Godofredo Leonardo "Freddy" Alnas
For nearly 60 years, Godofredo Leonardo “Freddy” Alnas was one of the most popular and beloved manong on the Central California Coast. His geographical realm ran from San Juan Bautista to the Pajaro Valley and up to the sprout fields north of Santa Cruz. He had many nicknames — on the
Santa Cruz Wharf ,which he frequented daily in his later years, he was genially known as “Number One” — but mostly he was known as “Freddy” or “Uncle Freddy” wherever he appeared with his big smile and joyful demeanor. He was one of the stars of the documentary film Dollar a Day, 10¢ a Dance, in which he sang an unforgettable a cappella rendition of “Mexicali Rose.”
Dionicio was the first of the two brothers to buy a house. His had a small farm in Pajaro where he raised cattle, chickens, pigs, and sheep for slaughter. He also raised vegetables after his career as an irrigation specialist was ended by allergies to chemicals in the water. Max bought a house in Watsonville with mom helping by working in the cannery. The first child was born in 1952, then came the rest of us.
Our Dad and Mom instilled the values of hard work and education. We all worked in the fields to earn money for future college. I personally worked in lettuce and strawberry crops and once had a mortifying and frightening experience being raided by immigration and asked about my papers. I learned about the old times from the elder manongs in the crew working the field. My brothers all played high school football and gained ‘All League’ Monterey Bay League status for Watsonville High School. Four of us graduated from college, two from Ivy League schools (Harvard and Princeton). My Manong Uncle Dionicio helped raise two of us when my Dad and Mom hit hard times.
We did learn some traditional Filipino practices while butchering pigs, sheep and cattle. Making dinuguan and rice was a family favorite. My Manong Dad and Uncle also participated raising/training chickens for fighting. My family memories are going to discrete fights and enjoying the fair-like foods of sweet rice, pancit noodles and lumpia. I am fortunate to have experienced the Filipino culture while growing up.
Maximo Espiritu c. 1950