Mr. Alex Fabros is a Filipino American born in the Philippines to a Filipino mother and a Filipino father who was serving in the Military. Although he was born in the Philippines, at age 2 his parents brought him to the Unites States, a journey he remembers. Fabros was an "Army brat" until the age of 14. He lived in Germany and Colorado military stations going back and forth from one another. His family finally settled in Salinas when Fabros was 14 and grew up around this area in the 1950's and 1960's. As a child he and his family faced discrimination and intimidation from Whites, particularly his neighbors since Fabros's father bought a house on the White part of town not in Chinatown. Although he did not live in Chinatown Fabros and his family would often be there. They would be at the Social Bach's, playing poker, or getting haircuts. All the older men his dad would hang out with would be referred to as uncles even if they were not technically blood uncles. Fabros attended the local public schools in Salinas. During elementary he faced a lot of racism from other kids and his father taught him to fight and to not take no "Crap" from anyone. During high school Fabros was having "issues" and hated being there. He mentions a disconnect between American born and raised Filipinos and the Filipino kids who recently immigrated from the Philippines. Fabros ultimately stayed and finished high school. He attends Hartnell College but then drops out because he feels school is not for him. Fabros begins working in the Fields because father makes him since he is not enrolled in school. He saw the harsh brutal working conditions first hand. He got to be part of major strikes although he was not very aware or interested their meaning. He met Larry Itleong, a famous Filipino Labor organizer and Cesar Chavez. While in Delano shortly after a short strike where the Mexican and Filipino laborers joined forces in the labor movement he received a draft letter. He is flown to San Diego for boot camp. He receives training and joins up with his cousin who also got sent. He is then sent for further training here at the DLI in Monterey. He is finally sent to Vietnam as a Sergeant where he saw and made connections to the local Vietnamese. He begins to critically think and reflect during the Vietnam War and is disgusted at the "Sin" he saw in his native country of the Philippines when stationed there. Fabros returns from the war and begins working with the community and labor organizations. He gives a detailed explanation to why Salinas was the start of the Civil Rights movement for Filipino's. He summarizes his explanation and gives a message to the younger Filipino community of a sense of history and obligation to keep fighting and standing for their rights just like the first Filipino Americans did.
Chinatown (Salinas, Calif.); Filipino American families; Race discrimination; Labor movement; Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Chinatown Renewal Project
Archives & Special Collections of California State University, Monterey Bay
These oral histories express the personal views, memories, and opinions of the interviewee. They do not represent the policy or views of California State University, Monterey Bay.
Fabros, Alex and California State University, Monterey Bay, "Interview with Alex Fabros" (2011). Chinatown Renewal Project. 8.