Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rizal Beach

Except for the sprinkling of muted colors, the pictures might have been taken in sepia.  This is actually Rizal Beach on a hovering-between-rainy-and-sunny day.  A little chilly, perhaps. And some kind of gloomy.  But to us beachlovers, the beach beckons rain, shine or in-between.

The tide was out when we got there.  The sand stretched on and on, and it was quite a walk to the water's edge.  On this particular day, Rizal's almost even terrain was evident; the sand was almost silky.  It was too cold for a swim, but the kids did manage to get themselves wet.

Beaches, after all, are for bathing. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012


My earliest memory of the building at the corner of Rizal and De Vera Streets, fronting the old Velasco Restaurant, was Loida Theater.  I remember double features, The Sound of Music and Burlesk Queen.

And then it became a bowling alley and then the Kadiwa Store of the Marcos Days.  The DBP was there, too, if I remember right.

It might have had a string of occupants after the bank but I was too far away to notice.  The fact that I was home only during the Holidays and Holy Week was not good for my memory, either.  Suffice it to say that when I decided to come home for good, it was already Robertson.

At the time, it was the biggest grocery and department store in the city.  D' Best and Sampaguita were soon forgotten, and Robertson became the shopping haven hereabouts.

Alas, Robertson's days will soon be over.  Already there's a big sale on the second floor.  The owner, reports say, sold out to PureGold in a classic case of big fish eats small fry.  Come to think of it, Sorsogon City is turning into a mini franchise haven of sorts.

Oh well, the price we have to pay for development.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Sorsogon, it seems, is turning into a concrete jungle. Don't look now, but there's an overpass spanning the chokepoint where the National High and the State College are.  There's also one in the Pilot School campus--from the main building to the row of Pierside classrooms.  And there's still another along the Maharlika Highway, near Rizal High School.

In due time, perhaps, that old joke about an overpass spanning Hollywood and Bayanihan might just be no laughing matter.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ocho Pesos

A highschooler, obviously gay, walks into the town's only record bar.  "How much?" he motions to a 45.  The saleslady tells him the price.

"Ocho pesos?" he shrieks, aghast, perhaps, at the huge dent "My Sharona" would make on his 50-centavo a day allowance.  Nevertheless, he reluctantly forks over his hard-earned moolah and skips happily away from the record bar and into the annals of (Sorsogon) history.

As you might have guessed, this happened decades ago, in the age of vinyl and "My Sharona."  Of Guevarra Pension House and Disco, too.  And Lanie's Commercial, Pakewela-Kwela sa DZMS and Search for Superwheel Singing Star.  To this day, though, there are still those who shamelessly call gays "ocho pesos."

The highschooler certainly made his/her mark.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

That Sorsoganon Sense of Humor

Up until my sister pointed it out, I never realized that we Sorsoganons have this peculiar tendency to state the not so obvious.  A large crowd approaches, and we would say "diyot!" "Saday" is used to refer to the exact opposite: to someone who is not exactly petite.  Say that with a feigned sense of incredulity accompanied by a clucking of the tongue or a shaking of the head, and you have the Sorsoganon sense of humor.  Or sarcasm, for that matter.

There's also this thing with name calling.  Entire families are lumped into a particular "bansag."  Thus we have the Carabaos, the Kalaws, the Carpas, the Camotes, the Paknits and the Lawlaws.  It doesn't matter if the person-thing association happened ages ago to an obscure relative: the bansag is an invisible brand whose potency outlives last wills and testaments. 

Of smaller scale, and not quite as "historical" are nicknames that are noneheless equally unforgettable.  There are Dingdong and "Durbell," who might as well be the sons of Potpot. There's Wantoo, Baby Number 12 in the family.  And there's Kuramog, who surreptitiously did number two behind the cogon, not knowing that there were witnesses who lived to tell the stinky tale.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


While Frosty and his fellow snowmen (and women?) took their posts on the center island, parols in various shades and sizes occupied the second floor of the city hall.  There they glittered and shone, proof that ingenuity is alive and well in these parts.

Of course we had to be admonished not to touch them.  Otherwise, everyone would have literally reached for the stars.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I love old houses.  In this day and age of concrete and linoleum, nothing quite captures the charm of a bygone era as wooden structures.

One look at this house, and I am transported to the days of my grandfather.  For 43 years, the house had been hidden from view, its stories known only by those who lived there. 

The house won't probably be here for long.  Already, it shows signs of abandonment.  It, too, looks lost in the midst of development.  Still and all, it tells the story of the Sorsogon of decades ago.  The Sorsogon of my childhood.