Liza Erpelo English 165 AK
May 24, 2007
Final Essay #4
When Filipino’s come to America, it’s usually for opportunity to go to school, go to work, and for better health. What surprises me the most is that some Filipino’s actually did not have any intentions of coming to America, yet many of those Filipino’s are here. Those people actually chose to give America a chance, to compare what they had in the Philippines to what they have here in America. Being in America is not all fun and games, just like in the Philippines; you have to work to earn a living. Raising three kids as a single mother in America can be something very difficult to juggle when going to work, being a mother toy our children, and trying to help your children keep a sense of their history and culture. That’s what Marichu Menrige had to go through when she first arrived to America. A strong women like Marichu Menrige shows me that even though you are new to a country, you can still manage to juggle your life for the best as if you are super-mom.
Many people came to America for opportunity, yet Marichu Menrige never intended on coming to America at all. Marichu Menrige was born in the Philippines and her mother petitioned her to come to America because she wanted her family to stick together. Even though she never had any intentions of coming to America because she loved the Philippines so much, on December 1991 with her two children and a third child on the way she took that flight to go to America. When her mother petitioned her and her kids, she did not petition her husband because her mother did not accept there relationship at the time, so she had to leave her husband back in the Philippines when she left to come to America. In the book Home Bound, by Yen Le Espiritu writes a statement by Hamid Naficy which was, “home is any place, it is temporary, and it is movable; it can be built, rebuilt, and carried in memory an by acts of imagination” (Espiritu11). This statement shows that it does not matter where you are, what matters is what you make of it. That’s what Marichu Menrige had to do for her kids. Even though they are not in the Philippines anymore, you can still teach them the culture and history so they won’t forget where they came from.
Even though many people in the Philippines have a great education, there aren’t enough jobs to go around for everyone. Back in the Philippines, many people took the job that they were offered because there is a job shortage. Even though many people went to schools to be a nurse or doctor, if there is no job opening, many people work as house cleaners just to get by for the day. When Marichu Menrige came to America, she had to get a job because she had her children to support and take care of. She did not have that extra support to lean on anymore, so she had to work extra hard. The first job she ever had was at McDonalds outside of Serramonte. Till this day, she is very proud of that job because that was the job that started it all. She worked around her children’s schedule so that she could work to make money to support her children, and still be a great mother that was there for them.
Marichu Menrige believes that her children should never forget where they came from because it is a part of who they are. Filipino American studies should be available for people who wants to learn it because it is a big issue for many Filipino’s that want to learn more about there history. Unlike many Filipino’s that came here for the “land of milk and honey,” who did not feel that their children should learn about their history, Marichu Menrige thinks the opposite. She brings all three of her children to the Philippines every single year, so they would not forget about the people and the culture that they learned from the Philippines. The Kababyan program and PCN (Pilipino cultural night) are great programs to get into, if you want to learn more about Filipino American history.
The Kababyan program and PCN (Pilipino Cultural Program) are great programs to get into to learn more about Filipino history. Unlike the Kababyan program that is run by teachers, students mainly run PCN. It’s a way to get to learn a little bit about Filipino American history in performances. I see these programs as great programs because I am in the Kababyan program. I fell into this program by accident, yet I‘ve learned so much about myself that I never knew before, like getting more interested in my family’s history and finding out that even though I am Americanized; this program made me feel as equal as all the Filipino’s in the world. Filipino’s should be more into learning more about their history because if we don’t, Little Manila will be gone, no one will know what happened in Hawaii, and no one will send pasalubong through brown boxes we call Balikbayan boxes, so every Filipino should want to learn more about their histories because we’ve accomplished so much.
The Filipino community is a very important part of my life because I grew up Filipino American with all the culture’s and traditions, yet I still feel very Americanized. Being a part of the Kababyan program has taught me more about where my people came from, what they’ve accomplished, and what they went through when arriving America. These are things I knew happened, just didn’t know the detail until I took the class. Being able to understand the history of Filipino Americans makes me proud to be a Filipino because they’ve accomplished so much in America that I didn’t know about. Being in a class with other people (Filipino or not) made me realize that I am not the only person that wants to learn about Filipino history. When my son gets a little older, he too will learn about the Filipino-American history to understand about the Philippines and the people because I don‘t want him missing out on the things that I wish I knew more about.
After interviewing Marichu Menrige, I’ve learned that I have a lot in common with Marichu Menrige. Just like her, I too am trying to teach my son about his Philippine history and culture even though I was born in America. It doesn’t matter where you came from, what matters is what you make of it. Taking the Kababyan program made me realize that I am interested in learning about Filipino-American’s, I just needed a little push to start me off. People can still play the role of super-mom if they really work hard enough. Marichu Menrige struggled a lot being a single mother raising three kids in a new country. She worked a lot, took care of her kids, petitioned her husband to come to America, and still had time to take her children to the Philippines every single year to learn where they came from is something not everyone can do. Being able to accomplish so much in a new country takes a lot out of a person, yet you learn and experience so much more. Marichu Menrige is a strong devoted woman who is here for opportunity, but is still a proud member of the Filipino community.
English 165 AK
May 24, 2007
Final Essay #4
-Espiritu, Yen Le. Home Bound. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California P, 2003.
-Menrige, Marichu. (April 2007). [Personal interview].
-“Pilipino Cultural Night.” Filipino Student Union at Skyline College 2005. April 2005. 9 April 2007. <http:www.geocities.com/pcn_skylinecollege/about.htm>
-Tiongsong Jr., Antonio T., Edgardo V. Gutierrez, and Richard V. Gutierrez, eds. Positively No Filipino’s Allowed. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2006.