People and Places – Miriam 1 – Where are you from?

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Mark: Where are you from Miriam?
Miriam: I am from the Philippines. I was born in Manila, actually.
Mark: Right.
Miriam: … in 1961
Mark: Your parents are from Manila also?
Miriam: No, my mother and father, actually; they come from two different places. My mother comes from Cebu. Cebu island…
Mark: Uh-huh
Miriam: … some village. A small town called Carmen.
Mark: Mm-hm
Miriam: and my father comes from Visayan … er also in the Visayas … the name is ah La Pistades … ah I forgot … Laitan? anyway somewhere in the Visayas
Mark: …the Visayas is…
Miriam: and then they met in Basilan, which is … where is Basilan? … aahh … somewhere near Zamboanga … in the southern Philippines …
Mark: … in Mindanao?
Miriam: in Mindanao, yeah, somewhere there …yeah … they met … my mother was working in a trading company … she was managing a store … my father ran away from home at age seventeen and was the driver for this trading company. (laughs) My mother is actually fifteen years older than my father.
Mark: Wow.
Miriam: Yeah, so when they met…
Mark: That is unusual in Asia.
Miriam: Very very unusual and my mother already had five children before … before she met my father and I do not why my father decided to marry her … and so they decided to go to Manila.
Mark: Maybe he loved her. Maybe he loved her?
Miriam: Yeah. My father is an honorable man. I really respect him. He is a great person. You know. He is a very humble man. You know. He doesn’t really aah he does not have a university degree. He hasn’t really finished college.
Mark: So what.
Miriam: But he is a Great man … you know the fact that he married my mother already when she had five children with another man…
Mark: Mm
Miriam: Who didn’t support her children … her children were left with her mother back in Cebu …
Mark: Right.
Miriam: So she had to go and work somewhere to support …
Mark: Her children.
Miriam: … her children … to send money to send back.
Mark: and how many children did your mother and father have … together?
Miriam: Four.
Mark: So she had nine altogether?
Miriam: Yeah.
Mark: Right.
Miriam: They went to Manila from Basilan because I think my father had a brother there, who was established already, I think. That was why they went there. And he just did odd jobs mostly driving Jeepneys and my mother was a homemaker but Manila was very simple then so it was just to make money I suppose so I was second. I am second. The second child out of four children.
Mark: Mm-hm. So you were in Manila. You were born in Manila?
Miriam: I was born in Manila.
Mark: And then how long did you stay in Manila?
Miriam: Until I was seven. Yeah. And then we moved to Davao because my father got very sick and since, you know, he is a lot younger than my mother. His older sister, was, I guess the richest among the siblings, among the how many I do not know … five or six children in my fathers family, decided to come to Manila to pick him up and so my mother was left with four kids and no breadwinner. She is still bitter about that until now. She cannot get over the fact that my father had just left…
Mark: Wow!
Miriam: …and she was just left behind with four kids and she had to, you know, fend for herself and find a job to support. So then we decided to go to Mindanao because she has a brother there
Mark: Uh-huh.
Miriam: who was one of the pioneers in Mindanao, actually, who had a lot of land and so that is how we ended up in Mindanao.I was seven when I went to Davao.
Mark: M-hm.
Miriam: My parents bought land.
Mark: And your parents are still alive now?
Miriam: Yes.
Mark: They are both in Davao, now?
Miriam: They are both in Davao. My mother is eighty-three. My father is sixty… so .. fifteen years younger. That makes him sixty-seven, right? No. Sixty-eight. It was just his birthday this month.
Mark: Ok. Wow! Great!