The Forgotten Amerasians

The Forgotten Amerasians

Open City
Asian American Writers’ Workshop

Enrico Dungca

Unwanted in their mothers’ country and unwelcome in their fathers’ homeland, Filipino Amerasians are still in search of a home.

“Do you know your father?” I asked him.

It was a humid, rainy night in Angeles City, some 50 miles north of Manila. I was aboard a jeepney on my way home after partying with friends during a recent trip to the Philippines. He was also a passenger on that jeepney, the most popular mode of public transportation in the Philippines that were originally made from U.S. military jeeps left over from World War II – one of the more visible and enduring vestiges of American military presence in the Philippines.

“My mother is a Filipino, and my father is an American,” Eric said, as he lowered his gaze and kept it fixed on the jeepney floor. He started shaking his head and said he has no recollection of his father, although he often wondered about him — where he lives, if he is still alive, or if he remembers him or if he knew that he existed at all.

His father is a U.S. serviceman, one of the hundreds of thousands of American military men who were stationed in the Philippines since 1898 when the U.S. became the new colonial master of the former Spanish colony. Eric is what Nobel Prize for literature awardee Pearl Buck called an “Amerasian” — born of Asian mothers and sired and abandoned by their American soldier-fathers who were momentarily posted in countries that were either stages or hosts to U.S. military adventures…

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