A street called Manila: home for Filipinos in Charlottesville

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — This is Manila Street in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It’s home to 62 members of the Biazon family, all living in a row of houses their family bought through the years.
As a nurse, Estelita Biazon de Omampo was the first among her 9 siblings to come to aAmericain 1969.

“Ang tatay ko nuon, pangarap niya talaga makarating lahat kami dito sa amerika, ang tatay ko us veterans sa armed forces sa World War II,” she said. “Ang request ng tatay mag-nursing daw ako, makarating sa amerika then form there we can start.”

Through family petitions, her father, who was a US World War II veteran, brought all 9 of her siblings and their families to America — they all lived on the same street, then named Azalea Street.

But Dominador “Meng” Biazon says — another nearby street named Azalea Drive gets mixed up with their’s, so they decided to ask the city council to change their street name to Manila.

“Gumawa sila ng resolution para palitan, nung malaman na papalitan na at magkakaoron ng resolution, tinawag kami at tinanong kung ano ang gusto ninyong ipalit na panganalan,” Biazon said. “Si-nuggest ng isang kapatid ko ay manila nga, dahil galing kami lahat ng maynila

Manila Street became home to the big, happy Biazon family — but there are still family members who were left in the Philippines.

The path to family reunification is not that easy — a sibling petition or fifth preference petition would take more than 20 years, and with President Trump’s plan to make immigration a merit-based system, Maura Biazon Dizon is worried about their other families back home.

“Unfair, para sa akin unfair, kasi kapares namin eh, tatay ko nagpetition, lahat kami nandito,” she said. “Karamihan sa amin magkakapatid nakatapos, naka graduate sa pilipins peo, pagdating namin dito hindi naman naming pwedeng gamitin sa Pilipinas eh.”

For Ernie De Omampo, he’d like to see a hybrid family-based enhanced with a merit-based immigration policy instead.

“Mas maganda yung combination, siyempre lalo na sa atin Pilipino, talagang advantage yung combination eh, dahil tayo talagang pag nandito na, gusto natin kasama natin yung pamilya natin.”
“Having all this family close to you, and that’s really important, it’s just a lot of fun, talaga, I’m a family guy kaya it’s nice to have all these family members and our own street,” said Fernando Dizon.

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  • Santiago Del Mundo
    25 August 2017 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    I hope that the Manila street they’re talking about in the article above is not the home of Mount Basura similar to the one in the Philippines. In Lathrop California, Manila Street is there too, located in the heart of rich farmlands. The little farmers community there are environmentally inspired to keep their clean.