Remedios Natad discusses growing up amidst hardship in the mid-20th century Philippines, especially her struggles in finding stable employment under the Japanese Occupation, which continued even postwar due to her lack of education.
Born into a large farming family in Cebu in 1930, Remedios Natad recalls how her parents were unable to support their seven children, who then had to end their education after primary school. As a result, the only option for employment left to her was to help her father in farming. She then discusses her life during the Japanese Occupation, when her family struggled to hide from the Japanese colonizers. It was even more frightening for her because her relatives had been captured and tortured. She would later marry twice and moved to Cagayan de Oro in 1978. There she resumed farming, and was later able to find better employment despite her low education level as a smuggler. She would purchase illegal merchandise from the crew of the Del Monte company that shipped goods between the Philippines and Japan, and resell them in her community. Ultimately, she reflects on the importance of education, noting how it would have made her life trajectory less difficult if she had been better educated, but that she had overcome those challenges with community support regardless.
Interviewee: Remedios Alkisalas Natad, born 1930
Interviewer: Kisho Tsuchiya Interpreter: Marjorie Tsuchiya
Transcriber: Dominique Jonietz O. Lucagbo
Date: August 10,2019
My name is Remedios Alkisalas Natad, 91 year old. I was born on October 9, 1930 in Barili, Cebu. My parents were Alipia Delos Reyes, a house wife and Enucencio Alkisalas, a farmer. Working hard was still not enough to provide for the family. Life was hard having 7 siblings. We were able to finish primary school which left us with no opportunities on our future.
Having no education, I was unable to apply to any jobs and so I helped my father in the farm. We planted vegetables such as sweet potato and this became our source of income.
In the 1940s, Japanese started to colonize Philippines. I was about 12 years old that time and escaping from Japanese abusers was hard. We had to hide in caves and climb up mountains and hide in the forest. We tried our best to avoid encounters with them. Some of my relatives were captured and tortured that made us terrified for our lives.
We moved to Bukidnon and I got married there. My first husband died because of too much alcohol which disabled his kidney to function properly. By 1978 I remarried as I met my husband in Lugait. We moved again to Puerto in Mambatangan. Life in Cagayan de Oro City was much better. There were better opportunities for jobs and sidelines. We have a farm in Mambatangan where we go every day to bring food and water for the workers. Soon after, income from farming was not enough and so we resorted to smuggling.
A ship from Del Monte Corporation would dock at the port to import and export products to and from Japan but at the same time the crew would sell merchandise illegally to us. That was our main source of income at that time, aside from tailoring. I would buy things such as television and bring it to Cebu to sell it and would sometimes buy the extra money for crackers and sell it inside jeepneys. I also did trading where I trade the goods I smuggled in return for crackers and sell it again to different places.
I learned that education is vital for earning a stable living, without it people would find it hard to look for proper jobs that would be able to support for a family. My life was not easy but I still got through it with the help of the people around me.
Interviewer: Kisho Tsuchiya
Interviewee: Remedios Natad
In light of Remedios Natad’s reflections on the importance of education, consider the ways in which one’s education level shaped not only their experiences, but also their perception and understanding of the Cold War in Asia.