Monday, March 5, 2012

Thank You!

Mr Dante Zamora posted his comment on my previous post about Abnoy (Click on the link to read the post). Although he did not mention where he is based now, I assumed that he is from the US. He referred to the Philippines as PI, which I hear so many times from my relatives in California. I am glad that in my own little way, I am able to provide Mr Zamora and our other kababayans who have been away from our dear Pateros a way to reconnect with our town.

I had set out to compose a response to his comment in the article about Abnoy, but wrote a rather long response that I decided to post it as a separate entry here. I hope that he will not mind me sharing my response to him with the rest of the readers of this blog.

Dear Mr Zamora,

Thank you for your wonderful post. Comments from people like you inspire me to continue writing about our beloved town, in particular, and the Philippines in general. I have not written as often as I would want to, but I will definitely not stop doing so.

If you left in 1967, things would have been vastly different then. I grew up in the 70's, and things were so different then than now. What more in the 60's? Like you, I have many happy memories of Pateros back when people knew each other by name. And people then have strange and funny, sometimes even "bastos" names. We would always have fun remembering those aliases that people gave each other.

It is sad that a lot of the original Pateros folks have left the town. Many old houses are either empty, or are being rented out or put up for sale. Those in the commercial area, the "bayan" as we know it, have been converted into commercial spaces. An old-timer aptly called Pateros now the bedroom of Metro Manila because of the many people who flock here for its cheap lodging alternatives. In fact, we hold the distinction of being the most densely populated town/city in the Philippines. For a little town such as ours, that is not exactly good news.

When I see pictures of the Sta Marta fiesta in California, I am amazed at the number of people who attend the event year in and year out. A lot of them are even familiar faces, like the Pascual siblings from Aguho - and my own relatives. My own mother, when she was alive, would always attend the fiesta when it was held anywhere near where she was staying with my Tatay (either in the Bay or the LA/San Diego areas). Too bad there was not an opportunity for me to attend a stateside Pateros fiesta whenever I am in the US to visit my family. I would one day want to write about this interesting event.

And the food! Don’t even get me started on this. A lot of my happy memories of our town always have something to do with food. Sometimes people get so focused on balut that they overlook the other culinary gems of our town. Some of these have all but disappeared from our tables, such as those that are fished out from Laguna De bay (ayungin, biya, tulya, etc.). But some are still around to remind us that once in our lives, we revelled in the gustatory delights of these exotic dishes.

Again, thank you for the good words. And do come for a visit soon. You may not like everything that you will see and experience, but I hope that with enough people working together, we can still do something to bring back the old charm of this little town we call home.

Ipagpapatuloy ko po ang aking pagsasaliksik, at ang pagsusulat ukol sa ating bayan, kasaysayan at kaugalian upang di natin malimot na ang Pateros ay nagkanlong sa maraming masasayang ala-ala ng ating buhay. Mananatili po akong umaasa na sa pamamagitan ng munting ambag na ito, ay maaring mapukaw ang pansin ng mga kababayan at ng mga kinauukulan upang maisaayos ang lagay ng ating bayan. Hindi ako nawawalan ng pag-asa na sa pagtutulungan nating mga nagmamahal sa bayang ito, mananatiling maririnig ang masayang tugtugan ng Pandango, and masarap na amoy ng bibingkang abnoy, at ang malinamnam na lasa ng kalderetang itik sa ating bayang pinagpala.

Ang inyong Munting Tinig,



HydeParker said...

Hi Dennis,

Great to hear from you and thanx for the quick response!

Yes, you’re right. I do live on the other side of the pond now. Lived here in Hyde Park (a section of Boston, MA) almost four decades. Started coming here in ’72 and moved here during the blizzard of ’78. Probably will live here the rest of my life now.

Yeah, the old Pateros, use to be like the old Cheers sitcom, it’s a place where “everybody knows your name”. As a kid there, can’t go anywhere without somebody seeing me and piping on to my mother. [Remember when Tia Nena Quiogue told my mom “I saw Dante with a pack of cigarette in his pocket!”, for which I got chewed out; and, that I had bought two dozen balot from them, wherein my mother then questioned me where I had taken them. Learned not to go by their residence if I can help it, lest I’m seen doing something I shouldn’t be doing and get “reported”. (I know they only meant well.) Wondering if they still live at that place two doors down from the cinehan.] Heard a comment before “it takes a village to raise a child.” (Of course me growing up, my mother would have said two towns wouldn’t be enough, never mind a village!)

It is indeed sad to see some of the old folks leave. (Although you might say good riddance to a few!) During my time, the trend was to join the Navy. However, whereas a lot them stayed-in till retirement, I believe I’m one of the few who decided I didn’t want to do it as a career. So, after my original enlistment, four years, I called it quit. But, after I got out, instead of going back (which I contemplated doing) I decided to at least try my mettles in the new neighborhood. Looks like it worked out for me ‘cause I’m still here, forty years later! Guess happiness is where you find them.

Sadly, in all the years, I have not attended any of the Pateros fiesta here. My mother, when she was alive and pretty mobile, used to make it all the time. Then, I will hear from her that my old friends, former neighbors, and old acquaintances were asking for me. About four years ago, I suddenly had the strong urge to attend and contacted my old neighbor, Freddie Gatpayat. But, something came up and didn't make it. I even had a plane ticket on hand! Then last year I told Ate Meding Gatpayat (they use to have a store at a street corner, across the bowling alley, at the foot of the Pateros bridge, which, you had written about somewhere in your blog) that I’m planning to attend. Again the plan was de-railed. I’m afraid my talk of attending had started to sound like the boy who cried wolf! Although she said there are now two groups separately celebrating it.

Your mother and mine could very well have met at one of those fiestas. My mother had always hung around the kitchen or, wherever the food was being served or dispatched. And we know a lot of the Concepcions. One of my teachers was a Mrs. Concepcion, I went to school with one, and so did my sister. Matter of fact, I think one of them was my sister’s classmate in the lower grades, then became my classmate in the upper grades when she transferred to Pateros Elementary. I do understand it is a pretty common surname, albeit not like the surname “Cruz”!

You are right, the fiesta do go around between LA, Frisco, and San Diego. Maybe one of these days you and I will make it to the Pateros fiesta here.

You mentioned the Pascuals from Aguho. I knew of one who was in the Navy and about my age. They use to live at what we use to call “Ibaba”. The other family that lived close by my house were the kids of Ti Barang; Tino, Felix, Ador, and Belen. They used to live between Lolo (Dr.) Bened Castillo and Ti Pano; across the street from the old basketball court (somebody told me an apartment complex is now in its place).

Later, I do want to communicate with you about a…“humanitarian?” project. Something to do with education and the elementary school. I will probably need to connect you also with my (first) cousin who lives at my parent’s old house.

So long.

HydeParker said...

Now that's interesting! Of course I know about the time difference but never paid much heed to it. Then I just noticed, while trying to close out this blog that I had sent to you my most recent on March 6, at 9:40 A.M., while my clock was showing March 5, 8:40 P.M., 13 hours difference between Boston and Manila (er, Pateros).

Dennis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HydeParker said...

Hi Dennis,

Just want to let you know I had e-mailed you.
And, you are always welcome, Laddie!

Best regards,

Dan Zamora