Manila in 1952 – the diary background

December 1, 2015 § 1 Comment

This post is about a small diary in which I recorded what I saw and lived in the year 1952. It contains entries I made in a small pocket diary from Philippine American Life Insurance Company during that year. Of course, I mainly recorded things that were important to me as an 18-year-old in the last year of high school in the Philippines in the first part of 1952 and as a freshman in college in the second part of the year.

Below are photos of the actual diary. I did not remember keeping the diary until about 5 years ago when my niece, Ligaya, my deseased older brother’s daughter, found it among her father’s belongings and sent it to me.  As diaries go, this one was rather unusual because it was only 7 cm by 11 cm in size. This meant that the most I could write in the space for a one day entry was about 6 or 7 lines, if I wrote in very tiny letters, and 4 lines, if I used larger letters. In some ways it was a kind of early day Twitter. Also, I used a fountain pen or sometimes a nib drawing pen; ball point pens were not very reliable in 1952.

Dairy Cover

Dairy front page

Dairy size

Dairy entries

One unusual thing about the diary is I kept it partially to record the feelings I had about living in the Philippines.  My father had brought the family (my mother, older brother, two sisters, and me) from New York City to the Phillipines four years before in 1948, three years after the end of the Second World War. I had barely adjusted to life in what my friends back in Staten Island, New York called “the edge of civilization”. Now I was on the threshhold of starting manhood and was confused about what I wanted to do with my life, wondering if I would ever find a girl who would like me and perhaps even marry me, and undecided about staying in the Philippines after college or returning to the United States. The diary touches on all of these, albeit in a very cursory way given the shortage of space. In the process, I noted some of the more prominent events of the time, including when rock ‘n roll hit Manila, and encounters with a few people who later played significant roles in the growth of the Philippines in a wide variety of ways. This site is about all of this. In order to protect the privacy of my friends from that time I will not use their actual names.

Amadio’s Box: How I Became Filipino

December 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Just published my first non-scholarly book “Amadio’s Box: How I became a Filipino” with Anvil Publishing, Inc. in Manila.

Book is available online at the Anvil publisher web site.

Amadio's Box cover small

It also available at selected National stores in Manila:

NBS Glorietta, Powerbooks Greenbelt, NBS Katipunan, NBS Shangrila, NBS Alabang Town Center.

What’s it about: Back cover text

What makes someone a Filipino? This is the question this book attempts to answer. The American-born author is half Filipino by way of his father and half American by way of his mother. However, by a stroke of fate in 1948 he was taken to the Philippines to be educated as a Filipino from high school through to college. While in high school he announced, “On this day, August 18, 1950, I proclaim that from now and forevermore I am a Filipino!” In sixty or more years to follow the author proudly lived life in keeping with Filipino precepts even though he had only a vague idea of what these were and he no longer lived in the Philippines.

In Amadio’s Box the author explores these precepts and then, based on his conclusions, describes what he thinks are the qualities that distinguish him as a Filipino. The descriptions, based on his experiences, are presented in essays, short stories and articles, some factual, some fictional. The author hopes this approach will be appealing to Filipinos and would-be Filipinos who are continually trying to define their identity as Filipino.

About me

I am adjunct professor of intercultural understanding in the Graduate School of Humanities at Josai International University in Tokyo, Japan. I was born in the United States, but went to the Philippines in 1948 for high school education at Far Eastern University Boys High School and college education at Ateneo de Manila. After studying for a master’s degree in biology I worked for a few years as a research chemist before moving into book publishing, first, as an editor for Academic Press, Inc. and American Heritage Dictionary, then, as chief editor, international editions, University of Tokyo Press and as director of the United Nations University Press in Tokyo. After retiring at 61 in 1996, I joined the university where I now work. Among my previous publications are Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: Emerging Techniques, Kodansha International, 1977, Publishing in the Third World: Knowledge & Development, Heinemann Mansell, 1985 and an encyclopedic chapter on Book Publishing in Japan in International Book Publishing: An Encyclopedia. I am also into my third year of learning to make violins.


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