Ateneo De Naga high school 1980

Those who do not remember history are bound to live through it again.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Memories of the Cony car

Written by Teody Laquindanum

If I am not mistaken, I believe that my late father-in-law owned the last running Cony car in Naga city. My in-law owned a red Cony until it was sold in the early 1990’s for the amount of P15,000. I heard that the buyer was only interested with its engine which he wanted to use in his farm.

My personal memories of my in-law’s Cony car dates back to the beginning of my elementary days when I used to get free rides in it. The Bonifacio family used to be our neighbors at Bulusan street near the Civic Center and NBI building. The late Jabords also lived in the same street near our house. Mr. Bonifacio allowed me to ride his Cony car whenever he brings his children, William and Beth, to their respective schools. William Bonifacio was my classmate at Naga Parochial School while Beth attended school at Colegio De Santa Isabel. A decade after those free rides at Mr. Bonifacio’s Cony car, Beth and I decided to get married and we have been married now for 23 years.

I also remember when I was in 5th grade, my older brother and I would help Beth’s older brothers push the Cony car stealthily out of their garage at night while their parents were asleep. We would only start the car’s engine after we had pushed it to a distance that is safe enough not to awaken Beth’s parents. All of us would spend the evening joy riding around Naga. During the ride, we would pick up friends of Beth’s brothers and one of their friends were the famous Guadalupe sisters (Garry’s siblings) that lived along Dayangdang street. We would continually pick up friends until the small Cony car is packed with Atenistas and Colegialas. Those memorable rides made me realize that I need to become an Atenean so that I can have the privilege of also enjoying the company of beautiful Colegialas.

Even after Beth and I were already married, I was not immediately permitted to drive the red Cony car. My father-in-law finally gave me his permission to drive the Cony when I brought home Beth with our first child fresh from the nursery of the old Mother Seton Hospital in Panganiban Drive.

I remember that the Cony car's stick shift (kambiyo) is at the right-side of the dashboard besides the signal light lever and the gear goes only up to the 3rd . Sayang, if I had the money I would have bought it myself. My monthly salary then was P1,120.00 and it would have taken me more than a year to pay it off.

I will post its pictures on my next e-mail once I get hold of them.

Mighty 80, 30th year graduation anniversary na baga!

Written by Gerard Zantua

The Cony was also the major mode of transportation that plied the Centro-Concepcion route. It even passed through Mayon Avenue then entered Naga City subd up to Jose Rizal Elem school, passed through the provincial hospital road then cruised to the diversion road (sa may nyog) and all the way to Coca cola plant. We were fond of riding the yellow Cony driven by Mang Ter with an adult fare of 10 centavos and child fare of 5 centavos (libre pag kulkul). I really don't know that the demise of Cony was due to its obsolesence or the retirement of Mang Ter or the emergence of Pinoy (not spelled as P-Noy nor PenoyP).

Written by Ricky "Guitarman" Sadiosa

Iyu daw ano? haha pero nagirumduman ko kaidto na puro kariela lang ang sakay ko ta mayung biyahe ining Cony pabagumbayan sur or norte. pero kalesa igwa asin P0.10 lang pamasahe haha.. sana ibalik ining Cony ta daug pa kaini maski mga minicab sa Naga sa patiripidan sa gasolina... hay maray pa kadto ta simple lang ang buhay haha pwede pang magkakan nin banana Q sa kalesa... Si Perdon palan nagirumduman nindo?!?!?!

restoring an old cony seems a cool thing to do for our 30th! why not?!?sain daw sa naga igwa pang nakapreserved na cony?

Written by Cezar Bagadion

pinkamaurag na baduya baga ang luto ng Perdon sisters.... igwa man kami kaidto ning duwang Cony pero by the time grade two or three na ako garo pigbabakal mi na. Nahulog pa ngani ako sa samuyang Cony habang nagaandar pasiring Parochial. It was the late Ms Mia Espinas (?) who helped me and brought me to the clinic. hehehe...those were the days....

Written By Edong Rendor

We are from Oas, Albay but my Dad bought 1 unit of Cony from Naga City and it was a fun car. It used to run on mixed fuel of gasoline and motor oil kasi 1 cylinder cycle lang ata ang makina.Guys, why dont we look for one unit and have it restored . Its an ICON of Naga City , just like the TAS tricycles of Tabaco City, yung parang motorized bicycle na may side car. WHAT DO YOU THINK GUYS? We will celebrate our 30th year, GIMIKAN natin ulit silang lahat sa December with a restored CONY....Yung amin na CONY pinabakal na sa bakal bote at dyaryo, matagal na kasi binaha.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A father's flight stories

As a young child, I have been fascinated by planes and dreamt that one day I hope to pilot a plane myself. Though the open skies seemed to still wave its welcoming arms at me to come and experience how it is to fly amongst its clouds, my fear of heights has kept me grounded.

I have read warm stories narrated by flyers in the past. Recently, I spotted a story written by a Filipino flyer who wrote about the memories of his late father who used to be an airplane mechanic during World War 2 in Manila. Below is his memoir.

My father was a high school student when World War 2 broke out in the Philippines. He used to live in Paco, Manila. One day, the Japanese shanghaied my father into working at their airbase at Nielson airfield. The runway of Nielson airfield later became Paseo De Roxas Avenue. The large ramp became Ayala Avenue.

Nielson airfield was then a staging base for the Japanese war planes being ferried to the battlefields of South Pacific.

Dad was put to work helping overhaul Mitsubishi engines of the Japanese A6M Zero fighter aircraft. Whenever the big Japanese bombers would come in, my Dad would sneak into the airplanes and forage among the lunch boxes that the crew left behind. My dad would find lunch boxes containing pickled rice and fish.

Every morning, the Japanese would line up all the Filipino airplane maintenance personnel and they would be made to bow toward Tokyo where the emperor resides. They were also ordered to sing the official Japanese navy hymn. In spite of their displeasure, the Filipinos would just obediently go through the ritual with their fingers crossed behind them. Years later after the war, I would sometimes hear my father sing the Japanese navy hymn while taking a bath.

As a form of propaganda, local newspapers in Manila would print stories about Japanese victories all around the Pacific. It would feature scores of American ships and hundreds of American airplanes being destroyed by the mighty Japanese armed forces. But the Filipinos noticed that the locations where these “Victories” occurred were coming closer and closer to the Philippines. It mentioned places like Guadalcanal, New Guinea, then Marianas, then Palau…the location of where the battles were occuring seemed to be moving closer to the main islands of the Philippines.

When American forces headed by Gen. MacArthur landed in Leyte in 1944, my father began to notice that the Japanese soldiers who were on sentry duty at the Nielson airbase always looked fearful while scanning the sky above their airbase.

Shortly after the Leyte landing, the American air raids to Manila began. My father remembered that every time an air raid began, he would hear a deep thrum of many airplane engines. Then one airplane would appear out of the clouds, and before long there would be a swarm of them. The squadrons would circle Manila Bay while its flight leaders assigned targets. Then all of a sudden, all the planes would attack at the same time. They do this so that the anti-aircraft guns on the ground would not be able to concentrate their fire on a particular attacking plane.

During the attack, a few American airplanes were hit and fell like leaves, fluttering back and forth. The scene was not like the dramatic, flaming power dives in the movies, my Dad said. Whenever a plane is hit, “it fell like a dead leaf”.

During one of the air raids, my father was upstairs at their family home in Paco, located along San Marcelino street. My father was beside his dad (my grandfather) and both of them watched F4U Corsairs planes strafed the Paco railroad station near what is now Quirino Avenue and South Super Highway. His three sisters and his mother (my grandmother) were downstairs praying the rosary. My grandmother was seated on a rocking chair holding his baby brother, my Uncle Carlos, in her arms. All of a sudden my Dad heard a loud crash. He and his Dad went downstairs. An American 50 caliber bullet from a Corsair went through the wall of the house and killed our grandmother. Though my grandmother was killed, my Uncle Carlos was not hurt. The Corsair missed its target by more than a mile.

When the American forces landed at Lingayen and began the drive towards Manila, my grandfather evacuated his whole family to Pagbilao, Quezon. After the devastating Battle of Manila, my Dad and my grandfather hitchhiked on an American Army trucks back to Manila. Manila was almost totally destroyed! From San Marcelino street, they could see all the way to Manila Bay. Every building between our street to Manila bay was flattened by the bombs. Their house was hit by an artillery shell and neighbors tried to put the fire out but the house was doomed. The place where our house stood became a car repair shop for a while. I don’t know what it is now because I cannot locate its exact spot.

My Dad also told me stories about how he sneaked out of their house when everybody is asleep and he would buy a can of spicy Spanish sardine and a loaf of bread. He always shared the sardines but took all the spicy pickles for himself. He loved using the last pieces of the bread to mop up all the olive oil in the can because the oil mixed with the bread was very tasty.

One of my Dad’s best airplane stories was about a P-38 Lightning. He was walking along a rice field at Pagbilao, Quezon when he heard a deep rumbling sound which closely resembled the sound of several empty 55-gallon drums being rolled on the ground. Then he saw a P-38 lightening with its distinct twin engine and fork-tailed design. The P-38 was flying no more than 20 feet from the ground and was searching for Japanese soldiers. The pilot saw my father and waved as he passed above where my father stood.

I asked my father how low 20 feet was. He pointed to a Royal Tru-Orange billboard, which was then the only one on Highway 54 (now EDSA). “That low”, he said. I was astonished on how low the P-38 flew when my father saw it.

My Dad bought me a scale model of the P-38 Lightning. While playing with it, I would hold the P-38 model and let my imagination create a thrilling scene in my mind where my P-38 would skim above rice fields, making tight turns following river paths, constantly on the hunt for enemy soldiers.

In 1977, there was a drought and a severe shortage of water in Manila. My father spent an entire evening hauling water in drums by himself from my grandfather’s house to our house using his ancient 1948 Chevrolet car. After he was done, he decided to drive to Baguio to meet his sister, who is an American citizen and was then visiting the Philippines. When he reached Santo Tomas, Pampanga, he pulled over to park because he felt a terrible headache. While he was resting, he fell unconscious and never woke up. He had a cerebral hemorrhage. He was only 50 years old.

I am now a pilot and I believe that my father would have gotten a tremendous kick from flying with me, if he were alive today. I could have showed to him what it was like flying 20 feet from the ground.

I certainly miss his airplane stories.

The little car that used to dominate the Iriga-Nabua route

During the 1960’s, the Cony was a popular mode of transportation for the Iriga-Nabua route. The miniature cars were manufactured by a Japanese company named Aichi Machine Industry that was founded in 1943 and was based in Nagoya, Japan.

In 1965, the company became part of the Nissan group. Its 360 model, which was the one converted as a passenger car, was powered by a 354cc 18hp 2 cylinder engine, making it more fuel-efficient. The small engine also meant the company paid lower taxes.

The rise of the Philippine-manufactured jeeps like the very colorful Sarao and its competitor, the Francisco Motors spelled the eventual demise of this once Little Prince of the Iriga-Nabua Road in the early 1970's.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unwavering Loyalty

Back in 1924, there was a Japanese gentleman who lived in Tokyo named Hidesabura Ueno. He worked as a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo. One day he brought to his house a pure breed Akita dog named Hachiko.

Hachiko seemed very close to his owner because he always waited for him at the front door of their house when Mr. Ueno is leaving for work. At the end of the day, Hachiko would wait for his owner to return from work at the nearby Shibuya train station.

The pair continued this routine until one day in May 1925. While giving a lecture in a class at the University, Mr. Ueno suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died. His relatives buried Mr. Ueno at a cemetery at Minami-Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo.

Unaware of his master’s demise, Hachiko waited at the Shibuya train station. Hachiko continually waited everyday for his dead master’s return for the next nine years. It is an amazing sight to see Hachiko appear at the station precisely when the train is due to arrive.

Hachiko was given away after his master’s death but he would routinely escape, showing up time and again at his old master’s house. Eventually, Hachiko realized that his master does not live at the old house anymore and so he waited for him everyday at the Shibuya train station hoping for his return.

Hachiko presence at the Shibuya station became a permanent sight to the people who ride the train. Some commuters, who have seen Hachiko and his master at the station before, brought food to Hachiko to nourish him during his wait.

One of Mr. Ueno’s student, who happened to be an expert on the Akita breed dogs, saw Hachiko at the station and followed him back to a house owned by the Kobayashi family. Mr. Kikuzaboro Kobayashi was the former gardener of Mr. Ueno. During his brief visit to the Kobayashi residence, the student was able to learn about Hachiko’s life. The student did a research on the number of Akitas and found that there are only 30 remaining pure bred Akita dogs and one of them is Hachiko.

Over the years, the student visited Hachiko and he eventually wrote several articles about the remarkable loyalty of Hachiko. In 1932, one of the articles was published in Tokyo’s largest newspaper which transformed Hachiko into a national sensation. His faithfulness to his master's memory impressed the people of Japan as a spirit of family loyalty all should strive to achieve. Teachers and parents used Hachiko’s vigil as an example for children to follow. A well-known Japanese artist rendered a sculpture of the dog, and throughout the country a new awareness of the Akita breed grew.

Hachiko died on March 8, 1935. He was found on a street in Shibuya. His heart was infected with filarial worms and 3-4 yakitori sticks were found in his stomach. His stuffed and mounted remains are kept at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.