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Watsonville is in the Heart: Community Digital Archive

Browse Exhibits (5 total)

More than their Labor: Sites of Manong Labor and Leisure in the Pajaro Valley


More than their Labor: Sites of Manong Leisure in the Pajaro Valley expands scholarship on the manong generation of Filipino migrants. In particular, this exhibition visualizes moments of rest and leisure to build an understanding of how manongs found a sense of belonging and home despite exclusionary policies and in-humane working conditions. By focusing on their everyday experiences, More than their Labor shows how manongs did not just work, but also created families, nourished friendships, practiced hobbies, and found joy. This exhibition asks: What did they do on their off time? Where did they go for pleasure? Who were their chosen families? Where did they hang out? By asking these questions, the exhibition offers a more nuanced and comprehensive picture of the manong experience.

This exhibition features photographs and objects from the Watsonville is the Heart research initiatve. More than their Labor features the objects of five families who participated in the WIITH project: the Alminianas, Irao-de los Reyes and Ibaos, Recios, DeOcampos, and Sulays. This exhibition was created as a part of the Center for Archival Research and Training fellowship and was made by UCSC PhD student, Christina Ayson Plank.

To see the exhibition visit this link.

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“Wherever I am I’ll remember you yet” : Nurturing Transnational Kinship through Photographs and Letters


The eight objects in this exhibition come from the Bosque, DeOcampo, Millares, Florendo, and the Irao-de los Reyes and Ibao family collections. Notably, they include letters from the Florendo collection, many of which were written in Spanish. The exhibition also includes photographs.

The ways in which these photographs show wear and contain heartfelt inscriptions, as well as the manner by which the written correspondence expresses love and longing, indicate how much these families treasured such objects and the memories of their loved ones abroad.

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Dapper at Maganda: Dressing to Belong


Suits and traditional Filipino dresses are the iconic looks of the mid-twentieth century in Filipino American history in Watsonville. Beyond their aesthetics, these costumes represent the wearers’ stories of migration and adaptation to their new lives in the United States. Dapper at Maganda: Dressing to Belong analyzes mid-twentieth-century Filipino American fashion as it intersects with notions of belonging, cultural knowledge, and gendered roles. 

Included in this exhibit are representations of women and men’s fashion displayed through both professional studio and amateur photographs. This exhibit features pieces from the Irao-de Los Reyes and Ibao, Alminiana, Bosque, Millares, and Sulay collections.

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Reflections on WIITH's Oral History Project


After completing the 2021-2022 cycle of oral history collection, WITTH’s cohort of undergraduate researchers, Eva McBride, Katrina Mitsuko Pagaduan, and Markus Faye Portacio reflected on the patterns and commonalities across all thirty-two interviews. During the summer of 2022, they collaboratively wrote essays that identify and analyze six themes: the creation of alternative kinship networks; performance of gender; narratives of labor; tensions regarding class and labor organizing; racial and ethnic divisions within the Filipino American community; and notions of Filipino American identity and belonging.

Reconsidering Rosita Tabasa: Watsonville’s Revered Matriarch


Reconsidering Rosita Tabasa: Watsonville’s Revered Matriarch provides an in-depth look at the life and work of Rosita Dionisio Tabasa-Estrada, a beloved member of the Filipino community of Watsonville. I present Rosita as a cultural, civic, and business leader in Watsonville. She had a strong desire to fill gaps she identified in the community’s life and supported the most underserved. She utilized her position as a well-respected woman in the community, her familial and political connections, and her business-savvy to enhance the lives of others. She identified gender inequalities in the community and also wrestled against gendered expectations for herself. This exhibition analyzes the balance Rosita attempted to maintain between her roles as a mother and a community leader. As I show, she struggled to hold positions of leadership while battling patriarchal gender norms. This exhibit displays Rosita's hard work, resiliency, and unstoppable drive to support others. It also reckons with the sacrifices she made to achieve her goals.

Please view the exhibiton here: