he 60s were fun. Those were the years when the Beatles came into existence and Beatlemania was born. Drugs were organic then. Remember coke and marijane? Woodstock. Who’d ever forget that. The first was the best. Jimi Hendrix playing the Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar complete with bomb and fighter plane dogfight effects. The sparkling new sound of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. No one could beat that. And here in Manila Nora Aunor and Eddie Peregrina were called bakya together with their bakya crowd. The sosyal referred to them as bubble gum while the likes of the Beatles and Monkees were addressed as the chewing gum crowd. And oh, there were so many. While in the political scene Marcos came into power, Kennedy was killed. The moon conquered. And Ka Erdie took over the Church. Where was Ka Eduardo then. My age playing with some of the Sanggunian now at F. Manalo. A much younger Radel Cortez also took rounds with habulan. He was called Nognog then by his playmates (Yes, he was a little brown kid and often bullied which explains his current Darth Vader attitude. But of course living under the hold of the Emperor can now do wonders for your skin, don’t you think 🙂 ).
Those were the days and oh yes, we outlived most but a few continue to haunt us in a very pleasant way. Do you, or rather does your father still remember the five centavo coin? That was the price of one cone of ice cream from a dirty ice cream vendor. The cost of one bottle of Malayan a local brand of soft drinks or Cosmos (Sarsi as they call it now). Well Coke was a class by itself. It cost ten cents. And 10 cents was the basic fare of a jeepney that only made local rounds. To go farther, like let’s say from Cubao to Quiapo, you’d need to take the bus – a red JD or green Yujuico liner and pay 25 cents.
Let’s go back to the 5 centavo coin. If you were a kid then like I was you’d be lucky. You could get a free cone of ice cream. How? You’d present or show to the vendor that 5 centavo coin with the date of the coin concealed behind your thumb. The vendor would be obliged to guess the dates on two tries. If he missed, you’d get that free ice cream. Actually it wasn’t difficult to guess the dates because the 1960 and over coins were new and mostly shiny. Those under 1960 looked faded and old. But no, we kids weren’t that easily outsmarted. We’d clean those 1959 coins with clay powder from our moms crushed flower pots until it looked brand new or transform those new 1960 coins into old deteriorated ones by banging it with a hammer and scraping it on concrete until you couldn’t tell if it was new or old.
Some vendors would use a different version of giving free ice cream. A large mouthed glass jar filled with water and a small empty lalagyan ng pomada inside that jar. You’d have to drop the coin above the water and into that small open bottle inside. Difficult? Oh yes, almost impossible. The coin upon hitting the water would immediately move to the left or right and away from the bottle. Submit? No way. Kids are smart. The technique was to hold the coin flat and close above the water and slowly release it so that the coin would quietly drop without any horizontal movement and into that bottle. Free ice cream! But like all good things these rituals never lasted. Ice cream now is only free at birthday parties.
Here is nostalgia and the good old days.
We the Philippine race or Pinoys as we are called enjoy certain behavior patterns that are only identified with us. We also strongly attach ourselves to the past and always enjoy looking back at what once was. That is what defines us. Hmm, as Batman would clearly utter in his macho baritone voice, “It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you”. Street and business signs that prove it’s really more fun in the Philippines.
Before the younger generation gets the notion that I’m implying we were better off then, I’m not. There were no SM malls, LRT, cell phones, or the internet. Everything, and I mean everything was manual. If I were my age then, probably I’d just die of boredom. No places to go, enjoy the lights, or listen to Christmas songs in the mall. And of course writing blog posts for all the beautiful people out there (like what I’m doing now 🙂 ). Most couldn’t afford wheelchairs so old folks just stayed home, listened to Tawag ng Tanghalan or Gabi ng Dilim over the radio. And once in awhile, you’d see the likes of us walking and enjoying the full moon over the horizon hand in hand with the love of his/her life with not a worry in the world.
All things come and go. Some happily and some sadly, not so.
How was the Church then? It was simple. No Guinness to worry about. All locales had a friendly competition regarding new convertees. There was no fixed schedule for Pamamahayags – but it would usually be on a Monday at the main chapel. Ang mga doktrina these were usually held at homes of mga kapatid. Nope, there were no goody bags nor mass transportation to bring visitors to and from the chapel. Brethren just came with their friends and acquaintances and left as simply. Our Manggagawas were a humble lot coming from all over the Philippines and totally dependent on the locale’s brethren for all their material needs. They did not enjoy tulong then while classified as boluntario which could last for several years. They truly gained love for the brethren and the Church through the school of hard knox. And finally on December of every year the huge revolving monthly trophy for the pinakamasigla at pinakamaraming bunga would be awarded to the deserving locale. Which was Cubao or Pasay by the way. Hehe, I belonged to Cubao then. Pasay? wala yan 🙂 .
Pagdadalaw? We had that too. And also Bayanihan Pagdadalaw where KMPs (Kadiwa now) would visit neighboring locales and conduct pagdadalaw there. We all commuted through buses. No rented jeep or transportation. Kanya kanyang bayad. Las Pinas. I remember that place quite well. A small chapel beside the main road surrounded by asinan fields. We’d cross over the fields to meet our brethren and invite them to church activities in their locale. Afterwards, socializing. The local maytungkulin would prepare pancit with juice. The juice was usually pineapple juice mixed with water and sugar. I usually quietly commented to my companion about the bland juice,“Hindi ito pineapple na may tubig, tubig ito na may pineapple.” After that we would say our goodbyes and ride back home to our respective locales.
Tanging Handugan, Pasalamat, and Abuloy. Only three classifications. No Lingap, no tanging tanging handugan, no tickets for shows, no T-shirts for sale, no record breaking programs, no Chris Brown, no air buses, no Louis Vuittons. Plain and simple Pagsamba, Pulong, Doktrina, uwi. And that was more than enough to build this empire. The empire built on principle and love of God. Riches merely followed.
Fast forward to 2016. The family and descendants of the Sugo in disarray. Ka Tenny the wife of Ka Erdy the former Executive Minister and mother to the current Executive Eduardo Manalo excommunicated together with siblings Angelo, Mark, and Lottie on charges of insubordination. Continuous expulsions of members and ministers who decry injustice. Unanswered queries on multi billion loans acquired by the Church to finance non-church related activities.
Seven years of continuous success and blessings through the leadership of Brother Eduardo Manalo? –
I don’t think so.