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the Watsonville is in the Heart Exhibition



Watsonville in the Heart is a community-driven oral history project aimed at telling the stories and experiences of the manong generation. Manongs (Ilokano for “older brother”) were of the first Filipino immigrants to land in America during the 1920s and 1930s following US colonization of the archipelago beginning in 1898. The manongs traveled to America to work in, among other places, the agricultural fields of Hawaii and California. Thus began the foundations for many Filipino communities throughout these states, and Watsonville is no exception.

Located in Santa Cruz County’s and northern Monterey County’s Pajaro Valley, Watsonville is home to a banquet of unique memories from the manong generation. In collaboration with the descendants of the manong generation, this exhibit--first featured at the Watsonville Public Library in February of 2020--showcases a selection of photos, artifacts, and documents that are part of a much wider collection aimed at preserving local Filipino history and culture. To be publicly available through an online digital archive hosted by the University of California, Santa Cruz, this collection is the first of its kind to document the trials and resilience of the Filipino community of Watsonville.

The following digital exhibit was curated by Toby Baylon and Nicholas Nasser, undergraduate research assistants with Watsonville is in the Heart, in coordination with Jillian Wilson of the Watsonville Public Library. It features a small sampling of the photos, documents, and artifacts originally on display at the Watsonville Public Library.

The following titles for further reading were included in the exhibit at Watsonville Public Library courtesy of Eva Alminiana Monroe.

Baldoz, Rick. The Third Asiatic Invasion: Empire and Migration in Filipino America - 1898-1946.
New York: New York University Press, 2011.


Baradas, David. Land of the Morning: Treasures of the Philippines.
San Francisco: San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum, 1995.


Besa, Amy and Romy Dorotan. Memories of Philippine Kitchens: Stories and Recipes from Far and Near.
New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2006.


Buell, Evangeline Canonizado. Twenty-five Chickens and a Pig for a Bride: Growing up in a Filipino Immigrant Family.
San Francisco: T’Boli Publishing and Distribution, 2006.


Bulosan, Carlos. America is in the Heart: A Personal History. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1946.


Capistrano-Baker, Florina H. eds. Basketry of the Luzon Cordillera, Philippines.
Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1998.


Dhingra, Pawan and Robyn M. Rodriguez. Asian America: Sociological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives.
Malden: Polity Press, 2014.


Guevara, Rudy P. Becoming Mexipino: Multiethnic Identities and Communities in San Diego.
New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2012.


Hagedorn, Jessica. Dream Jungle. New York: Viking, 2003.


Hamilton, Roy W. ed. From the Rainbow’s Varied Hue: Textiles from the Southern Philippines.
Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1998.


Jamero, Peter M. Growing Up Brown: Memoirs of a Filipino American.
Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006.


James, Ernest C., Donald M. Kington, and Susan Tasaki. “We Want Manila”: Letters from the Philippines 1898 - 1899.
San Francisco: Golden Gate National Parks Association, Fort Point and Presidio Historical Association, 1998.


Johnson, Yolanda Perez ed. Bistro Filipino: Tradition + Innovation. Makati: Soumak Collections, Inc., 2011.

Mabalon, Dawn B. Little Manila is in the heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California.
Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.

Mabalon, Dawn B, and Gayle Romasanta. Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong.
Stockton: Bridge and Delta Publishing, 2018.


Nemenzo, Gemma A. Heart in Two Places: An Immigrant’s Journey.
Manila: Anvil, 2007.


Paterno-Locsin, Maria Elena. Beyond Rice.
Manila: Centro Escolar University, 1999.


San Juan, Jr. E. On the Presence of Filipinos in the United States, and Other Essays.
San Francisco: Sarimanok Publishers, 2006.

Javellana, Rene, Fernando N. Zialcita, and Elizabeth Reyes. Filipino Style.
Singapore: Periplus Editions, 1997.

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