The Philippines and the Jewish people

I almost never go to the movies anymore because of the terrible four-letter-word content of most movies.

However, recently, with some girlfriends, I went to see the movie, “Quezon’s Game” and was truly amazed; it made me so grateful and proud to be a Filipino.

I admonish everyone to go see the movie and to be prepared to also be amazed at the unbelievable bravery, faith and strength of our First Philippine President Manuel Quezon.

There was so much love throughout the whole movie, that I literally became homesick gazing at familiar places of my youth.

President Quezon’s goal was to welcome 10,000 Jews to the Philippines. Since the Philippines were under U.S. rule, America told Quezon not to do it. So his hands were tied. But he persisted and challenged America along with thousands of Filipinos shouting in the streets.

In the end, America relented but only gave 1,200 Visas for the Jewish people instead of the 10,000 Quezon had wanted.

At that time, Quezon was already dying of tuberculosis; perhaps coupled with smoking too many cigars, but his dream came true a few years later when he stood at the Malacanang Presidential Palace, which was his home, with his wife and daughter as they welcomed 1,200 Jewish refugees who were doctors and scientists – the cream of the crop – welcoming them with open arms and much love.

The refugees didn’t live in camps, as U.S. President Roosevelt had assumed, for the refugees were given parcels of land on which to live in the Philippines.

Most of the refugees settled in one special city, “Quezon City,” named after the wonderful president. Quezon said, “What everybody won’t do, I will, because it’s the right thing to do.” He was one of a kind. The sad part is that right after he died, the Philippine Communist insurgents killed his wife and beautiful daughter for no reason other than to kill. What a waste.

This masterpiece of a movie was made in the Showbiz Capital of Manila. The script, music, costumes, songs, singers, dancers, musicians were all a sheer delight to watch as they performed flawlessly.

I was in awe at the musical talent of my countrymen and misty-eyed with pride and joy in my heart. Finally, the Filipinos have a stunning work of art to offer to the world. I hope and pray the movie wins an award sometime and somewhere and that, as my daughter Lesliann said, “We all will share the movie with the world from the irreplaceable voice of the Filipinos and the Genuine Ilocano’s (GI’s) born in Laoag (meaning light) – the Locos Norte Province in Northern Philippines – known the world over as “Marcos Country,” named for Former President of the Philippines.

God Bless Mabuhay (life) and the Filipinas; Long Live the Philippines.

Thank you from my heart.

1 Comment

  1. Gale, thank you for sharing about this movie. There are so many wonderful pieces of history that unite people from different cultures and religions.

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