What did I learn?
The interview with an individual named Beverly Santa Maria was intellectually rewarding and I learned a lot of about her past, her culture, and her language. Her middle name is her mom’s maiden which is a common practice for this culture, and subsequently got her last name from her father which is common in almost every culture. Furthermore, her mom was named after Beverley Hills which seems to indicate the power of the American culture and its influence on other societies. Another interesting tidbit that was identified was that nearly everyone in her family was a very strong, or even famous, person in her country. Despite this, her family still decided to immigrate to the United States.
The decision to immigrate to the United States could not have come lightly. It is hard to imagine the fear of uncertainty that the family faced. However, the perceptions of what they might find in the new country were obviously enough to overcome any potential objections that they encountered. The assumptions that they had about America were pretty common assumptions. That the country had an abundance of wealth and there were many opportunities for employment.
I also learned a lot about their culture and the inherent sexual divisions that perpetuate throughout it. Males only speak to males and females only speak to females. If a male does wish to speak to a female (other than his wife), he must then rely on a mediating person, such as a parent or elderly family member, to assist with the communication process. I also learned that there is a two foot speaking distance preference within the culture, which is a lot further than a lot of other culture considering Hofstede’s dimensions. Furthermore, they are very active in body language and use their eyes and their hands to speak, which is a trait that is believed to have originated in the Philippines.
She expected a lot of Filipinos in Virginia but eventually found out that California has one of the biggest of the Filipino population in the United States. They expected to have similar food in America or the same availability of foods. However, this was not the case. Fruits and vegetables are very fresh in Philippines because they basically come straight from the tree and then to the market. In the United States many of the snacks are mass produced, the fruit is not fresh, and much of the population has a problem with obesity which is starkly different from the Philippines.
Some of the most interesting things that I learned were about the culture. The sayings that Beverly shared with me from her culture were unbelievable. These definitely gave me the impression that her cultural heritage was extremely rich and worthy of study. You can also sense Eastern underpinnings in many of the tidbits such as:
Ti tao nga mannarita, awan ti ania nga magapuananna. A man that talks too much accomplishes little.
Awan kas iti sursuro a sanikua, ta dayta awan makatakaw kenka. Knowledge is wealth that can’t be stolen.
“Ti utang mabayadan, ngem ti naimbag a nakem saan.” A debt can be paid, but a kind act cannot.
Beverly Santa Maria is an interesting example of a U.S. immigrant. Her parents were Teodora Casa Yuran and Eufronio Santa Maria who joined in an arranged marriage at the age of 16 years old. One of the things most Americans don’t understand about arranged marriages, is that even though they may question this practices in regards to individual liberty, many arranged marriages grow into long lasting and fruitful relationships. The stereotype of an arranged marriage in the West is generally a negative concept, however in the East, though some people still have objections, it doesn’t carry the same level of negativity as in the West.
Beverly’s great grandparents were originally from Spain who went to the Philippines to become farmers and wanted to make a “hacienda.” They were from Domingo, Spain which and they carried that last name. Their family consisted of what can be known as “casa yuran.” Casa Yuran is a mixture of Japanese ancestors that reached out into other ethnicities. They moved to the Philippines for land. Land in the Philippines was not only cheap and a good financial investment, but this life was perceived to be adventurous and exciting.
Beverly finally immigrated when she was 20 years old and set out to join her family members who had already established themselves in the country. They hoped to join their family who was already there already in America because they hoped for a better future, greener pastures, and more freedoms and opportunities. Beverly completed something akin to a traditional education by completing kindergarten through sixth grade as well as four years of high school in Baguio City.
The family had many expectations about America and what it would be like when they got here. One of the basic perceptions around the world is that America has a thriving economy and there are lots of jobs. Although this is true to some extent, the financial recession has worked to take a toll on the economy and there are fewer opportunities now than there were in previous generations. Yet, relative to many other places in the world, the U.S. economy is still prosperous and has one of the best reputations out there. Therefore, the perception that the country is big and is full opportunity still holds true for most people.
Maps, Charts, and Other Information
Figure 1 – The Philippines (Best, N.d.)
Figure 2 – Languages (Best, N.d.)
Figure 3 – Syllbary (Omniglot, N.d.)
Figure 4 – Pronunciation (Omniglot, N.d.)
Figure 5 – Sample Text (Omniglot, N.d.)
Figure 6 – Philippine Language Map (IMPH Science, 2013)
Best, P. (N.d.). Philippines Best. Retrieved from The Island of the Philippines: http://phbest.blogspot.com/2011/08/island-of-philippines.html?m=1
IMPH Science. (2013, October 15). Philippine language relations in a map. Retrieved from IMPH Science: http://imphscience.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/philippine-language-relations-in-a-map/
Omniglot. (N.d.). Iloko. Retrieved from Omniglot: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ilocano.htm
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