Cariño: Baguio Connections 94

Baguio Stories

LAST week, we left off with Mark Perez, whose father George, my mother says, also used to be connected with D and S before Teahouse became Teahouse.

For those who do not remember D and S Fine Foods, it was a boutique grocery that was around in the 1960s to perhaps the early 1980s? There, one could find some regular grocery stuff, and then all manner of imported goods—chocolates, other candies, canned food, meats, baking things—the lattermost mostly in the mezzanine.

The owner was Auntie Doris, also a friend to my parents, in a town where everybody knew everybody else and all adults were uncles and aunties to any child. Where too, it seems, they married each other. It has been said to me though, “Who else would they marry?”

As such love stories go, the one between my half-Chinese mother and my half-Ibaloy father runs counter. Their other halves (pun, pun) are Iloco, dad’s being Magsingal (Cortes) and my mom’s being Balaoan (Lopez).

They met at the UP Diliman where my mother studied business administration and my father studied law. He was an Upsilonian and she was a Sigma Deltan. Her sorority and his fraternity used to produce a yearly show that they called “Cavalcade.” So there was “Cavalcade One,” “Cavalcade Two,” etc.

Then there was 1955’s “Cavalcade Seven”—a musical titled, uh, “Linda.” It was at this production that my father was stage manager and my mother was costume boss. So my parents met, became friends, and fell in love. Inasmuch as each had an arranged marriage to buck—oyes—the two eloped to Baguio.

The consequent wedding pictures of my parents show both of them both in white, so young methinks, and grinning happily at simple ceremonies at the Baguio Cathedral, site of weddings, baptisms, confirmations, communion rites, death masses, etc. throughout all of Catholic time in Baguio.

My parents’ wedding pictures have my paternal grandparents, Mrs. Zarate who was my grandmother’s best friend, my father’s high school teachers, the famous Father Rafael Van Nieuwenhove, whom my father used to say was of European nobility, and a few more church guests.

The Ruby recalls what some of her wedding lunch was—Shanghai lumpia, pancit canton, and fried rice from Rice Bowl’s famous Lee Lai, a ton of her mother-in-law’s chicken pork adobo, and a couple more other dishes. It was Nov. 2, 1956, the day after All Saints’, and thus, the thinking was that no one would arrive for lunch. They were mistaken, as a horde descended upon them for lunch.

Of course, when I appeared onstage (haha) the year after, my parents named their first child after the show that brought them together. My mother keeps saying that Cavalcade 7 “Linda” starred Pilita Corrales. Who of course went on to become of iconic status, dubbed “Asia’s Song Bird,” even.

Pilita Corrales is reportedly from Cebu, which is also the hometown of another Cariño bride, my aunt Josefina, nee Kintanar, who married my father’s older brother Jose, Jr. Auntie Jojo was also a Sigma Deltan from University of the Philippines Diliman, though Uncle Joe went to Ateneo de Manila University and University of Santo Tomas.

Am thinking, as one is wont to think of love stories this weekend, how many brides to Baguio dudes have through the centuries arrived in Baguio and proceeded to make the home of their husbands their own? Come to think of it, even my paternal grandmother did that – her Magsingal relatives remember that she “went to study in Manila, then went to work in Baguio, got married, and stayed on there.”

And vice versa, how many men have made Baguio home because they married Baguio women? Many, too—and there is a love story in each instance.

To all with Baguio love stories and everybody else, Happy Valentine’s!


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