April 16, 2004

Book launch to tell untold stories of Filipinos in U.S. Navy

By Earl S. Duka

NATIONAL CITY — The book launch on May 8, 2004 of Dr. Riz A. Oades’s Beyond The Mask: Untold Stories of U.S. Navy Filipinos is not only a milestone in the U.S. Filipino American military milieu. It’s also the first of its kind. And the venue to see it is the Admiral Baker Clubhouse, 2400 Admiral Baker Rd., San Diego.

Oades, an emeritus professor of history, introduces his first book of Filipinos who are considered pioneers in the U.S. Navy. He writes to tell his readers about the fascinating story of Potenciano Farell, who, while studying to become a priest, became enamored to a woman. He searched the city, hoping to find her, whom he first saw through a crack of the adobe walls of the seminary.

Fearing apprehension by the local authorities, Farell was able to befriend Tomas Dolopo, a foreigner living in Manila at that time, who, impressed by the language proficiency of Farell, lent him his cedula (an identity card).

This undated photo shows Tomas Dolopo, posing with a daughter. He's Potenciano Farell in real life. The reason for the change in name is explained in the book, Beyond the Mask; Untold Stories of U.S. Navy Filipinos, written by Riz A. Oades, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Farell/Dolopo family)

A source tells us Potenciano Farell became Tomas Dolopo, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1903, five years after the defeat of the Spanish armada in the famous Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898. Military historians gave credit to Admiral George Dewey who, puffing his cigar to taste an impending naval victory, uttered the words: “You may fire when you’re ready, Cringly.”

Beyond The Mask draws from the life story of Senior Chief Juan Victor Ruiz to the elevation of the first Filipino American admiral, a woman, named Eleanor Mariano.

The book navigates inside submarines and ships to reveal the motivations of the real characters portrayed in the book, their naval training, overseas deployment, romances, moments of fun, family relations, retirement and roles in community building.

Also a doctor, Admiral Mariano is expected to grace the occasion, to start at 1 p.m. The cost of the book on this date is $45.00. A collector’s item, it’s printed in a limited edition.The flyer also announced a portion of the proceeds will go to the expansion fund of the KCS FilAm Wellness Center.

For further information or to order a bookcall Melanie Custodio at (619) 477-3392.

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