Oral history interview with Gloria Dela Cruz, interviewed by Ralph Gabriel Giron

Title

Oral history interview with Gloria Dela Cruz, interviewed by Ralph Gabriel Giron

Description

Oral history interview with Gloria Dela Cruz, interviewed by Ralph Gabriel Giron

Date

2-Jun-19

Rights

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

Format

Audio Recording and Transcript

Identifier

ucdw_wa014_s001_0014

Interviewer

Ralph Gabriel Giron

Interviewee

Gloria Dela Cruz

Transcription

[Giron]
Today is the second of June 2019. Today I will be doing err conducting an interview with a Filipino immigrant. My name is Ralph Giron. May I… have your full name?
[Dela Cruz]
Yeah, my name is Gloria Dela Cruz.
[Giron]
[coughs] So… Gloria, I will be asking you a few questions talking about your life as a Filipino immigrant. Umm… most of these questions are going to be in English. If you think that your English is not good enough, you can, of course, speak in Tagalog. Umm…yes! We shall start! So, to start off, where and when were you born?
[Dela Cruz]
I was born in Malolos, Bulacan in Philippines. [Felt uncomfortable providing birthdate.]
[Giron]
Where were your parents born?
[Dela Cruz]
At the same place I was born.
[Giron]
What jobs did your parents do?
[Dela Cruz]
My mom is [was] a sew… umm…dress maker and my dad is [was] a soldier before.

[Giron]
Soldier? Uh to go upon that, when did he fight err what war did he fight?
[Dela Cruz]
What war did he fight? They just umm it is a community fight, like in the same place in the Philippines. Where in there is… the new people’s army that were fighting in [for] their freedom against the government.
[Giron]
Okay and do you remember your grandparents?
[Dela Cruz]
Yes.
[Giron]
Okay… with your grandparents…do you… Where were err where were your grandparents born and what did they do?
[Dela Cruz]
Umm… my grandparents were born in the same place where [was] I born in the Philippines, and what they job before are… they are the farm raiser, like umm [pause] How do you call that? They raised chicken and…
[Giron]
Farmers?
[Dela Cruz]
Yeah.
[Giron]
Okay so, another quick question: how many siblings did you have?
[Dela Cruz]
I have four siblings.
[Giron]
Boys? Girls?
[Dela Cruz]
Two boys and three girls [Four related by blood. One half-sister]
[Giron]
Did you come from a large family?
[Dela Cruz]
Uhh no I have only my dad and my aunt. [Pause] So there are only two kids from my grandparents so it’s not really large.
[Giron]
I meant, as in general, with your parents and your siblings. Did you grow up with a larger family like umm, uncles? Aunts?
[Dela Cruz]
Uh yeah yeah, yes I did.
[Giron]
And how many can you count in total?
[Dela Cruz]
At my father’s side they only two and my mom’s side is there are three siblings.
[Giron]
Did any of your family members move to America before you?
[Dela Cruz]
Uh they are my auntie before, on the third cousin, my parent’s third cousin, they were in Texas right now.
Giron: And when did they move to America?
[Dela Cruz]
Uh they said America is a better place for good education…
[Giron]
No.. uhh When did they move to America?
[Dela Cruz]
When? Um that will be 1970…1976 like that.

[Giron]
Okay, and to go off of this, since they moved before you did when did you move? What year did you move?
[Dela Cruz]
My family and I move here on 2005.
[Giron]
What state did you reside in?
[Dela Cruz]
Here in California.
[Giron]
[changing subjects] Umm so in the Philippines, I’m assuming since you’re an immigrant, did you study in the Philippines?
[Dela Cruz]
Uh yes I graduated in college. Major in Bachelor of Science in Commerce. Oh! Studying Bachelor of Science in Commerce, major in Economics.
[Giron]
And what school did you go to?
[Dela Cruz]
I graduated in Regina Carmeli Uni [Pause] now is um University of Regina Carmeli.
[Giron]
Regina Carmeli?
[Dela Cruz]
Yes.
[Giron]
Okay. So growing up in the Philippines err having your education in the Philippines, what was it like? How were the schools there? How was your academic experience?

[Dela Cruz]
Umm compared to the U.S., Philippines is way…lesser [struggling to think of the word]
[Giron]
You can speak in Tagalog.
[Dela Cruz]
Yeah yeah, kung ikukumpara ko ang studies from Philippines [than] here in U.S. I can say that America is much better than the education in the Philippines. In the sense that… mas marami ang year ng pag
a-aral mo, dito sa America ‘kay sa Pilipinas.
[Giron] So you’re saying that you go to school longer in the Philippines that you do…
[Dela Cruz]
No, here [in America] is longer. Cause right now we have up to grade twelve. In the Philippines we only have fourth year. Grade six in elementary. Four years in high school, and four years in college.
[Giron]
Ahh okay that is very interesting. Sorry, I did not go to… I did not have education in the Philippines, so that is very new to me. Umm and you said you… I’m sorry what was your major again when you were in college?
[Dela Cruz]
My major was in Economics.
[Giron]
Economics! Okay! So umm since you majored in Economics, what was work like err what work did you apply for?
[Dela Cruz]
Uhh I never got a chance to use my major because when I first graduated in college I went to a different country with my mom to work with her with one family there as a domestic helper and it last for one year and then when I came back umm I got this job in a publication where you will uhh make a newspaper, magazines, books, leaflets, invitations like that, something like that. And then I cannot… I didn’t pursue the… [Struggling to think of the word]
[Giron]
Your original major?
[Dela Cruz]
Yeah, my original major.
[Giron]
Umm and this is a little bit personal, but do you have any regrets not pursuing your major or did you enjoy doing the whole newspaper business?
[Dela Cruz]
Actually, my major’s course is not really my dream course because what I want at the time is to be a nurse, but because I don’t have money, or my parents did not have money to put me into that kind of school. So it [I] never happens to be a nurse at that time. But I enjoy being a newspaper, a layout artist in that publication.
[Giron]
Okay! So, the next couple of questions will ask about umm you coming here to America. So, to start off, when did you decide to move out of the Philippines? So, when did you start thinking, “I want to move to America.” About when did you start think about that?
[Dela Cruz]
Actually, that wasn’t our plan before. It wasn’t came to my mind that I would be going here to America, but there’s an opportunity for my sister to be here, to come here in America, and then after the five years of being here she petitioned my parents. After my parents, she petitioned us, siblings, so that how we get in here in America.

[Giron]
Okay! Let me get this straight. So, your older sister?
[Dela Cruz]
My youngest.. um no, my sister next to me.
[Giron]
So, a year? Or?
[Dela Cruz]
Yeah a year.
[Giron]
So, your younger sister had an opportunity to come to America and when she came here, did she become a citizen?
[Dela Cruz]
Yes, she married a citizen… guy.
[Giron]
So, she married someone who was a citizen, therefore she became a citizen, and she petitioned your parents to come to America and then she also petitioned you guys, the siblings.
[Dela Cruz]
Yeah the remaining children.
[Giron]
So, when did that occur?
[Dela Cruz]
Umm, for my sister, or…?
[Giron]
For you. So, once your sister petitioned you guys, when was the petition?
[Dela Cruz]
I remember my parents came here 1996, and they file a petition for their kids, for their children after that. I think I came here like 10 years after they were in America.
[Giron]
Why did you choose to move here, rather than stay in America [I meant to say the Philippines.]
[Dela Cruz]
In the Philippines?
[Giron]
Yes.
[Dela Cruz]
Yeah, umm they said umm America has a great opportunity for us Filipinos. They said.. what do you call honey… green…
[Giron]
[Laughs] uhh yeah, I don’t know the correct saying.

[Long Pause, then resumes. We had to search up the proper saying for her reference]

[Dela Cruz]
Yeah, they said America is a land of milk and honey, like there is a greenest pasture here in America. The greatest opportunity for us Filipinos to be here, so we can uhh.. para pag unlad yung sarili naming.
[Giron]
Uhh did you have any children that kind of… So, the reason why you wanted to move to America, because the saying that you just did, that America is the land of milk and honey and talked about opportunity. Did you want your children to have a better opportunity?
[Dela Cruz]
Yeah, that’s the first thing that came to my being err to my mind that I want my children to come here, to get the knowledge or the.. to get study here, finish their college here, and I’m also dreaming that they can be a doctor here, sometimes, [Quietly laughing in unison] because being a doctor here in America is a kind of umm mataas na ni pag ina aralan. Mataas na ni pag ina aralan na kahit saan ka marating, kahit saan mag punta basta graduate ka ng America being a doctor, marami kang chance sa ibang lugar mapuntahan or ma pag trabhoan dahil mas mataas ang edukasyon ng pagiging doctor dito sa America.
[Giron]
Okay, very interesting! So, you referred to America or, you believed err used to believe that America a land flowing with milk and honey. After you moved here, did any of that idea change?
[Dela Cruz]
Uhh not really kasi sa Pilipinas wala ka naman masyado na pa-pasukan na trabaho. Maliit lang pag kumita ka, halimbawa na “in’ ka sa isang company, they just… they’re not giving you much salary so you can send your children to what your dream of them become. So, I’m very lucky that I have my parents, my sibling, who brought me here together with my children, so they can have this opportunity that they can study whatever they want.
[Giron]
Okay, that’s it? So, you do not regret leaving the Philippines at all?
[Dela Cruz]
No. No regrets at all.
[Giron]
Okay! So, for your life, now that you’ve lived here [in America] for over a decade already, and you lived most of your life in the Philippines. Can you tell me different situations err what was different about living in America, as oppose to living in the Philippines?

[Dela Cruz]
Umm… living in the Philippines is easy, like when you don’t have anything to eat you just plant and you have something to eat, but here in America if you don’t get a job, you don’t have nothing to eat. Like hindi mo ma bi-bilhin yung gusto mo bilhin pag na sa Pilipinas ka, pero compared in the Philippines to America, mas masaya and buhay mo sa Pilipinas dahil enjoy mo… they said that… there’s nothing like home.
[Giron]
There’s no place like home?
[Dela Cruz]
There’s no place like home. All your friends, all your relatives are living there, so… as if you have a lot of company. Marami kang, kung baga, ka-kampi, compared dito sa America na limited lang kayo, konti lang kayo, na mag mga maganak ng nadtio, walang masyadong tutulong, especially kung wala ka naman ka maganak, walang masyadong tutolong sayo. Compared na sa Pilipinas ka ‘aan doon yung maganak mo. Umm mayroon kang ma pu-puntahan kung kailangan mo ng tulong. Hindi sinasabi sa pera, pero tulong as in companion ba. Unlike dito sa America, puro ka trabaho. Kailangan mo mg trabaho para meron kang magandag opportunity na makatira sa ganitong lugar, makabilhi ka nang gusto mong bilhin, makain mo yung gusto mong kainin. Something like that.
[Giron]
Okay, and, so, now that I have a better idea err better understanding of your thoughts about America and the Philippines, I wanted to ask about your first few years here coming to America. So, when you first moved here you said that you lived in California, you currently reside in California, and this is the place you first came. I kind of want to know about your experience of coming to America for the first time. So, do you still remember the day you left the Philippines and the day you arrived in America, in the airport?
[Dela Cruz]
Yeah, in the airport I was so amazed on the place. Of course, it was different, too much different compared to the Philippines, in a sense that the roads are really [Pause] developed compared to the Philippines. I can compare that America is really established. The roads are really… ni pinagplanohan, may plano lahat. Unlike sa Pilipinas na “oh itinayo itong daan na ito ng pa ganun lang.” [Waving arm motion] Like hindi nag isip or hindi masyado na plano. Kung ico-compara mo dito and lahat na makita mo sa daan is una una lang yung dadaanan mo, makikita mo na talagang wide, Na sa plano.
[Giron]
Okay! To make this a bit clear for me, you’re comparing the differences between the Philippines and America. You said America, when you see the roads, you know that things were built with a purpose. Things were built with a plan.
[Dela Cruz]
Yes.
[Giron] Comapred sa Pilipinas where, it seems like they just built things randomly, without a plan. Is that what you’re trying to say?
[Dela Cruz]
Mhm! Yes, that’s it.
[Giron]
Okay! So, I would like to know… which airport did you come from, oh, not come from, but when you came to the Philippines, which airport in California did you arrive in?
[Dela Cruz]
We arrive in San Francisco Airport.

[Giron]
Can you tell me about your experience, about… What was going through your mind as you stepped foot out of the airplane? Were you excited? How were you feeling?
[Dela Cruz]
I am [was] a little nervous because I don’t now what will I expect America will give to me. What job should I do here, compared to what I have in the Philippines. I don’t know if there’s same job that I can get here as a publisher because when I first applied, I don’t want to mention the company, but I applied in some company, like a publication company. They said, I hear that this company is having a politics, you know, politics in the sense, that they just accepting people like your relative, your friends. So, I never got the chance to get into that company the same as I’m working in the Philippine.
[Giron]
So, with that when you said that you weren’t able to go into the job that you were used to, with the publication, did that change your life? As in, since you didn’t get into that job, were you forced to…
[Dela Cruz]
Yeah, I forced to go a different route, yes.
[Giron]
What route was that in, since you weren’t able to…
[Dela Cruz]
Actually, I, in economics there’s a little background of accounting, so… [asking me a question] Do I have to mention this company?
[Giron]
Uhh you don’t have to mention the company.


[Dela Cruz]
So, I get into this company as a accounts payable in accounting because I have an experience or I have a background in accounting, to what I graduated, I used that experience or I can use that experience to get into that job. For the first time, yes, it is difficult for me to adjust because you will be working with people that new for you, like American people, different culture, like what you grow in [pause] different surroundings, yeah and different… I don’t know how you will work on that place you don’t know how to be with other people. Hindi mo alam kung pa-pano sila pakisamahan dahil iba ang kanilang kinalakihan, o ang ugalit, or kanilang ni pagaralan. And then that time, even this time I can admit that I having a hard time speaking English, so I don’t know how will I talk to them, and how will I talk to the customer that I was assigned to.
[Giron]
When you first came here, your life was very tough especially the adjustments. Was it similar for your children… the adjustment for them, was it difficult for them as well?
[Dela Cruz]
I never got a chance to ask them, but I think they don’t have a very hard time being with other people because they were so little before. Growing up here, I think they were really easily adjust themselves.
[Giron]
Perfect! So, when you first arrived here in California, did you have a place to stay? Did you already have a home? Did you stay with a relative? How did you get by for the first [few] years here, so where did you live?


[Dela Cruz]
Umm my parents that time had a house to live in Sunnyvale. So, they owned a house, but, because living in California is too expensive, so… We lived there for like five years, and then after that because life is very tough, my parents didn’t have anymore job that time and then my siblings are living in different place like, they were just living in apartment and I was the only one living with my parents. It’s too hard for us to pay that house… the mortgage of the house, so we decided to move into an apartment with my parents and with my kids, too.
[Giron]
Okay. Uhh [Pause] So, you told me before… I think I’m done with the “Living here in America” with that section. Umm, I wanted to go into your professions when you first moved here to America. So, you told me you wanted to get into some publications, but you didn’t get in. You told me some other things as well, but you said that it did not work out. What did you eventually settle on? What type of work did you eventually settle on?
[Dela Cruz]
Actually, you cannot pick your job. You cannot pick any job you want as long as you’re just… as long as you have a job to do [Pause]
Yeah, before, like I said, I was in this company I work in accounting, but the job is too tough for me, so I started one course to be a CNA, like a certified nursing assistant, I work in this [accounting] company, like I said, seven years, but this is too tough for me because like that time they said the company will be close in a couple of years. I decided to take a course, like a CNA, so I can have another job kapag ng saran a yung [accounting] company.


[Giron]
So, when you said you took another course did you have to go back to school here in America just to become a CNA? Or how did that process go?
[Dela Cruz]
I never dream of being a CNA. I just took that course because I want an easy easy… easy job, like papaano ako makaalis ako dito sa company to ayo kong ma bakante, like ayo kong pag nag-sara itong company na ito ay…
[Giron]
Jobless?
[Dela Cruz]
Maging jobless ako kaya… Naging practical lang ako na gusto ko saana dalawang trabaho, saana para ma kumita nang mas malaki, but the thing is, I cannot make… do double job at that time. It’s too hard having two job at the same time.
[Giron]
And, so, what was funny is that in my class now we learned about Filipinos and wanting to help [out], so it was very interesting to hear that you wanted to be a CNA. You wanted to be a CNA, a nursing assistant. Can I ask, you wanted… in the Philippines you wanted to become… your dream job was to become a nurse, so why did you settle to become a nurse assistant rather than pursue being a nurse when you knew the money…
[Dela Cruz]
Of course, money is a problem here, how can I pursue my study being a nurse if I don’t have a job to do, so I can pursue that nursing job or nursing course. Kailangan may trabaho muna ako bago ako ma pursue ko yun, pero, dahil may mga anak ako, I have two kids, it’s too hard to get back to school being a full-time student while I have have my two kids with me, living with me and no one will look [after] for them and especially I don’t have money to use to continue my study being a nurse. Inisip ko papaano kong gagawin yun kung yung ang mga anak ko ay kasama ko, at mag fu-full time student ako? Ano kakainin ng mga anak ko kung estudyante ako? Kahit mga uutang ako nang pag aaral ko… how ‘bout yung kakainin yung mga anak ko? Saan ko ku-kuhanin yun?
[Giron]
That’s understandable.
[Dela Cruz]
So, I’d rather work than going to school. Being a CNA is konting panahon lang para tapusin mo. So, I think I take that course for only three months. So, after I finish that I get a job. Actually, a double job, but it’s too hard, so I stay for only one job and then, but after being a CNA for like two years I decided to get another job and I was now employed in electronics and now, compared to being a CNA and compared to being an accounts payable associate going to CAN and going to electronics I can say that electronics is more better for me… for my age because right now I’m a lead… a production lead in that company, so I’m earning like more than I’m earing in accounts payable or being a CNA before.
[Giron]
So, the current job you’re in now you make way more…
[Dela Cruz]
Yes.
[Giron]
Okay! So, a lead is that like a manager status?
[Dela Cruz]
No, it’s umm… compared to supervisor, your’re under the supervisor.


[Giron]
That’s great to know that you were able to face America with all the issues and not having a job here early and all the difficulties you had in thie first few months… was there any other issues and hardships you faced.
[Dela Cruz]
Yea, a hardship I’m facing right now is the apartment that we’re living right now… because my kids are getting older and I don’t want them to live in this apartment that not comfortable for them. I want more bigger hosue because my dream is to give my children a better life, but for me doing that it’s too hard, also ‘cause like I said living here in America it’s not really easy. You have to have two jobs so you can have your [Pause] Makuha mo yung gusto mo. As in makakuha ng bahay na mas kumportable para sa mga anak mo, pero, dahil na sa hirap nang buhay [intangible] dito sa California mahirap. Acutally, California it yung center nang job. Sa ibang lugar, halimbawa, i-compare mo sa, like in Texas, Texas is more… houses are more affordable, but the thing is… the problem with that area is the job. Ang mas mura sa lugar na ganoon, pero yung trabaho wala rin masyadong makakuhang trababo doon sa ganoong lugar. So, sa California dito talaga centro ng lahat ng company.
[Giron]
Okay, so, one final question: Did you notice anything different between the first-generation immigrants and the Filipino-
American community? Meaning, since you are an immigrant, you’re a first-generation immigrant [Pause] you grew up in the Philippines… was your life different from the Filipinos born in America? Did you notice anything different? For example, the opportunities.


[Dela Cruz]
Yes, opportunities, in the sense, that mas maganda ang opportunity na mga tao naka pagaral dito [in America] kaysa sa naka pagaral ka sa ibang lugar bago ka nag punta ka dito. Syempre, ang mas priority na ma nga company ay yun naka graduate ka, naka pagaral ka dito sa America, kaysa naka pagaral ka sa ibang lugar. So, masasabi ko na, yes, mas masarap ang… laka ng pagaral ka dito sa America kahit nung bata ka pa, na ka graduate ka dito kase mas maganda ang buhay, magiging buhay mo kung nag tapos ka nang pag aaral dito at naka kuha ka ng trabaho dito. Yeah, compared sa… na sa Pilipinas ka naka graduate tapos dito ka ng trabaho wala kang opportunity na makuha mo ung gusto mo talaga na trabaho dit sa America.
[Giron]
Okay, Gloria, that will be the end of the interview. I do not have any more questions left, so thank you for taking your time to speak with me… and yeah.
[Dela Cruz]
Uh yeah you’re welcome.
[Giron]
Thank you!

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Date Added
February 9, 2021
Collection
Filipino Immigrant Oral History Project
Item Type
Oral History
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Citation
“Oral history interview with Gloria Dela Cruz, interviewed by Ralph Gabriel Giron,” Welga Archive - Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, accessed February 27, 2021, https://welgadigitalarchive.omeka.net/items/show/703.