The subject of my interview is Rob Reyes. He has been our next door neighbor since we moved here to Indio six months ago. He is a second generation Filipino-American that was born in America and has lived in California all of his life. Rob is 26 years old and has been married to his wife Sandra, 27, for 2 years. They don’t have any children, but do plan on having some once they save more money and the economy gets better. They are not rushing it because they have 3 dogs that are their “kids” for the time being, plus they like having their friends over on Friday nights for poker and social drinks. Rob is a technician for Time Warner Cable and has been employed with them for 7 years. His wife Sandra works at a doctor’s office in Palm Springs 30 miles away, so both of them are gone most of the day and we only see them in the evening when they are home from work. To fully understand Rob, his story, and what has shaped him into who he is today, we must go back to the Philippine Islands during World War II where the journey to America for his family begins. “Manan,” who is Rob’s paternal grandmother, is the driving force in this family, largely in part to the atrocities and suffering, she and her family endured during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II. Manan, whose real name is Inez, was only 10 years old when the Japanese invaded her country. Manan and her family were from the Philippine Island of Lubang, and spoke both Tagalog and Spanish. Spanish was for official business in Manila and Tagalog and other dialects spoken locally. Manan was the 3rd oldest of eight children. Her father and uncles were fishermen who sold their fish at the local markets in the area. Rob recalled to me how Manan often talks about how beautiful it was in Lubang growing up as a little girl before the “Japons,” as the local Filipino people called the Japanese, came. Manan often recalls the beautiful water, tropical birds, and exotic monkeys that...
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