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Romualdo “Rudy” Basamot Aguigam was born in Batac, Ilocos Norte February 5, 1914. On March 7, 1934, he embarked on the S.S Asama-MARU to the United States. After sailing from Hong Kong, China, Rudy arrived at the Port of San Francisco on March 28, 1934.

During his early years in the US, he worked in the agricultural fields, traveling up and down the coast of California, the Central Valley and Arizona. During this time, he enjoyed going to dances, fishing and hanging out with other Filipino gentleman within his camp.

While attending a dance in Watsonville, Rudy met Cruz “Connie” Verdugo. They fell in love and married on August 21, 1943. When the two started a family, Rudy continued to travel and work in agriculture. They had four children— Madeline, Stella, Jerry and David—raised in Watsonville. Their boys were very active in the martial arts. Jerry eventually become a 7th degree black belt and instructor in Kenpo. The Aguigam family lived on Marchant Street, amongst many other Filipino families for several years. Then they bought a home on College Road where they finished raising their children and continued living into their elder years.

In their leisure time, Rudy and Connie enjoyed going to dances, having large parties and barbeques in their backyard with friends and family, and attending the Catholic church. To his grandchildren, Rudy was sweet, gentle, caring, and soft-spoken. He was known for making them a special treat— a butter and sugar sandwich—which will always be a blessed memory for those that were lucky enough to eat one. Rudy would often attend chicken fights with his buddies during his free time. He was also an active member of Caballeros de Dimas-Alang.

Rudy passed away on January 20, 1983. Connie continued to live in Watsonville with their children, grandchildren. She continued to attend the Catholic church and volunteered at the local senior center. Many years later, Connie moved to Arizona to be closer to her daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Surrounded by her loved ones, Connie passed away on July 31, 2005, in Tucson Arizona. The Aguigam family continues to take pride in their family name. Through the strong support of their parents, the new generation is breaking barriers within their education at UCLA, USC, UC Davis, Fresno State, and College of the Sequoia’s with more on their way. All of this success is because one man was willing to take a leap of hope and faith at a better life; because of him we are truly blessed.

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