By By Pablo A. Tariman
PASIG CITY HAS A NEW MILLENNIAL MAYOR
posted 17 days ago  ·  
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Mayor-elect Vico Sotto of Pasig City. A new face after 27-year reign of the Eusebios.

The Canadian journalist and public speaker Malcom Gladwell once pointed out that the term, 'David and Goliath,' has entered our language as a metaphor for improbable victories by some weak party over someone far stronger.

Well, the recent elections showed two Davids winning over two highly entrenched Goliaths.

Former president and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada lost to Isko Moreno and the mighty Eusebios of Pasig City lost to the very young councilor Vico Sotto, son of Vic Sotto (with Connie Reyes).

Indeed, what a classic case of David versus Goliath!

Up to the very end, I thought they could not win over good machinery and superior logistics (read: cash).

Like other political territories from Ilocos to Maguindanao, Pasig is another replica of a dynasty-dominated political domain. It used to be lorded over by the Raymundos and the Carunchos and with the years came the Eusebios with the reign of Vicente “Enteng” Eusebio which many thought made Pasig cleaner and more economically viable. After The Husband came The Wife in the person of Soledad Soly Eusebio and in no time at all came the advent of The Son -- Roberto “Bobby” Eusebio and another son, Ricky Eusebio.

After Roberto Eusebio lost to Vico Sotto, Ricky Eusebio lost to Roman Romulo in the congressional race.

From what I can figure out, politics in Pasig is really made of a non-violent brew. But this was soon shattered when a former congressman was gunned in broad daylight in a restaurant opposite the city’s row of motels.

These motels used to be really hidden and unreachable in the seventies to the eighties but progress has caught up with the city and today, they are virtual landmarks of the city specially during Valentines Day.

The Fortunato Concepcion Mansion in Pasig was converted into Pasig Museum. It must be noted that President Quezon used to frequent this house and Pavarotti's teacher, Arrigo Pola, stayed here before his singing engagement at the Pasig glorietta.

But Pasig's place in history actually goes beyond those row of love nests and the recurring drug raids.

Pasig which became a city only in 1993 (courtesy of Congressman Rufino Javier) was a totally idyllic place when it was founded on July 2,1573 when it received its first bell as a new mission parish named after Our Lady of Visitation. Many years later, the town turned to Our Lady of Immaculate Concepcion for its patron saint.

Now if you are wondering why Pasig bore the brunt of Ondoy’s flood like Marikina, it was because it was originally a small kingdom around the river called Bitukang Manok under Dayang Kalangitan, wife of Gat Lontok whose illustrious son included the original Raha Soliman I of Manila.

Some of those tributaries disappeared with lands reclaimed on where once stood the police station and a Jollibee branch.

Surely motels, political assassinations and drug raids were unheard of during those time when Pasig folks bathe and wash clothes by the river before the onset of pollution and cybersex.

Mass murder of the Spaniards was what Gat Andres Bonifacio literally ordered from a revolutionary house in Pasig in 1872 when he founded the Sangguniang Bayang Nagbangon as a prelude to the revolution against Spain.

It was at the present Pasig town church across Plaza Rizal and Pasig Museum that the American Commission headed by William Howard Taft met on June 11, 1901 creating the new province of Rizal and made Pasig its capital.

In the past before the onset of karaokes, Pasig used to be famous for its Sunday and Rizal Day serenatas at the town glorietta now occupied by a fastfood chain branch across the church.

Across what used to be the glorietta is the mansion of the first pharmacist of Pasig (and later town mayor), Don Fortunato Concepcion whose daughter Vina, became the wife of actor Luis Gonzales. His house built in 1937 was where President Quezon used to make political visits.

Sometime in the mid-40s at nine in the morning, an American flag was hoisted in the balcony of the Concepcion mansion signaling the start of the mopping up operations against the remaining Japanese soldiers.

When I learned about this historic background of the Concepcion Mansion now known as the Pasig Museum, I founded the yearly summer music festival in Pasig and turned the Concepcion mansion living room into a recital hall. Apart from the countrys leading artists, the Pasiguenos heard for the first time the country’s national treasure in music, Cecile Licad, the country’s foremost tenors, Otoniel Gonzaga and Nolyn Cabahug and Romania’s violin icon, Alexandru Tomescu accompanied by pianist Mary Anne Espina.

Before the onset of rock bands and karaoke bars, the classical musicians of Pasig reigned supreme in Metro Manila. In the late 40s and into the early 50s , the pride of Pasig and the entire country was Pasig-born tenor Octavio Cruz who sang Verdi and Donizetti operas at the Manila Metropolitan Theater, the Manila Grand Opera House and the equally historic FEU auditorium.The first and last Filipino (2nd) prizewinner of the 1956 and 1961 Paganini Violin Competition in Italy was won by a lady violinist from Pasig, Carmencita Lozada.

Pasig City was also home of National Artist for Theater Daisy Hontiveros Avellana and the former turf of National Artist for music Ramon Santos.

For now, I join my fellow Pasiguenos in welcoming the new era of governance in the once and future city.

(Editor’s Note: The columnist was named Outstanding Pasigueno in the field of music in 2002 and his daughter, Kerima Tariman, former managing editor of the UP Collegian, was once appointed municipal administrator of Pasig during the Batang Pasig Youth Week in 1992.)


Pasig's old thoroughfare and historic church viewed from Pasig Museum.
My concert series at Pasig Museum featuring soprano Rachele Gerodias and tenor Lemuel de la |Cruz with pianist Najib Ismail.
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