America is in The Heart Journal Part One: Allos was a young boy from a little province of Binal onan located on the central part of the island of Luzon in the Philippines. He lived with his dad, who farms on their own land, which is the primary source of their living. His mom, living in the town, selling goods in the market. They were among the peasants who worked very hard for the rich landlords just to feed their family. When his brother Leon came back form a war in Europe, he met a girl from another town who he liked.
They got engaged and married. There was a tradition during those days that if the girl wasn't a virgin, the man would have to return her to their village. And when the people found out that the girl deceived Leon, they tied them on a tree and started beating them. Allos' dad stopped them and when it was over, Leon left the town with his bride and started a new life. Amado, the youngest of his four brothers, who was attending grade school in town living with his mother and their baby sister. His father brought him to the village to help them on their farming.
His other brother, Luciano was on camp serving the United States. They all worked so hard for his brother Macario, who was attending high school at the province capital. They needed money for Macario's education so his father sold a hectare of their four-hectare land. When they needed more, they sold more land. They gave up almost everything they owned just to make their son Macario go to school. One day when his father and his brother Amado were farming, Amado started beating up the carabao.
His father stopped him and Amado told his father that he couldn't live like this anymore. So he ran away from home, leaving Allos as his father's only helper on the farm. When his brother Macario went home to visit, Allos was speechless. He's not used to see an educated man. He dressed formal, talked and acted like a real gentleman. When they all gathered on house, Macario said that he needed more money to finish three more months of school.
But the money wasn't enough for three months. So their father decided that they will sell the remaining hectare of their land telling his son not to worry at all. His father, now jobless, started asking his fellow farmers to hire him, but the farmers only have enough for themselves, so he asked the church if he could borrow their unused land and told them that farming is his only way of living. And the church let him plow the fields and asked for a little part of his harvest.
The land was taken away after several months, it didn't even allow them to harvest what they planted. Several years later, Allos went to Manila to get him enough money to go to America. There, he discovered that there were a lot of people from the provinces that are looking for jobs in Manila, but some of them can't find a good one so they have no choice but to sell their bodies. "I knew that I was going away from everything I had loved and known. I knew that if I ever returned the first sight of that horizon would be the most beautiful sight in the world." Allos thought of this quote when he was leaving his country. It means that he will leave everything he had known, he loved and he grew up with, his family, friends, and all his memories.
And when he comes back, that will be the happiest day of his life and the moment that he will be waiting for the rest of his life in America. Part Two: He boarded the boat with the other Filipinos from all over the Philippines. Before they reached Hawaii, an epidemic spread throughout the bottom level of the ship. The bottom level was for the peasants and the top level was for the whites and rich people. During the epidemic, they were locked in a small dark room at the bottom.
Food was not delivered for days and the sun couldn't shine that part of the boat. Doctors came and took the weak and dying people. Allos was left and they were free again to go anywhere in the boat. When he was walking in the deck, a white lady with his husband came and told him, "Why don't they ship those monkeys back where they came from." He didn't say anything but those words made him knew what it's going to be like when he reach America. He reached Seattle one June day. He felt a great relief from a long voyage and glad that felt he was home, but yet, he doesn't have a home on this new, big and strange land.
Allos and a few other men rented a room in a hotel in Chinatown. One of the men, Marcelo, promised that he would telegraph his brother on California for money to pay for the rent. But when they found out that his brother got killed in an accident, they lost hope and had no money to pay the rent. As a result, the hotel owner sold them for five dollars each to a fat Filipino worker from Alaska and they were brought there to work on fish canneries.
This cannery isn't an ordinary one; they exploited young immigrants from everywhere. When he came back to Seattle, he had enough money to buy himself food that will last for few days. Being a Filipino was hard those days when you could only rent a room on Chinatown or places where prostitutes, criminals and gamblers live. Treated like an animal, like a criminal that you can just kill them for no reason. Allos was hired for a job on a place called Moxie City as an apple picker.
Few days after, they were attacked by white men, shooting, burned their employer's house and killed his daughters. He ran away, and decided to take a freight to California. Allos always hoped he could go to California to look for his brothers. He reached Stockton after several days.
There, he saw a big Filipino community, but like in Seattle, they lived on the bad side of the city, which criminals, prostitutes and gambling houses were located. He tried to look for his job, but still can't find one. "I came to know afterward that in many ways it was a crime to be a Filipino in California." He thought of this when he was walking around the streets of San Luis Obispo, seeing white man shooting innocent Filipinos, treated like criminals who doesn't have the right to live. They can't even be with people in different race, especially the whites. And when they were suspected to be with a white man, people would start abusing them and the person you are with. I think that white man thought of Filipinos as uneducated and ignorant people.
They didn't know that Filipinos are trying to get education but the white people don't allow them to go to universities. So they are just stuck to what they are. Allos saw a young man, who has a lot of money; he followed him up to where the man lived. And he found out that this man was his brother Amado's friend.
His brother almost forgot everything about Allos. And he didn't believe Allos until he told what their mother's name was. Allos didn't stay long, he left for another town, Los Angeles. And again, he could only stay at the same areas he lived, the bad, populated area of the city.
He met Max, a bad Filipino. He robs people for a living. He and Allos once attacked an old Japanese and took his money. One day when he was at a poolroom, a Filipino was shot and when the crowd went crazy, he saw his brother, Macario. Macario brought Allos to his hotel room and introduced him to his friends. Filipino started making petitions for US citizenship, but Filipinos were considered Mongolians.
Jose, Macario's friend and Allos went to San Diego where Filipino discrimination rate was very high. At night, the white men hunt Filipinos with shotgun, and while they were walking, they saw a Japanese farmer and hired them as winter peas picker. They heard that a Filipino farmer was found dead on a ditch that forced them to leave the town. "Why was America so kind and yet so cruel? Was there no way to simplifying things in this continent so that suffering would be minimized? Was there no common denominator on which we could all meet?" He thought of this when Jose's tragedy on the train when he lost his leg. I think this quote means that some people on America are so kind, and some aren't. Some people help them, and some people don't.
And is there any chance that these kinds of relationship change? What could the Filipinos do just to make the white men to stop abusing them? They want back to Los Angeles and hoped to find another job. Part Three: "The old world will die... " At the beginning of part three, this was the new dictum. He hoped that racial discrimination would stop. Ways of living will change, get a better job and unity of all races. He hoped that one day, this would happen to America.
And this made him realize that if nobody will start showing this to people, who will? Allos and his friends organized a party to unionize all the Filipino farmers and laborers. Several Filipino workers joined for their support for trade union movements, higher wages and other labor discriminations. There was once a meeting, several white men showed up and started shooting, Allos and the other leaders of the union had escaped, but several members were injured. This event made Filipino Workers unions to disintegrate. Members started to quit because of fear. Months later, the number of members started increasing, more workers had joined.
Several strikes were broken all over California. A great damage was done to organize Filipino labor. But most of the strikes were defeated. Jose was arrested and Allos went back to Los Angeles to meet his brother Macario.
Jose was released from jail and went back to labor union group. Allos was confined on a local Los Angeles hospital. There, the doctors found out that he is suffering from TB, advanced stage. He only got a few more years to live.
He stayed in the hospital for two years. He wrote poems that were published to local magazines, articles for the labor union, and letters for his friends and family. He knew that he was dying, and got a few more years to live, and this almost made him to give up his life. Few years later, he was released from the hospital and stayed with his brother on an apartment with few of a his friends. Allos can't work yet, so Macario did all the work. One day his doctor came, he checked how Allos was doing.
Also he told him that he have a few years to live, lucky enough if he live for five years. Allos loved his life so much, he planned many thing for his future. Macario offered to work for both of them, just to make him live longer, but Allos said no. He would like to write, write stories about their life in America. Macario gave him his full support, and so as their friends. Part Four: Allos educated himself how to be a good writer.
He read book famous writers wrote. These authors were his intellectual guides through his writing. He read a book about agricultural workers in California that went into a progressive movement where they met their civil liberty. He joined a national labor union party. One meeting came, many questions were asked, "How come we Filipinos in California can't buy or lease real estate?"Why are we denied civil service jobs?"Why can't we practice law?" and a few more others about why can't Filipinos become what they want to be. And this union is what it's all about.
They are fighting to gain their rights. Later on, his brother Macario got sick, but he knows he can't stop working. When a man came from Macario's job telling him to go to work, Allos attacked him with a knife, Macario stopped him and left with the man. Allos realized that he needs to work, but he is too weak.
He remembered when he and Max robbed an old Japanese man. He walked down the street and passed by an open house. He looked inside and saw a diamond ring. He took it and sold it to a gambler. He sent a doctor to check his brother and bought enough groceries that will last for three months.
"JAPAN BOMBS PEARL HARBOR!" President Roosevelt signed a petition to make Filipinos join the Armed Forces. Amado, who hasn't done anything productive, decided to join. He went to Allos and said goodbye. Then Jose, his friend that helped him through his struggles decided to join. He told Allos that Macario would join too. His family and friends started to leave.
He was all alone again. "It was something shaped by my struggles for place in this vast land, digging my hands into the rich soil here and there, catching a freight to the north and south, seeking free meals in dingy gambling houses, reading a book that opened worlds of heroic thoughts." He was talking about what he have done in the past and now, he was alone again, just like when he reached Seattle for the first time. This made his faith for America stronger. It is what he had learned from the day he was helping his dad plow the fields, helping her mom sell salted fish on the market, until the day he reached America.