Mag-Anak – Family

Holly Calica re-creates a photo of her father’s family, taken on the steps of their 1940s home. Our 2013 rendition takes place on the steps of her home on Belvedere Street with her sons and their daughters.

Holly Hanging Panel Preview

Left: Calica family, c 1940 (left to right) Buddy Rillera, Rudy Caluza Calica (Holly’s father), unknown girl, Blas Cacdac Calica (Holly’s grandfather), and Ben Caluza Calica (Holly’s uncle)

Right: Calica Family, 2013 (left to right) Sandino Calica Napolis (Holly’s eldest son), Rubén Darío Calica Napolis (Holly’s younger son), Amaya Tyler Napolis (daughter of Sandino), Holly Calica, and Aaliyah Sky Napolis (daughter of Ruben)

Holly Calica’s family is from Naguilian, La Union & Binmaley, Caloocan in the Philippines. Her paternal grandfather, Blas Cacdac Calica came to San Francisco in 1926. Her maternal grandfather, Marcelo Rivera Lopez, came to Berkeley in 1923. Both men returned to the Philippines to marry, coming back to the United States with her grandmothers—Mary Caluza and Lourdes Fernandez—in the 1930s. 

Holly Calica remembers her grandparents:

“When I was a child, we would visit my grandparents & my grandfather would always ask us, ‘Who wants to go to Playland?’ Jumping up and down we’d shout our replies. But I remember it’d be my father who would take us to Ocean Beach and then Playland!!! Grampa Blas would take Grandma Mary to Chinatown where we’d buy fresh fish right from the tanks. Often, we would dance for a quarter while Grandma Nora would watch us, eyes twinkling and her cigarette hanging out of her mouth backwards. As a teenager, my Grandfather would take us to play tennis and make us run from one side of the court to the other. My father continued this tradition with my children and often my granddaughter, Aaliyah, will run after tennis balls while her father and my eldest daughter, Aja, rally at the local court. Times have changed. They don’t have to sneak onto the courts like my grandparents had to. My kids can rally because the courts are no longer, ‘WHITE ONLY!’ I wonder whether tennis will be a pastime of my grandkids’ life, too? If so, we can thank their Great Great Grampa Blas and their Grampa Rudy.”

Holly Calica
Visual Artist; Dancer; Writer; Art Teacher, SFUSD

As a Fulbright- Hays Scholar and Teachers Fund Fellow, Holly Calica researched tribal traditions in the Philippines. Her art and poetry are published in CALYX: A Journal of Art & Literature by Women, Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas and “Maganda” Magazine.

“I was born and raised in Berkeley, California. We moved to Daly City when I was in 4th grade, where there were very few Filipinos in my neighborhood. Daly City was cold and foggy, so my mother rarely let us out. But when my older sister wanted to go out, I was the younger tag-a-long. So, at 14 and 15, I got to go to lots of parties. I remember going to Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, and even walking across the newly built freeways leading to Pacifica. After high school, I moved to the city to go to school at San Francisco State University and enjoy good times with my friends.

“Since we are now four generations in San Francisco, I have watched the city change through gentrification. Most long-time San Franciscans have long since moved out because housing is unaffordable. Families who didn’t own homes have gone to the East Bay, so the mellow vibe that was always San Francisco has been replaced. Many of my artist friends are now in Oakland.”

Holly Calica photos were taken by Wilfred Galila.

Fides Hanging Panel

Left: Calloway Family at Larkin Street and Fulton, 1950s (left to right) James Calloway, Rose Calloway, Dinah Calloway, Ruth Aviles (Dinah Calloway’s sister)(Image courtesy of the Calloway family) 

Right: Aguilar/Enriquez family, 2013 (left to right) Florante C. Aguilar, Rafael Mario Musni, Juliette Olivia Musni, Frida Gabriela Aguilar, Fides Enriquez, and Isa Manon Musni

James Calloway and Family

James’ father, Sgt. Major John Calloway, was an African-American raised in eastern Tennessee.  A decorated non-commissioned officer and prominent member of the 24th Infantry of the African American Regiment of the US Army known as  “Buffalo Soldiers,” John was stationed in the  Philippines in 1899 during the Spanish-American war. He was later persecuted by the US military because of a letter he wrote to a Pilipino friend, Tomas Consumji, in which he expressed sympathy for the Pilipinos and stated his opinion that it was “an immoral war.” He married Mamerta de la Rosa, a Filipina from Nueva Ecija. They settled in Manila with their large family.

James Calloway and his family arrived in San Francisco in 1953. Because his father was an American citizen, James and his family were able to come to the US as American citizens. They are pictured in front of the San Francisco Public Library on Larkin Street, which has since been converted to the Asian Art Museum (opened in 2003).

Florante Aguilar
Guitarist; Composer; Interface Designer, PRO Unlimited; Filmmaker

Aguilar studied classical guitar at the University of the Philippines College of Music. In 1987, he received a scholarship from the Manhattan School of Music and moved to New York. He toured internationally as a soloist and ensemble player. In 1992, he moved to San Francisco for treatment of a music–related injury. He has since built a second career as a software designer, aka ‘Master Level Code Ninja,’ currently for PRO Unlimited, while playing and composing major musical works. He has released five albums and received commissions for two full-length song cycles: Lalawigan- A Contemporary Tagalog Song Cycle and Aswang-Ghosts of Philippine Lore.

“My Dad is from Plaridel, Bulacan and my mom’s family is from Maragondon, Cavite. I was born in Manila and raised in Cavite. I left the Philippines in 1987 for New York to study music.  At the time, I hated everything about my country – the politics, the rampant corruption, the over-reliance on religion, the hopelessness… I felt that I could not live and belong in a culture like that. Inwardly, I renounced being a Filipino and left for the US ready to embrace the western culture.

“But the death of my father forced me to return after 12 years of absence. And that’s when the reconnection happened. This time around, I saw the Philippines in a different prism and I was suddenly in love with the Philippines. Suddenly, I felt like I belong.

“My 2012 documentary, Harana: The Search for the Lost Art of Serenade, in its deepest level, is a love affair with the homeland. It is the innermost driving force of the movie. Being a musician, the only way I knew how to express that love is through music, through playing the harana, the music of a bygone era.”

Fides Enriquez
Film Producer; Dancer; Ethnographic Documentarian

Fides has danced for Likha Philippine Folkloric Dance Company, Magui Moro Master Artists, Ifugao Music & Dance Ensemble of Banaue, Alleluia Panis Dance Theater and is the film producer of award-winning documentary, Harana: The Search for the Lost Art of Serenade, directed by Benito Bautista. She has travelled all over the Philippines documenting indigenous cultural practices. Her Fu’Dalu- The Spirit of T’nalak Exhibit was presented in the Asian Art Museum and Pusod Babilonia Foundation.

“My family is from Kawit, Cavite. I was born in Project 4, Quezon City. We came to the US 1983. I was 14 when we migrated to San Francisco. We lived in Bernal Heights/ Mission Area. I went to St Paul High School in Noe Valley, a small school that was full of kids from all ethnicities: Latinos, White kids, Asian kids, Black kids. But I felt small, foreign, a total outsider from the “American” culture. I felt I needed to prove my worth so I was a total over achiever. I was a nerd – I HAD to have high marks in school, I HAD to be in student government, I HAD to be in the Shakespeare club, I HAD to be in the Volleyball team, all at once… the works.

“It’s interesting to me because my kids don’t see themselves as Filipino per se, or even Filipino American. They just are teenagers or kids from the city. They don’t have that “outsider” complex that I had. I hope that my kids will find their passion, have the courage to follow their bliss, and thrive.

“It’s a great time to be Filipino in America today.  I wear my Filipino-ness with pride. I used to feel like an outsider. Now I feel so utterly comfortable in the city – I’ve lived here 30 years, I’m grounded.  Yet I still feel I am an outsider – And it’s absolutely ok.  I milk my Filipino-ness. My cultural background is a great source of inspiration and material. I live for my ethnicity. With the added benefit of SF food and art culture —I get damned good coffee to go with my bibingka—there’s always an audience for the Philippine inspired creative work we put out there. I just want to continue creating and producing our own work, more films, more theater.”

Florante Aguilar and Fides Enriquez family photos were taken by Wilfred Galila.

Dino Instagram Hanging Panel small

Dino Instagram Hanging Panel smallLeft: Dr. Engracia Escobar Borja, M.D. and daughter Bernadette Borja at Playland in Ocean Beach (1969)

Right: Ignacio family at Playland’s Carousel, relocated toYerba Buena Gardens (2013), Dino Ignacio, Nina De Torres Ignacio, and daughter Maharlika Ignacio

Bernadette Borja Sy
Executive Director, Filipino American Development Foundation

“My Mom came over in 1952 with her family. Her father was soldier in the U.S. Army.  Her family was first stationed at Fort Barry near the Marin Headlands until they could find a home in SF.”

“My Dad migrated in 1957 for an internship at Our Lady of Victory Hospital in Lackawanna, New York. Too cold in NY, he made his way to SF with his doctor buddies. While working as a resident at Mary’s Help Hospital,(now Seton Medical Hospital), when it was on Guerrero Street, my dad met my mom, a pediatrician.

For over 30 years, my parents, both, doctors ran a medical practice catered to the Pilipino community in the Mission district. I was born in SF in 1963.”

In 1976, Dr. Mario A. Borja M.D. purchased the Delta Hotel located on Mission and 6th Streets. He founded the Filipino-American Development Foundation (FADF) in 1997, to establish a community center on the ground floor of the Delta Hotel. However, in August 1997, a big fire damaged the entire building. Dr. Borja decided to sell the building to non-profit housing developer, Tenant and Owners Development Corporation (TODCO) on the condition that TODCO develop affordable housing to house the displaced fire victims, rename the housing Bayanihan House, and provide FADF a lease of the ground floor  to establish the Bayanihan Community Center. Today, Bayanihan Community Center is home to Veterans Equity Center, Arkipelago Books Store, Kularts, Galing Bata After-School Program Office, and FADF

Dino Ignacio

Art Director – Video Game Developer  at Visceral Games Electronic Arts

Dino’s family is from Manila and Nueva Ecija. He was born and raised in Manila and came to San Francisco in 1999.

“We’ve lived in SOMA for most of the 15 years we’ve been here. We like it. It’s been good.

“As a Filipino from the Motherland, identity and nationalism are nothing I really worry or think about. The big misconception is that minorities are always thinking about how their ethnicity affects their lives. We don’t. I don’t walk down the street as a Filipino. I simply walk down the street. I don’t drive to work as a Filipino. I just drive to work. I don’t direct or lead my team as a Filipino. I just direct and lead my team. My race and my ethnicity do not and have not affected my day to day life. Most people who concern themselves with identity are usually people who have romanticized the Motherland and either have never been there or have only visited.

“I love the Philippines and we are proud of our heritage but we don’t make it the center of our existence. Our daughter is named Maharlika (which means “Beloved Creation” in Filipino) and I have the sun and the stars tattooed on my fists. But these things are just matter of fact. We don’t live our days thinking about how we fit in the diaspora or how we are impacted by this town. We just live our lives as we do, as people.

“We did not leave the Philippines because of oppression or a search for a better life. We are here because we like San Francisco. It’s that simple. There’s an expectation people have that ethnic groups need to be put in little categorized boxes or frames. It makes people feel better when they can label you and explain your culture.

We (my wife, my child and I) are citizens of the age of the Internet. We are as much from America as we are from Sweden or Singapore. We hope for our child to live in a world where she does not need to be classified and boxed up by society. We hope she can grow up in a world where her history does not need to be celebrated, questioned or scrutinized. She will be allowed to be herself without out any cultural expectations.”

Nina De Torres Ignacio
Photographer; Homemaker

“I was born in San Pascual, Batangas, and came to the US in 1999. I am not an American citizen yet. I have been a permanent resident for just a couple of years. Generally, life has been good here.”

Photos of the Ignacio family were taken by Peggy Peralta. Instagram-style photos were taken by Dino Ignacio.


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