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IMAGES OF AMERICA. Filipinos in the Willamette Valley, part of Arcadia Publishing’s "Images of America" series, is a treasure trove of words and pictures. Pictured is the book’s cover, which features a sepia-toned photograph of Filipino musicians at a 1949 Christmas party.
From The Asian Reporter, V20, #30 (December 20, 2010), page 15 & 17.
This is our legacy
Filipinos in the Willamette Valley
By Tyrone Lim and Dolly Pangan-Specht
Arcadia Publishing, 2010
Paperback, 128 pages, $21.99
By Josephine Bridges
The Asian Reporter
Since 1993, Arcadia Publishing’s "Images of America" series has chronicled the history of communities throughout the United States, each containing more than 200 vintage images. One of the most recent publications, Filipinos in the Willamette Valley, is a treasure trove of words and pictures. A thoughtfully designed volume as well, this is a book you can judge by its cover: a sepia-toned photograph of Filipino musicians at a 1949 Christmas party. Wow.
Filipinos in the Willamette Valley feels like the family album of a large, proud, talented, and thriving collection of relatives from the very beginning, where the authors’ wedding photos are displayed opposite the table of contents. In the foreword, Concordia R. Borja-Mamaril, Ph.D., co-author of Filipino Americans: Pioneers to the Present, writes, "Perseverance is the father and Patience the mother of this successful offspring," which took only two years to produce.
On the acknowledgements page is a very helpful key to abbreviations for Filipino-American organizations; if only all acronyms were so easy to look up. The book’s introduction is a concise history of Filipinos not only in the Willamette Valley, but in the United States. Four waves of Filipino migration to this country, beginning in 1903, are described in these two pages.
"Heart of the Valley," the first of six chapters, concludes with a photograph of Manuel Mamaril, Jr., the first Filipino-American casualty from Oregon in the Korean War. His cheerful visage is a subtle reminder of how much Filipino Americans have given this nation.
In chapter two, "Big City," another unsettling image shows Marciano Pizarro with his wife, Hatsuko Ochida, and daughter Irene. During World War II, while Pizarro was chief steward on a ship, "his wife and daughter were sent to a Japanese concentration camp." On the facing page, Isabel Cariño is shown carving a Thanksgiving turkey in the 1960s.
Notable in chapter three, "The First Filipino American," are photographs from the first registered group of Filipinos in Oregon, the nonprofit Filipino-American Association of Portland and Vicinity, incorporated in 1959. Among these are a group picture of the founders; photos of the association’s building at 8917 S.E. Stark Street, purchased in 1971; an action shot of dancers teaching Filipino children the tinikling dance, and a photo of the two living pioneers of the association, Isabel Cariño and Estela Feliciano, taken in 2002. The Asian Reporter and its publisher, Jaime Lim, also make appearances here.
An 80th birthday party for Isabel Cariño, held in 2008, appears in "A Growing Community," the fourth chapter, as does a photo of Myrna Boyce, a Most Honored Elder at The Asian Reporter Foundation’s 2010 annual awards banquet and "one of the prime movers of the Filipino American Friendship Club of Oregon," among the associations Filipinos formed "wherever they were" beginning in 1973.
"The Focus Groups" describes the "era of goal-specific organizations," which began in 1986. Here you’ll find Simeon Mamaril and Concordia Borja-Mamaril, Claire Oliveros, and Jaime and Dory Lim, as well as the 2005 Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon float — an award winner — in the annual Portland Rose Festival parade.
A photo of the dambana at the Grotto in Portland highlights "Aiming for Unity," the final chapter in Filipinos in the Willamette Valley. "The glass enclosure protects statues created by Ferdie Sacdalan, namely our Lady of Dambana, Santo Niño, and San Lorenzo Ruiz. This gazebo-like structure, designed like a native Filipino hat, is a must-visit for every Filipino who comes to Oregon. This is our legacy." Filipinos in the Willamette Valley also holds a place in that legacy.