Tobera-Project-logo.png

THE Irao Delos Reyes FAMILY

Juan De Los Reyes was born January 10, 1910. He was from Navitas, Aklan. He left his family in the Philippines in the 1930’s to migrate to Portland, Oregon to work on the railroads. In 1937 he moved to Watsonville to work as a farm worker.

He spent time with his unmarried friends that lived at the house on Beach Road. They enjoyed their time off fighting chickens, cooking, and playing card games. He also spent time at the Philippine Gardens eating and playing cards in the back room.

In 1961 he was set up with a penpal, the sister-in-law of his niece in the Philippines. After writing each other for a year and exchanging pictures, he went home to the Philippines and married Luisa Gomez Irao, a teacher, from Tablas, Romblon. She was 19 years his junior. They made their home at a house on Riverside Road.The couple were members of Assumption Church in Pajaro, Filipino Visayan Association, Filipino Catholic Association, and Juan was a pioneer of the Filipino Community of Watsonville. They spent time at Beach Road but also made friends with couples from Castroville and Moss Landing as well as other Visayans from Watsonville.

He eventually worked for David Willoughby and his family laying irrigation pipes. Little by little they petitioned Luisa’s family and Juan’s brother to come to America. They were instrumental in offering a stepping stone and support for several of their family members who in turn did the same with other family members. They had bought a house on Elkhorn Road where their daughter and her family still reside today.