When I was young, I was thinking that I can go to America. : Becoming Minnesotan

Victorino Alojado on his 90th Birthday, March 5, 2011.
  • Name - Victorino Alojado
  • Age at interview - 89
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.28.2011
  • Alojado family, Philippines, December 11, 1960. Minnesota Historical Society.

    Essential Question

    Coming to America: What did coming to America symbolize for this person?

    Push & Pull Factors: Why did this person come to the U.S.?

    Words to look for

    martial law

    Background Information

    Ferdinand Marcos became president of the Philippines in 1965 but his second term saw growing violence and unrest in the country, due to increasingly poor economic conditions. The attempted assassination of the country’s defense minister in 1972 led Marcos to declare martial law. Marcos abolished congress and began to rule by decree, he clamped down on individual freedoms and freedom of the press, rewrote the constitution to allow himself additional terms and more power, and began to arrest his opponents.

    Marcos was supported by the public at first, as crime rates fell and the economy improved under his regime. However, as the decade went on public unhappiness with the extent of government corruption and with the force used by the military against dissenters grew.

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

    • Chapter 1

    Download Victorino Alojado 6
    2:28 Minutes | 2.37Mb


    Narrator: Victorino Alojado (VA)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: Are you happy that you made the decision to come to America?

    VA: Yeah, we decided, because all my sons, during that time, we had martial law there under Marcos, under President [Ferdinand] Marcos.

    LM: What was it like during martial law in the Philippines?

    VA: You know, you got to be home at midnight. Before midnight you got to be home. But it’s okay. All my sons who are here, they saw how life is here, than there. So they are worried they will not take us over here.

    When we were here, we become American citizens, way back in 1985.

    LM: Are you happy here as an American citizen?

    VA: Yeah. I’ve been here more than thirty-four years now.

    LM: And so you think that you have achieved the American dream?

    VA: Yeah. Yeah.

    LM: Why, what was your dream?

    VA: When I was young, I was thinking that I can go to America. I was thinking how I can go here. At that time, every afternoon before I go home, I buy newspaper, Manila Times, because newspaper comes in in the Philippine Island in the afternoon. Every time I go home, I buy newspaper and I read, and I saw a choice there. U.S. Navy application accepting. From first to the fifteenth, accepting application. So I told my son, “Let’s try this. See what’s go.” And he pass. And that’s the start.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  1. A person that is a legally recognized as a member of a state or country, with associated rights and obligations.  2. A person that is a legally recognized resident of a city or town.  3. A resident of any particular place to which the subject feels to belong.

    martial law

    Noun: Rule by the military in place of the regular government, usually during time of war or other crisis.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 2131