Pinoy Capital: The Filipino Nation in Daly City

By Benito M. Vergara Jr. | Go to book overview

1
A REPEATED TURNING

One will hear the joke told, eventually, though it hardly ever sounds like one. It’s almost always delivered casually, thrown out like an offhand rhetorical question, as a matter of incontestable fact. “You know why it’s always foggy in Daly City, right? Because all the Filipinos turn on their rice cookers at the same time.” This particular teller of the joke (Wally, a newspaper photographer) and I (a student of anthropology) are sitting in scuffed plastic chairs in the living room of his cramped apartment in the Pinoy capital of the United States. We are both among the 33,000 Filipino residents of Daly City, California, where one out of three people are of Filipino descent.

It is a freezing afternoon in late August, and we are looking through the damp glass of the window that faces out onto the quiet suburban street. Outside the fog swirls, tugged by the wind into gentle twists of cotton, spilling over the roofs and parallel-parked Hondas. But inside, it is warm, as it does not take much time to heat up the small room cluttered with boxes of bulk food purchased from Costco, cassette tapes, photography books, and an open balikbayan box addressed to Wally’s parents in Quezon City. Wally, with a half-consumed bottle of beer in one hand, leans back in his chair after delivering the punch line, and waits for my reaction. I grin widely, because it is hard not to. I’ve always found it really funny.

Wally is not the first person to tell me the joke. Almost every single one of my interviewees inevitably asks me the question about fog and Daly City. There is very little variation in the way the joke is told, whether in

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Pinoy Capital: The Filipino Nation in Daly City
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • 1- A Repeated Turning 1
  • 2- Little Manila 23
  • 3- Looking Forward Narratives of Obligation 46
  • 4- Spreading the News Newspapers and Transnational Belonging 80
  • 5- Looking Back Indifference, Responsibility, and the Anti-Marcos Movement in the United States 109
  • 6- Betrayal and Belonging 134
  • 7- Citizenship and Nostalgia 161
  • 8- Pinoy Capital 192
  • Bibliography 207
  • Index 215
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