99th Baguio Charter Day Anniversary Issue
99 thoughts on Baguio's Centennial
Esther someone else like her?
A tribute to those who care for Baguio
A pasture of hope:
Good Shepherd Convent
Through the barriers of silence & isolation
They're loved because they care
The man called morris
Teacher volunteers:
Pathways to Higher Education
My best teacher
Indigenous women and a cooperative
Two Baguio families are local visionaries
Top 10 reasons why getting a Baguio education is worth it
Conversations with Gaia
Winning Photos
99th Baguio Charter Day Cartoon
by: Leila Casusi

I’ve lived in Baguio for practically most of my life, interrupted only by a 15-year stay in Makati.

Baguio was served by two prominent families that so very humbly and quietly served, day in and day out.

The first would be my very own parents, Dr. Cesar B. Casusi and Mrs. Elflida V. Casusi. All the success I enjoyed then and now, I largely attribute to them.

Papa was not originally from Baguio. He was from the south — from Tiaong, Quezon. Possibly disheartened by a failed attempt to convince his mother to allow him to go to the US and work as a doctor, he took his favorite radio and with P300 in his pocket went north.

Baguio is all the better for it because from 1959 up to his passing on Sept. 19, 1999, he had served scores of patients.

Our family seems to have been cut out to be in the healing field. Papa comes from a clan of doctors — physicians, they would call it then.

Then, he met my mother at Baguio General Hospital where he taught.
She was studying to be a nurse.

For whatever twist of fate, they decided to walk at Wright Park one day. In those days, it was frowned upon for a student to be seen with her instructor, much less walking together one fine sunny morning.

Papa, the honorable man that he was, decided to marry my mom and the tongues stopped wagging.

Thus, our family gained a doctor and a would-be nurse. Such a combination ensured that our family was forever healthy, despite the usual childhood diseases like mumps, chicken pox, and measles — it seems like there was no going around those. But I loved the fact that not one needle pierced our tiny arms throughout our childhood. Visits to the dentist for tooth extractions, however, were a different matter and we did get those dreaded needles.

Papa was different in that he had a light hand and a compassionate heart with patients. Until now, patients would remark at how they loved to hear his soothing voice. They would make an excuse to see him and merely listen to that soothing voice filled with a doctor’s conviction. They fared well in no time at all!

Even with us kids coming along one after the other, when the patients called, he would go see them — even if it meant walking through Loakan Road when it was dark and raining. He had mouths to feed and patients to attend to. It simply had to be done.

He was a very energetic man who could see patients all day long, attend to the many needs of his family, work on the house with my grandfather who happens to be a carpenter, and get to play with us kids on weekends.

Patients would need him almost all the time and Ma would always make room for them in the house especially if Papa needed to monitor them.
We only had one serviceable room in those days as the house was still being built, so most of the house was still open to the elements. But Pa couldn’t refuse a patient.

There was a time Ma owned a pharmacy alongside my dad’s clinic. It sure proved to be a wise venture as the patients could buy medicines from Ma soon as Pa had seen them. It was a tiny pharmacy but great love and dedication flowed from it. Between Ma and Pa, many patients felt loved again. And with love always comes healing.

I was fortunate to manage that little magical pharmacy for a month while my Ma was away and I know what I speak of. Patients and vendors would look for Ma as she would spoil them both.

And now that my father has passed away, my dear brother, Dr. Bernie V. Casusi, has very nobly carried the healing torch. In his own right, he has gathered his own group of local patients in my father's old clinic in Abanao Street. And in her own dynamic way, his wife, Dr. Joy Jose-Casusi, has pioneered the dermatology field here in Baguio.

I am proud to have come from such a wonderful group of healers and visiona-ries in my own family.

Another memory that sits well with me throughout my life here is Sunshine Grocery. The Del Rosarios have faithfully served the community of Baguio since forever. All I know is that I’ve known them since college in the ’80s and when I got back in 2001, they still very kindly remembered me. Now, how kind could that ever be?
They serve hundreds, or maybe even thousands of customers a day.

I’ve practically seen their business grow. They had Sunshine and Imarflex then. Now, they also have Kodak, Betty’s Kitchen, Hotel Veniz, and God knows-what-else. Oh my God, there’s McDonald’s, too!
I’ve seen how hard they worked each day. I’ve seen them take care of their mother, too. She would sit at the supermarket every so often and have a look at everything. These days, I still see her, albeit with some young people aiding her now.

There was a time I said “hi” to Sonny del Rosario at the bakery. That was so very many years ago. He learned of my birthday and immediately gave me a chocolate roll. I could never forget such kindness. Straight from the bakery, too!

And Michael always asks me how I am every time he sees me in the vicinity. So with Kenneth. These people are running a million-peso operation and they are never too busy to say “hi.”

Oh, and let’s not forget their staff members! I still see some of those who served us when I was growing up. They’re still there. I’ve seen some of them go up the ranks. I see new faces. But the formula remains: Good service with humility.

At least, that’s what I can say from my consumer’s point of view.
They try to keep their prices down as best as they can despite the fluctuating market conditions. Their supervisors would even replace a faulty item if need be. I remember that with a cold cream product I asked Bert to replace. No questions asked, they just get it done.

I like how they’ve made the business grow and how they do their best to satisfy their customers, that includes me, almost every day. I also like how the supervisors can decide on everyday matters.

I feel their energy and their vision. And so, this Centennial the city has got to honor these two groups of people who have faithfully served the Baguio population for so many years. Let us honor the faithful servants of Baguio: Dr. and Mrs. Cesar B. Casusi, and the Del Rosarios, the clan that made the sun shine for each mother and father who needed to feed their families.

God bless them all! God bless us all!
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