Jessie Lichauco

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Jessie Lichauco
WikiExpedition Santa Ana 040.JPG
Lichauco in September 2014
Born
Jessie Coe

(1912-01-10) January 10, 1912 (age 107)
CitizenshipAmerican / Filipino
Spouse(s)Marcial Lichauco (married 1933–1971)
Children7 [1]

Jessie Lichauco (born January 10, 1912) is a Cuban-born American-Filipino who has resided in the Philippines since the 1930s with her husband, lawyer and diplomat Marcial Lichauco. They turned their home into a makeshift hospital during the Battle of Manila in World War II.

Early life[edit]

Jessie Coe was born in Isla de los Pinos, Cuba on January 10, 1912.[2][3][4] Her father settled in Cuba after the Spanish–American War where he met Jessie's mother. She was later sent to St. Augustine, Florida, where she was raised in a convent school after she lost her parents as a young girl.[5]

While working in Washington D.C., Coe met Marcial P. Lichauco, a Filipino lawyer who was working as secretary for the OsRox Mission, which was seeking Philippine independence from the United States. She came to the Philippines upon Lichauco's invitation in the 1930s, marrying him on December 29 the same year at the University of Santo Tomas Chapel. She and her husband were the first couple to be wed in the newly constructed chapel. Since then, Lichuaco has lived almost continually in the Philippines.[2][3][4]

Social works[edit]

Jessie Lichauco entertaining participants of the 2014 WikiExpedition Santa Ana.

Lichauco joined the Asociación de Damas de Filipinas and devoted time to Settlement House, which was run by the Asociación. Together with her husband, she opened their temporary shelter in Santa Ana to war refugees, transforming it into a makeshift hospital during World War II. The facility served at least 2,000 people. After the war, she continued her devotion towards Settlement House and became its president for nine years.[6][7][3]

Lichauco is also one of the founders of the Red Feather Agency, later known as Community Chest, which raises funds for member charities. Lichuaco also supported about 100 youth in completing their education in her own capacity.[3]

From 1963 to 1966, her husband served as Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, appointed by then-President Diosdado Macapagal. Jessie Lichuaco served as the Ambassador's hostess, representing the Philippines in international organizations and events. The Ambassador's residence in Palace Green was open to Filipino businesspeople, students, workers, and tourists.[3]

After Marcial's death in 1971, Lichuaco spent a few years in the United States. She opened her house in Massachusetts to Filipino scholars and students needing a place to stay.[3]

Philippine citizenship[edit]

Lichauco was granted Philippine citizenship in 2013 through Republic Act No. 10356[8] which was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III.[7] She was cited in the law for her social contributions to the country, adopting the Philippines as her home, speaking the Filipino language, and embracing Filipino culture.[3]

In popular media[edit]

Lichauco was the subject of the documentary film Curiosity, Adventure, & Love, in which she portrayed herself. The film includes her migration to the Philippines, the meeting with her husband, Philippine history from her perspective, and her insights on the Filipino people during World War II.[5]Curiosity, Adventure & Love has received several awards:

  • Special Jury Prize, 2016 World Premieres Philippines Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, 2017 SOHO International Film Festival
  • Best Documentary Feature, 2017 NYLA (New York Los Angeles) International Film Festival
  • Best Documentary Feature, 2017 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival
  • Excellence Award for the categories of Human Spirit and Biography, Exceptional Merit for sub-categories of Viewer Impact: Motivational/inspirational and Editing, 2017 Docs Without Borders Film Festival.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Licuanan, Virginia (21 March 2004). "92 turning 29". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 24 November 2014. Now a lovely 92 with six children and 18 grandchildren, she is one of the matriarchs of a huge clan.
  2. ^ a b Reyes, Karl John (5 November 2012). "More Filipino than most: centenarian Jessie Lichauco, Cuban-American, gets citizenship". InterAksyon.com. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Cojuanco, Kimi (9 September 2011). "House Bill No.5277" (PDF). Quezon City: House of the Representatives. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b Licuanan, Virginia (21 March 2004). "92 turning 29". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  5. ^ a b Caruncho, Eric. "'Tita Jessie' at 104: A story of curiosity, adventure, love". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  6. ^ de Santos, Jonathan (2 November 2011). "Bill seeks Filipino citizenship for expat who's been here since 1933". Sun Star. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Heroine is a true Pinay". Manila Standard Today. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Republic Act No. 10356: AN ACT GRANTING PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP TO JESSIE JOSEPHINE COE LICHAUCO".