Posted on February 19, 2006 - Filed Under Here and There | Comments Off
Reminiscences of the good old days
By Gerry Garcia
IT’S not only because our durable Speaker Joe de Venecia is a fellow-Pangasinense that we are 100% behind his move for a shift to a unitary parliamentary type of government. Most compelling reason is that Joe, himself being a former media man, shares the same feeling we have as altruistic disseminators of facts that the one and only way to free ourselves from the rut of stagnant economy and undevelopment is an intelligent and meaningful amending, not changing of the Constitution. This in the long run will enable us to unite legislation by getting rid of a useless persistent burden— the senate.
Presently boosting our morale and further strengthening our pledge to support Speaker Joe’s efforts all the way to meaningfully amend the Constitution was the recent report that officials of Lakas, Nationalist People’s Coalitions, Liberal and Nacionalista partisans led by Joe himself announced their decision to join the signature gathering campaign that aims to bypass the Senate on Charter-Change. We’ve become doubly optimistic all will come to a satisfying end, especially when the proposed shift to a parliamentary system of government won the approval of no less than Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, a major initiator of the EDSA I revolt that toppled Dictator Marcos from power, and Sen. Edgardo Angara from the opposition.
We’ll now dwell on less stressful matters, like the time more than 6 decades ago when WW II was about to break out (in the late 30′s).. Dollar exchange then was only 2 pesos to the American dollar! It was during the Philippine Commonwealth era when the first Filipino President succeeding American Governor Frank Murphy was the incomparable Manuel Luis Quezon.
During those pre-war years in Dagupan, one could take in a movie (at Cine Rizal, the only movie-house in town then) at only 5 centavos a seat (entrada), meaning the rows of seats on both sides of the theater facing each other), 10 centavos for one butaka seat (directly facing the movie screen) and 15 centavos each for Palco section (elevated portion at the rear of the cine-house).
Centavo coins are denominational units of our today’s one piso (100 centavos make up one peso) and they are no longer used today in the market world. Our lowest monetary unit, the 25 centavo coin, seldom buys anything at all. It’s only 1/.4 of the piso-coin which does have the buying power.
In those days too, the king of the road was the horse-drawn calesa or caromata.
We still remember the days when we kids, then studying at Colegio de San Alberto Magno in Calmay at the western end of the now defunct Franklin bridge, would pay only 10 centavos to the cochero for the whole bunch of us riding in his calesa to school!
San Alberto Magno School was then run by Spanish Dominican fathers. No Pinoy Dominicans were born yet.
English was the medium of instruction in all public and private school then. Here at the Dagupan Institute, earliest fore- runner of UPANG, pupils in the elementary-intermediate grades, including high school, caught speaking the dialect while in school instead of English are either fined or had their knuckles rapped.
That’s why most high school grads end up being able to speak English passably well enough to be able to diagram simple, compound and complex sentences. No Pidgin English was possible kasi bawal magspeak ng Pangasinan or Tagalog instead of English while in school. Entendi?