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Our province is called Isabela, named for the queen of Spain. WACOAN: Sabas, what was it like growing up where you did? I would carry the big washing basin down to the river, and I would help her hang the clothes on the line to dry. It would be the pride of a family to display all of their children’s diplomas, hanging in the living room. After high school I did not think I would go to college. So thanks to the program, I went to the Philippine Normal College in the next town. He was born in the town of Angadanan, and I was born in a nearby village called Macaluat. Sabas: During that time nurses were very in demand in the United States.But there was a government program where they were looking for scholars who we called ‘poor but deserving’ who wanted to become teachers. I got involved in the show choir, and that’s how we met. Glory, tell me about your family and how you grew up. When you go to my village from the town, you have to cross a river, the Cayagan, which is the longest river in the Philippines. If you took nursing, you would surely be coming to the United States.

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The Riveras said that when they were growing up, everyone dreamed of coming to America, the land of opportunity.

Education has been the durable thread in the tapestry of their lives and their family, as the two became teachers on the other side of the world and now are among Waco’s best-loved educators.

They brought with them a system of education via the Thomasites. My dad’s farmland was on the way to the town, so we always stopped by to pick some vegetables, like beans, to take as our provisions. All my family members came to see me graduate and get my medal.

[Editor’s Note: The Thomasites were a group of about 500 American teachers who were sent to the Philippines in 1901 by the U. government to teach basic education and train Filipino teachers. When I was younger and someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I said, ‘Write the headlines,’ or something like that. One sister is now in Colorado, and the other is in Australia. We carried everything and walked the dusty roads in very hot temperatures. Glory: It sounds hard, but I didn’t really feel like I was having hard times. I took the college entrance exam and made a really good score.

It was a Catholic wedding, officiated by a priest friend of mine. WACOAN: How soon after you were married did you have children? Sabas: We were married in 1982, and Chester came in 1983. WACOAN: When did your second son, Kevin, come along? And we all got out and straightened our suits and freshened up before going inside to interview. Sabas: After interviewing in the administration office, I was taken to Crestview Elementary School to meet with the principal about a job opening.

Glory: Everything was paid for — the priest, the food, the flowers — all by friends. WACOAN: When did you first come to the United States? He was having second thoughts, but we both were thinking about a brighter future. She asked how I saw myself fitting into this school setting, and I told her that I’m hardworking and that I’m a fast learner and can adapt quickly.

During the galleon trade the Spanish colonized the Philippines, and that lasted three centuries, 339 years to be exact.

So the Filipino culture is greatly affected by the Spanish. When you got to fifth grade, you had to go to the big town — we had to walk 5 or 6 kilometers.

You can call your wife and tell her.’Glory: He was so happy!

WACOAN: What were some of the immediate differences you noticed in the students compared to students you taught in the Philippines?

The Riveras told their story over some of their favorite Filipino dishes.

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