View Mobile Site

Familiar Lathrop faces in Images of America

One of the book’s authors was raised in Manteca

Text Size: Small Large Medium
Familiar Lathrop faces in Images of America

The book cover of "Filipinos in Stockton."

Photo contributed/


POSTED February 1, 2009 4:17 a.m.
LATHROP -  The title of the book is “Filipinos in Stockton.” But inside this compendium of archival photographs, part of the Images of America series which “celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns and cities across the country” are a few familiar and once-familiar faces in Lathrop and even Manteca.

The face of the late Rev. Apolinar Sangalang, former Lathrop  mayor who is believed to be the first Filipino-born politician to hold that post, graces the book more than once. In a picture taken in February 1985, he was one of the newly installed officers of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce. A few pages before that, he is again shown in a group picture of the Filipino Community of Stockton officers taking their oath of office in the late 1970s.

A snapshot on page 76 is a picture contributed by longtime Lathrop resident Lita R. Galicinao. The black-and-white vintage photograph shows the young Galicinao with her late husband, Sam Vallesteros Galacinao, standing next to a vintage automobile at their Manila Road farm where they raised two daughters. According to the photo caption, Sam left Bacarra, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines in 1930 to join his aunt and uncle, Lathrop farmers Margarita and Vicente Acoba. The two were married on Dec. 9, 1945 and celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary before Sam died in 2006. Sam’s uncle, Vicente Acoba, was one of the two men who founded the United Bacarreneos of America, the organization that was instrumental in establishing a Sister City cultural relationship between Lathrop and Bacarra about four years ago.

On page 106 is a picture of the Filipino Medical and Allied Professionals Society choral members which include Manteca pediatricians Eduardo Sumaquial and his wife Marietta.

Several pages after that is another group snapshot showing the members of the Stockton Chapter of Filipino American National Historical Society. Among those in the photograph is Maria B. Vea of Lathrop who contributed the photograph.

A picture of Cecil Bonzo, one of the founders of the long-running Farmer’s Market under the crosstown freeway in Stockton, graces the page next to the one showing  a photo of noted Filipino artist and muralist Greg Custodio who, before his untimely death in a 1998 car accident at age 60, painted a number of murals throughout Stockton including the painting behind the altar at St. Mary’s Church in downtown Stockton. Bonzo, who farmed around Briggs Avenue and Manila Road in Lathrop, is shown wearing a dark T-shirt on the front of which are the words “Chocolate Meat” which is the descriptive phrase for a unique Filipino dish whose main ingredient is pig’s blood that looks like chocolate when cooked, hence the name. In the picture, the late Bonzo is standing next to a display of about a dozen varieties of Filipino vegetables from his farm in Lathrop.

Congressman McFall also appears in book
Manteca’s most prominent politician, the late Congressman John McFall, also holds a central place in a photograph taken in July 1971 when the board members of the Associated Filipino Organizations, a consortium of Filipino organizations, held the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Filipino Center on Main Street in Stockton, now called Filipino Plaza. The construction project was completed in 1972.

The introduction to the softcover book’s contents gives a historical snapshot of the Filipino community in Stockton, from the first Filipino settlers who came to Stockton around 1898 through the 20th century when the city founded by Captain Charles Weber became home to the largest Filipino community in the United States. It skims through the historical highlights through the decades of the Filipino experience in Stockton, including the evolution of historic Little Manila and the founding of the Stockton Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS). The book, in fact, was put together through the cooperative effort of FANHS, Dawn B. Mabalon, Ph.D., Rico Reyes, and the Little Manila Foundation.

Filipinos in Stockton is part of Arcadia Publishing’s series of books that uses archival photographs to present the distinctive stories of a community, city, town or neighborhood from the past to show how they evolved into what they are today.

“The photographs together weave a tapestry of diverse experiences: they speak of shared struggles, triumphs, celebrations, and joy. Each photograph told its own incredible story,” the authors wrote in the book’s introduction.

They also noted that many of the photographs submitted for inclusion in the book were not accommodated due to space constraints. However, they expressed the hope that the images presented in the book will serve as an inspiration for others to launch “future projects that explore the history of Filipinos in Stockton.

“Consider this book a place to begin the recovery of the history of the historic heart of Filipino America,” the authors concluded.

Reyes, who co-authored the book, was born in the Philippines and raised in Manteca. He received his bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from UC Berkeley and his M.F.A. in New Genres from UCLA. A founding member of the Little Manila Foundation, he is a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Mabalon is a Stockton native who is currently assistant professor at the Department of History at the California State University, San Francisco. She received her master’s in Asian American Studies at UCLA and her Ph.D. in History from Stanford. She co-founded the Little Manila Foundation and is a National Trustee of FANHS.

Images of America books also include one on Escalon authored by Escalon resident Barbara Willis. The books are available at local bookstores and, in some places, can be found at stores such as Walgreens. The book sells for $19.99.
Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...