Carmencita Monteclaro Choy

As a little girl, Carmencita remembers going to the War Memorial building with her father who was in the First Filipino Regiment of the US Army on many occasions and working and volunteering with Filipino American WWI and WWII veterans.

Carmencita is the daughter of Esteban Monteclaro (12/26/1902-10/3/1973) and Carmen Nerpiol (7/22/1922 - 5/28/1981) from Miagao, Iloilo, Philippines.  At the age of 16, Esteban stowed away with two cousins on a ship to America.  He later returned to Iloilo after a decade.  In November 1944, Esteban returned to his hometown of barrio Palanca as a member of the United States Armed Forces where he inspired more than one-hundred men from Miagao to go to the United States. According to his honorable discharge, he received two honor medals for the “Philippine Liberation” and returned to the United States and he petitioned his fiancé, Carmen Nerpiol.  Carmen flew to San Francisco in 1947 and then married Esteban Monteclaro thereafter.  Their six children were all born in San Francisco.  They were hired as Hotel managers of the French Hotel at 672 Broadway Street in San Francisco.  While managing the hotel, Esteban opened a diner (P.I. Café) a half block from the hotel, serving coffee, donuts, burgers, fries and daily Filipino specials such as adobo, pinakbet, sinagang, etc.  The P.I. Café customers were tenants of our hotel, the International Hotel and the exotic dancers from the nightclubs on Broadway Street.  Esteban became a cook during World War II by cooking for his fellow soldiers during combat on the battlefields and he eventually became a master chef as well as a pastry chef.  Carmen Nerpiol worked at the hotel, by cleaning all the rooms, collecting rent, cooking, and washing sheets and towels for our tenants.  Carmen Nerpiol became an excellent businesswoman by managing the books and paying the hotel bills and lease, etc.  Because of Carmen, they saved their hard earned money and started to buy real estate in San Francisco.  Esteban and Carmen bought a house in the Haight/Ashbury district, and two houses in the Richmond, district.

Carmencita met Ron Choy in 1966 during the “Summer of Love” and married him in 1972.  Carmencita later worked at ASIAN, Inc. in the 1980’s and then began a long life of political activism, volunteering at various times for a number of political figures, among them former California Senator Leland Yee, former President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Mayor of San Francisco, Dianne Feinstein, former Speaker of the California Assembly and Mayor of San Francisco Willie L. Brown, Jr., former California Secretary of State, Dr. March Fong Eu, former Congressman and Cabinet member, Norman Mineta, and former President of the United States, William Clinton.

Carmencita started working in a law office during high school in 1970 and never graduated from college but received a full scholarship to a school of cosmetology upon graduation from Galileo, a public high school.  Carmencita often volunteered in the hard grunt work of political and community life, helping raise funds, run campaigns, do mailings and make phone calls.

She is an officer of the Filipino American Democratic Club of San Francisco, on the Board of Directors of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, three-time President and current Vice President of The Alvarado Project and former Executive Director of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California for four consecutive terms.

She currently works for the California Department of Justice in the Office of the Attorney General, Kamala Harris.

Ms. Choy had her first sense of politics when Governor Pat Brown (Gov. Jerry Brown’s father) came to Kearny Street, San Francisco for a meet and greet with the Filipino community in the late 1950’s.

Born in San Francisco, California, in 1954 and given the name of Carmencita Salvacion Monteclaro, she has never left and will never leave San Francisco.

She is married to Ron Choy (retired) and has two sons, Jesse Choy who graduated from culinary school and is now working at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco (married to Eva Wong) and Rudy Choy (Algebra teacher at George Washington High School); three grandsons, Michael (attends Skyline College), Justin (attends St. Thomas the Apostle) and Evan (toddler).  She has three brothers, Steven Monteclaro (retired) and married to Victoria Aldana (retired), Rudolph Peter Monteclaro was a laborer with Local 261 (5/9/1959-1/8/2014) and Al John Monteclaro and one sister, Elizabeth Monteclaro (10/3/1952-12/24/2002).