Daniel Boayes Lumbang
My name is Daniel Boayes Lumbang. I was born on June 25, 1992. I am a Filipino-American, with Filipino, Spanish, Syrian/Lebanese, and Chinese ancestry. Currently I will be transferring to SFSU to major in International Relations as well as Philosophy and Religious Studies. In spring 2014, I published an article on Islam and its role in forming government in the Middle East through my Consumes River Colleges Political Science and Global Studies academic journal called, “Globus Mundi.” In addition to that I interned for Congressman John Garamendi from spring 2014 to the end of the general election, where I was eventually promoted to intern coordinator. I joined Tito Sid’s, “The New Castle Society” summer of 2014. What intrigued me about it was the objective understanding of Filipino American’s experience in regards to civil rights participation that underwent. It empowered me to know that Filipino- Americans since the early 1900’s has been involved in the civil rights movement in the United States therefore it has been engaging in the long tradition of justice. Growing up the only person I knew that was Filipino who vicariously stood for natural rights and freedoms was Jose Rizal. The issue is that he was not Filipino-American and in a sense that caused disconnect for me. During the session though I was introduced to Filipino-American social justice warriors by learning about Phillip Veracruz, Larry Itliong, and Carlos Bulosan. These men sacrificed and encountered violence and cruelties in order for better working conditions, rights, and pay for not only Filipino- American workers but for other ethnic minorities as well as poor whites. Tito Sid’s organization in general has helped and is still helping me tap into my Filipino-American roots in order to foster a type a passion to help my fellow human.
The story of immigrant families coming to the country of their current habitation is rife with hope and suffering. It is in their hope and suffering that drives them to seek out distance lands in order to secure a prosperous future for their children, their grandchildren, and themselves. The story of my parents coming to America is a testament to the sacrifice of immigrant families everywhere.
My father, Marcos, hails from mountainous Pampanga while my mother, Ednanita, comes from the beaches of Bicol. Both came from a family of nine children. On my father’s side including himself there are seven boys and two girls. On my mother’s side including herself there are eight girls and one boy. They along with my brother and I reside in Sacramento, California, ateh Elinor lives in Zurich, Switzerland. My father came to the United States to work in the electronics engineering sector during the early tech boom of the Silicon Valley. My mother and sister were still living in Manilla but soon moved a few years later to Sacramento, where my mom for more than a decade worked for the State of California. Now my father is still an electronics engineer and does real estate part time while my mother manages her small business in which she designs, manufactures, and sells her products. My parents bringing my brother, sister, and I to the United States for a better life is a testament to my grandparents and what they had to give up in order to further my parents existence as well.
My father’s mother is named Virginia or to friends and family, Emma. Emma, was Filipino- Chinese and her family was originally from Santiago, Pampanga before they moved to Santa Anna, Pampanga. My grandma Emma supported her family through selling their farm products, selling clothes sewed by her, and eventually through a boarding house which she established in Manila. My father’s father name is Philippe Lumbang. His family is from Santa Anna, Pampanga. My grandpa Ippe was a construction foreman, who had to sacrifice time with his family to manage various construction projects in Manila. Even though my father’s parents were not so impoverished to the point where they could not feed their children, it was still very difficult to provide necessities and tuition money for nine children. Despite issues with money, my grandparents, especially my grandma Emma, were admired and highly regarded for their willingness to help aid their neighbors. This example of affection for people in spite of limited resources remains a very important source of inspiration to be hospitable. My father’s family all living in Sacramento having decent livelihoods is a testament to their sacrifice and dedication.
My mother’s mother is name Julianita Saldivar, or Lola Nita by her family. Lola Nita’s father was full Spanish and her mother was a mestiza Filipina. Before WWII, my grandmother lived a very rich lifestyle in Bicol. My great grandfather owned some sort of plantation and had a Model T Ford with his own driver. My grandmother’s mother died of sickness when my grandma was young and my great grandfather was killed during WWII by Japanese soldiers seizing his estate and assets. It is then, ironically in the midst of horrendous warfare and Japanese occupation my grandma met my grandfather Francisco “Turko” Boayes. Syria and Lebanon before western powers unjustly divided the Middle East was originally one region. Turko was born in that region during the time of its unity and moved to Bicol with some of his cousins, uncle, and other family members on a merchant ship for a better life. A possibility is that Turko’s family were Syrian Jews which may have experienced persecution. Times were difficult for Turko in the Philippines for his father died and his mother left the family when he was very young, leaving him to support his brother at the age of 10. Instead of living out his childhood like how a 10 year old is supposed to do, instead Turko had to become a man very young and make living to feed himself and his brother. He was a bag boy, sold assorted goods like cigarettes, until eventually he made a name for himself being a boxer. His success from boxing gave him enough merit to be a bodyguard for a local politician and a chauffeur for my Lola Nita’s for a time.
When my grandmother began her relationship with Turko, he was leading a guerilla movement against the occupying Japanese. Fighting was not new to my grandfather, for he had been literally fighting most of his life. He had to fight to make a future for him and his brother, and now he had to fight to make a future for himself and my grandmother. The life was perilous, living cave to cave, eating bats and whatever could be scavenged, but my grandmother loved my grandfather enough to stay with him as well as actually engage in combat. From what my grandmother told me, she said she was a good shot and that she carried a .45 caliber pistol, which most likely at the time was the American made Colt 1911. My grandfather obtained his nickname “Turko” from his fellow soldiers who named him that after the Ottoman Turks. He was known for his brutality in combat and courage. His brutal tactics against the Japanese may have been rooted in vengeance, because his first wife and child were bayoneted to death after the Japanese failed to use them as bait to get him to surrender. His prowess in combat was even noted by an American intelligence officer who would report that he is an excellent fighter albeit lacking discipline. After the war my grandma had a little shop selling items made of various fauna and flora. My grandpa became mayor for a while in Bicol. Money became an issue since my grandpa had multiple wives and mistresses, although he claimed my grandma as his first and favorite. When he died of a heart attack, it left my grandma in a difficult situation for a single women of nine children. She preserved and sacrificed time for herself and sleep in order to sustain her children who now are doing very well despite the beginning conditions.
Though both stories are dramatically different, what they have in common is something that all immigrant stories have in common; sacrifice, perseverance, and hope. Both my grandparents and parents both had to give up something for a possibility that at times did not seem attainable but not for them but for their children. Thinking about these stories helps push me to do better in school, to better address people and their suffering, and in general to better sympathize and understand humanity in regards to the immigrant experience.