DALY CITY, Calif.- Juslyn Manalo has concluded her unprecedented mayorship of this town with another exclamation point.
Already a barrier breaker by being the first Filipina and Asian American elected to govern Daly City, Manalo last December swore in as Mayor, one year after being voted Vice Mayor mere hours from taking her oath as one of 2 newest members of the City Council. Months later she learned she was expecting her and husband Eluid Palomo’s firstborn.
This Thanksgiving Day had just passed when Mayor Manalo unexpectedly went into labor ahead of her mid-December due date. She surprised her family and friends on Nov. 29, when she delivered Ethyn Carlito Manalo Palamo, making her the first head of Daly City to become a mother while in office.
Through her delicate condition, Manalo performed official duties with typical fervor.
“Ethyn Carlito was with me in my tenure as Mayor in the womb, all my meetings, events and duties- he was with me in my journey this past year and now forward forever,” Manalo told with this writer.
While she’s on leave from her day job in San Francisco, Manalo has not skipped a beat as City Council Member.
On December 10, she presided at ceremonies installing new City Council Members Rod Daus-Magbual and Pamela DiGiovanni and re-elected Member Ray Buenaventura. By voice vote, the Council comprising 4 Filipino Americans including Manalo and Glenn Sylvester, elected Buenaventura as the new Mayor. First-ever FilAm elected in Daly City, Mike Guingona ended his service on the Council along with Judith Christensen, who issued a critique of her tenure, saying she was not given a voice.
Until then and not a day earlier, Buenaventura was Vice Mayor. Not “acting mayor,” he confirmed to author. Without policy regarding maternity leaves for sitting Council Members, said Manalo, she completed her term while recovering from Caesarian delivery.
Buenaventura concurred that the entry of Millennials like Manalo and Daus-Magbual in the political arena likely will prompt the largest town in San Mateo County to review policy on Council Members’ parenthood.
What’s on the books is Manalo’s plan for her child: “We definitely will have a dedication of Ethyn for God to watch over and bless him,” she said.
Baby Ethyn Carlito carries the names of his parents (Ethyn is portmanteau of Eluid and Juslyn); Carlito honors his maternal grandfather, who now has his first grandson.
“I envision motherhood as one of the amazing gifts from God,” Manalo shared her postpartum elation. “I believe raising a child into this world is also a way to impact change by teaching them compassion, empathy, the importance of social justice and equity.”
For motherhood tips, she looks no further than her own upbringing.
“My mother’s mothering style is her unconditional love, nurturing soul and her gift of foresight,” Manalo reiterated the source of her inspiration. She speaks highly of her mother, Josefina Manalo, a teacher originally from Pila, Laguna who came to the United States “at age 24 with no family to build a better life for herself.”
“Her courage to move to a foreign country and her persistence to excel and her work ethic have inspired me greatly,” said the proud daughter.Daly City’s First Baby weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces and measured 20 inches long upon arrival at a San Francisco hospital. His father is of Filipino and Spanish descent, being a fourth generation American with roots in Barcelona, Spain, and Iloilo, Philippines.
He joins Piero Canepa, born August last year to former Daly City Council Member and now San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa and his wife El Salvador Consul General in San Francisco Ana Del Carmen Valenzuela Pena, among progeny of the new generation of Area elected officials.