Tag Archives: Filipino

A small selection of VC’s audiovisual materials are now digitized and up on the web!  Last November, VC joined the California Audiovisual Preservation Project as a partner institution to work towards the goal of digitizing and preserving California-based historical recordings. We’re extremely honored to be a part of this Project, and look forward to sharing our materials online!

To participate in the project, VC went had to go through several steps. It wasn’t an automatic process– all materials had to be nominated, and then accepted for inclusion and digitization.  The first step was for us to identify and prioritize materials appropriate for the project.  Because CAVPP’s California Light and Sound project is rooted in California-based subjects and events, we had to choose materials that were California-specific. Although we have certain moving image materials that are worthy of digitization, they didn’t meet the California subject requirement.  Another important factor was to nominate materials that we couldn’t digitize in-house. While we have digitization capabilities for a number of formats, we didn’t have an easy way to digitize 16mm film and 1/8″ audiocassette tapes.  With the resources of the CAVPP, that wasn’t a problem.  We ended up choosing a total of five selections, comprised of multiple tapes/reels, and started the nomination process through the Internet Archive site, which hosts all the CAVPP materials.  The nomination process included entering metadata (data about data), both descriptive (subjects, topics, dates, interviewer, etc.) and technical (format, sound, etc.) The more metadata included, the better! The more information available lends to a better contextual understanding of the materials.

After the nomination process, we were notified which materials were accepted into the program (spoiler alert: all of them!). Five of VC’s AV materials is now part of the California Light and Sound Collection and hosted on the Internet Archive, available online to anyone! Check out the listings below, and follow the links to the videos and audio!

Little Tokyo 1930s Home Movie (1934)

Description: Home movie of pre-World War II Los Angeles, including the Little Tokyo neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Harbor. Footage documents Downtown Los Angeles night traffic, the annual Nisei Week Parade in Little Tokyo, ships at the harbor, and construction. This internegative was obtained through a restoration process performed on the original 1930s 16mm film.

1930s Little Tokyo Nisei Week Parade

1930s Little Tokyo Nisei Week Parade

Military Intelligence Service Oral Histories (March 11, 1989)

Additional Title:: Saga of the MIS
Description: These oral histories are recordings of a panel featuring Japanese American World War II veterans who served in the Military Intelligence Service, the army’s unit of Japanese Americans that provided translation and interrogation services. Speakers talk about their experiences that range from family life, Pearl Harbor, being incarcerated in the internment camps, joining the military, training for the Military Intelligence Service, and serving in combat in the South Pacific.  Nearly all of these MIS panelists were born and raised in California.

Susan Ahn Cuddy Oral Histories (1996)

Description: This footage is an oral history of Susan Ahn Cuddy, who was born in Los Angeles and the first Korean American woman in the U.S. Navy. he is the daughter of Dosan Chang Ho Ahn and Helen Ahn, prominent Korean independence activists.  Cuddy and her family were one of the first Korean families in Los Angeles.  Cuddy joined the navy in 1942 and went on to become a lieutenant.  She later worked at the Office of Naval Intelligence, the National Security Agency, and the Library of Congress.  She attended UC Irvine.

Susan Ahn Cuddy

Susan Ahn Cuddy

Colonel Young Oak Kim Oral History (February 4, 1986)

Description: This oral history is of Colonel Young Oak Kim, a highly decorated World War II veteran. He was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the Bunker Hill area of Downtown. He and his family were one of the first Korean families in Los Angeles. During WWII, he fought with the 100th Infantry Battalion, a segregated unit of Japanese Americans from Hawaii. He was the only non-Japanese American. He later rejoined the army to fight in the Korean War.  Kim was the Asian American to command a regular U.S. combat battalion. He was active with community work and helped establish Go For Broke and the Japanese American National Museum, and served as a board member for Visual Communications.

Filipino American Home Movies (1950s)

Description: These 16mm reels from the 1950s are Kodachrome home movies of a Filipino American family in California and Hawai’i. Footage was taken by George Cayetano. Footage includes arrival of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, Former President and First Lady of the Philippines, at Hickam Field in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Footage also covers the Filipino-American farming community in Delano, California, documenting farming life, community festivals and parades, family life, and social gatherings like a Filipino Debut, a coming-of-age ceremony.

Chinatown: Portrait of a Working Community 

Description: 1977 film about the changing landscape of San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Produced during a volatile period in which community re-development initiatives in most U.S. urban centers threatened the unique community fabric of various ethnic communities, CHINATOWN: PORTRAIT OF A WORKING COMMUNITY juxtaposes the vivacity of the people, businesses and community institutions of one of California’s first and arguably, largest Chinatowns against the violent closure, in August 1977, of the International Hotel, a low-income hotel abutting Chinatown along Kearny and Jackson Streets. Filmed footage of the evictions, a watershed moment in the Asian American progressive movement, was later repurposed by its photographer Curtis Choy for his own landmark 1983 documentary of the incident, THE FALL OF THE I-HOTEL.

Chinatown: Portrait of a Working Community

Chinatown: Portrait of a Working Community

The CAVPP project was made possible with grants from the institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the California State Library.  Thanks so much for helping small institutions like VC make our materials accessible and discoverable to the public!

With much fanfare, the 2014 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival is over!  For the past 30 years, VC has hosted the festival, screening hundreds of documentary, narrative and experimental features and shorts featuring Asian Pacific Americans and/or by Asian Pacific American filmmakers to thousands of attendees. A number of films, both narrative and documentary, may be of interest to archives and history lovers. Click on the titles for full synopses:



Chiyomi Ogawa first wore the wedding dress in the shadow of Manzanar, a Japanese-American concentration camp. The dress was then worn by five other women. This is their story. – See more at:
he dress was then worn by five other women. This is their story. – See more at:

































iting and wide smile, she takes us the audience i
iting and wide smile, she takes us the audience i
Chiyomi Ogawa first wore the wedding dress in the shadow of Manzanar, a Japanese-American concentration camp. The dress was then worn by five other women. This is their story. – See more at:

Chiyomi Ogawa first wore the wedding dress in the shadow of Manzanar, a Japanese-American concentration camp. The dress was then worn by five other women. This is their story. – See more at:
Chiyomi Ogawa first wore the wedding dress in the shadow of Manzanar, a Japanese-American concentration camp. The dress was then worn by five other women. This is their story. – See more at:
Chiyomi Ogawa first wore the wedding dress in the shadow of Manzanar, a Japanese-American concentration camp. The dress was then worn by five other women. This is their story. – See more at:






Although the festival is over, visitors can view films from our festival in our library, which is open to the public.  Just set up an appointment!

MarieHi!  I’m Marie Barrera and I’ve been interning at VC for a month.  I’m an alumna of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and the University of Edinburgh, where I majored in European Studies and Art History respectively.  I miss school so much (and have a clearer idea of what I want to do with my life) that I’m thinking of returning to get my MLIS (Library and Information Science).

My interest in archives developed from working in archives and special collections throughout my undergraduate years.  This is my first time dealing with audio materials — the majority of objects that I have handled are paper so yay, something different!  Currently, I am working on the cassette tape holdings:  I listen to them and take notes, or metadata, on their content.   Since many of the tapes aren’t labeled and there isn’t any other data about them, I never know what gem of information I’ll hear next.

As a Filipino-American, it is especially exciting to find tapes about Filipinos and Filipino-Americans.  One of my favorite finds so far is a seven-part radio drama about Filipino farmworkers in central California. The voice acting might be cheesy, but the subject matter is enlightening.  The series captures the struggles of Filipino immigrants during the Great Depression in California, including discrimination and poor working conditions.  It also demonstrates their determination and spirit through the establishment of a printing press and organization of a strike.  I remember learning about this time period in my middle and high school U.S. history classes but I don’t remember Asian Pacific immigrants being mentioned.  I wonder what else is left out of textbooks.  Processing this collection of cassette tapes has made me realize how clueless I am about the community I come from, as well as why archives such as VC’s are crucial to understanding the contributions and history of Asian Pacific Americans.

October is American Archives Month.  This post is one of a series of blog posts that Visual Communications will present of Asian Pacific Americans who have made their mark on their communities and history.

By Abe Ferrer, VC Staff

Linda_001I first met Linda Mabalot in 1980, as she and a group of fellow student activists affiliated with the statewide Asian Pacific Student Union (APSU) were presenting a VC documentary, MANONG, for a group of UCLA students at Paolo Agbayani Village in Delano, CA. A United Farm Workers retirement home that housed elderly Filipino American farmworkers (manongs), Agbayani Village was paid for and built largely by much volunteer help and was a popular destination for those who wanted a first-hand account of the experiences of first-generation Filipino immigrants to America.

However, I became familiar with Linda and her work some years before when, during my freshman year in college, my best friend’s roommate, Juliette Masculino, was recounting her location nightmares for “some video project” she was working on. That project was MANONG, one of four components of an ambitious four-part series, “Hidden Treasures,” that would offer a uniquely Pan-Asian Pacific flavor to the lives of America’s unseen and underserved communities. Linda was the project director of MANONG and, owing to VC’s credo of “self-determined” media arts production, she and the whole crew was largely learning filmmaking “on-the-job.” Well, not totally. VCers Alan Kondo and Takashi Fujii, who introduced video as a low-cost filmmaking format to VC, were on board to lend technical advice as well as moral support. And Janice Tanaka, a USC film school student possessing a wealth of knowledge in picture and sound editing, came aboard to assist Linda and steady the ship. Yet, there was no mistaking that MANONG was Linda Mabalot’s baby, as her background having grown up in Sacramento Valley farmlands similar to those worked by the manongs lent a crucial understanding of the subject at hand.

Critical to linking the history of first-generation Filipinos in California to the statewide farmworkers’ movements of the 1960s, Linda and crew made numerous visits to Agbayani Village to interview the still-feisty manongs living in retirement there. As well, they sojourned to the Bakersfield home of Philip Vera Cruz, a retired farmworker and labor leader who served as the United Farm Workers’ Second Vice President, and whose stature as a genuine Asian Pacific American mentor, role model, and pioneer grew exponentially in the years after the MANONG documentary was completed in 1978.

PA016916ALooking back at the videotape and on the complete story that Linda and crew essayed, it was true that Philip and his exploits occupied a very small part of that story. In fact, the oral histories that accompanied the wealth of archival images, original artwork, and compelling b-roll footage held much value, as did first-hand testimonials by such colorful Agbayani Village residents as Willie Barrientos, “Chairman Mao,” and others. Yet the impact of Vera Cruz could not be overstated. As a dedicated activist and organizer, his story has been a largely romanticized and unsung one when placed beside that of more fiery personalities as fellow union organizer Larry Itliong. I think, though, that because Philip came across to the younger generations (like me) as a humble sage, his legacy reached almost rock-star status in the years before he passed away in 1994 at age 89. I think he’d be the first one to debunk that notion, though. Philip was definitely of a generation that had many ass-kickers who paved the way for today’s generation of Filipino Americans — many of whom are poseurs and misrepresent the contributions of folks like Philip, Larry, or for that matter, Linda, educator Royal Morales, novelist Al Robles, actor Jose DeVega, and many others who are no longer here to mentor, lead, or adminster some “tough love” to those who need it.

When Philip passed away in 1994, me, Linda, Taiji Miyagawa, and a few other VCers braved the hot central California heat to attend a memorial ceremony in Bakersfield. Needless to say, a lot of folks whose lives Philip touched were there to offer tribute and reminiscences of his life and legacy. None of us actually got up to say anything to the audience. There really was no need. I think that then, as now, we continue to apply the lessons that Philip and the rest have taught us to our everyday lives. And with Linda herself passing on in 2003, the need to carry on a community vision is as strong as ever. With Philip, all we have to remember him by is a set of U-Matic videotapes of an interview that was barely used in the documentary, as well as black-and-white still images of that interview session. Linda’s legacy is more tangible and living: this very organization, and the vast community of good people that worked here, schemed here, and made wonderful things happen…here.

Tell us how you made your mark!

If you could interview any hero/role model/influence, inspiration who would it be?  Email us with your thoughts and photo (if you wish) at We’ll post it on the VC Facebook page.

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