Gene was born in Washington, USA, of a large but poor family. His father was a Filipino migrant worker and his Caucasian mother a waitress. Both also worked in farms and warehouses. Gene was fifth of 5 brothers and 5 sisters, growing in a small farming town with a considerable Filipino-American community.
Arturo Taca was a young doctor, bright and gifted, when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972. Arturo’s parents as well as Arturo himself were members of the opposition Liberal Party under the wardship of then Manila city mayor Antonio J. Villegas and then senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
Ruben Marinda Lunas was a sickly toddler. His parents brought him to an albulario who recommended that his name be changed to improve his health.
Rosalinda Galang’s first political exposure was as editor of the UST’s student organ, the Varsitarian, and as member of the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines. She joined a circle of progressive writers reporting on social and political issues and developing critical thinking.
Joji Paduano was an exceptional young girl, bright, self-confident and talented. At age four, she was the youngest finalist in a radio singing contest. She started school before she was six, led the pupil’s government, and graduated with honors in the elementary.
Wright Molintas Jr. was a scion of two of Benguet province’s most illustrious political families – the Mencios of Atok town and the Molintases of Bokod town – with governors and congressmen belonging to both sides of his family.
Little is known of Edwin’s childhood. He is remembered as a generally quiet boy, but bright. He graduated from grade school with the highest honors and for college, he passed the competitive entrance tests to the University of the Philippines, and three scholarship examinations, including the highly-competitive National Science Development Board (NSDB) exams.
Ceferino Flores Jr. came from a poor family in Negros Oriental province. When he was a young teenager he came to Manila to find work. At 16, he started as a roomboy at the famous Manila Hotel. He worked there for the next 13 years, resigned in 1970, after that, moved from one job to another. A friend then recommended him for a job at the Hotel Intercontinental, also in Manila. He worked at the Intercon from 1972 until the night of his disappearance in 1983.
Rolando Federis came from a poor family. His father Dionisio once owned a tailoring shop in Camarines Norte. His wife contracted cancer and died early, leaving him to raise his extended family himself. Dionisio left for Manila, where he hoped to find better employment.
Silme was born in the United States to Filipino parents who had migrated and settled in Seattle, Washington. Silme’s father Nemesio was a soldier in the US army, and before that, a cannery worker in Alaska. As teenagers, Silme and his brother Nemesio spent much of their school breaks also working in the canneries. His friends said Silme was a fun-loving and party-loving person, an “unlikely activist,” yet he proved these friends wrong.