I was born and raised in Sacramento, California, surrounded by my immediate family—my parents, two sisters, grandmother, and grandfather. Throughout high school I spent a lot of time on my studies and extracurricular activities, focusing largely on community service. I was a charter member and president of the Maharlika Leo Club, striving to serve local and international communities. I’m currently attending the University of Portland where I’ll graduate in 2018. I love exploring the city and the Oregon outdoors while staying connected to my community through opportunities like The New Castle Society. I love what I’m doing and I look forward to seeing what the future brings!
My family lineage traces back to the Philippines, Scotland, and the Netherlands, and converges with my parents, my two sisters, and myself. My mother and father, both only children, met in Sacramento, California; that is where my father, mine, and my sisters’ lives began, but not so for my mom. She is my Filipina half, born in the Philippines and raised in the United States.
My family’s migration to the United States was initiated by my great-grandfather Eustaquio Andres in 1946. He was born in 1927 in Sarrat, Illocos Norte, the same as my great-grandmother Marcela Ramos. They were married in 1944 in Manila. Once my grandfather Alfredo Andres was born in 1945, Eustaquio aspired to work in the United States to earn a better life for his family. In 1946, with only five pesos in his possession, he walked fifty miles to catch a boat to America. After nine months at sea, he reached Maui and immediately began working in Pioneer Mill Company’s sugar cane fields. His wages supported my great-grandmother in the Philippines, who took care of my grandfather and his two sisters, Linda and Candelaria. The four continued to live in Ilocos Norte and saved for passage to America. A bright, beautiful girl, Candelaria had earned a nursing degree in college when she passed away at the age of twenty-two from appendicitis.
In 1968, my grandfather joined my great-grandfather Eustaquio in Maui; his sister Linda arrived in 1978. Marcela remained in the Philippines and saw her husband, children, and later grandchildren in intervals until she passed away in 1999. My grandfather Alfredo worked with my great-grandfather Eustaquio in the sugar cane fields to bring his wife, my grandmother Rosita, to Maui. Rosita’s parents were Alberto and Estefania Gabriel, both from Sarrat, Ilocos Norte and both rice farmers in their province. Estefania lived in the Philippines until she passed away in 1975; Alberto visited the family in the United States, but never settled there. He supported his family by working in the rice fields, but had difficulties working after acquiring a permanent limp from a leg injury. During World War II, Alberto joined other men in traveling to the mountains to hide from the Japanese soldiers. It was in 1943 that Alberto lived in the mountains and slashed his own leg while cutting a path through the forest. In order to stay hidden, he avoided leaving the mountains for medical attention and developed a limp from the injury.
My grandparents took turns travelling to the Philippines to care for both Alberto and Marcela. Alberto died in 1999, soon thereafter my great-grandmother Marcela as well. Earlier, Rosita and my mother joined my grandpa in 1973. She started managing and accounting at hotels while my mom grew up and started a Catholic school education. In 1981, my grandparents and my mom relocated in Sacramento, California. My grandpa’s sister and my great-grandfather Eustaquio moved from Maui to Virginia in 1990; Eustaquio lived there until his passing at the age of 83.
My grandparents started their own airport transportation business in Sacramento while my mom continued her college education, during which she met my father. They married in 1994 and raised myself and my sisters in Sacramento. My older sister and I were baptized in Parañaque and revisited the Philippines when we were younger. We’ve embraced our Filipino ancestry through cultural dancing, the community-based club Maharlika Leo, and by getting involved in The New Castle Society. Practicing our heritage is incredibly important to us, to honor the accomplishments of our ancestors and appreciate the rich Filipino culture.