The International District’s ‘Uncle’ Bob Santos will be traveling to the Philippines at the end of November to receive the “Banaag Award” from President Benigno Aquino III, as part of the country’s “Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas” program.
The Banaag Award, tagalog for “bright light,” is conferred on Filipino individuals for their contributions that have significantly advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities.
This will be Santos’ first time ever in the Philippines. His father, prize fighter “Sockin’ Sammy” Santos, left the Philippines never to return, and Bob Santos has never had a reason to travel there.
Born in Seattle in 1934, Santos was raised in Chinatown and left to serve in the Marines after high school. He returned to the city in 1955 to work for Boeing. Santos became involved with Seattle’s civil rights movement in the 1960s and served as the executive director of Inter*Im from 1972 to 1989. He served as regional director of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1994.
Santos was also recently honored in the International District by the Filipino American National Historical Society’s Seattle chapter, being featured in the organization’s International District historical kiosk entitled “Honoring Filipino Americans in Chinatown International District 1911–2012.” (end)