How and my senior friends spend our afternoons

How and my senior friends spend our afternoons

People going to the SM Mall in Telebastagan will not fail to see seniors who are having coffee and spending their afternoons there. Many of them are in their twilight years. Many of their topics are their experiences and how they witnessed the many calamities over the years. The bombs dropped by the Japanese invading army when they targeted Clark Air Force Base as World War 2 exploded following the bombing of Pearl Harbor December 8, 1941. The ‘dog fights’ between the US air force pilots and their Japanese counterparts. And many more significant events and are indelible in their memories.

I was not yet my teen years in the fifties the dissident groups led by then Huk supremo Luis Taruc roamed the countrysides and ambushes of government soldiers were waylaid. My brother Greg was a reporter for Manila Chronicle and my father discussed the events over breakfasts and with my tender age I can feel these were dangerous years. And I was growing up, the Huk movement nearly toppled the established government and only was averted when Ramon Magsaysay, a popular figure among the masses was elected president. The succeeding years the country enjoyed tranquility until in 1972 Ferdinand Marcos wanted to perpetuate himself proclaimed martial law. His political rivals were jailed. Closed down media outlets. Imposed curfew, thus there was curtailment of movement and basic rights were clamped.

Comes the so-called EDSA revolution. People were overjoyed when Marcos left the country and influence of his cronies and minions and power was transferred to the widow Corazon Aquino. The country was badly managed and there was dramatic increase among the jobless. Then pandemic which raged and deaths were tallied by government daily. How sad.

I witnessed both the bad and good years. The best years are those years when I was I growing up with the music of Elvis Presley and the Beatles. There was also one disturbing political news then. Me and my friends in Porac and barkadas in Angeles City were not really affected by the rivalry of then President Carlos P. Garcia of Bohol and Vice President Diosdado Macapagal of Pampanga, but were all admiration on President John F. Kennedy of the United States of America. Benigno ' Ninoy' Aquino of Tarlac, Ferdinand E. Marcos of Ilocos Norte and Gerardo Roxas of Capiz were the rising political stars. They were the senators when senators are real senators.

Here are more throwbacks. Charito Solis, Gloria Romero and Paraluman were the model pin-up girls on calendars.Fernando Poe Jr., Romeo Vasquez, Lou Salvador Jr. were screen idols. Gabriel 'Flash' Elorde vs. Harold Gomes fought at the new Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City. Elorde knocked out Gomes in the first round and won the world junior lightweight crown.

The exchange rate was two pesos to one US dollar, and money scrips were still legal tender in cities like Angeles and Olongapo. Miguel Cuaderno was the Central Bank governor. The late Henry Sy was selling shoes in Carriedo street near the Quiapo church. Plaza Miranda in front of the church was London's Hyde Park where political meetings were held. There were no party list members of the House of Representatives. The Senators were brilliant and honorable.There were no pork barrels for lawmakers, and Janet Napoles may not have been born yet.

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