MY HOMETOWN -- I remember I was in high school in St. Catherine Academy when I was overjoyed seeing in print an article I wrote about Porac, my hometown. I can only smile when remembering the adjective, 'lethargic' which I used in one of the sentences in the description of the town. The adjective though fits the town like a T in those years.

But not today since the Ayalas are putting a mixed used community in Hacienda Dolores, and an expected migration of Metro Manilans may relocate after the ominous signs that the West Valley Fault may make its movement and a big portion the metropolis will be affected. And that's according to Rene Solidum, the country's chief volcanologist.

Looking back, in the mid-fifties there were only few people then, and not a single industry or a manufacturing company in the town. Both sides of the nine kilometer road stretch from Porac to Angeles were almost planted to sugar cane, the basic produce.

In a book written by my friend Ed Sibug, he mentioned that in 1936, Warner, Barnes & Company Ltd, an American enterprise operated a 24 hour-a-day factory on a 400-hectare farm in Hacienda Ramona (Dolores) and it closed for good even before the war erupted in the early forty’s due to stiff competition. And also due to the prevailing peace and order condition at that time.

HACIENDA DOLORES -- My late mother said that during the Japanese occupation, her family evacuated to Sabanilla, a sitio of Hacienda Dolores which in those years was a place so secluded and can only be reached by foot. And that a large hectarage was owned by his father, Ceferino Lumanlan from whom my cousin Ceferino aka Nonong was named. Ceferino's brother Alberto and her sister Ceasaria were also owners of large tracts.

In the documents shared to me by a Nards Angeles, a cabalen, showed that the biggest landowner holding a title to more than 2,000 hectares were the spouse Don Gregorio and Maria Macapinlac. But later sold to their nephew, Jose C. Macapinlac. And in 1932 it changed hand again, and this time a millionaire from Jaro, Iloilo Don Francisco Rapide and Maria Lopez Saenz acquired the property. The Jaro Don appointed the brothers Jesus and Tomas Lopez Saenz as supervisor and administrator respectively.

Over the years, the land changed to several hands. The sisters Enriqueta Michel Champourcin and Maria Michel who married a Hidalgo for a time owned the land but the latter mortgaged it for one million pesos to the Overseas Bank of Manila. Somehow in between the ownership was lost. Not much mentioned in the documents.

THE PUYATS -- One of the respected politicians in the sixties was Senator Gil J. Puyat. He comes from a family of traders in the town of Guagua. The Hacienda Dolores land somehow found its way to the vault of Manila Bank Corporation where it was foreclosed and bought by the Senator Puyat's famiy.

In turn the land was tended by lessees. From Maria Guanzon Chingcuangco to San Miguel Brewery to Lazatin, Ayson and Unson group and to the Bacolor Mayor Emerito De Jesus. But in all the ventures dedicated to the Hacienda Dolores, all of them failed.

It is said in whispers among the barrio folks that a bad spell was cast in the land because the original acquisition was through deceit. And besides the statue of the Virgin Mary 'Apo Dolores' which was cast in gold and carried a value of more than a million pesos was taken by a thief and replaced it with a wooden cross. And it is the belief that until and unless the statue will be back on the altar of the church, the spell remain.

I wish the Ayalas luck.