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Things I Know About Daddy’s Younger Years


Being that July is Daddy’s month, many of my posts this month will be about him. Today’s post is the first, about his early life. I wish I knew a lot more.

  1. We both were born in the lunar year of the Snake, Daddy, 48 years before me.
  2. Daddy’s baptismal document, his only formal proof of birth, was written in Spanish. It states that the infant being baptized on July 25, 1905 had been born ten days earlier. 
  3. Daddy was baptized on the feast day of St. James, aka Santiago. I speculate that Daddy’s parents may have named him such because of the day. 
  4. It is possible that my grandparents also chose Santiago because that’s the name of their town. Santiago, Ilocos Sur, along the western coast on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.
  5. In my whole life with Daddy, we celebrated his birthday on July 25. Did he know his real birthdate? I can’t recall. He did enjoy celebrating his birthday with a big traditional Filipino party, that always included a roasted pig, which he turned on a spit for hours  over an open fire in our back yard.  Preparing the food for the party the day before was a party itself. That’s a tale for another day.
  6. The war between the Philippines and the United States was going on when Daddy was born. He told me that his mother would take him and run up the mountain to hide. “I was still a baby. That’s what they told me.” Daddy thought the war was with Spain. He was surprised when I told him it was against the United States.
  7. Daddy was one of 12 children. “Three died very young,” he said. 
  8. He was one of the older siblings, number four. “Lucienne, Goria, Asciong, then me,” he recounted.
  9. Daddy had two years of schooling, that by then in the Philippines, schools were based on the American school system. He stopped because his dad died and Daddy’s help was needed on their farm. Daddy was ten years old. 
  10. The time came to plow the fields, Daddy told me. Goria, Daddy’s teenage sister, was strong, he quite proudly told me. She held the plow steady, while Daddy and his brother Asciong pulled it like carabao.
  11. When Daddy was 16 or 17, he migrated south to the central Luzon province of Pangasinan for better opportunities to farm. Six years later, he signed a three-year work contract to work on sugarcane plantations in Hawaii. 
  12. Daddy planned to sell his carabao to pay the fee to get a contract. His mother told him no, they can use the animal. “Your grandmother gave me the money so I can go,” Daddy said to me.
  13. On February 25, 1928, 23-year old Daddy sailed from Manila bound for Hawaii. The next time he saw his mother, brothers, and sisters would be 19 years later, a U.S. citizen and veteran of World War II.
It’s Thursday 13 time. Come, check it out here

And, time for Mosaic Monday over here.



Comments

  1. Very interesting... and a full life. I know practically nothing about the U.S. Philippine War. My dad was a WWII vet too.

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    1. Cheers to our dads! and for our dads! Textbooks used to call the war an insurrection that lasted a year or two immediately after Spanish American war ended.

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  2. I see you! You are not showing up on my blog list for some reason. I found this truly interesting and knowledgeable. I did not know, or don't remember there was a war between the Philippines and the States...Why? His mom was left with a large family to take care of...it must have been daunting.
    We celebrated my dad's birthday on March 14th but when my mom got his birth certificate, it said he was born Feb. 15th. My dad was vehement saying that was wrong but I don't think so. I think we celebrated when he was baptized. Many back in the day recognized the baptism more than the birth.
    He came over the year my mom was born. My dad served in WW2 as well.

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    1. Hey Birgit! Good to see you. Celebrating baptismal dates must be part of the Catholic culture. I thought it was another Filipino cultural thing that my parents disregarded. Now I’m wondering if we were celebrating Mama’s birthday on her baptismal date. She was so Virgo though. The war between the Philippines and the U.S happened because the U.S. wouldn’t recognize the Filipino government when the war with Spain was over. Filipino soldiers won that war but the world likes to attribute it to Admiral Dewey sailing into Manila Bay. The US. didn’t want to give up the Philippines because it was a strategic location in Asia for them. And, also the U.S. paid Spain millions of dollars for the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

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  3. He must have been sad to leave his family behind, but it appears he created a new family here. Interesting that he celebrated his birthday on his baptism day.

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    1. I forgot to mention that the document was written in Spanish which was not his first or ever language. Someone told me that saint’s days are thought to be more important than birth days. That’s probably why his birthday was celebrated on the day he was baptized.

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  4. That is so interesting and I know you'll be glad you gathered all of this information. I'm reading your comments to learn even more. We can learn a lot from the past and understand why we are the way we are. Your father was a strong individual! I know you are proud of him.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Diane. My goal is to write my parents’ stories for my nieces and nephews and their families.

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  5. ...if my father was alive, this month he would celebrate his 104th birthday!

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    1. My dad would have turned 106 this month!

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    2. Cheers to our July baby Dads!!!! ❤️

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  6. Lovely tribute! My dad and father-in-law have the same birthday!

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  7. Having trouble signing in with my Google account, but here's my comment anyway. This problem has been happening lately for some reason. I really enjoyed reading about your father's early life. It must have been hard taking so much responsibility early in life after the death of his father. What a leap of faith to leave for Hawaii when he did. - Margy

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    1. Thanks, Margy. It was a leap of faith! I hadn’t thought of it that way before.

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  8. Your daddy's early life is so interesting and through your lovely tribute and your comments above I also learned a lot about the broader history of the Philippines ... (making it personal is the best way to learn history). My dad was a Veteran of WWII also. He was older than many and a father of two when he enlisted and would be 110 this year. (I was three.)

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    1. Hi, Sallie. That must’ve been so emotionally hard for your parents during the war. Him, thinking of your mom raising you and your sibling without him. Her, thinking of him in battles. Thank goodness for our parents. I finally did my arithmetic, lol, Daddy would’ve been 117 years old. Wowza.

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Thanks for the good cheer. :-)

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