Eliseo Pau Arevalo

1915 - 2000

Eliseo Arevalo, pianist and educator, was a pioneering Seventh-day Adventist musician in the Philippines whose descendants have played a key role in the development of music in that country. His daughter, Carazon Arevalo Coo, and her three children, Jonathan, Cecilia (Cruz), and Victor, are celebrated musicians who have enjoyed acclaim as exceptional performers and effective music educators.

Eliseo was born in Manila, Philippines, on December 12, 1915, the son of Victorio Arevalo, an SDA pastor who also tuned pianos, and Emila Paulino. He studied at the University of the Philippines Conservatory of Music before World War II and the invasion of the islands by Japan in December 1941. He was one of the estimated 78,000 Filipinos and Americans on the Bataan Peninsula on West Luzon who had resisted the invasion but because of overwhelming odds surrendered in April 1942.

Instead of being transported to prison camps, which were located about seventy miles away, the men, who were not in good health and malnourished, were forced to march there under brutal conditions without water and food for over four days. They were senselessly beaten and/or slaughtered at the slightest provocation during the march, and by the time they reached their destination, it is estimated that over 10,000 had perished, most of them Filipinos.

Arevalo survived that nightmare and the internment that followed and after the end of the war in 1945 completed a master's degree in education at Union College in Laguna, an institution founded in 1947. He then became a professor at the Nicanor Reyes Memorial Institute, a branch of Far Eastern University located in the province of Tarlac on the island of Luzon. He was active in music and conducted several choirs, including the Fellowship Choir in the 1960s.

Arevalo emigrated to the United States in the 1970s, where he worked as a full-time piano teacher in southern California. He was residing in Riverside, California, at the time of his death on December 18, six days after his 85th birthday.


Sources: Email, Jonathan Arevalo Coo, June 10, 2011; U.S. Social Security Records, Ancestory.com; "Bataan Death March," National museum  of the U.S. Air Force, August 3, 2009; Far Eastern Division Outlook, June 1960, pg.10; Other Online sources.