LETTERS FROM AN AMIGO, PART 2

(Here’s another unedited letter from a friend from across the globe who longed to return to his hometown, Calauag, Quezon)

Hi Sonny,

Salamat sa mga kuwento mo.  Na refresh ang mga memories ko sa Manila.  Arturito is my older brother and my middle name is de la Costa.

Palagay ko ka batch nga kita at I’m convinced na nag sama tayo noon nung hippie days.  My hair was long too almost touching my tummy-that long.  I know you and you know me, sa mukha.  Nan diyan ngayon ang anak ko at Mrs. ko, I was there last year, bayaan mo pag balik ko maybe this year or next year I will e-mail you again.

Lahat ng binaggit mong tao ay close sa amin.  Si Caloy Jucaban is my first cousin, Si Madeline Nicholas na liniligawan ni Tomasito,  How about Ramoncito “Cito”  ang aming laruan sa barkada, kasi komikero yoon.  Si Urutia, si Patio,  Si Manny Tallada nakakasama ko dito sa L.A.-pinsan ko rin yoon.  Si Joselito na anak ni Pasing..nakalitmutan ko ang apilyido.  Anyway, nice to hear from U na aliw ako sa mga kwento mo.

Atty. ka pala diyan-wow, that is quite a degree, mas malaki ang kikitain mo dito sa States (nope, Tommy, I’ll end up as gas attendant in your neighbourhood: Sonny) sila ang mga one of the highest paid dito among “Professionals”.  Pero alam ko mas masaya (masaya pero kapos sa datung: Sonny) ang buhay diyan sa Pinas.

Kuminsan ang iisipin mo ay quality of life na lang.  Pag nagpupunta ako diyan ay nabubuhayan ako, iba talaga ang buhay diyan-napakasarap.

O sige, God bless you, and thank you uli sa e-mail/reply.

Tommy IV

kung tawagin ako kuminsan ay si Tomming Buhok, si Tomasito naman ay si Toming Sundalo.

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Dear Tommy,

I don’t know how many Tomas(es) Morato there are in your family, but I’m sure I’ve met Tommy or
Tomasing  Morato on several occasions in the past. Propietarios like you name their descendants after their great old man, the 2nd, the 3rd, the 4th, and so on.

Our common friends, I think, are Madeleine Nicolas and the Urrutia Family: Baby, et al. and Bimbo. When we were teens Tommy attends the Mayflower grandball at the town plaza.

The Moratos seldom visit Calauag anymore. On elections, Manoling Morato would come home and campaigns for his candidates. Your ancestral house, about two blocks, from ours was gutted by fire in 1984. There’s a new building going up on your lot. The new owner, I was told, is Lim Chuan, one of the richest Chinese traders in town.

The de la Costas are no longer in Calauag. Perhaps they settled somewhere else. I got no word from them anymore. Their house in Sta. Maria is not well-maintained anymore. The last I heard from them was when Kapitan Ador de la Costa died some years ago, ages perhaps. Fr. Horacio de la Costa, one great man of letters, hailed from Mauban.

My best friend is Caloy Jucaban, now a better-placed executive in Asian Development Bank. He was my childhood buddy: from kindergarten to high school. He went to UST and finished Civil Engineering. The guy is a math genius. I idolized his brothers, a bunch of wiz kids and good looking at that who are all settled in the USA and Canada. They were all here when Mrs. Jucaban died. Last year, Caloy invited me for lunch at ADB and consulted me on the estate of his parents. Only Rowena and his muy bonito son reside in their 3-storey house in Calauag. The Jucaban house is part of our childhood, because on weekends we had our sleepover at the upper most part of the house, a single room with double decker beds overlooking the sleepy town. That was when Calauag had no electricity yet. Our nights there were memorable.

When we were kids, I’d met one Castilaloy Arturito. Maybe you’re his kid brother.

On some days we’d go up the bahay na bato and found some vacationers there putting on the lawn carpeted with Bermuda grass. As provincianos, we were fascinated by that strange rich man’s game, golf.

I haven’t seen that house for a long time after the death of the last owner, one Joseph Espiritu. It’s just that I feel a sense of loss because of the seeming indifference of the local officials in preserving the once imposing manor, truly a symbol of authority of the bygone days visited by important people and therefore a vital part of our history. The house is now in an advance state of disrepair having withstood one tropical storm after another.

Two of my father’s siblings, Dr. Ceferina Ruiz Pulgar and Phil Pulgar are in the US. She’s in San Diego and he’s in Staten Island in New York. Both are active in Calauagenians, a civic organization that sponsors scholarships and philanthropic activities in the town. When Phil Pulgar was its President, the group spruced up the Church, and later erected a lighthouse in Sea Turtle (Pawikan or Kala) design at the end of the Calauag port.

Your grand father Don Tomas constructed the durable sea wall of Calauag, the Morato canal (an engineering genius), and the municipal water tank that all exist to date.  His name and that of our grand father’s were etched on the marker circa 1927. In olden times, you can see that public projects then last for generations. Government officials of the past do not short-change their constituents. And we owe much to your grandfather.

In the 60s we were Beatles fanatics like you. Maybe you’ve heard the group Orchids, a gang of hippies in the 60s in Calauag. Last August 19 it celebrated its 40th anniversary. I became a member of the gang in 1968.

We relied on the old Avegon transistor radios for the latest on Beatles. And for parties, the old reliable turn table. My father did not allow me to sport the Beatle hair though. I donned the crewcut look until high school. When I entered college, still the ROTC spoiled my mop hair. When I finished the mandatory ROTC I went home with a vengeance. But, my father, whenever he’d see me on sem breaks in Calauag, would make a sign of the cross because I looked like Jesus Christ Superstar! Caloy, being a nerd that he was, was not a Beatle fan. He had his chessboard and technical books with him.

Maybe if you are here in ‘Pinas on vacation, you can give me a call and let’s relive the good ol’times of our childhood.

Nice to hear from a Kababayan.

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