By Rene Calalang
July 6, 2016
NEXT PLACE to visit was the house of Alberta Uitangcoy Santos, now a dedicated museum to the Twenty Women of Malolos.
Inside the house/museum were the pictures of the fifteen of the Twenty Women of Malolos. Also inside the house were some antique, solid wood furniture like bed and china cabinets with plates, cups and other Chinas on display - an indication of what the rich Filipinos were using during the Spanish time, which was a complete contrast to what the poor Indios living on the barrios were using.
Again to better explain their role in history, let me quote some sections of the article I wrote “Home Away from Home” part 5.
And I quote: “It is worth having a glimpse on the life of these women, all of which were members of the prominent Chinese Mestiso families, who they were, and what were their contribution to history.
In a time when Filipinos, notably the natives and Chinese mestizos were discouraged to learn Spanish, as the hated friars who were given the responsibility to supervise education in the Philippines by an 1863 decree, would like to keep them in the dark. Knowledge of the Spanish language, the friars feared, would make the Filipinos understood political issues and would expose them to liberal ideas happening in Europe. Thus, proficiency of the Spanish language by the Filipinos would pose as a threat to them.
This was the situation in Malolos during that time. Thus, requesting a permit to build a school, even at their own expense, to learn Spanish was seen as a courageous act and an act of heroism.
OUR NEXT stop was supposed to be famous José Bautista House, built before the 1850s and renovated in 1877. This house was visited by Dr. Jose Rizal when he visited Malolos, and it was also here where Dr. Jose Rizal and Marcelo H. del Pilar spoke to the 20 brave Women 0f Malolos.
For me visiting the Jose Bautista House would be very interesting as this house signifies the lifestyle of a rich and powerful man. His name, up to the present, is a household name in Malolos.
But we were out of luck as our contact person did not show up.
We then were supposed to visit the Malolos Cathedral and the adjoining convent (made into a minor basilica by Pope John Paul II on 1999), and was the seat of the Aguinaldo government.
But it was getting close to noon time, and as usual, our very generous classmate Tess V, invited us to her place and a lunch at Max’s restaurant in Pulilan.
It was a very good lunch - too good that, after it was over, majority of us just wanted to go back to the hotel and rest – in preparation of the big night.
On the way back to the hotel, we passed by the new MHPHS National High School.
We then went back to the hotel, had a nap and the much needed rest.
THE BIG night had come. It was dance time with a live band providing the music. It was for others to show their moves again; while for some, it was to show their vast improvements in the art of dancing, as if to show others that in dancing, just like in any other art, all it takes is practice and there is no limit in learning.
To make the night more memorable, Tess V, hired and brought two D.I.’s to lead us into the art of line dancing.
And so there we were, dancing to the music of our generation: the cha cha, the rumba, the jive, the rock n roll, the twist and some other non traditional dance like the mash potato, the bye bye, the maski pops (English meaning: any move will suffice)…etc.
And with the two D.I.’s leading us, we danced the simple line dance like the slash…etc.
Most of the time, the dancing area was full, with everybody having a good time.
To motivate us even more, there was also an exhibition of ballroom dancing performed by our good friends, Marc and Peny C. Oh how nice to see them made the moves others could only dream of.
As an added entertainment, during pauses in dancing, there was a vocal rendition of oldie songs by Matilde N, which brought back some vivid memories of the songs of our generation. And how touched we were, as they were songs with themes and beautiful lyrics.
Dinner dance ended with everybody standing up close to each other, holding hands and singing “AULD LANG SYNE.” Oh how emotional we were because we knew that to some, it would be a long, long time, if ever, before we would see each other again.
AT THE END, it was a very good reunion, made even more beautiful by no mentioning of Who’s Who? No showing off of their successful career; no showing off of pictures of their big and beautiful homes; no showing off of pictures of the beautiful places they visited whether it be the palaces and museums of Europe, the beaches of the Caribbean and the Philippines and the five star hotel they stayed; no flashing of hands whether it be intentional or non intentional to show off the expensive Rolex watches and the diamond studded rings.
And if there was bragging, it was about pride and about the children, of how successful they are, both as a citizen and in their career, courtesy of the upbringing of conservative parents, who belong to a conservative generation, grew up in a conservative town named Malolos and attended a then conservative school named MHPHS. Ah, those were the days.
But we were even prouder of our grandchildren, of how cute, beautiful and intelligent they are. And how, at their tender age, know more than their grandparents in computer technology.
In this reunion, even the richest and the most beautiful (and there were a few of them) were humble, perhaps they wanted to make others feel comfortable as if telling them that Yes, I maybe rich and beautiful, but I am just one of you guys, a member of Class ’64.
NEGATIVE COMMENTS, I had a few.
One was our doctor classmates, and we have a few of them, were nowhere to be found. One of them was a close friend of mine when we were in high school. The reason, I was told was: she attended a doctor’s seminar in Manila.
I was not sure if it was a yearly or once in a lifetime conference.
If it was a yearly conference, then, in my opinion, she should had attended our golden anniversary, because like what I told our classmates living abroad, it was a “once in a lifetime event,” and when it’s gone, like the water from a river flowing into the mighty sea, it was gone forever. Hey, this was only my opinion.
Also missing were a few who rose to the top of the corporate world and live in the Ivory Tower, one of which is the Vice President of Manufacturing (Philippine Plant) of the biggest car manufacturer in the world. But knowing this man, I was very sure that there was an unavoidable reason, for he is, as far as I know, a very humble and down to earth man. Unless success had changed him. But I don’t think so.
I also missed others who did not attend because they thought they did not accomplish much to attend, as if this reunion was a competition. For me, this was a shallow excuse, hence, if I were on their shoes, there was no way I would miss this reunion.
Also, I did not see others who knew about the reunion, but decided not to attend because they were not officially notified. Again, if I were on their shoes, I would attend even without a formal notification, as because of the amount of work involved, even if there were many volunteers, there would always be some lapses.
I would had preferred original music (even if they were played on CD’s) by Elvis Presley, Connie Francis, Patti Page, Pat Boone, Brenda Lee, The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Everly Brothers, Chubby Checker and other artists/singers of our generation.
But deep in my heart, and I was sure a few others too, would had preferred the occasional playing of some of our beautiful Kundiman Songs by some of our local singers/artists like Ruben Tagalog, Larry Miranda, Cenon Lagman…etc. This might sound corny to others, but hey, this was how I felt.
For me, there was nothing better than to dance the rock and roll from the music of Elvis Presley; the twist from the music of Chubby Checker; the bye bye from the music of the Beatles; the sweet, slow dance from the music of Cliff Richard, Everly Brothers, Connie Francis, Patti Page, Brenda Lee, our Kundiman Singers…etc. Ah, these would have brought back some vivid memories.
Hey, again, these were only my opinions.
AT THE END, after everything had been said and done, this reunion, from beginning to end, was truly golden.
Truly meeting the long-cherished desire of recognizing purposefully the "remarkable achievements of Filipino Canadians across Canada", the 1st Golden Balangay Awards was significantly launched on March 18, 2017 at the Edward Village Hotel in North York, Toronto. Thus, the first nationwide search for outstanding Filipinos in Canada is now underway !
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