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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:29 pm 
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Telltale Signs by Rodel Rodis
FilAm Star October 25-31, 2013


What is often true in beauty queen contests or in sports competitions is also true in historical events. People generally remember who came first and little, if anything, about who came second. For example, does anyone know the second group of Filipinos to set foot in California?

Filipino communities throughout the U.S. are celebrated the month of October as Filipino American History Month by commemorating the 426th anniversary of the landing of Filipino crewmen ('Luzon Indios") on board the Nuestra Senora de Buen Esperanza in Morro Bay, California on October 18, 1587. There are historical markers in Morro Bay and state and federal proclamations to inform the public about Capt. Pedro de Unamuno's journey from Manila to Macao and thereafter to Acapulco by way of California. Unamuno's ship was the first European vessel to land in what is now California, which was discovered by Native Americans.

But there are no historical monuments in Point Reyes, Marin County, California to mark the second landing of Filipinos in California on November 6, 1595. It is not even listed in Wikipedia History of Filipinos in America. [Wikipedia lists the next arrival of a Filipino in California as 1720 when Gaspar Molina, A Filipino from Pampanga province, arrived to oversee the construction of El Triunfo de la Cruz, the first ship built in California].

But the Point Reyes landing of Filipinos in 1595 will not be obscure much longer.

A new documentary film entitled "The San Agustin : California Shipwreck" by independent filmmaker Goerge Thelen is set to be shown on public television this December. The hour long documentary will cover the 250-year history of the Manila Galleon trade and the journey of the legendary ship, San Agustin which was wrecked off Point Reyes, California in 1595.

Thelen informed me that the historical interest in the San Agustin is because it is the oldest known shipwreck on the U.S. west coast and has yet to be found.

The Marin Historical Museum, which is a sponsor of the film, describes the fate of the San Agustin as follows: "More than 70 men were stranded in an unfamiliar land with little more than the clothes on their back when the San Agustin went down off Point Reyes in 1595. Captain Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, would pilot the surviving crew more than 1500 miles back to New Spain (Mexico), using only a small craft the galleon had carried with her for exploration, saving all but their dog."

The arrival of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines began in 1565 when Capt. Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived with several galleon ships from Acapulco, Mexico. Accompanying was Legaspi was Fr. Andres de Urdaneta who returned back to Acapulco and then traveled all the way to Madrid to personally inform King Philip II of the rich potential of the galleon trade between Mexico and the Philippine Islands. The Spanish endorsed the recommendations of Fr. Urdaneta and the Manila- Acapulco Galleon Trade became a prime source of revenue for the Spanish monarchy. (By the early 17th century, the value of this exceeded the value of the Atlantic trade between Spain and the western hemisphere).

After establishing Spanish control of the archipelago, Legaspi determined that its chief value would to pick up Chinese goods, brought to Manila from China, and transport them to Mexico and then to Spain. the Chinese needed the silver that the Spanish obtained from their mining in the New World and this became the main trade exchange.

To facilitate the transport of the Chinese goods to Acapulco, Spanish galleon ships would have to be constructed in the islands by conscripted natives known then as "Luzones Indios" who would also compose the ship's crew. More than 110 galleon ships would be constructed in the Philippines (mostly in Cavite and Leyte) in the 250 years of the galleon trade.

The first locally made galleon ship to leave Manila for Acapulco was San Felipe which sailed from Manila less than a year after Legaspi's colonization of the islands.
But the San Felipe was lost without a trace somewhere in Baja California., Mexico in 1567.

After Capt. Pedro de Unamuno's voyage in 1587, the next galleon ship to leave Manila for Acapulco was the Santa Ana which was filled with gold extracted from Philippine mines. Unfortunately, the Santa Ana was hijacked by English pirates off the coast of Mexico.

Despite the constant threat of shipwrecks and hijackings, the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade in Chinese goods flourished.

In 1595, the galleon ship San Agustin left Manila for Acapulco with a cargo of 130 tons of Ming Dynasty porcelain, silk, and other trade goods from China via Manila. The ship was staffed by a crew of Filipino mariners and Spanish soldiers led by Capt. Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno.

After crossing the Pacific Ocean, Capt. Cermeno's ship sighted land and docked in what is now Point Reyes in Marin county on November 6, 1595. Capt. Cermeno christened the bay "La Bahia de San Francisco" , the name it is still known today, San Francisco Bay.

The Spanish soldiers on board the San Agustin urged their captain to quickly resume the voyage to Acapulco but Capt. Cermeno rejected their pleas as he wanted to explore the land that was not in any of their charts. As he set down to explore the land, he made contact with the local natives. the Coast Miwoks, who lived in about six villages in the area. Capt. Cermeno gave them cloths and other gifts while the Miwoks reciprocated with gifts of seeds and a banner of black feathers.

Capt. Cermeno and his Spanish soldiers were not the first white men the Miwoks had encountered. Sixteen years earlier, June 17, 1579, they had welcomed Sir Francis Drake and his crew of English privateers on board The Golden Hind which had docked on their land for food and supplies. Drake had named the land "Nova Albion" but he had no intentions of exploring and colonizing the land as he was on his way to circumnavigating the globe, pillaging Spanish galleon ships he encountered along the way.

At Capt. Cermeno's direction, the Filipino crewmen assembled a small launch on the beach to explore the shallow waters nearby. Unlike the Filipinos with Capt. Unamuno who explored Morro Bay, the Filipinos with Capt. Cermeno stayed at the bay for three weeks. They would have stayed longer but unfortunately, a storm came, which pulled the ship's anchor up and propelled the ship to the rocks, killing a dozen men, including a priest. It is presumed that a few of the men killed were Filipinos.

As to what happened to the precious cargo of the San Agustin, according to Carl Nolte ("400th Anniversary of Spanish Shipwreck", San Francisco Chronicle, November, 14, 1995), "the Miwoks picked up the cargo, slept on silk meant for royalty of Europe, ate from the priceless blue porcelain of the Wan Li period of the Ming Dynasty".

Captain Cermeno and his remaining crew then built a larger launch from the materials they could find in Point Reyes and sailed out to Acapulco, which they reached without losing a man. The crew reported, however, that they had to eat their dog to survive.

The 420th anniversary of the landing of the San Agustin in Point Reyes will take place on November 6, 2015. Perhaps a commemorative plaque, similar to what was installed in Morro Bay, can also be set in place to mark the hitherto unknown historic event.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:47 pm 
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There was already a documentary about the first Filipino immigrants to set foot in the US.

watch this PIPERED.




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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:49 pm 
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Know your history Pipered especially the rampant racism against Filipinos in 1920-1960s


PART 2


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:53 pm 
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soyamilk wrote:
There was already a documentary about the first Filipino immigrants to set foot in the US.

watch this PIPERED.




Galing naman nito ... thanks bro soyamilk ... more fun in da pelepens ... only in the Philippines ... :shock: :peace: :bravo:


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:56 pm 
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soyamilk wrote:
Know your history Pipered especially the rampant racism against Filipinos in 1920-1960s


PART 2


Great !!! this will help me on my personal research ... salamat uli bro soyamilk ... more fun in pelepens ... only in the Philippines ... :shock: :peace: :bravo:


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:02 pm 
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The Roman Catholics in America before banned Filipinos from entering their church. Even some restaurants and public places had banned any Filipinos from entering the premises. They were allowed to go to college/university but can't practice their profession or find any employment after they graduate because of the reason that they are Filipinos. That's how sad and terrible their lives was during 1940-1960.

interracial marriage was not allowed also. :(


Part 3



Last edited by soyamilk on Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:09 pm 
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There's no much emphazis or given importnce of Filipino-american history, culture and identity in the American history books, that's why most of Filipino Americans had this problem of identity/ethnicity crisis. :(

Filipino american history is one of the most underrated stories in the american history, unfortunately.

part 4


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:28 pm 
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soyamilk wrote:
There's no much emphazis or given importnce of Filipino-american history, culture and identity in the American history books, that's why most of Filipino Americans had this problem of identity/ethnicity crisis. :(

Filipino american history is one of the most underrated stories in the american history, unfortunately.

part 4


I'll watch them all ... thanks for the input ... di ko palalampasin ito ... more fun in da pelepens ... only in the Philippines ... :shock: :peace: :bravo:


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