By Roy Mabasa
Coinciding with the observance of the Filipino American History Month, the League of San Francisco Consular Corps (LSFCC) led a historical and familiarization tour of the Angel Island off the San Francisco Bay where hundreds of thousands of immigrants were interrogated and detained before admission into America from circa 1910 to 1940.
LSFCC is headed by Mariza Bensurto, wife of Philippine Consul General to San Francisco Henry Bensurto Jr.
Referred to as the “Ellis Island of the West,” the Angel Island was the venue of the U.S. Immigration Station processing of hundreds of immigrants coming into the West Coast, most of them from China.
During World War II, Angel Island’s facilities were used to detain Prisoners of War, including Japanese and Germans.
The visit to the historic place serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by early immigrants to the United States through the Bay area, the consular corps said in a statement.
“The tour gave a glimpse of the emotional journeys of the immigration facilities’ previous occupants. The poems they wrote and carved on the walls speak of their anguish as they were held in the island for days to a few months. The tour showed the group some impressions of the impact of historical exclusionary measures imposed by a receiving country on foreigners’ dignity and well-being,” the LSFCC said.
The LSFCC is a nonprofit organization that provides support to diplomats, especially spouses and partners, as their families settled into San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Bensurto and his wife Mariza joined the celebration of the Filipino American History Month in Daly City on October 13.
Daly City is home to many immigrants, including those of Filipino descent who make up about 33 percent of the city’s total population.
Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo, a Filipino-American, led the presentation of a posthumous recognition for Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, a prominent Filipino-American community leader, artist and historian who contributed extensively to the writing and research of Filipino-American experiences and history in the Bay Area.
Also honored during the event was Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton, a Filipino-American professional boxer and mixed martial artist who was the first to win the Women’s World Boxing Organization and International Boxing Association Super Bantamweight titles.
The Filipino American History Month is celebrated in the United States during the month of October.