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Curiosity, Adventure, And Love: The Amazing Journey Of Jessie Lichauco Through Her Granddaughter’s Lens

If there’s one word that sums up Jessie Lichauco’s story, it’s healing. She lost her parents at a very young age, yet she boldly traveled across the globe to unfamiliar territory. This is where she took her childhood loss and transformed it into a life of grace, kindness, and joy—bringing refuge to the abandoned, care to the wounded, and love to everyone around her.

 

Now at 106, Jessie is focusing on her health and well-being. She was granted Philippine citizenship in 2012. 

 

Jessie, now 106, is the heart of the film Curiosity, Adventure, and Love which documents her astounding journey from when she migrated to the Philippines alone at 18. It is directed by her granddaughter, the freelance journalist Sunshine Lichauco de Leon.

 

A young and stylish Jessie had just set foot in the Philippines, not knowing yet that she was about to touch the lives of so many Filipinos.

 

One of the places Jessie and Marcial Lichauco enjoyed happier times before WWI was in their Tagaytay home. ?

 

Marcial Lichauco, Jessie's husband, was the first Filipino to graduate from Harvard University in 1923. ?

 

In the film, Jessie recounts significant moments in her life, from when she fell in love with a Filipino in the US, to celebrating the joys of building her own family here in the Philippines. Eventually, she will be extending her motherly compassion to the needy, in the form of various projects and initiatives around Manila.

The documentary also tells of the troubles and dangers Jessie encountered as an American immigrant during the Japanese occupation in 1941. Undaunted, she opened her home to anyone who needed help, be it Filipino, American, or Japanese. The more society turned to a survivalist mindset, the more she devoted her time and effort to providing for others, until the war ended, and peace returned in 1945. However, she later came to one of the saddest points in her life: when she lost her beloved husband to illness. 

Still, her fearless spirit continued to fight, and it thrives up to this day.

Jessie’s natural generosity of heart is what binds the film’s three remarkable accounts into one narrative: the story of a hopeful young woman seeking a home, the war and political upheaval that Jessie faced while living in the Philippines, and the numerous lives that she touched with her charitable nature, wisdom, and strength.

 

Jessie Lichauco has always had a soft spot for children, and she extended her compassion towards them through her work. 

 

Someone once asked Jessie how she survived the war. Her answer: “I don’t think about myself too much.”

Curiosity, Adventure, and Love is a well-told account of how one person can be vastly transformative to one’s self and to others simply by acting on their innate strengths. It’s a solid testament to the prevalence of humanity over adversity.

 

For more information on the film or if you are interested in hosting a screening, you may email curiosityadventureandlove@gmail.com. Follow @nanafilm on Twitter, @curiosityadventureandlove on Facebook and Instagram.