“Thanks! But no thanks!” That is how I feel about the drainage improvement, reblocking and repaving of Balete Drive from Aurora Boulevard to E. Rodriguez Avenue in Baranggay Mariana, Quezon City. The way it was done is almost the perfect model of how such a project should be done on an important alternative route to EDSA to the East and to Gregorio Araneta Avenue to the West. Gregorio Araneta Ave. or C 3 is the base of a triangle formed with Aurora and E. Rodriquez (formerly Espana Extension.) as the legs that meet at Cubao just short of the intersection of Aurora and EDSA (formerly Highway 54).
We received a written notice from our Baranggay Chairman, Regina Celeste “Bong” C. San Miguel dated March 25, 2014, warning us residents that the following side streets would not be accessible from Balete Dr. for a period of one week during the month of April: 3rd Street, Dama de Noche, Bouganvilla and Sampaguita Streets.
The first sign of work was the raising of all the water pipe manholes (Manila Water) by about two inches. Next, came the drilling of the cement paving in the areas that were to be re blocked. My only negative observation in this age of weekend long re blockings, was that a week was allowed to pass between the drilling and the tearing up of the cement paving prior to the re cementing by blocks (I suppose that is what is meant by re blocking.).
Meanwhile, the drainage was dug up and redone in a few parts of Balete Dr., mainly in the short stretch from 3rd Street to Aurora. Unlike the EDSA re blocking that was supposed to be done “One Time, Big and Fast Time” during the Holy Week holidays (giving rise to the package deal “Bisita Iglesia cum Stations of the Cross”, the latter being the EDSA traffic one had to endure to go around the seven Churches.), Balete Dr. was finished with a new thick coat of asphalt overlay over the old cement paving by early Holy Week, Holy Monday, I believe.
I don’t know who was responsible for our Balete Dr. project – Quezon City or the National Government’s DPWH? I don’t know who was responsible for planning and implementing the project with such a high level of professionalism – the DPWH, the City or the Baranggay? The reason why I include our Baranggay Government as the possible author of such a good example is what I learned when I last attended our Baranggay Assembly several years ago.
At that time, theManila Water was digging up Dona Magdalena Hemady Avenue (a parallel North – South street between Balete and Gilmore Avenue.). Usually, when the utility companies dig up a street they just dig as wide as their drainage or water pipes require to be able to be put in place. Then, they just replaced the foundation and paving on top of the pipe, and not always in uniformity with the untouched portions of the street.
At that time, our Baranggay Council was requiring Manila Water to replace the disturbed foundation and paving block by block. Manila Water was crying “Ouch!” in the pocketbook and asked for the assistance and intervention of the then City Mayor, now Speaker Francisco “Sonny” Belmonte.
Look around the Metropolis and you will see many streets where the surface is uneven because of either the utility diggings or the repaving that has not taken account of the height of existing manhole covers. The latter results in a series of holes in perfect alignment in an otherwise new and perfect asphalt overlay (The thicker the new asphalt, the deeper the hole.).
That was the “Thanks!” to whoever – National, City or Baranggay, was responsible portion. Now, the “But No Thanks!”
My parents transferred from Santol Street at the boundary of Manila and Quezon City to our home on Balete Dr., between Campanilla and Sampaguita Streets, Rosario Heights, Cubao, Q. C. in 1941. I grew up here. I lived here since 1948 except 1974 – 1975 and 1978 – 1981. I still remember the time in the 50’s when the area bounded by Balete and Dona M. Hemady still had rice paddies. The entire block across from us on Balete was vacant except for Talahib grass and burned every summer. The main roads, Balete, Hemady, Gilmore, Broadway (now Dona Juana Rodriquez Avenue) and Victoria Avenues were asphalted. However, all the side streets were merely gravel roads.
The White Lady of Balete Drive (Garchitorena y Recto) lived at Balete, Bouganvilla and Hibiscus Streets. She haunted Balete Dr. and became the best known Ghost in the Philippines well ahead of the White Lady of Loakan in Baguio City.
There was a time when we had a Quorum of the Senate living in our community now better known as New Manila. Our Barrio was organized under the leadership of an American neighbour – Mrs. Mariana Wilkinson. The first election was held at our house when the QCPD still used Volkswagen Beetles as Mobile Units and Patrol Cars.
Gradually, progress caught up with our community, as well as with the White Lady. The main streets were cemented. The side streets were asphalted. The empty lots were filled with houses. Then, our Baranggay became a favourite for Townhouse Developers. Land values went up. Real Estate taxes went up too.
Local governments got their ERA share of National Taxes. Baranggays got their share too. They had so much money that they paved and repaved roads and streets that were good enough as residential roads. When I met Mayor Belmonte more than ten years ago at our Thursday Club at Annabel’s on Morato, I thanked him for repaving our street – Campanilla. However, I suggested that, we should have saved the money and used it for building bridges across the Diliman Creek and the San Juan/San Francisco River to decongest the few streets that do cross these water obstacles.
He agreed and informed me that that was his priority. Our road, transport and traffic planners complain that our roads are finite and limited but that the number of vehicles keeps on increasing. According to them expropriation of land and the relocation of occupants for the building of new roads is expensive and tedious. However, we have so many roads that are only partially usable because they are dead end streets due to creeks and rivers that traverse or block them.
Very little expropriation and relocation is required to turn a dead end road into a more useful alternate route to decongest the existing neighborhood thoroughfares. The cost of a small bridge is relatively small in this age of flyovers and underpasses. Some examples of these strategies are the following bridges across the Pasig River: Makati – Mandaluyong, Pandacan and Rockwell.
On the local level in Quezon City we have the example of the following bridges across the Diliman Creek: East of EDSA, we have the Kalayaan Ave/K – J/Miami and K – H/Cambridge bridges. West of EDSA, we only had the Morato Ave bridge in the 40’s. To this were added the bridges on Scout Jimenez Street (formerly Leyte Street) and T. Gener (formerly K – B Street) and the Roxas bridge behind the St. Luke’s Medical Center (QC).
by Ronald Roy
SURPRISINGLY, the Filipino spirit has remained high after 2013 ended with record highs in crime, corrupt practices and natural calamities. Does this demonstrate that we are the most resilient people in the entire planet? Or does it portend a caveat from Mme. De Maintenon who said: “Hope says to us constantly, ‘Go on, go on’ and leads us to the grave”? Where has public outrage gone?!
Is it to our God-will-provide religiosity that this outstanding trait of Hope is ascribed, along with the oft-pontificated virtue of Forgiveness? Indeed, was it the spirit of Forgiveness, if not political posturing, that accounted for the recent visits to the ailing heinous-crime detainee Gloria Macapagal Arroyo by some high-profile clerical and political leaders?
Ang mga bumabagang balita, via the daily papers and radio-TV reportage, say it all and, by all indications, the ongoing upsurge of graft and criminality shall remain unabated. You cannot step out of your house without feeling you could get mugged, which is not to say that you feel fairly secure at home with nary a worry over a break-in or an “inside job” of sorts.
Yes, even your most trusted domestic helper is now suspect. Mainly because his pay is buying less, and he now has more to support in a growing family, period. And again, this is not to say that you are comfortable with the rigidities of the Kasambahay Law, the passage of which was most likely motivated by politicians’ ploy to curry favor with the vote-rich poor. You feel cheated, and rightly so.
Despotic QC Politicians
I live in New Manila, Quezon City and I share an utter outrage with my neighbors. New Manila might have been the “Forbes Park” of the 40s, 50s and 60s, but not anymore. It is not a “gated community”, and neither can it pretend to compare with any in those more affluent cities. Save perhaps for a sparse 15% handful in terms of social standing, the rest in New Manila are a mix of middle and lower middle-class families.
Even the richest amongst us are aghast at the “very injustice of it all” — a phrase often used in our coffee-shop tête-a-têtes. It’s even not a question of whether we’re rich or not, but whether we’re willing, symbolically speaking, to spend twenty pesos for one half-rotten medium-sized calamansi, or to be “taken for a ride”. What an outrageous rip-off!
The thing is: the city’s imposition of realty tax hikes was arbitrary. At its public hearings, the City Council ran roughshod over the hallowed guarantee of due process by totally ignoring the overwhelming well-argued opposition of residents. Three years ago, QC homeowners were imposed “social housing taxes” in order to help re-settle outsiders squatting on their lots. Today, the squatting families are still there, and the lot owners who cannot use their lots continue to bear increasing tax burdens thereon with no relief in sight. So, where has all the money gone?! Aha… there’s the rub! I don’t wish to give a cynical answer, except that—I have long considered QC officials to be corrupt. Until lately, they had their own pork barrel racket. Hmmm… maybe they still do. Anyway, “ghost employees”– two councilmen have pending cases which the courts are taking an eternity to terminate — “flying voters”, kickbacks and other anomalies are their bread and butter.
And to add to the residents’ discomforts, the service is bad. Cops are losing the war against robbers because the robbers are cops. Kickback schemes pave the way for roads and avenues being built so substandard that they undergo constant repairs. Prostitution and trafficking of prohibited drugs are on the rise. Ad nauseam! And the city continues to brag it’s the richest city in the country!!!
Oops, incidentally, there’s a new QC ordinance imposing on every homeowner a hefty garbage fee to fund the city’s—take a deep breath—reforestation program!! Huh?! Mayor Bautista, Hinde kami tanga!! Why could you not answer when asked to explain the program?! Hmmm…methinks what should take place soonest is an honest-to-goodness comprehensive audit of the financial records of the city government, as well those of QC Mayor Herbert Bautista, during all the long years he has been in office.
A New Year’s Bad Start
After the rambunctious celebration, we woke up to greet the dawn of a new year with resurgent hopes for good health, prosperity, peace, price rollbacks, diminished road rages and scams, and all that, but doggone it, we have had nothing but bad news since January 1!
Wreaking havoc is news that the newly constructed housing units for Supertyphoon Yolanda’s victims are overpriced, substandard and unlivable. Heartless and callous!! The role of rehab czar Ping Lacson here is merely coordinative, but we cannot discount his legendary savvy in the unique neutralization of felonious culprits in our jurisdiction. Go for it, Ping!
Explosive is a looming constitutional crisis between the Supreme Court and the Lower House which are headed on a collision course. With push coming to shove, the solons’ superior impeachment tool can however be blunted by the sovereign people and the Church coming together to support the Court, along with, if imperative, military backup.
(http://musingsbyroy.wordpress.com | 09186449517 | @ronald8roy | #musingsbyroy)
LYDIA’S Lechon is a household name here in the Philippines, But not many people know that its entrepreneur Lydia de Roca started her business by selling lechon in a small stall in Baclaran market.
In the late 60s, the family-owned lechon store—known as “Mang Turing and Aling Ingga’s Native Lechon”, was doing good business with a modest store located at the Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Baclaran. Lydia, helped out in the said store.
In 1969, after some courtship, Benigno de Roca (a son of another lechon business owner) and Lydia got married. The happy couple had a joyous occasion after their wedding and with PhP500 started their own lechon busiess–Lydia’s Lechon. In a television interview, Lydia related how she used to go with her father, who was a butcher, and how she started selling lechon in Baclaran at the age of 12. “Ito ang naituro sa akin ng tatay ko noong araw, hanggang sa nagtinda ako ng lechon. Twelve years old ako sa bangketa ng Baclaran,” she said. “Yung P500 na yon binibigay ko na sa tatay ko. Pinambili ko na ng baboy niya… Marami yun, P20 lang nun ang baboy eh,” she said. Aside from pigs, she used the money to buy charcoal and sauce for the lechon.
At that time, Benigno was a jeepney and bus driver, so they had to work hard to support their children. “Mahirap ang buhay namin. Pero nagtiyaga kami talaga. Pinagsumikapan namin… Naranasan ko pa yung bahay na nakatuntong sa ilog… Yun ang unang-unang inupahan ko, diyan sa may Tambo sa Paranaque, P35 ang upa sa isang buwan,” she said. Customer’s would flock to Lydia’s Lechon to sample the good food sold there. A big break for the couple’s business came along when one day when executives from the Hyatt Regency Hotel came along to buy some Lydia’s Lechon specialties. From that simple visit came daily lechon orders from the hotel.
“Maski nga di ko kinakaya kinakaya ko eh. Hindi pwedeng mahina ang loob mo. Sasabihin mo, ay ano kaya ang gagawin ko? Tatanggapin ko kaya? Mahirap kaya ito? Kaya ko kaya ito? Ako palaging yes,” she said.
The fame and praise for Lydia’s Lechon spread by word of mouth to many prospective clients, including other hotels and restaurants, and food caterers.
In the 1970′s, the Lydia’s Lechon boneless with paella recipe got the first prize in a competition for local chefs and it soon became one of the specialties of restaurant. It was a boost for the de Roca couple’s business.
After selling lechon from the market for 22 years, de Roca finally opened a restaurant–with a single table–along Roxas Boulevard in 1986.
“Talagang restaurant ang target ko. Kaya lang wala akong kapital pa eh. Hindi ko rin magagawang restaurant. Pero trying hard ako na maging restaurant, kaya naglagay ako ng isang lamesa at isang silya,” she recounted. Soon customers started coming to her restaurant and one of her frequent customers was mall tycoon Henry Sy, Sr., who always had lunch there on Sundays. “Nagkakwentuhan kami tapos meron daw siyang SM Food Court baka raw gusto kong magtayo ng ano… Sabi ko, oho gusto ko,” she said.
In April of 1989 the first branch of Lydia’s Lechon outside of the southern part of Metro Manila , in Timog Avenue, Quezon City was established. This was followed by other stores on the eastern part of the Metro. From there, fast food outlets of Lydia’s Lechon mushroomed within the popular malls of the metropolis. Although originally intended to be a close family corporation, the first franchise of Lydia’s Lechon was sold in 2005 for a fast food and retail outlet at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. Today, they are known as the biggest chain of lechon outlets in the country. Presently, there are 21 branches of Lydia’s Lechon located in the Greater Manila area and Cavite.
Now, Lydia’s Lechon has some 15 branches in SM Food Courts, which account for some Php30,000 in daily sales.
The couple is now the proud owner of a 1,500 square-meter property in Baclaran, with a mansion and several luxury cars. It also houses the restaurant’s commissary and roasting area.
The De Roca couple also have their own piggery in an 8-hectare property in Malvar, Batangas where they raise 800-1,000 pigs.
In 2011, De Roca was awarded by Go Negosyo as one of the most outstanding women entrepreneurs of the Philippines.
Despite her success, De Roca remains humble and thankful that her four children—who have all graduated from college—are not spoiled and have helped the business flourish.
“Seven years old pa lang sila dinadala ko sila sa bangketa, kaya ang pangaral ko sa kanila eh sinusunod naman nila ngayon,” she said.
Up to now, De Roca still wields a knife and deftly chops up a lechon at the restaurant.
“Dito nag-simula ang swerte ko sa buhay. Kung sa tingin mo di ako marunong mag-tadtad ng lechon, umasenso kaya ako,” she said.
The smallest lechon sells for PhP6,500, and the capital for each one is in the neighborhood of PhP3,000. Lydia’s Lechon is also famous for its signature sauce made using a special recipe, de Roca said, noting this is still something none of her employees know about. Lydia has kept her lechon naturally simple but with no short cuts. It’s slowly cooked for two hours over charcoal and flavored only with tanglad, pandan, and murang sibuyas.
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by Salvador Panelo
RECENTLY, the country’s attention was riveted on a spate of celebrity couples’ published marital conflicts, three of which involve showbiz and sports personalities that culminated in the filing of cases in court – while the third, a former beauty queen married to a politician, most likely will end in a court room drama.
How could fairly tale romances culminating in grand weddings terminate in an emotion-drained court battles over the custody of children – and accusations of physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse?
Why should dashing suitors, becoming romantic lovers and grooms, turn into philandering cheats, psychological and sexual abusers – and financially tightwad monsters? Or expose themselves as closeted gays whose sexual preference is their own gender?
Why would loving, caring and faithful wives seek the comfort and solace of other men, outside of their husbands? But why not? If the husbands, in addition to failing to perform or understanding his marital obligations – would rather enjoy the sexuality of younger women – or in the case of gay husbands, would rather spend his time flirting and cavorting with men, why not?
There must be some explanations, and answers to the questions we pose. But I guess, while the psychologists and psychiatrists have their scientific analysis on the whys and wherefores of marriages on the rocks, the root of these marital problems is traceable to the failure of both the spouses in not knowing and understanding exactly their role in the marriage – and in most cases, the man does not know how to manage his time, the balance between the time he spends at work and the hours he uses at home, and in addition, the time he spends with his friends – as well as one night stands with his girlfriends – or ‘every night stand’ with his other female friends.
This is not to say that the wife can escape blame for the failure of the marital bond. A wife who does not assert her rights as a person in the face of incipient abuse from the husband contributes to the growth and the regularity of the abuse. A wife who ignores the tell-tale signs of a budding philandering husband encourages the man to go full blast with his errant ways. A wife who allows herself to be battered physically emboldens the husband to become a certified wife beater.
In the case of a popular TV host and commercial endorser, who married a sports celebrity, in getting a protection order from the court, she claimed that there was an attempt to sexually assault her in front of their son. On television, the sports celebrity fearfully denied the assault – and explained that he was merely playfully pretending to kiss his wife in the presence of their son. Given the exaggeration of the flamboyant character that his celebrity wife is known for – and considering the humble origins and the mild-mannered demeanor of the basketball star, it is puzzling why the court granted the protection order.
Regarding the movie actress, whose siblings are also in showbiz – and like her, are mired in controversies, in seeking redress in court for the issuance of a protective order from the court, she claims that she was physically beaten by the movie actor husband – who incidentally is not known for being a brute or a brawler. Rather he is known as a soft-spoken and good mannered man.
On the other hand, another beautiful and sexy movie star filed a criminal complaint against her multi-awarded movie actor husband for alleged physical abuse and rape. Yes, a wife can file a criminal complaint for rape against a husband. The actress charged the actor with violation of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Law before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City.
The actress claims that the actor barged into her house in Quezon City, on May 12, 2013, while she was alone – attacked her, employed physical harm, and raped her! The showbiz celebrity couple have filed an annulment for their marriage. They have been living separately since their publicized split-up some months prior. In her complaint, the actress claims that her husband’s “foregoing and other series of philandering and womanizing ways” have shattered their twelve years of marriage.
The actress said that she and her children were forced to leave their conjugal home last February of this year.
The actress moreover claims that she and her children have been deprived by the actor-husband of support, shelter and means of transportation. She has also accused her husband of harassing her, of threatening her with physical harm, obscene accusations and grave defamations. She charged that her husband “deceitfully” took custody of their children on July 29, 2013, and refused to return them to her – and she has been since then denied rightful custody and access to her children.
The movie actress filed a separate petition for a temporary protection order against the actor-husband.
Meanwhile, a former beauty queen, a Binibining Pilipinas title-holder and candidate to the Miss Universe Contest, an active social worker and business entrepreneur and married to a legislator, went public five weeks ago – and announced that she was seriously contemplating of filing charges of psychological and economic abuse against her husband, apart from instituting a petition to annul her marriage to the lawmaker.
We recall that in October of last year, the former beauty queen stated in a press conference in her hometown that she filed a church annulment of her marriage against the husband. The lawmaker-husband issued a statement in May last year confirming the separation from his wife after 12 years of being together as husband and wife, and that they have been living separately since November 2011.
Text to: 0918-862- 7777
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