Manila Men in the New World: Filipino Migration to Mexico and the Americas from the Sixteenth Century
"The Filipino diaspora is at least 400 years old. Since the sixteenth century, Filipinos have been going to foreign lands to find their place in the sun. In the beginning they were known as the Manila Men. It was only in the nineteenth century that they assumed their present identity as Filipinos." "For two-and-a-half centuries, Filipinos by the hundreds traveled yearly to Mexico and the Americas, with many electing to stay and find a new life. The chief means for migration was the Manila galleon, also known as nao de China, that sailed between the Philippines and Mexico to carry on a lively trade in Asian goods in exchange for silver from the Americas and the trappings of civilization from the West." "The end of the galleon trade in 1815 did not stop the exodus of Filipinos to foreign lands as they began to discover the lure of other exotic ports in Asia and Europe. This book attempts to answer the question often asked: What happened to those Filipinos who started the diaspora? The answers are important because they fill a gap in the long history of this adventurous race."--BOOK JACKET.
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The book is a nice synopsis of previously published books and papers on the subject of Filipino American history. However, at least in the chapter about Filipinos in Louisiana, the author borrows heavily from Marina Espina (Filipinos in Louisiana) and a news story published in Harper's Weekly about Lafcido Hearn's visit to the village of St. Malo. As a descendant of Felipe Madriaga (Madrigal), and the current torch bearer of our history, it would have been nice had the author contacted me and interviewed me. Since Mrs. Espina's book, I have conducted hundreds of interviews with family members, viewed their photographs and documents, and filmed and recorded interviews with our family elders. I have also done my own research. What I've learned has added much to our story, and has cleared up some errors and misconceptions. For instance, my great grandmother, Rosalie Borabod, always pronounced our ancestor's name as "Madrigal"; however, all legal documents and public records spell it "Madriaga". Grandma Rosie's son, Irvin Martinez, confirmed that he had always heard from relatives that the name was Madriaga. My family genealogy is available online, as well as my contact information, and I have given countless interviews to educators, students and authors and documentarians regarding my family history. I am very eager to share what I know, and it would have been very nice to have shared it with this author, and corrected for him some of the errors in the material he seems to have copied extensively.
The book is an eye opener about Filipino's history and their astounding connection with the Mexican culture, its a worth a read knowing how both culture made an influence in their respective culture in this day and age.
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