Oral history interview with Noel Pastor, by Noelani Ruth Pastor


Oral history interview with Noel Pastor, by Noelani Ruth Pastor


Oral history interview with Noel Pastor, by Noelani Ruth Pastor




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


Video Recording and Transcript




Noelani Ruth Pastor


Noel Pastor


NRP: It is May 23, 2019 and it is 4:40 in the afternoon. This is Noelani Pastor, interviewing for
the Filipino Immigrant Oral History Project for the Welga! Filipino American Labor Archives
and the Welga! Project. Today, I am interviewing:
NP: Noel Pastor, Noelani Pastor’s daddy, father.
NRP: Okay, so I am going to start asking you questions about your background and things
about yourself. So, question number one, where and when were you born?
NP: I was born on May 5, 1968 in a little town called Dingras in the province of Ilocos Norte.
Located in Northern Philippines.
NRP: Where were your parents born?
NP: I believe my, my father was born in Laoag City, in the same province Ilocos Norte. My
mother was born in the same town where I was born which is in Dingras, Ilocos Norte,
NRP: What jobs did your parents do?
NP: My father worked for a telecommunications company delivering telegrams. People
probably don’t know what that is, but they’re called telegrams and my mother was a full-time
mother, housewife. And at the same time, they were both ministers of a Christian church.
NRP: Okay, what jobs did your grandparents do?
NP: My grandfather, I was very young when, on my father’s side, he was a mechanic and also
a musician which is where we got our talents from. And my grandmother, on my father’s side,
she was a full-time house wife. My grandfather from my mother’s side, he was a full-time
farmer. My grandmother on my maternal side is, she passed away when we were babies so we
never really got to know her.
NRP: How many siblings do you have?
NP: I have four siblings. One older brother, and two younger sisters. Of course I look better
than my older brother.
NRP: Did you come from a big family?
NP: Immediate family or inter-family?
NRP: Inter-family.
NP: Yes, we came from a very big and very close family on both sides, father’s side and
mother’s side.
NRP: Did any of your family members move to America before you?
NP: My fathers’ brothers and sisters all moved to the U.S. in California before we did. And
then, on my mothers’ side, my -- her sister moved to Hawaii and her, my grandfather, her dad
moved to Hawaii before we did.
NRP: What was your academic experience in the Philippines?
NP: My academic experience [ laughs ] in the Philippines is I remember being a smart kid. Uh,
probably that’s where Noelani got her brains from, her daddy. But, um, it’s different in the
Philippines. We go to school -- we even, in elementary school, we go to school from basically
sun up to sundown. From 7 to 11 o’clock. And then, I remember taking an hour for lunch break,
maybe hour and a half. And then, from 1 to 5, in the afternoon, so there was a lot of schooling.
And the, at 5 in the afternoon, we were not done yet. Uh, we had to clean the classrooms. So, all
the kids had to clean their own classroom. We did not have any janitorial services, so yeah, we
basically cleaned the school. We studied, of course the basic things like english, math, science,
home economics, Philippine history. Those sorts of things -- those are the subjects that I can
remember. And of course, physical education, that’s why I’m fit.
NRP: Okay, I know in class, we talked about how, in the Philippines people are forced -- or
students are forced to speak english and were punished, in a sense, if they spoke one word of
filipino. Was that experienced the same as you were growing up in school?
NP: That’s really not true. We are not forced to speak english. We were very encouraged to
speak english -- or tagalog, which is the national language of the Philippines which a lot of
filipinos are very smart speaking english because they do encourage -- they do teach it in
elementary school. There were days where we could not speak, uh, the local dialogue which was
ilocano -- we could either speak english or tagalog.
NRP: Why did you and/or your family decide to move out of the Philippines?
NP: To find a better life -- supposedly. My father's’ family migrated to California long before
we migrated and they petitioned us to come and live in -- to the U.S., to join them in the U.S.
which we did, decided to come to have a better life because as you know, U.S. is the land
flowing with milk and honey. I haven’t seen the milk and the honey yet. All I have are school
bills from my daughter Noelani [ laughs ]. Oh she is the honey, that’s it -- she’s the honey, that’s
what it is. Okay, I got it.
NRP: [ laughs ] Okay, when did you move to the United States?
NP: I believe it was January 1982.
NRP: How old were you at that time?
NP: Do I have to say it then you’ll know how old I am?
NRP: [ smile ] You already said your birth date so.
NP: I believe I was 12 at that time and I was in, I just finished, I had just finished sixth grade
in the Philippines when we moved to -- when we migrated to the United States.
NRP: Did you move anywhere else before settling in the United States?
NP: Uh, no. We, we lived in the Philippines. I lived with my grandparents, and then of course
I didn’t live with my, my immediate family.
NRP: What were your thoughts about America before you moved here?
NP: I didn’t have any, really any thoughts about America -- I mean, I didn’t want to come to
the U.S. because I was living with my grandfather's’ siblings who took me in when I was, since I
was two years old so I never really wanted to leave them -- that’s the environment I grew up in
was full of love and I didn’t really want to leave them there. But of course I was forced to come
to the United States of America. So I never really wanted to come.
NRP: What was different about living in the -- living in America, as opposed to living in the
NP: The food. There was a lot of abundance of food here in America. Burgers, we don’t have
burgers when I was growing up, only hot dogs, only rich people could eat hot dogs and even to
this day, only rich people can afford to eat burgers and hot dogs. Philippines is a very poor
country and, depending on where you’re from, and only the rich can afford those foods so that
was the main difference, I think for me was the food and the vehicles you know, you have a ride
everywhere you go. Down there, you don’t really have a ride -- you ride the tricycle or you walk.
And of course the people are brown in the Philippines, everyone is brown. Here, everything is
multi-culture, you know, multi-colored people. So, yeah. But the main thing that I noticed, the
main difference that I noticed was really the food.
NRP: Where did you first live after coming to the United States?
NP: We [immediate family] first lived in, Salinas, California. That was our port of entry
because, again I said my -- like I said, we were petitioned by my father's’ sister. My father's’
family all, live in California. My mother’s family live in Hawaii so we came here [Hawaii] for
two weeks and then we -- our port of entry was California so we lived in California first.
NRP: Now, I’m assuming you stayed with family?
NP: Yes, we did.
NRP: [ nod ] Okay. What -- oh this question doesn’t exactly pertain to you. [ long pause ].
NP: Are we confused with the questions?
NRP: [ laughs ] What job did you perform when you moved to America?
NP: I was in the seventh grade so I did not really perform any jobs. However, we, I remember
doing, at that young age, my uncle Frank’s friends would hire us to do yard work. So we would
go clean their yard because they’re well off. Clean their yard, you know, tend to their garden,
that kind of stuff. Yeah.
NRP: So last question. Did you notice anything different between first generation immigrants
and the Filipino American community?
NP: The first generation immigrants from the Filipino community?
NRP: Filipino American.
NP: In my era and today’s era?
NRP: From when you first moved to the United States, did you notice anything different
between immigrants and Filipinos who have grown up in America and were born in America?
NP: Well, you know, for the ones that are first generation filipinos migrating to the states, it’s
a lot tougher. You know, you’re not spoon fed with anything really. You have to work hard for
everything that you got. Of course, you have to live with reality at central to make it. You have
to work to help the family because granted your parents are only getting paid minimum wage.
So, you have to find ways to earn money for your school supplies, that kind of stuff. So, I think
that’s the, that’s the main thing is trying to, you know, make a living and going through the
culture shock at the same time. Whereas if you were raised here, really, everything is already
there for you. As a, a first generation, an immigrant from the Philippines, you don’t have such
thing. You know, you really have to work really really hard, even to have a good future, you
know, no college is promised to you, the future’s not promised for you. You have to go get it, so
you really have to, to work very very hard. Not only to help yourself so you can have a better
future, but to help the family. Yeah, I think that’s the main thing. The uncertainty of your future
is very very challenging, you know, what are you going to do when you can’t afford college.
What are you going to do when you don’t have money for -- when your parents don’t have
money for your school supplies? We are mentoring kids now also from -- that are first generation
immigrants from the Philippines and I see them go through the same things that I went through.
These kids come from, you know, straight from school. They go straight to work at McDonalds
or some fast-food chain until 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock at night -- they get home around 11
o’clock at night and still have to do their homework. So, those are the challenges of first
generation immigrants from, from the Philippines. So as you go through life, you try to make a
good life for yourself and have a good future so that, you know, your kids will not have to go
through the same things that you went through. So that, they can have a nice house or they can
have better food. They don’t have to worry about school supplies. To be a first generation
immigrant, is very very difficult and a lot of kids wish they could go back to the Philippines and
live the life that they have cause here you got to, really, have to work. [ sigh ] yes.
NRP: Alright, so thank you so much for taking your time out of the day to do this interview for
the oral history project. Right now it is 4:55 pm in the afternoon --
NP: Can I add something?
NRP: [ laughs ] sure.
NP: I’d like to add that I’m so proud of my daughter Noelani. [ laughs ] Cause she’s so smart.
And she, uh, works so hard and you know, uh, and she’ll have a good future. Hopefully, she’ll
find a good husband, someday. [ laughs ]. I’m embarrassing her, but I’m really really proud of,
you know, how she embraces her filipino culture. You know, it’s very very rare for the kids that
grow up here, granted she was born in Oklahoma, she’s an Okie. But it’s very rare for, uh, the
children, second generation filipinos that grew up here [United States} to embrace, try to
embrace the filipino culture and I wish that she’ll go back to the Philippines and eat the filipino
food once again and then she’ll marry filipino -- I’m not racial but I’m just hoping [ smiles ].
NRP: Well, thank you. And we conclude this interview at 4:56 pm.
[End Audio File]
Date Added
February 9, 2021
Filipino Immigrant Oral History Project
Item Type
Oral History
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“Oral history interview with Noel Pastor, by Noelani Ruth Pastor,” Welga Archive - Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, accessed May 24, 2024, https://welgadigitalarchive.omeka.net/items/show/725.