Sangil: The birth of Angeles City

WAS there any kind of celebration last December 8, the foundation day of Angeles City, if I am not mistaken. Maybe I don’t get enough information from the Angeles City tourism office. I repeat, was there any kind of celebration Mr. John Montances last December 8? Maybe there was but not as grand compared to the December 11 Pampanga day. We just need a response from the Angeles City government. As a matter of fact, each year Pampanga day celebration is month long. Trade and agricultural fairs, brass bands, various shows, etc. etc. and capped by the Most Outstanding Kapampangan Award (MOKA). Another day I think January 1 is also another fitting day to celebrate the transition of Angeles from a town to a city. Why you may ask.

Retro: It was 1964 and life seems so easy. Months before the turn of the year, an outstanding member of the House of Representatives, the Honorable Juanita Lumanlan Nepomuceno was on a sponsorship speech for the chartering of Angeles town into a city. After the approval of both houses, the charter bill became a law. It crossed the treshold of a township. Lawyer Rafael Sicangco Del Rosario became the last town mayor and became the first city mayor.

I may not have the best of recollections of Angeles town but what I remember most was there was Iniang's Place, a small restaurant near the police headquarter and served ' jambalay', a real treat which cost fifty centavos. Across the street was Plaza Cafe, a watering hole for lotharios courting young maidens behind the counter while Jo Stafford's hit No Other Love was playing on the jukebox. Dainty restaurant was the most popular Chinese restaurant, and Chew Chi's was serving American dishes, and Rotary Club of Angeles was chartered with Germomin Nepomuceno as its first president. They held their regular meeting at Chew Chi's.

It was only the Paraiso theater of the Hensons that showed tagalog movies, while Marte and Devry theaters screened Hollywood movies. Orchestra tickets were priced at 25 centavos.

C.B. Lacson, Nicson and H.P. Caingat were the known fashion and tailor shops. There were no SM and Robinsons malls yet, but near the railroad track was Marimar Shopping center which sells Post Exchanges (PX) items mostly sourced from nearby Clark Air Force Base. Nepo Mart came later.

Brookside swimming pool of the Tayags was a real treat for young kids who took swimming lessons. Competitions came later when Paradise Swimming Park of the Nepomucenos and The Del Rosario Swimming Pools of Atty.Conrado Del Rosario were established. The town was a magnet for job seekers. Thousands were able to find employment at the nearby Clark. The town population grew at much faster rate. It became a melting pot. Not only the town was an attraction to job hunters but to business people as well. Big night clubs like Paulines, Rorecel and the Sands were owned and operated by non-residents.

The first housing subdivision was Marisol Village, an idle land owned by the Valdez family and developed by Maria Soledad Dolor of Batangas. It was tenanted by American serivicemen and their families. Came next was Diamond Subdivision. The Tinio owned property was developed by Severina Lim Realty Company and the initial price offering was one peso per square meter. It was offered to public school teachers, but there were less takers.

Angeles businessmen of those years met regularly at a tennis court at the back of Clemendez elementary school in Barrio Pulungbulo. The Tablantes built housing units and started constructing more movie houses. The Naguiats made a bundle in their taxi operation inside Clark. The Sandicos established a pharmaceutical company. Trinidad Lazatin was in sugar business. Dodong Tinio was operating a lumberyard. Dr. Jose Pelayo had a very lucrative practice. And the same for Dr. Maximo Lagman.

One there was already a celebration regarding the transition. I just can’t remember was the mayor then. The Angeles City government celebrated with much pomp “Ing pangabait na ning siyudad ning Angeles” (The birth of Angeles City). Too bad not too many people including those now holding the reins of government don’t have a keen sense of history.


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