I CAN’T forget this one story told to me years ago by my friend Marvin Paule, a retired banker who’s now a constant companion of my Cumpareng Tony De Jesus, brother of former Public Works and Department of Transportation Secretary Ping De Jesus. Every now and then the group of Ping invites me to their Friday dinner where Marvin regale us with his stories. He will be alternating with former Department of Public Works and Highways Rico Guilas in cracking jokes. It is all humor and laughter. Always a well spent evening with them.
Marvin who is a certified native of Lubao recalled one street in Barangay San Nicolas which to this day called by the local residents as Calle Cuco. This is the street where former President Diosdado Macapagal, his brother Angel who was a former congressman and sister Lourdes were born. It is in the same street where the Arrastia family lived, whose descendants include socialites Mercy Tuazon and Letty Arrastia, wife of Mario Montenegro a matinee idol in the early years and one of the prized stars of Donia Silang De Leon’s LVN studios. Also the family of Isabel Preysler, former wife Spanish balladeer Julio Iglesias once had their ancestral home in Calle Cuco. The late Pampanga Governor Jose B. Lingad who was Department of Labor secretary and Bureau of Customs commissioner in the sixties was born and had his early childhood spent in Cuco Street. Two other known personalities, movie icon Rogelio Dela Rosa and brother Jaime were also born in this street.
As a background, it was and still is called in its nickname as “Calle Cuco” because in the early years many of the people who lived there suffered from respiratory and pulmonary diseases. When one dies, it was mostly traced to tuberculosis. (The late President Manuel L. Quezon died of tuberculosis). Purita de la Rosa, the first wife of President Macapagal also died of tuberculosis. There was no found cure yet during those years. Penicillin came later.
‘What’s in a name? A rose by any name will still smell sweet’
Moneyed people when they convert their large estates into subdivisions, most likely the street names are of their kin. For example, if there’s one in Angeles City, the changes of the names of streets should have been done years ago. Example is the Leoncia Subdivision in the city wherein all streets are named after all known cigarette brands. Not a single street was named after a distinguished person who have contributed to the history of the city. Whoever was responsible for naming the streets there should make a visit to the Lung Center in Quezon City.
A postman must be confused which of the two Magalang roads in Angeles City will he deliver a letter of the addressee if its postal marking is Magalang road. The two roads intersect each other. Once I asked a local historian if he knows how the most popular street in the city, the Fields Avenue, got its name. It was named after whom? And there’s Jake Gonzales boulevard, the eight lane road after you descend Abacan Bridge going to the downtown area. Who is Jake Gonzales? May we ask our mayor, the vice mayor and the barangay officials who’s this Mr. Gonzales why we have to name a boulevard after him? What was his contribution to Angeles or Philippine history?
Roads and subdivisions tell the history of a community. Like Carmenville Subdivision of the Tayags. It was named after Carmen Dayrit, the mother of the late writer Renato “Katoks” Tayag. There is a street there named after Augustina Henson, the wife of PIo Rafael Nepomuceno of Tayabas, Quezon province. He was the first Nepomuceno to establish residence in the town of Angeles. Then there’s the gated Villa Teresa subdivision named after Teresa Gomez, the wife of Don Juan Nepomuceno and their heirs who are considered till today as one of the richest families in Angeles City.
Villa Leoncia was named after Leoncia Laxamana, the wife of Trinidad Lazatin, parents of the late former Mayor and Governor Rafael L. Lazatin. Rafael sisters also have subdivisions named after them. Villa Gloria, Villa Angelina and Villa Angela. Not to be outdone, Francisco Gopez Nepomuceno named several streets in the Nepo Subdivision like Sylvia, Edwina, Sandra and Gail streets among others. They are the Nepomuceno sisters.
Marisol Village is among the first fenced subdivision in Angeles City. It was named after Maria Soledad Dolor, a property developer from Batangas. For many years 98% of the tenants were American servicemen and their dependents. The Gis left already and the community was renamed Barangay Ninoy Aquino.The property was owned by Emiliano Valdez and Maria Soledad Dolor of Batangas was the developer. The Diamond Subdivision in Barangay Balibago was initially named Severina Subdivision and named after its developer Severina Lim but was renamed later. So if you look around looking for an address and saw a street post, for sure the name of that road there’s history behind it.