Sunday, December 6, 2015

2015 Dec 6: Filipino Ancestry-On Finding Relatives; Brigadier General Macario Peralta

Sunday Dec 6, 2015 copyright 2015 by Aurora Harris Note: This entry, along with ohers from this blog will be a part of a new book I am working on entitled "From A Detroit War Primer." Photos that appear are from my personal family collection. Please do not copy or exhibit without my permission. If anyone wants to copy any part of my written blog enstries for any purpose, please submit a request for permission to Thank You! Today, I am working on his blog to update links to information that may not be working. One of the Philippine government links to my cousin Brigadier General Macario Peralta was no longer working.I checked the Internet for new links and was happy to find this site, one that I had not seen before that contains Macario's war diary entries: It is called "The Philippine Diary Project." Macario Peralta was my mother's first cousin who was a lawyer, senator, and a soldier that led the Free Panay Force of guerillas on the Island of Panay. He was also the Secretary of Defense. For about twenty five years, I have been researching and piecing together my family history from both sides of my family (Filipino and African American). Some of the history I wrote about are in the form of poetry that was published in Brooding The Heartlands: Poets of the Midwest by Bottom Dog Press(now out of print); Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing 1st Edition by Shirley Geok-lin Lim (Editor), Cheng Lok Chua (Editor); and my book Solitude of Five Black Moons, that went into second print in September 2015 by Wayne State University Press: This ongoing journey of researching my ancestry began when I found photographs of Macario, my mother, grandfather, and great uncles, and, an original Detroit newspaper article about him in my home. According to my mom, Macario came to Detroit, MI to visit my mom,grandfather, and great uncles but was also in the US in an effort to get reparations for Filipino soldiers that served in WW II along with US soldiers during the Japannese invasion. A few years ago, I went to the Detroit Main Public Library and was able to find other newspaper articles about Macario. At the library, while on, I was able to find ship records of my grandfather and his brothers when they left from the Philippines and entered the Alaska or California...I can't recall right at this moment...A few years ago, I found photographs of my gandfather working for the Libby Alaskan fishery. Two summers ago, I found the original crumbling birth certificates of my Lolo (grandfather) Lauro de Peralta who was born in August 18, 1890 in Luna La Union, and, my Lola (grandmother) Narcisa Napenas, who was born October 26, 2890. The birth certificates gave me a little more insight on Spain's involvement through the priests to convert Filipinos to Catholicism. It is from finding things like this that compel me to find my relaties. I miss my relatives. The last time I was there was in 1989, when my Lola passed away. Most of my elder relatives are gone now. I think my only uncle, Dr. Conrado Peralta is still alive. When my mom was very ill, my Manong Alex and I tried to contact him, but my only first cousin Raul, would not return calls or a letter. Manong Alex was able to leave a message for my uncle at his clinic in Mindanao, but I never received a message back. I know, my gut feeling tells me I still have relatives in Manila, Quezon City, Luna and San Fernando, but I haven't been able to find them. I remember my cousins Abat and Sotera, and wonder if they are still alive in Luna. My Lola's sisters, Lola Calise and Lola Lucia passed away years ago also. All I wanted to do was let my relatives know that mom was ill and was in a state of depression from my father getting ill and then passing away. Right before her 90th birthday, we had talked about taking her home to the Philippines, and were the process of getting her papers in order to go. Mom wanted to get her affairs in order in the Philippines, concerning land she inherited, that would be passed down to me, my brother and sister. I had everything packed up to be shipped there. Then she became very ill and couldn't travel. There are so many reminders in my home that compel me to find my relatives. I have so many photographs that I am in the process of getting back into photo albums. I still have a 1967 photo of me with my Igorot statue, standing in the yard of my relatives homes, at Number 2 Batino Street Project 3 in Quezon City. On the back of the photo it says, "Auring (my nickname), holding an Igorot head hunter figurine. Taken at Quezon City, Philippines, August 21, 1967." It whas taken a couple of days after my Lolo's birthday and we sent it to him while he was living with us in Detroit. This is a photo of my grandfather(sixth from right, in middle with hat on)with other Filipino workers at the Libby McNeil and Libby North Alaskan Cannery July 2,1933. It says, "Remembrance of the Libby McNeil and Libby Koggiung Cannery North Alaska"