sometimes working hard doesn’t pay. Our family suffered so much, all because of a narrow thinking that they will make money if they sell the store.

He died leaving four children. The eldest was Victoria born in 1952. She attended San Diego State for two years married without children. She died in 1993 in Washington. She never saw the money she worked hard for.

Priscilla was born; July 1954 married has three children: Tianna Martinez the eldest is now in Europe schooling. Jordon 16 years old is busy practicing his band and working at the car wash. Shelby is 15 years and also in High School.

Barbara was born in March 1956 married to Mark Ames has one daughter Serena. She graduated in San Diego State majoring psychology.

George, Jr. was born August 1959 married and has three children. He graduated Engineering in Long Beach State and finished his Master degree.

My children were half way self-supporting their studies because their father left without money at all except Social Security and Veteran’s pension.

I worked in the field in the sugar pea, picking tomatoes, and hoeing in Santa Maria fields. Then, later in Cal Poly, as a dish washer I also helped in the kitchen once in a while when needed.

MY NEW LIFE

My boyfriend Ulpiano Domingo visits me after work. He saw the food on the table untouched. The pancake gets hard; the bacon withered so he told me to stop working so t I can attend to the children. He said we’ll get married and he will support me and the kids.

Married we did in 1969! We went to some Filipino gathering in San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, Salinas and Santa Maria. He said I worked so hard packing lettuce six days a week so I want to have off once a week. The lettuce growers were not members of the union. I join the Mother Singers of Santa Maria. It was a good group. We have convention every two years with 500 women singing from different cities of California. The most enjoyable was the Bi-centennial Convention in Long Beach. For the opening was the Long Beach Police Department color guard followed by Community singing.

We were still renting in Pismo Beach just across the P.I. Market for four years. Suddenly, an old man from the valley bought the house and gives us only thirty days to stay. I told him it’s against the law so please give us sixty days. He disagreed, but later on he said “yes”. I looked at new papers everyday, we found in Casmalia for $80.00 a month. We went to see it, the children doesn’t like it far from school. My husband likes Nipomo close to his work, no luck. Time is running out. We packed some of our things and stored it in our old building that was next to the P.I. Market. (George and the four originals own the P.I. Market in the 30’s now it was unsafe to live.)

We camped two weeks in Pismo Beach and three weeks at Lopez Lake. Priscilla and Barbara were already good in putting up the tents. While I was packing, I heard that they were building houses in Nipomo. I told the contractor that we were camping because we have no place to stay. We were homeless for a couple of weeks. We were still camping in Lopez Lake when the contactor sent a man to notify me that we can move in the following week. We moved in this house since June 1970 in Nipomo. My second husband and I had a wonderful life until he passed away in 1991.

THE CALIFORNIA WOMEN’S CHOURS

With Dolores Bill as accompanist, the Long Beach Treble Clefs was lifted from the bottom of the stage floor slowly rising to the top with “Red, White and Blue Choral Medley” accompanied by Jo Ann Coulter, and directed by La Ver Millard. The state was well decorated and the program was tow years in planning.

The Bell Flower Choral Belles sang “America I Love You”. What a group! Followed by curtain time “Medley of Broadway Musical hits then our group joined with the 500 voices. My hair stands while I was at the stage. I was nervous at first, but after our first song. I was proud I was proud of myself, proud of being an American and proud to join a talented group. I forgot the war; I forgot my suffering and thanked the kind Lord for everything, the opportunity he gave me.

“Walang Segaro Ang Tawo” The ability of a person cannot be measured.

We had two nights and two days of activities. The author of Mr. Music Man was on hand to sign our program book. I can not forget those meaningful event. If I didn’t marry George, the Boholan I won’t be able to observe this kind of opportunity and I think I am lucky too to marry this Ilacano too, whose unselfish attitude; encourage me to join different kinds of club.

MARCOS ARRIVED IN LOS ANGELES

In 1982 we were invited during the visit of President and Mrs. Marcos. We were in line from 7:00 in the morning. It was raining, the line was too long. Each and every one of us went to a detector. We were allowed to go in at 12:30 that means five hours standing in the rain. There were about 12,000 people in the arena.

Imelda wore a pink traditional Filipino dress . She was the prettiest lady I’ve ever seen. People applauded in her every turn, especially when she sung the son “Feelings”. She can also sing pretty well in Filipino songs.

There was not enough food. Luz, one of Imelda’s cousins was seated beside me and my sister. Both of us were hungry because it was already 2:00 p.m. The Iglesia ni Cristo was fed already and we were not. Imelda’s uncle, Ambassador Ramualdez could not find a seat. It was not well organized; it is hard because people wanted to see the Marcos’s.

We went home at 4:00 p.m. stopping at the restaurant and I was relieved. I thought my husband will collapse with hunger while we were sitting at the bleaches at the arena. People were jumping to catch the bananas that were thrown to us. I ate one banana. We arrived at my brother’s house at 6:00 pm. What a day! It was worse than the Second World War! When a person is hungry, they act like animals no matter what.

THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY

Connie Opinaldo invited me to join the Filipino Community in 1966. She organized a folk dance and I joined with them. We practice once a week, but we don’t have a piano player yet Connie invited Mrs. Pat Berry and when she was tired we look for another on. I found Mrs. Westurland, a mother of George Jr.’s classmate. She played for us for a couple of months, and then Carole Manibog moved from Los Angeles area played for us. She can play all of Filipino songs and we were busy practicing our folk dancing twice a week. We danced in Cambria, Hancock College, in schools and some organizations like Lion’s Club, the Moose, Chamber of Commerce and Senior Citizen. I enjoyed folk dancing because it reminds me of our high school days especially when we were competing in Malitiboga. In 1974-1976 I was elected as Vice President of the Filipino women’s Club, and again in 1977-1979. The vice president is always the chairman in almost every program. My participants were children especially during Christmas. One time it was very embarrassing I forgot my list, so when I was at the stage I could not remember the name of one participant even if I saw the grandparents.

I joined the Filipino Community in Santa Maria, but I quit it was just too much for me. Saranay is my favorite too most of the members are old people. They could hardly drive. I was elected as Treasurer for two terms.

I joined the Nipomo Women’s Club. I was the only Filipino, but I enjoyed it. We went to Cuesta College to Hancock College to see some shows at the Performing Arts. I volunteer at the Red Cross. The meeting was held in at building on the second floor. I was not able to climb stairs anymore I became disabled. Red Cross was always my dream to help because they take care of all the disaster even in the Philippines.

Then there was the Historical Society (FANHS) I like so much, but my healthy was already deteriorating. I had my surgery at the University of Southern California. After I recovered, I had a stroke and then arthritis. I am not able to walk very well. Now, my life ripples with light. I am now half way to the tunnel. The end is almost closer. If God will take my borrowed life or will he prolong a little bit longer. He will give me the glory of my sacrifices.

To my family, friends and to the organizations I belong which I live this fallen world. I have to say Good-Bye.

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