Oral History Interview with Bayani de Las Alas


Oral History Interview with Bayani de Las Alas


Oral history interview with Bayani de Las Alas




The Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies and the UC Davis Asian American Studies department holds intellectual control of these recordings. Usage is restricted for educational, non-commercial purposes only. For other uses, please contact archivist Jason Sarmiento at ajsarmiento@ucdavis.edu


Audio Recording and Transcript




Francesca De Las Alas


Bayani de Las Alas


F. DE LAS ALAS: Hi, could you state your name??

B. DE LAS ALAS: My name is Bayani De Las Alas


B. DE LAS ALAS: You want the middle name, no?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Sure, your full name.

B. DE LAS ALAS: Full name: Bayani Maranan De Las Alas. Maranan is my mother's name, family name.

F. DE LAS ALAS: And where-?

B. DE LAS ALAS: I was born in Butong, Taal, Batangas. Studied in Taal Elementary and then Batangas West High and the University of the Philippines for my engineering degree. Chemical engineering. After that, I started working at San Miguel Corporation until I retired. So many years. I'm married to Erlinda with- how many children?- [counting on hand] Edgar, Joel, Ethel Rina- There's five children, three boys and two girls.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: When you were growing up, what jobs did your parents do?

B. DE LAS ALAS: My parents was working at the Bureau Fisheries. Antonio De Las Alas, Sr.- because I have a brother who is Antonio also. And he worked in the Bureau Fisheries only, I mean for a long time. My father was sent the U.S. to study about fishing for so many years, I don't know. Maybe 3 or 4 years. He's actually an officer for the Bureau Fisheries.

F. DE LAS ALAS: And can you define what the Bureau Fisheries is?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Bureau Fisheries is a department in the government, in the field of fisheries. Many times, their job is to investigate people are [pause] violating fishery rules. I think my father worked with a high position in the Bureau Fisheries together with his brother, Jose, the older brother. I think he worked there for a long time until he retired. My mother is just a housewife, who stayed in Manila, in northern Manila, where we studied there. Later on, I graduated from the University of the Philippine with Chemical Engineering. And later on, worked as a professor at the Areneta University. From there, this is where I retired already. It was the only job I had, a professor at the Areneta University, teaching mathematics and some other subjects there in engineering.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: So, while you were-?

B. DE LAS ALAS: What do you call this engineering?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Chemical?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Chemical engineering and agricultural engineering, because Areneta University is an agricultural college. And I also taught mathematics at Feati University at night. Yes, while working at Areneta, in the evening, I taught at Feati University. Do you know where is Feati? Feati is in?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Manila?


B. DE LAS ALAS: In Manila, near Brisal Avenue (sp?) Yeah, okay. That's it.

F. DE LAS ALAS: So, when you were working as a professor did you ever travel to the United States?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Ah, yes. As a professor, sometimes we are assigned to travel and check out some thing about- what do you call this, this subject?- [pause] related to fisheries, agriculture. What else do you want to know?

F. DE LAS ALAS: So I know you are also a naturalized citizen, so when did you move to the United States?

B. DE LAS ALAS: I don't remember the date but this was after I retired from San Miguel, in other words I retired from the company, and my wife and I applied for citizenship here in the U.S. because my- who was here when we came here?- children started to live here. My daughter, Ethel, and Rosette got married to U.S. citizens and they started to live here. The eldest, Edgar, is actually not a citizen of the U.S. but comes here once in a while. He was working in Manila. I don't remember what he was doing there. And then Joel, the fourth son, started to work in an optical company with the wife because Joel finished optometry and the wife also, Raquel, finished optometry. And the wife has a high position in this company. Joel was also working there, and this is how they continued to work until now.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Right, okay. So, I am just wondering, before you moved to the United States, what were some of the thoughts you had about America before you moved to America?

B. DE LAS ALAS: No, this is very difficult to say. I know that the Philippines used to be under America. And we know that life has been progressive here in the U.S. My children started to work here, Joel- Well Edgar was not really working- but, Ethel and Rosette married people here who are Filipino and became American citizens. Ethel- what was she working as?

F. DE LAS ALAS: A nurse?

B. DE LAS ALAS: I don't know what kind of job they have. We can ask Ninang Ethel, find out what they were working, how they starting working here with Rosette.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: So, after you moved here, did you notice some things that were different living in America versus living in the Philippines?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Yeah, I think so.?


B. DE LAS ALAS: In the Philippines, I started working, teaching in the universities there. And then later on, when I got out of teaching, we came here. And I really didn't have a formal job here. Stayed with my children here and I don't really have a fixed job when I came to the U.S. I was just visiting my children, Ethel, Rosette, and Joel. And now I am staying with Joel to help in the house here with my wife. My wife and I are staying here. That's it. What else do you want to know?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Do you visit the Philippines frequently?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Yeah, frequently.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: And how many years do you usually go?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Most of the time, we are here in the U.S. We visit the Philippines once in a while. But, the reason we stay here is because our children are here now. Especially Ethel, Rosette, and Joel. We are now mostly staying with Joel. Edgar just comes here to visit, used to be working somewhere here in the U.S. Now, I don't know, he is in a freelancing state. That's it. Oh no, Edgar also works in the Philippines and comes here, but I don't know exactly what he's doing... Very particular. You can ask Edgar what his job is here. But Joel works in the optical company with the wife because Raquel has a high position in the optical. And Joel is the assistant, I don't know what his position is. But I think Raquel has a high paid job because she is in charge of finance there. She is in a good position.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Are you comfortable living in ?America and in the Philippines or is there one place you prefer living? America versus the Philippines.?

B. DE LAS ALAS: It's the same. But most of the time we are here because our children are here. We don't have any more children in the Philippines, I think. Edgar most of the time is here. Joel is here. Ethel is here, married to somebody from the Philippines but now is working in the U.S., and then also Rosette is married and they have one children each, no? Joel and Ethel and Rosette. So, most of the time, we are in the U.S. We actually stay here with Joel to help him in the house and whatever it is we can do to help.

F. DE LAS ALAS: So, did your children ask you to come to America to help them? Or did you kind of volunteer to come?

B. DE LAS ALAS: I think we just volunteered. We just came here and before you know it, we are staying with them, you know? It's not something that they requested that we do come here. No, we came here to visit and then before you know it, we are staying with them. And trying to do whatever it is we can do to help. Most of the time now is with Joel. Used to be with Ethel. We stayed once in a while with Rosette, but mostly with Ethel. And then now, almost 100% we are with Joel, to help him here in the house and whatever it is that we can do to help him because they are both working. Cook, Mama Linda also cooks, helps in the house and


B. DE LAS ALAS: also clean the house here. That's all we do.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: So, when you were growing up, did your grandparents also do something similar with your family? Did they stay with your family and help cook and clean?

B. DE LAS ALAS: When I was growing up, we stayed in a house in Manila with my father. And my father stays there for one whole week and goes home in weekend because my mother stays in Butong, in Taal, Batangas. There used to be a lot of friends from Butong and relatives who stay with us there in that house. They do not pay any rent. They just stay with us and also share the food. They bring some food with them, rice and whatever it is they can bring from Butong. They bring them there. But we are also full packed in that house, small house. I don't know if you have been there. It is in the Visorya (sp?) in Esparaga (sp?), no? We just go into Butong once in a while. But most of the time, since I am also working in Manila, I stay there after I finished my college degree. Because when I was studying at UP (University of the Philippines), I used to live in that place in the Visorya (sp?), no? With my other Kababayan and my brothers and sisters. Ethel also lived there and Rosette and later on they got married.

F. DE LAS ALAS: What's kababayan??

B. DE LAS ALAS: Kababayan is country man. You know, my kabayans are the people who are from Butong and they study or work in Manila and they stayed with us there. Paying nothing, they just stayed there. They bring some food once in a while, they bring rice. Mostly, from Butong, the ones that we used to friends, some of them already have gone because now my parents sold that house. We don't have any more house in Visorya (sp?). We stay here at Joel's. What do you call this place?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Brentwood?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Brentwood.


B. DE LAS ALAS: We seldom go to Ethel's place, once in a while we go there, over the weekend or for two days. We normally just visit Rosette, we don't stay overnight. At Ethel's we stay, we have a room there. You know our room there? The one in the corner [pointing off to the side]. And that is really reserved for us. So, once we want to stay there, we just go there and that room is really for us. It is actually reserved by Ethel for us.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Would you say it's typical for Filipino culture for the grandparents to come help with the family?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Is it what? Difficult to what?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Typical. Typical for Filipino culture for the-?

B DE LAS ALAS: Filipino what?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Culture-

B. DE LAS ALAS: Culture.

F. DE LAS ALAS: For the grandparents to help with raising the kids, and cleaning the house and helping the family?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Well, not really. When we stay here in Manila, it is really with my father. My father works with the fisheries also my uncle, the brother of my father, also works in the Bureau Fisheries. And we stayed there while we studied and I started to work in San Miguel Corporation as a chemical engineer. And at night, I used to teach at Feati University. I also taught mathematics and engineering at Feati University, which is near Brisal Avenue (sp?), I don't know whether you have been there. And then there are lots of?


B. DE LAS ALAS: friends from Butong, who stay with us, every time they come here, they bring some food, sacks of rice, but they pay nothing in the rental. It's part of the family. My uncle, the brother of my dad, also works at the fisheries and normally he goes out at night and normally was trying to get some fish from friends. Because they know him from the Bureau Fisheries. He visits all of this fishing boats, and I think they gave him fish free. So when he goes out, when he comes back, we have a lot of things to eat. My father, on the other hand, does not do that way. He just work at the fisheries. He has a very high position, my dad. I think he was an executive there. And he worked there for a long time until he retired.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: So, he was in charge of the policies of fishery?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Yes, policies, I think, in the fisheries.

F. DE LAS ALAS: The regulations?

B. DE LAS ALAS: And he, many times, was assigned to travel in the provinces to check with the fisherman. Because the fisheries are supposed to be in charge of fishing as a profession. And my uncle but mostly my father, who was assigned to go to Mindanao, Visayas, check out the fisheries there, the people who are fishing. And they know him very well because he is very popular, no? My dad. He's very well known in the fisheries, very high position. Also, my uncle, but my father is much higher in position. You have not seen my dad no? I think you have seen the picture. That's it. Of course, my mother is just a stay out home wife, stays in Butong. Once in a while, goes to Manila, but stays in Butong and takes care of the young kids who are still there. Ninang Ethel, Joel was still very young.

F. DE LAS ALAS: How many kids did you mom have? How many siblings do you have?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Well, me. And then we have Tony, the second one who died already, he's an attorney. Antonio De Las Alas, Jr. And then you have Ernesto, Ernie. And you have Ethel, Rosette, and Joel and Jason is the youngest.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Oh but those are your kids. Your siblings?

B. DE LAS ALAS: My siblings? My siblings are Tony, you have Ernie, Ernie is my sibling. Ernesto.?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Leland?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Leland, Leland is also a sibling.

F. DE LAS ALAS: Jaime?

B. DE LAS ALAS: Jaime, Jaime is also a sibling. The oldest is Tony and then Ernie, Ernesto. Ernesto is Ernie. And then Joel and Leland. And then who else? Jay. Jay is the youngest.

F. DE LAS ALAS:? No, Reuben?

B. DE LAS ALAS: No, no Jason. Reuben is older than Jason. Jason is the youngest. So that is my life. Is there is anything else?

F. DE LAS ALAS: No, that's good! Thank you.?

B. DE LAS ALAS: But, you have to clear up the way it is written, no?

F. DE LAS ALAS: Of course.?

B. DE LAS ALAS: I think you have to put it on record. Is there anything else you want?

F. DE LAS ALAS: I think we are good.?

B. DE LAS ALAS: To verify?

F. DE LAS ALAS: I think we are good. Thank you very much.

B. DE LAS ALAS: Okay, it is a pleasure sharing my life and experience.?

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Date Added
February 9, 2021
Filipino Immigrant Oral History Project
Item Type
Oral History
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“Oral History Interview with Bayani de Las Alas,” Welga Archive - Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, accessed December 1, 2021, https://welgadigitalarchive.omeka.net/items/show/696.