THE TABANCAY FAMILY
The Tabancay family is part of the pioneering manong generation. Benny Tabancay was born in 1902 in the Philippines in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1926 and co-owned Ideal Cleaners on Main Street in Watsonville for 22 years. Benny also worked part-time at Hotel Resetar. He married Esther Pascua who was from Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. Esther always highly valued education.
Despite her schooling being interrupted by WWII, she received her elementary teaching credential in the Philippines and taught 2nd grade until she left the Philippines. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1950. Benny passed away suddenly in 1961. In fulfillment of one of Esther's dreams, her five children – Ruth, Frances, Darlene, Jerry, and Linda – all graduated from universities throughout California.
Esther supported the family working at Green Giant as a lab technician processing vegetables. Esther got her joy from attending gatherings like weddings, birthdays, family holidays, and dances. She was a pioneer member and officer of the Filipino Community of Watsonville, Filipino Women's Club of Watsonville, Filipino Catholic Association of Watsonville, and many more organizations.
Esther later met Emilio Elagas from Pangasinan and they became lifetime companions. Before moving to Watsonville, Emilio lived in Guam for 20 years. Emilio was a farmworker who also loved fishing. He was notorious for being overly generous and loved giving money and candy to children. In Esther and Emilio’s later years, they enjoyed spending their time with family. Emilio passed away in 2017 and Esther passed away in 2020.