War Bride Act of 1945

On July 31, 1945, the Philippine Examiner in Stockton, California published an article stating that:

“the U.S. State Justice department would permit Filipino Nationals, who are either married to U.S. Citizens or who have children born in the United States, to enter the United States without visas and at the expense of the U.S. government.”

Wow free passage to America, can't beat that! Many Pinoy GIs took advantage of this and found a bride to bring back to America and start a family. My mom and dad were among them.

The War Brides Act of 1945, and subsequent Alien Fiancées and Fiancés Act of 1946 continued to apply until the end of 1953, allowing veterans from Europe and Asia to bring back brides. This allowed Filipino American veterans, to return to the Philippines to bring back fiancées, wives, and children. In the years following the war, about sixteen thousand Filipinas entered the United States as war brides. These new families formed a second generation of Filipino Americans, consequently expanding the Filipino American communities especially on the West Coast and in Hawaii.

What was interesting was that many of my uncles, not really uncles by blood but out of respect called uncles, were most of which Ilocano that were in the U.S. Army Filipino Infantry Regiments and fought in Leyte where they met their brides to be who were Waray. So many of the cousins I have in the San Francisco Bay Area are half Ilocano and half Waray.

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My Mom's Folk Song

When I was young my mom and aunties used to play this song over and over again so much that I memorized the words. The record album my mom played was from the Filipina singer Sylvia La Torre and the song was called Waray Waray. It was a Visayan folk song about the power of the Visayan women and you better watch out.

The American singer Ertha Kit also sang this song in Tagalog and joking describing the song as a warning to beware of Visayan women.

My mom and most of my aunties who were war brides came from Leyte and spoke Waray. They absolutely loved this folk song. The song was empowering to them as Visayan women and reminded them of who they are and what they were made of.

Here are the lyrics (in Waray, Visayan dialect)

Waray Waray hindi tatakas

Waray Waray handang matodas
Waray Waray bahala bukas
Waray Waray manigas!

Waray Waray tawag sa akun,
sa bakbakan, diri magurong
sa sinuman ang humahamon
kahit ikaw, ay maton!

Likas sa ating paraluman
kami'y palagi, mapagbigay
Ngunit iba ang waray waray
walang sindak kaninuman

Kaming babaeng waray waray
ay siga siga, kahit saan
Ngunit iba ang waray waray
Kapag hinamon ng away.

Waray Waray sadyang di siya tatakas
Waray Waray handa nang matodas
Waray Waray bahala na bukas
Waray Waray manigas!

English Translation

Waray Waray will not run
Waray Waray is ready to learn
Waray Waray busy tomorrow
Waray Waray hard!

Waray Waray account calls,
in the fight, self-defeating
to anyone who challenges
even you, are bully!

Naturally in our muse
we are always, generous
But the waray is different
no terror to anyone.

I am not a woman
is like flame, anywhere
But the waray is different
When challenged by the fight.

Waray Waray just can not run away
Waray Waray is ready to work
Waray Waray is up there tomorrow
Waray Waray hard!