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The Mystery of Pacita Todtod: Filipino American Actress, Singer, Journalist, and Community Leader in the 1940s

  • Author(s): Jamero, Melissa Jeanne;
  • Advisor(s): Matsumoto, Valerie;
  • et al.

Pacita Todtod (married name Bobadilla) was a Filipino American actress and singer, as well as community leader and editor-in-chief of the Philippines Mail, a Filipino American newspaper. Through Todtod’s performances and written works, we can observe the complex power dynamics of race and gender in the colonial context of American paternalism in the Philippines during World War II, and in the local politics of Filipino American migrant communities in Northern California. Todtod advocated for Filipino women’s political participation, representing a specifically Filipina form of nationalism, a controversial position at the time. Her sudden and quiet departure from the Mail signaled the end of her journalism career, cutting short what potentially was the start of a Filipino woman’s bright future in politics. Despite the mysteries surrounding her life, this paper seeks to reconstruct the story of Pacita Todtod as a partial window into the Filipino American women’s world of the 1940s.

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