Skyline College/North San Mateo County Oral History Archives, Skyline College Library
Student project for LSCI 110 – Digital Oral Research Project, Skyline College

 Immigrant by Accident: Robert Talens

Click here to read the research essay, “Daly City: The Gateway to Filipino Dreams”, by Jodie Marcaida

Click on the links below to hear audio segments from an April 2011 interview by Jodie Marcaida with Robert “Bobby” Talens who

is now retired and has spent more than 10 years of his life in the US.

Bobby at his RV home in Treasure Island


Table of Contents:

1. Life in the Philippines
2. Immigrant by Accident

3. Expectations and Anticipations

4. Living the American Dream

5. Fast Paced Life

6. Being a Filipino in America

7. Differences

8. No Place Like Home

9. On Citizenship

10. Advice to Fellow Filipinos


   Segment 1
   Life in the Philippines

    Bobby Talens, who grew up without a father figure, discusses his life in the Philippines - how he was fortunate to have finished college leading him to get good jobs.


Bobby graduated with a degree in Business Management, major in Accounting in 1968.



He worked as an Accounting Clerk in the Audit Department of Banco Filipino for two years.



Video Segment 1


Back to Table of Contents



  Segment 2
Immigrant by Accident (4:41)
  Bobby talks about how he became an immigrant and his reasons for leaving the Philippines.



(L-R: Norma, his sister; Carol, sister-in-law; daughter Weelowie

and son, Walter)
After a year, he came back to the Philippines to get his two children.



Video Segment 2

Back to Table of Contents



   Segment 3
Expectations and Anticipations (5:19)
    Bobby talks about his concerns going to the US and already anticipated struggles living there like not getting a good job to support his family. But, thankfully, he was able to apply his skills and education as an Accountant.



Before he came to the US, he was also a Money Market                                                              He also worked as an Operations Financial Officer in
specialist for Bancom Development Corporation for 10 years.                                                        other companies.



Video Segment 3



Back to Table of Contents



   Segment 4
Living the American Dream (3:16)
     Bobby shares his initial reactions and recalls he had to report the following day he arrived for work so he wasn't able to go sightseeing.


After several accounting-related jobs, he got to experience working in the hotel industry

as the Night Time Auditor at Holiday Inn in San Francisco.




Video Segment 4



Back to Table of Contents



  Segment 5
Fast Paced Life (9:01)
   Bobby shares the busy lifestyle he had, working double jobs.




His co-workers at Holiday Inn.




Video Segment 5



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  Segment 6
Being a Filipino in America (5:59)
   Bobby talks about how he maintains his Filipino identity while living in America.


He makes it a point to meet and catch up with his friends in Daly City and also

from the Philippines.



Video Segment 6





Back to Table of Contents



   Segment 7
Differences (4:51)
    Bobby discusses the differences of Filipino immigrants with Americans in personalities and lifestyle.

Bobby and his ex-girlfriend




Video Segment 7





Back to Table of Contents



  Segment 8
  No Place Like
Home (2:12)
   In the end, Bobby prefers to live in the Philippines. Although he doesn't know what to do yet, he considers going back to Manila to enjoy his dollar pension.




Bobby with his granddaughter


Although his family is here, he considers going back to the Philippines.




Video Segment 8



Back to Table of Contents



  Segment 9
Citizenship (1:50)
   Bobby claims he doesn't regret migrating nor hesitated to apply for citizenship for practical reasons.



During the graduation of his son, Walter at San Jose State University




Video Segment 9





Back to Table of Contents


   Segment 10

   Advice to Fellow Filipinos (2:25)

     Bobby gives an advice to aspiring immigrants not to go, especially those who are affluent back in the Philippines.




He wouldn’t say he has completely lived the American dream because he wasn’t able to buy a house for himself.

Although at present, he bought an RV home in Treasure Island and Mobile Home in South San Francisco where

he now resides.




  Video Segment 10



Back to Table of Contents







    Image sources: from Mr. Bobby Talens




last revised: 5-13-11
by Eric Brenner, Skyline College, San Bruno, CA
These materials may be used for educational purposes.  North San Mateo County Oral History Archives, Skyline College Library.
All commercial rights are reserved. To contact the coordinator, or send comments or suggestions, email: Eric Brenner at