Jagolino: The sisterhood that we would not be separated. That’s when we made that decision.
(Music box–esque music plays, dainty but heavy, in the background.)
Hunte: So the sisterhood met a recruiter who was looking for nurses to go work at a hospital in the United States. And it was this hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.
Berbey: What had you heard about Missouri before you got there?
Tan: (Laughs.) Nothing! I just know that it’s a state. (Berbey and Tan laugh.)
Nora: “It has four seasons. I’ll be able to see the snow.” Blah, blah, blah.
Hunte: So after graduation, they left.
Tan: On the plane, that’s when it hit me. [Laughs exactly once.] That’s when I started crying.
Nora: It was sad, but it was reality for us. We have to face reality. So let’s do it!
Hunte: When they landed, they were taken straight to the hospital where they were going to work.
Tan: We were housed in the hospital, initially.
Hunte: They were also going to live there, which is crazy.
Tan: They are patient rooms, but they were not never used by patients. So … it was on the upper level of the hospital.
Hunte: They cooked together. They hung out. They talked about boys.
Jagolino: Oh boy. (Laughs.)
Tan: We consoled each other if there was a breakup. (Chuckles.)
Hunte: And late at night, they’d all get together in the hallway and have a little dance party.
(Disco music plays at a very fast clip.)
Jagolino: Saturday Night Fever came out.
Nora: We would gather in one of the rooms. We would drink and dance together.
Tan: We’d kick our heels, and we’ll sing to the tune of Travolta.
Jagolino: We were all following with a pointy finger. Just dancing up and down the hallway.
Nora: Through the night, until we’re exhausted—and drunk. (Hunte laughs.)
Jagolino: No men were allowed upstairs. Can you imagine? Oh my God. Bunch of Filipino nurses with, you know, orgies upstairs. That would have been the shocker in Missouri. (Laughs heartily.)
(The music plays up and then ends in a blaring crescendo.)
Hunte: The girl crew? They eventually all moved to Los Angeles. And there’s a huge Filipino community there. And that’s where they met a new friend: Rosary. She was also a nurse, also Filipina.
Hunte: Can you tell me about when you met Rosary Castro-Olega?
Tan: Oh, Rosary … How did I meet Rosary? She—she—she’s the kind of person that likes going to Filipino parties.
Hunte: Was there something that stuck out about her that made you think, “Oh, yeah, she has to become part of our crew.”
Tan: She’s just there! (Laughs.)
Jagolino: We just loved her. She loved to dance.
Tan: She will dance. Like, she go low, low, low, low. When you go low, she goes very low.
Jagolino: She’s, like, getting down on the floor. And you would just see her, like, pounding the floor.
Tan: She will sing anything—kind of out of tune, but she will sing. That’s Rosary. She’s a happy person, a very happy person.