San ka naghintay?
From the Desk
Impatience is a number one criticism against millennials. In a world filled with digital work and "instants", it is no wonder why majority of the younger populations are having a hard time waiting. The mere thought of it sends negative vibes for they have been accustomed to the culture that lacks patience and that the restlessness of the world seemed to consume their fortitude.
There was a time however when things were not like these. It may be a bygone age, but certainly everyone can relate to it. "Trust" is a cornerstone in waiting and here in Pasig, there are places that are considered the official rendezvous points of every Pasigueno.
Ang Kabibe sa Imelda Park
Before it became what is now but a concrete parking lot, the back of the city hall used to be a lush park with a commanding view of the iconic Revolving Tower. It was known during the Marcos Era as the Imelda Park - a place honoring the former first lady. It was part of the government's initiative of adding a last "lung" an open space as Pasig was about to enter its first phase of industrialization. Life was of course simple back then, an open space meant a location for all people to converge and assemble. It also doubles itself as a playground where children with their parents would visit on weekends or wait for their elder siblings finish their school in nearby Pasig Catholic College or Colegio del Buen Consenjo. For students, the Imelda park is also a place where they practice their rhetoric or beef up their preparations for an oratorical or dance contests at school. The park itself is filled with the promise of the youth, making itself a nest of some sort where children can call as their home.
Perhaps the crown jewel of the park is its stage shaped like an open clam. "Kabibe" as it was called hosted every kind of presentations from schools to government assemblies and the like. Its distinctive shape is the prime reason why despite being absent and replaced for nearly 3 decades, the park was known as the home of the Kabibe. The park's theme could be about the ocean or undersea for another famous landmark sits on its very ground - the large octopus slide. This slide have been used and played on by generations of Pasiguenos. When Marcos was toppled in 1986, Imelda Park was changed to Ninoy Aquino Park - the energetic better half of the sitting President. Towards the last part of the 90's the park lost all its glitter and was demolished all together to make way for other developments in the compound. The most famous of them all is the Pasig City Convention Center that is now the Tanghalang Pasigueno.
Many Pasigueno's who had their youth between the 60's to 80's have vivid memories of what was considered the most beautiful fountain in the Philippines. The fountain was actually constructed to make use of an empty space left by the dying stream of the historic Bitukang Manok. Then Pasig Mayor Emiliano Caruncho personally oversaw the construction of the fountain in the early 60's and even went to Japan to see the materials. It was quite hard then as there was no internet for you to see the imported raw materials unlike now. Not only was the fountain the most beautiful but perhaps the most modern as machines, pumps and lights we placed in it to attract visitors and for the Pasiguenos to be proud of their city. During those times, the Pasig Museum was then just a normal household of the Concepcion Family and it would be a sight to see the colorful fountain in action from their small balcony. Like any landmark in any city, the fountain became a common place where people would rendezvous - a common place of waiting. Strategically, the fountain is at the center of the town, every household would put the fountain as the point of reference besides the Church - just like the Rizal Park. Many excursions, outings and meetings went successful and memorable thanks to the Fountain. When the beautiful fountain fell into disarray,it was replaced by another landmark, the McDonald's Simbahan.
This is quite recent and for sure a place almost everyone can vividly recall. When the fountain bowed out in the late 80's to early 90's it paved the way for the arrival of some changes in the old Pasig town. Some old institutions like the El-Pasig Bakery or even the Victoria Cinema started to decline. As a result, their remains were occupied by a second wave of institutions that offered a new taste to the growing population not of a municipality but a newly founded PASIG CITY. The McDonald's Simbahan is the quintessential rendezvous of the Pasiguenos from the late 90's to early 2010's. Since it offered a 24/7 schedule just like the neighboring Wendy's beside Scholar, McDo became the second home of a lot of students, organizations and which made it their unofficial club house. Being the former site of its equally famous predecessor - the Pasig Fountain, McDo Simbahan enjoyed the company of Pasiguenos as a beloved member of the downtown community. As early as 4:30 am you would see students flocking in ordering their food before going to their field trips. By mid-morning young professionals, workers and employees will line in for their baons and from lunch to dinner, loyal patrons and visitors would be on its stalls. During Holy Week, a lot of faithfuls would be waiting for the famous Procession in McDonald's while on the early hours of Easter, patrons would be waiting at the same fastfood chain before joining the rest of the Pasiguenos in the traditional Salubong in front of the Concepcion House, the present-day Pasig City Museum.
The arrival of McDonald's offered competition to Jolibee Simbahan whose proximity to the Church is a plus. However, McDonald's a fastfood chain which offers 24/7 service dominated the general clientele. Wendy's despite the same 24/7 service did not enjoy the arrival of patrons the way that McDo had theirs. It may be because of the latter's spacious area and of course the kids who collect "Happy Meal Toys" and endless birthday parties. Something strange however with this McDo branch was that on its own, it became a time capsule. While other branches renovated their walls and spaces, McDo Simbahan somehow didn't. It retained its 90's look and even the chairs and tables became a relic of the past. McDo Simbahan probably endured despite being less and less attractive because it reminded a lot of people of their youth. It was the location of their first birthday party, their first pay day, endless fieldtrips and other occasions that filled their youthful vigor. When McDo Simbahan abruptly closed sometime in the mid 2010's a lot of people were shocked and effectively saddened for they know that the demolition of this old structure is a turning of a new leaf, a new chapter not only for their lives but also for the town. The site is now the Plaza Bonifacio while the old Plaza Bonifacio became the Plaza de Familia - the site of the city's Carillon Bells and Marker for the Covid19 Frontliners.
Living in the old town has a lot of perks. For one, almost every family is related or at least they know one another. However, for a fast paced life, the old town filled with landmarks will make you realize that no matter where you are, your town of origin is relatively small and how surprising that despite its smallness and its simplicity, the volume of memories you made from it is large enough to make you full, whole and never wanting.