It was just like an army.: Becoming Minnesotan

Belen Andrada receiving an award from the FMA seniors.
  • Name - Belen Andrada
  • Age at interview - 84
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 12.01.2010
  • Belen Santos in her seventh grade graduation portrait, 1938.
    Santos family reunion, Minneapolis, 2006. Minnesota Historical Society.

    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Traditions & Values: What makes up “culture”?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Life in the Philippines tends to be centered around the family and the church. The family may be an extended one, with close relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Traditionally the family has been patriarchal, with the father in charge, and the children expected to have great respect for their elders. Like many other cultures, some Filipino families have faced difficulties in the United States between the traditional expectations of the parents and the desires of the children for a more Western style or less strict upbringing.

    To learn more about Filipino history and culture, visit our Filipino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Belen Andrada 1
    2:8 Minutes | 2.05Mb


    Narrator: Belen Andrada (BA)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: Now, in your case, if you had married outside of your own community - your case, as the first generation - do you think your dad, do you think your parents, would have accepted it?

    BA: I doubt it. I doubt it, except there is nothing they can do about it.

    LM: Right.

    BA: I’m here and he’s there. I doubt it, because my father is so… I would really look at him as a very strict father. Really Lita, even at my age, I can still see him hovering over me.

    LM: Ah, interesting.

    BA: When the dishes are not done in the kitchen, I can still hear him, and, like, when the newspapers are out of order. Because at our house, if we read the paper, we had to put it back the way it came. Like, every Saturday night is inspection night. And he really emphasizes to us ladies - he always says, “Especially you women, you’ve got to take care of your house, because if your house is dirty, it reflects you, not your husband.”

    LM: So he was a disciplinarian, you would say?

    BA: Oh, God, oh, yeah. We do not go to church with dirty shoes. [Laughter] These are things that I remember. On Saturday afternoon, we had to line up all our shoes and what you are going to wear for Sunday. That is the housewife’s job is to clean all the shoes, and it’s all lined up, so that in the morning when you get up for Sunday Mass, it’s already ready for us, and the same way as our clothes. We had to already prepare our dress that we’re going to wear for the next day. But he was just like that. It was just like an army.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  A group of people who share a common understanding of the same language, manners, tradition and law.


    Noun: One who punishes others for bad behavior or teaches others to obey authority.


    Verb:  To stress, give emphasis, or special weight to.  (emphasizes, emphasizing, emphasized)


    Noun:  1. A period of around thirty years, the average amount of time before a child takes the place of its parents.  2. A group of people who are of approximately the same age.


    Noun: A Christian religious service, especially in Roman Catholicism.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 2115