My Project

1. Abstract:

My father emigrated from the Philippines in the mid-1920s, alone, at the tender age of 15. Adventurer that he was, he stowed away on a ship that was going to Hawaii. Although this may sound like Hollywood fiction, it was reality. Daddy got to Hawaii and from there he managed his way to California, where he had an uncle. He told everyone he was 21 and thus begins the strange fiction of his age, because he would change it from time to time. In California my father fought in a boxing match and won $750.00. He gave it to his uncle to hold–he never got it back. He then set out on a journey which would take him down to South America, up to Newfoundland, and across to Europe, before he would settle down in the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. Daddy loved to have his photo taken and through the decades you can see him with Philippine generals and presidents, their families, and other dignitaries from the Washington scene. This is a story as best as I can tell it of one man’s journey.

2. Is this project needed?

Personal histories, as told through diaries and correspondence, for example, are in my estimation the most interesting, and a personal history that also encompasses a wider more general history is all the more interesting and would add one more level to history in general. There are photos in this collection that possibly no one else has or that have been lost or packed away and forgotten. This may jog some memories or bring to the fore some forgotten story. Any project that can add some hitherto unknown history to the pot is needed.

3. Main features

I see this project as functioning more like a “coffee table book” on the Internet because it will focus on the photographs and the history will be wound around them. Through my research I will put in as much history as I can, but there may be times when content will be minimal.

4. Audience

I expect that anyone interested in 20th-century history, particularly WWII, would be interested in my site. It will be concerned not only with the Philippine Embassy, the Philippines and Filipinos, but also with WWII as there are photos of people and events obviously from that time period, and also photos of the Philippines after the war when my father and mother traveled over there.

5. Technology

This is a project that is best viewed on the Web. Because it will be concentrated on photographs I do not believe it would work as well on an ipod or cell phone or anything with a very small viewing screen. Ideally, the photos and their metadata would be in a database with a searchable engine which could easily be created for the website. Of course, scanning equipment is needed to digitize the originals and Photoshop to convert and/or adjust the photos. Contracting with a company such as GoDaddy to host the website would be necessary because it provides extra functions such as SQL and PHP. I do not foresee having to use any video or audio on the site as the concentration is on photographs and the history surrounding them.

6. Interactivity

There would be a blog and any user information regarding the unidentified persons in the photos or other history about the photos would be requested. Any other historical information that the user could add would also be requested, but all information would have to be cited and verifiable.


One Response to “My Project”

  1. mphillie Says:


    Your father’s life sounds facinating! My question pertains to his journey. What made such wide travel possible for your father? Was he in the Merchant Marine, U.S. Navy, or something other? Did your father still travel once he arrived at the Embassy in DC? Was he at the Embassy in DC during WWII? How do your father’s travels coincide with the broader patterns of Filipino immigration into the U.S.? I know key legislation in 1934 and 1942 significantly influenced Filipinos immigrantion to the U.S. Your father’s story seems to overlap this period. Consequently, I was curious if your father’s travels may have been impacted by immigration legislation in the U.S. and/or the issue of Philippine independence from U.S. colonial rule. If you can identify any such connective strands then perhaps your father’s story will gain some continuity and coherence from it’s relation to a broader historical moment.

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