Class presentations: Philippines & Mexico
The long and close relationship between the Philippines and Mexico was a surprise for me to discover for myself during this intensive history class. I was born in Manila, Philippines and my family emigrated to the United States when I was five years old. My parents raised my 3 brothers, 1 sister, and me “in the American way” by putting us all the way through school, from kindergarten through university; but at home our upraising was very much “in the Asian way”. The emphasis was doing well in school (so we would have a greater chance in doing well in life). I recall both my mom and dad telling stories of life in the Philippines, but basically keeping the narrative on our relatives, particularly those who had claim to fame in the realm of the Social Good. Ironically, I came to Mexico and learned more about my family, too .
Ironically, I came to Mexico and learned more about my family.
On day one, our class assignment was announced: Relate an aspect of Mexico’s history to your country. Luckily, I had two from which to choose. I initially thought that I should present and compare the U.S. education system with that of Mexico. After a few weeks of readings and lectures, I discovered the linkages between Mexico and the Philippines for myself. I was motivated to deepen my knowledge about that relationship through the threads about the Paredes side of my dad’s family spun by my parents. My research resulted in knowing my great aunt Lourdes, great uncle Victorino, and great grandfather Quintín Paredes.
My Aunt Lourdes became my significant person in my class example for my inquiry project on “Significant Digital Stories of First Heroes”. Here is a short version of the story, which you can also watch below.
Hi, I’m Frederic Lim and I’m an English teacher in Harlem, New York. I teach English Language Learners in middle school, ages 11-13. My students are from immigrant families to New York City that come from all over the world. I am also a volunteer in rural health in Guatemala. I created an organization that empowers women with acupuncture training so they can better care for their patients.
Philippines and Mexico
Historically, you will notice that both have similar cultures and shared history. Also, my family is from the Philippines. Located in southeast Asia, the Philippines is an archipelago of about 7,000 islands. Mexico has 20% more inhabitants compared to the Philippines. Thee similarities are the Spanish language, religious beliefs, and the name of their currency, the peso.
The Spanish Ruled, 1521-1898
For about 377 years, from 1521-1898, Spain ruled the Philippines; for about 300 years, from 1521-1821, Spain ruled Mexico. Around 1521, different settlers arrived on both countries and met the indigenous rulers: Magellan in the Philippines and Cortés in Mexico. Then 30 years later, commercial trade between Manila and Acapulco developed, which lasted for 250 years. This is the basis for the similarities of culture shared.
The Galleon Trade brought many goods and people from Manila and Acapulco and back! A short list includes silver, cacao, Spanish wine, wool, and the red conchinilla (potato bug) for dying threads and yarns from Mexico. From the Philippines (and trading parters in Asia) came gold powder, wax, leather and textiles.
This famous image of the religious relic of the Virgin of Guadalupe hangs in the San José Parish Church. According to historian Prof. Miguel Meneses, the image is inlayed with mother of pearl and is framed in sold silver. It came from Manila on a galleon to Mexico in the 1550’s.
U.S. Commonwealth, 1935-1946
Only 150 years later, the Philippines became a commonwealth country of the United States. The Philippines wanted to be a country, but the United States wanted to make sure that it could function as a country, so they agreed to a 10 year relationship. The president under the commonwealth was Manuel Quezon. He was received by Mexico President Cardenas on an official state visit even though the Philippines was not yet officially independent.
Before his visit to Mexico Quezon was in Washington, D.C. where he appointed my great-grandfather, Quintín Paredes, as the Resident Commissioner (Español) (English) from the Philippines in the United States. Both Quezon and Paredes created social programs for the poor in the Philippines. They also allowed Jewish refugees to settle in the Philippines, the only country in Asia to welcome them during the second world war.
My Aunt Lourdes
Quintin Paredes had a daughter (Ines), who was my grandmother. Her son is my dad, who married my mom. My grandmother Ines had a brother, Ignacio, who fought for the British Air Force during the war. They had a brother, Victorino Paredes, who eventually became an ambassador from the Philippines to Mexico. They had a sister, Lourdes Paredes, who became a justice. She is one of my First Heroes in this significant digital story!
I am inspired by by Aunt Lourdes because she became the first justice of the Philippines Court of Appeals. She defended equal right for all, especially women. She gained infamy for a high-profile decision she had to make in the 1960’s. You can read about it here in a blog about the incident..
Aunt Lourdes was born in 1910 to the Quintín Paredes and Victoria Peralta de La Union in Manila. She studied Philosophy and Law in the Philippines and Madrid, Spain. She also wrote and published books, did research on women’s rights and property laws. She even represented the government of the Philippines at international conferences around the world, trying to make the world a better place. Someday, I want to travel to places like Stockholm and represent the underprivileged in Geneva.
As you can see, my great-aunt Lourdes’ story is significant to me because now I teach students to be globally competent, and I teach groups of women so that the world is a little better place to live.