Sunday, September 5, 2010

4. IN THE NAVY ... Philippine Postcards

Filipino sailors are well known around the world for their maritime skills. In every ship that sailed around the world there is a Filipino. The preference for Filipino sailors is due to the fact that they are “completely disciplined, hard-working, flexible and reliable.”

Probably our sailors are known around the world because we have 9 decades of maritime experience in the US navy. For over 90 years Subic Bay hosted the biggest US Naval Base outside the US continent before it closed in 1991. It was a major ship-repair, supply, and rest and recreation facility of the United States Navy.

When the United States was drawn into World War I, all the Navy's shipyards including Subic Bay began working at a fast pace to prepare ships for battle. American and Filipino workers would take pride in their workmanship, repairing battleships, frigates and destroyers that were overhauled in Subic Bay. With the booming shipping industry and the need for new sailors, many Filipinos applied to join the US Navy. The pay is big compared to the usual jobs here and also it was the easiest way to become US immigrant.

Collecting these postcards is fun and gives us a glimpse of the navy's life during the colonial years.

Artist's Sketch of Drag Dance in Olongapo Dance Hall
Docks At San Fernando, La Union, P.I.
Filipino Sailors. Circa 1923
Filipino US Navy Sailor
Pinoy sailors working for an American ship. Ca. 1920's
Filipino US Navy Sailors photo studio
The Smoke of the Fleet, In Manila Bay
Compliment of Germinal Factory
U.S. Asiatic Fleet
In Philippine Water
U.S. Battleship Fleet
in Philippine Waters 

Our Navy Poets Corner 



  1. Sir, this is Kath a researcher from GMA7. I'm currently looking for someone na hobby ang magcollect and into photography na rin. Here is my contact number, please do contact me as soon as you've read this message 0917-398-2240 or pm me. Thank you.

  2. Hi Kath, Thanks for your interest on my collection, I will contact you later.

  3. very interesting!

  4. Very interesting!These are the earliest photos of pinoys in the US Navy that I have ever seen.I collect items from the former US bases in the Philippines ie. Subic and Clark myself.

  5. Hello, I am looking for vintage photos of Filipinos in the US Navy, and I came across your site. Would you be interested in having some of your collection published in a history book?

  6. I was the first female steward in the Navy,My first duty station was the Naval War College in Newport R.I. As an 18 year old from the green mountains of Vermont, It was quite a cultural shock, me and 99 Filipinos! I had privy to the unseen world of the Filipino steward life,I was astounded to visit an Admirals house where there was 3 Stewards living in the basement room! I learned to eat Balut,and cooked gili-gili. I eventually married a Pinoy and raised 2 children. Now at 61 I am searching for stories about the period in my shared unique life.

    1. Wow thats an amazing story Beth, my 3 of my uncles, joinesd the USN , back in the 50s where they just lined up by the bay at Subic to join, back then they say, joing the us navy was just an option, for those who could not afford college because of deprived life living in a third world country like the phillippines, back in those colonial days they said many abled bodied men joined to escape poverty, I had my chance twice back in 1988, and 1990, since i was called twice in the Subic naval base A station, although due to some physical imperfections, i have failed my eye and dental test, at later years they got so strict, out of 300 recruits they would only take 30 to 15 guys, its like passing the screening is like winning a lotto ticket, well i have my best experience back in the A station then, Although i was for a few days amazed and later got very depressed because i never made it, for many of us teens young men back then, it was a lifelong dream to join the US NAVY, just to escape a life in a third world country, and get a chance to be a us citizen, right after that failure, i continued my college and got a degree in BFA, at University of Santo Tomas, and grew up to be an creative director until present time.