THE SULAY FAMILY
Mamerto Agustin (Max) SULAY grew up in Lecab or Guimba, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. He left Manila on the ship Sanoviken on 7 Aug. 1928 for Hawaii. In March 1930 he boarded the ship Calawii for the mainland and arrived in Wilmington, California on April 6th.
In the 1930 census, he was living in Union, San Joaquin county working as a farm laborer. He worked up and down the west coast and in Arizona as a farm laborer, crew boss, and contractor.
He met Virginia Alice Viner in Arroyo Grande, CA and they were married in Vancouver, Washington on 5th August 1940. Like most inter-racial couples, they had to marry out of state because of anti-miscegenation laws. They lived in a camp with another couple in Pajaro on Rowe Ranch. Their first child was born in 1942. In 1944, Max and Virginia bought a one-bedroom house on Broadis St. At that time Filipinos couldn’t own property. The property was originally placed in Virginia’s name until Max could own property. The family moved in before the daughter’s 2nd birthday. That little house was remodeled in the 1950s by Eddie and Ray Castro. Max and Virginia had six children: Juanita, Manzanita, Sonny, Cristine, Bert, and Mario.
Max was a member of the Agilipay Lodge #26 of the Caballero de Dimas-Alang, He was president of the Filipino Community of Watsonville in 1944-1945. Virginia was also a lifetime member of the Filipino Community and The Filipino Women’s Club of Watsonville.