Sangil: Spotlight on Vilma Caluag

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I LOVE sipping brewed coffee not only in the morning but also on afternoons on coffee shops where all national dailies are on the rack.

Last Saturday afternoon I was just about to leave the coffee shop in one of those malls in the City of San Fernando when, viola, here comes former Barangay Captain Melchor Caluag with several village officials in tow. My chance came suddenly to get a feel of the political situation of the capitol town.

Caluag firmly believes that the San Fernando constituency will feel and experience a dramatic change for the better once his wife Vilma will be elected mayor. He described his wife to be a determined, persevering and hands-on individual who wouldn’t mind to walk an extra mile to achieve her desired goal.

“Mr.Max, (that’s how Melchor always addresses me) our family is no longer wanting for more. I, Vilma and our seven children, the three already are professionals and the other one graduating in college this year we should be contented in life.” And you may want to ask why Vilma would still venture in higher politics. And he answered his own question. “She is her own person!”

“The archetype of the woman runs deep in the human psyche.” That’s somehow Vilma can be described. She doesn’t run away from any challenge wherein she firmly believes she can attain that goal if packed with perseverance and determination.

I remember when she was the Friday speaker of the weekly Capampangan Media Inc. she was able to impress many of the attending media persons. Despite the difficulties faced by her family she was able to finish her college schooling with an AB in Literature in Assumption University. She was already married with Melchor when she ascended the school stage during the graduation rites to get her diploma.

Melchor and Vilma were boyfriend/girlfriend even in their early years growing in Looban in Barangay Dolores. Despite the speech slur of Melchor, Vilma was deeply in love with the fellow that when he asked her for marriage, she didn’t hesitate and gave her sweetest yes. She was 19 years old and Melchor was 21. They are now blessed with seven children, three of whom are professionals and another one is graduating in college. All these happened in their 12 years of marriage.

Though Melchor started working then with the late Mario Garcia who operated a numbers game, he started saving for a growing family and when he left his earlier job, he teamed up with Vilma and started in 1998 a distribution company, distributing Unilever products. Eventually, due to hard works and luck was in their side they put up the Melvi Building, one of the first tall edifices along the Jose Abad Santos Avenue just a stone throw from the busy intersection of the city. And it houses the St. Nicholas College, the school which they founded in 2003.

Then came the King’s Royale Hotel just at the boundary of the City of San Fernando and Bacolor town. Then the now Mother of Calcutta Medical Center which was built in 2005. Vilma was all very much involved in all these projects. According to Melchor, Vilma was the dominant figure in all these family ventures. She was making sure that plans as drawn are followed. And as most businesses where may problems arise and are spinning out of control she confronted all calmly and methodically. And Melchor believes that with the wife experience, she is more than capable in handling.

The Caluags are like two kites racing against strong wind, and are flying high. Like a colorful vinta with much wind in their sails and even against a rough sea, Melchor believes the love of his life Vilma will prevail.


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