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Home Columns JGL Eye Of Footnotes and ** on Fil-Am History Month
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Columns - JGL Eye
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Thursday, 08 October 2009 16:11

JGL Eye
By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

 

 

C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – This column is not about Barry Bonds and his steroid-friendly ilk in the baseball world, whose records they hold dear for America’s pastime are being called into question and are being superimposed with asterisks.

 

This is about a group or a number of groups of Filipinos and Filipino Americans who are going to celebrate this October an anniversary of an event of historic and mythical proportion.

 

The only question that is begging for an answer is where are they going to hold the celebration?

 

They have no clue if they have the right address of the hosting party.

 

What I mean is the resolution that passed unanimously last month the California State Assembly authored by Sen. Leland Y. Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) and supposedly co-sponsored by State Senators Mimi Walters (R-33rd-Laguna Hills) and Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles).

 

Senate Concurrent Resolution 48 recognizes the “’earliest documented proof of Filipino presence in the continental United States on Oct. 18, 1587, when the first ‘Luzones Indios’ set foot on Morro Bay, California,’ as published by Lorraine Crouchett in her book, “Filipinos in California” (1982), which annotated John Walton Caughey’s book, “California” (1953);”

 

Not mentioned in the resolution was that Mr. Caughey’s book merely annotated the book, “Spanish Voyages to the Northwest Coast of America in the Sixteenth Century,” written by Henry R. Wagner, and published by California Historical Society in San Francisco in 1929.

 

NO CRITICS ALLOWED

 

E ven Dr. Yee’s Chief of Staff Adam J. Keigwin was bristling with pride with the passage of the resolution and drowning out any opposition to the resolution, saying, “The bill has already passed both houses and was chaptered into law.  It received overwhelming, unanimous, bipartisan support.

 

“It is supported by the Filipino-American National Historical Society (FANHS), San Francisco State History Department, Filipino Americans for Progress, Manilatown Heritage Foundation, Pilipino Bayanihan Resource Center, San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center, the Consul General and many others.

 

“The resolution is about recognizing the accomplishments of Filipino Americans and thus should be supported by everyone. The specific language of resolution came from these well-respected organizations and was reviewed by several legislative committees.

 

“Senator Yee is proud to have authored this resolution for California to become the first state to officially recognize Filipino American History Month.

 

“I honestly don’t see the controversy here and have only read objection from one individual, from one story.”

 

Editor’s Note: What Senator Yee’s Chief of Staff Adam J. Keigwin said as “objection from one individual, from one story” referred to Bobby M. Reyes, whose July 13, 2009, letter was sent through him (Mr. Keigwin), who refused to return his telephone call and answer the follow-up e-mails.

 

What Senator Yee’s fans, notably FANHS (pun intended), did not read was page 152 of Mr. Wagner’s book, which claimed that Pedro de Unamuno’s “failure to mention Morro Rock, certainly a very conspicuous object in the landscape at Morro Bay, or in fact anywhere between Pt. Buchon and Pt. Cayucas might well be urged as negativing the theory that he had been in Morro Bay.”

 

OCT. 19, NOT OCT. 18, 1587

 

Mr. Unamuno was the Portuguese skipper of the galleon, Nuestra Senora de Esperanza, who wrote in his accounts of his travels in Spanish as translated by Mr. Wagner, that, “It was on Monday, Oct. 19th, (1587, not Oct. 18th) about two hours before dawn, “I set out on the expedition, with Fr. Francisco de Noguera, and 12 soldiers and eight Luzon (Filipino) Indians with their swords and shields.”

 

They were attacked by the native Indians. “Juan de Aranguren and Juan de Mendoza sustained arrow and javelin wounds. Cristobal Ynfanzon also took many arrow wounds. Felipe de Contreras in the rear guard had also javelin wound and died immediately. One of the Luzon Indians was killed with a javelin.

 

“Unamuno’s men also killed and wounded many Indians.”

 

As writer Hector Santos speculated that if Mr. Unamuno did not see Morro Rock while he was sailing towards Morro Bay, it was just like Unamuno sailing into Legaspi City without noticing the Mayon Volcano.

 

For me, if it happened today, it is like Unamuno sailing (today) into Ellis Island in New York without noticing the Statue of Liberty.

 

In other words, there are some doubts that Mr. Unamuno might have sailed to Morro Bay. But for the consolation of FANHS and its fans, Mr. Unamuno might have sailed to nearby San Luis Obispo Bay, which is still part of what is now America. But this fact should first be established before Filipino Americans should celebrate the “Filipino American History Month” this October. 

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

 

As to the claim of FANHS, which convinced the United States 100th Congress in 1988 to pass a resolution, pegging “the earliest presence of Filipinos in United States in 1763, when the U.S. was supposed to celebrate the 225th year of the contribution of the Filipinos in America and the ‘Year of the Filipino Americans in the United States,’” this should be another topic of my column.

 

I read the basis of the claim was the book written by Filipino librarian, Marina E. Espina, who quoted one “Larry Bartlett” of “Dixie,” without leaving any footnote or reference, whatsoever, in her book.

 

Xochitl Arellano, a media-relations officer with a tongue-twisting name in the office of Senator Cedillo, had sent word that Mr. “Cedillo is not listed as an author” of SCR 48. Is the resolution now taking in water?

 

For now, the FANHS and its California supporters should not light up their cigars. Not yet! (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net) # # #

 


Last Updated on Friday, 09 October 2009 11:17
 

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