“United Nations Headquarters” | Photo by United Nations Photo via Flickr/BY-NC-ND 2.0
Remember the days when Buckingham Palace said that “the sun never sets in the British Empire”? At the height of its glory, all countries except 22 were occupied, invaded, or ruled by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But today, the flag of Britannia flies only in 14 territories outside of the UK.
The Union Jack was raised even in Manila’s capital city at the height of the Spanish-British “Seven-Years’ War.” It was an episode in the Philippines’ colonial history when the Kingdom of Great Britain occupied the Spanish colonial capital of Manila and the adjacent port of Cavite for 20 months from 1762 to 1764. The British brought several regiments of Indian “Sepoy” mercenary soldiers. Hundreds stayed behind and married Filipino brides when the British left the Philippines archipelago after a peace declaration between them and Spain. Thus, (Asian) Indians and some British also contributed to the making of the “Filipino Melting Pot.”
Filipino nationals of the United States had been working in the United States and its territories since the 1900s. Some of them started as farmworkers in Hawaii. Now, the 50th State is 16 percent Hawaiian of Ilocano, oops, Filipino descent. Many Filipino nationals continued to work in the United States, especially in the US Navy, after the US returned independence to the Philippines on July 4, 1946. Almost all of the Filipino nationals in the US became American citizens.
“It was an episode in the Philippines’ colonial history when the Kingdom of Great Britain occupied Manila’s Spanish colonial capital and the adjacent port of Cavite for 20 months from 1762 to 1764. The British brought several regiments of Indian “Sepoy” mercenary soldiers.“
On the other hand, in the early 1960s, the Overseas-Filipino workers (OFWs) have been toiling from the deserts of Arabia to Nevada’s sands. And nearly 15 million of them work (or have worked) in some 100 countries. About four-million have retired, but some replaced by their descendants.
And speaking of history, thousands of Filipino sailors and carpenters worked in the Spanish galleons that sailed from Manila to Acapulco (Mexico). Every voyage resulted in some of them jumping ship when the vessel docked in Mexico. The “deserters” mingled with the local population to avoid capture by the Spanish authorities. Most of them got married to Native-Mexican Indian brides. This year marks the 456th anniversary of the Mexican-Filipino Friendship. Almost half of the crew members and soldiers in the third Spanish expedition arrived in Cebu Island in 1565 were said to be Mexicans. As commanded by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the expedition finally colonized the archipelago that was officially named “Filipinas.” It departed from the port of Barra de Navidad in the Jalisco Province of Mexico.
Many Filipinos settled as immigrants and became citizens of many countries that needed (and appreciated) skilled workers, especially medical professionals. And thus, to borrow the British saying, “the sun never sets” now in the 100-or-more countries in the lands where the OFWs created the “Filipino Melting Pot.” And the OFWs were joined by some 10-million Overseas-Filipinos (OFs) that work and live in the adopted country, often hailed as model immigrants and honest taxpayers.
“Many Filipinos settled as immigrants and became citizens of many countries that needed (and appreciated) skilled workers, especially medical professionals. And thus, to borrow the British saying, “the sun never sets” now in the 100-or-more countries in the lands where the OFWs created the “Filipino Melting Pot.”
In the United States alone, there are more than 4.1-million Americans of Filipino descent and OFWs. Add 600,000 or more Filipino illegal aliens, many petitioned by their U.S.-based kin, and they are just waiting for their visas to become current.
This report begins a new thread in this column.
Next week, we will discuss the impact of Filipino brides and Filipino grooms in making them preeminent contributors in the making of the “Filipino Melting Pot.” Yes, to paraphrase then California Governor Ronald Reagan, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
And remember, in last week’s column, I reported about my 1996 idea of turning “Tennessee Into an Island.” I registered the domain name, www.tnsea.net, for this visionary idea.
And after that, I wrote further that I would resurrect another idea that I submitted to the leaders of the Fourth Estate of Detroit, MI. My concept was about turning Motown and its suburbs into the “Las Vegas of the Future.” I submitted the idea in private meetings during the August 2011 annual convention of the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA). I was a guest at the AAJA convention by its corporate sponsor, the General Motors’ Buick Division.
The two reports would be part of this series. So, please join me later this month in talking about “TNsea” and Motown’s version of the “Las Vegas of the Future.”