22 October 2011

Nasugbu in My Mind


This is a corollary to my earlier story Travelling to Nasugbu: Then, Now. As I wrote, I had not been to the place in 15 or 16 years; and the changes – in many places – have rendered the town almost unrecognizable from what I carry inside my head as memories of the place.

My sister was texting me instructions about how to get to our relatives’ neighbourhood as I sat in the bus travelling to Nasugbu. I replied that once in the town, there was no way that I would not be able to find my way about. The town is a lot more alive with commerce than it used to be; but the streets have not changed. I had no trouble making myself right at home again like I simply used to when I was young.

This will be something of a pictorial essay. I will be showing pictures that I took with snippets of information for everyone’s benefit:

The top picture and the next two are of Nasugbu's main avenue.  There is not only Jollibee but ChowKing about 500 yards away.  This avenue as I remember it from the old days used to be lined by old houses or empty lots.



I made sure I took a picture of one acacia tree, as the whole town plaza used to be lined with age-old acacia trees.  Curiously, the ones I saw seemed to be younger and not as tall as what I remembered them to be.  In the old days when I used to visit, the tall acacias, which Mom used to say had been there since she was young, gave the whole plaza something of a creepy ambiance, particularly when twilight came.


This whole park used to be mostly just open space.  I was surprised to even find a mini-football field complete with small goals.  Most everything else in the park (the grandstand, the auditorium, etc.) I was seeing for the first time:




The municipal hall looked pretty much as I remembered it; albeit the blue motif that the town seems to have taken on was a tad too stark and loud for my own taste.  A few first cousins work here.  The current Mayor is a Tony Barcelon who is a distant relative.  Curiously, the Apacibles of an opposing party also are.


I do not know what this next building was; although it looked like that of a telecommunications company.  There used to be a maternity hospital at this very street corner built in the architecture of the American era.  When I was a kid, there was this story that we used to laugh about to the death regarding a woman who had about a dozen children at the maternity hospital.  She was well-known not only for her fertility but also for how she would swear profusely at her husband each time she went into labour.  She was back, of course, the following year.


Seeing this elementary school again was particularly nostalgic.  My Mom, who was an elementary teacher before she married my father, used to teach in this school.  Since yesterday was a school day, it was much noisier than what I remembered it to be:



The road leading to our ancestral home, which unfortunately has been ravaged by time.  This street itself used to be a two-lane asphalt road that was barely lit at night in the old days.  Now the road has even been widened and paved with concrete.


First, a neighbour's house; and just to show readers, particularly the young ones, the archetypal architecture during the American occupation of the country.  The next one is our dilapidated ancestral home; and as readers will see, time takes no prisoners.  My cousins and I all used to hang out in the front porch when we were all still little boys.



I made sure that I took a photo of the street sign.  The R. Vasquez was Ricardo Vasquez, USN:  my grandfather on the mother side.  Mom used to say that the Vasquezes were originally from Cavite but some members of the clan crossed over to Nasugbu.  My grandmother, on the other hand, was a Simuangco; and Mom used to keep us open-mouthed with stories of her grandfather, a Chinese from the mainland who used to wear his hair long and in a Manchurian braid.  By the way, Vasquez street is where many of my relations still live to this day.



The street leading to the parish church as well as the church itself.  There was something definitely medieval about the way the church bells pealed whenever it called to the faithful; and it was even creepy.  I cannot say that I have any real fondness for this church because we brought way too many relatives here for funeral Masses and my lasting memories of it are regrettably sad scenes.






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