Oral Histories

Interview of Florante Ibanez

Filipino American activist, archivist, and professor of Asian American studies at Loyola Marymount University. Co-founder of UCLA’s Samahang Pilipino Education and Retention (SPEAR).
Making Waves: Filipino-American Activists in Los Angeles during the 1970s
Asian American History
Biographical Note:
Filipino American activist, archivist, and professor of Asian American studies at Loyola Marymount University. Co-founder of UCLA’s Samahang Pilipino Education and Retention (SPEAR).
Singson, Precious
Ibanez, Florante
Persons Present:
Ibanez and Singson.
Place Conducted:
Loyola Marymount Law School Library in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Precious Grace Singson; a Ph.D. candidate at UCLA’s Department of History. She has done extensive studies on Asian-American and Filipino-American history. Her research focuses on Filipino-American activists in the West Coast and her dissertation touches upon their history during the 1970s to the 1980s.Singson prepared for the interview by reviewing secondary sources that relate to Filipino-Americans in Los Angeles and Asian American activists along the West Coast. To list a few, she looked at Linda Maram’s Creating Masculinity in Los Angeles Little Manila: Working-Class Filipinos and Popular Culture, 1920’s-1950’s; Estella Habal’s San Francisco's International Hotel: Mobilizing the Filipino American Community in the Anti-Eviction Movement, and Fred Ho, Carolyn Antonio, Diane Fujino, and Steve’s Yip’s Legacy to Liberation: Politics and Culture of Revolutionary Asian Pacific America. Because of the dearth of studies on the anti-martial law movement, she also examined some primary sources on this subject. Mainly, she reviewed some articles from the Ang Kalayaan/Ang Katipunan newspaper published in the 1970s.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Ibanez was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and made a number of corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
These interviews document the lives and contributions of Filipino-American activists in Los Angeles in the Filipino-American identity movement of the 1960s and ‘70s. This project was generously supported by Arcadia funds.
Ibanez’ family background—father’s immigration and experiences during the Second World War—marriage to mother in the Philippines—separation of parents—mother’s family background and transpacific immigration—social ties with other Filipinos—awareness of Filipino culture—High school experience—Watts Riot—College experience—Vietnam War draft counseling—meeting with other Asian American activists—Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)—Helen Brown—the creation of Historic Filipino Town—Far West Convention—working for UCLA’s Asian American Center—perspective about activism in the 1970s.
Ibanez’ father’s work as a houseboy—grandparents work as migrant contractors—more on separation of parents—more on Watts Riots—early childhood and high school race relations—anti-war movement experience—recollection of tension among races during high school—more on work at UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center—establishing Filipino club at UCLA—recruitment to enroll at University of California, Irvine—establishing Filipino club at UC Irvine—purpose of clubs—UCLA Filipino club's fund raising during its first year—first Filipino American class at UCLA—beginning the relationship with future wife, Rose Ibanez—wedding—formation of leftist organizations in 1973—KDP (Union of Democratic Filipinos)assignment as student at UC Irvine—founding of Filipino Cultural Days—connection of Filipino students in Southern California—establishment of first Filipino American course at UC Irvine—his opinion about functions of Filipino clubs—first Far West Convention—The Filipino American National Historical Society (FAHNS) and the controversy about Philippine issues—resolution at workshop on martial law—bloc voting—his work at the Far West Convention (FWC)—formation of West Coast Confederation of Filipino Students—University of California, Davis—Affirmative action—feelings about students’ political participation—changes in Far West Convention—his opinion about the decline of activism in the 1980s
First exposure to anti-Marcos movement—initial recruitment to join KDP—inclusion in Marcos’ blacklist—joining KDP chapter in Los Angeles—his wedding—KDP ideology—parents’ feelings about his activism—the Los Angeles community's support of the anti-Marcos movement—community newspapers—coalition building among anti-Marcos groups—KDP Christmas caroling—KDP theatrical plays—Los Angeles chapter meetings—KDP newspaper—changing careers in San Diego—KDP structure and organization—leading the 1977 Far West Convention—relationship with Silme Domingo—his leadership style in San Diego—observations about KDP’s pressures on members—refusing political transfer—recruitment to rejoin KDP—anti-Marcos picketing/demonstration—Los Angeles Sports Arena demonstration—coalition with other groups—relationship of the KDP national executive board to local chapters—criticism of his representation of KDP—his recollection of Philip Vera Cruz—early awareness of farmworkers’ condition—anniversary celebration of the Agbayani Village—his opinion about the controversy about Cesar Chavez receiving award from Ferdinand Marcos.
Decline of the KDP because of changing issues in the 1980s—Line of March and international issues—state of KDP during 1986 Philippine People’s Power Revolution—opinion about KDP membership—network of activists after fall of Marcos—joining the Lions Club—function of Lions Club for ethnic community—Filipino associations—bike races for AIDS—evolution of SIPA and their social services—purchasing SIPA building—organization of Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC)—founding of FilAm Arts—function of FilAm Arts—changes to FPAC—Filipino youth culture and diversifying Fil-Am Arts—thoughts about the changes and the overall trajectory of his life—working for master’s degree—Fil Am library—FAHNS movement to build a Filipino National Museum—Asian Pacific American Library Association—teaching Filipino courses—views about the tension between anti-martial law and Filipino identity movement—heroes in Filipino American history.