Leonardo Angeles Rico

Leo’s Life in the Philippines

by Christeen Rico

Leo was born in Manila, Philippines on October 9, 1948. He migrated to San Francisco on August 14, 1986. His mother migrated to the US in 1972 with his three younger brothers and one younger sister. He could not come because he was no longer a minor at the time.

The first member of the family to migrate to America was his great-grandfather, Estanislau Angeles, who was in the Philippine military and served under the US before and during World War II. His great-grandfather was granted the right to US citizenship and moved here in 1955. This led the way for our whole family to immigrate to the US.

Leo left behind a family of seven children and his wife when he first migrated to America.
"After graduation from college, I was hired as the Chief Accountant for Delta Tours and Travel. My employment was from April, 1975 to June, 1983. The company was owned by Mr. Dante Silverio who was a very popular figure in the business world because his family owned a lot of businesses known as the Silverio Group of Companies, which was managed by his uncle, Don Ricardo Silverio.” This is an example of crony capitalism during the Marcos regime. Don Ricardo Silverio was one of Marcos’s cronies who owned a huge business conglomerate.

“The family engaged in banking, mining, logging, refrigeration, heavy equipment manufacturing, but their most prestigious business was the manufacturing of Toyota Cars under the name of Delta Motors. The company imported knock-down parts from Japan and assembled them in the Philippines.” This shows early times of good foreign relations in the Philippines, when foreign countries imported materials to the Philippines before all the political chaos in the 1980’s.

The influx of Japanese tourists helped the economy a lot. Investors came to the Philippines. Hotels, restaurants and beaches were built and developed.” This tells of the economic developments caused by increased tourism during the late 1970’s.

“But sometime in 1982 Japanese tourism slowed down tremendously for various reasons. One if these is the safety and security issue. There were demonstrations almost everyday in the streets of Manila. Then in 1983 there was the assassination of Mr. Benigno Aquino which really created a big impact on the economic, social, and political stability of the nation. Tourism after that was at its downfall.” This shows the effects that political instability and chaos had on the economy- it hindered tourism, which resulted in further economic decline. This also shows the significance of Ninoy Aquino’s death on the economy.

Ultimate push factors

Leo lost his job at Delta Tours and Travel in 1983 and it was very difficult to find a job after that. This was the time coinciding with tremendous political unrest in the Philippines because of Marcos’s dictatorship and subsequent to Ninoy Aquino’s death.

The Philippines at this time was suffering from economic downfall due to many factors, such as tourism decline, crony capitalism, government corruption.

Thus in 1984 Leo decided he had to migrate to America. “It was not hard for me to decide to go to the United States because I knew that by going, I’d give my family a better future. This was the only opportunity I couldn’t afford to lose… Migrating for me meant hope and fulfillment of my dreams for my children.” “ … my migration made me happy and satisfied because I knew I was contributing to the future of my children. It was a huge sacrifice to be away from my family for 8 years, but it was worth it…. I [am] much, much better off in the US…”

-Leonardo Rico

Last updated: January 19, 2017