The community in the vicinity of San Rafael Church located along Park Avenue was a mix of rich and poor. The children knew early on in which side they belonged as per their parents’ training. The rich, mostly along Park Avenue, went to private school and kept pretty much to themselves. The rest of the children went to Jose Rizal Elementary School and played in the street.
In the late 50’s there was a little girl named Esther who did not have a sister. She had baby brothers who were too young to play with. She played with her cousins and neighborhood little girls her age. Esther was accident prone by choice. She used to climb the corner street sign and perch on top of it. She got her hair on fire playing with candles on All Saints Day. During a fiesta, the churchyard had ‘Betobeto’, a game played on a table which had images of balls in different numbers. The Betobeto manager would shake a couple of dice enclosed in a wooden box making clacking noise to heighten the excitement. Coins were laid on the image as a bet. When the box was opened the number showing wins double the amount of the bet. Esther lost all her coins and ran back home to get more. On her way back to the game a jeepney crossed path with her. The passengers screamed, the driver jumped off to check on the girl. She came crawling out from under the jeepney without a scratch and ran back to her Betobeto. Esther grew up to be a Marketing Manager.
In the early 70’s ‘standbys’ (street thugs) were hanging around the corner store when they saw Jojo, a 5 year old boy playing around a parked private jeep. These jeeps have front seats that folded forward instead of recline. Jojo found a lost kitty on the sidewalk. He picked up the kitty and laid it on the front seat of the jeep. The thugs watched in horror as the boy folded the seat over the cat and sat on top till the cat died. Then the boy took the dead cat, hid it under the seat and walked away to play somewhere else. When the boy’s mom, Becky stepped out her door the thugs told her what they saw.
“You need to save up some bail out money for your kid right there!” the thugs advised the mom. Becky just smiled. The boy’s father was a professional hit man. She did not let the boy play with toy guns. Jojo grew up to be an Engineer.
"Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord, for this is righteous. “Honor your father and your mother” is the first command with a promise: “That it may go well with you and you may remain a long time on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Post Script: In 2014, Pasay City kids rock!!!
|Photo Courtesy of Mark Calixto|