An interview with Juan de la Cruz
O.C: Mr. de la Cruz, welcome to our humble offices. It’s been a while since our last interview. How are you this fine Thursday morning?
JDLC: The day may be fine, but I certainly am not.
O.C: I am sorry to hear that, but you seem to have lost weight, and appear to be a bit pale, judging from the pallor of your skin.
Please tell us your health isn’t failing.
JDLC: Frankly, I am not in the pink, if you must know. For the past six months, I have been under the weather, and was even hospitalized for a period due to suspected pneumonia.
O.C: Maybe the cold windy afternoons may have something to do with your condition, and getting drenched in the rain, for someone your age, might even be life threatening.
JDLC: The doctors say I caught a virus. I suffer from dizzy spells and persistent coughing, and on some days, I can’t even move my bowels. Unable to do that, I sweat all over due to nasty stomach pains.
At night, I am usually awakened by a funny sensation in my penis, and if I ignore it, I wet my pajamas and my bed.
I fear I am dying, and may suffer cardiac arrest if I tire myself out from any kind of physical activity, including playing with my own self with an electric massage. But my friends say that I will be around for much longer, since like them, I am bad grass.
O.C: I hate to say this, but it’s just delaying the inevitable. Hell is where all bad grass is headed.
JDLC: That’s not very comforting. Anyway, I plan to reform myself in the next few months. Church every day, prayers every morning, rosary every night. More important, sharing my blessings with those in need.
Hopefully, St. Peter will throw open the pearly gates when I get there.
O.C: I seriously doubt that. If you lead a sinful life, no way will cramming get you to heaven.
Your best bet is to at least be sent to Purgatory, and with some luck, heaven later.
By the way sir, you are from Baguio, are you not?
JLDC: Yes, I was born, raised and except for a brief stint in Diliman (seven semesters, three summers to be exact) educated here.
O.C: I take it then that you are familiar with the Baguio before and after.
JDLC: But of course. A city billed as the Summer Capital, a City of Pines and between then and now, a character city to a creative one.
O.C. (giggling): I understand what you are saying. All that billing hasn’t done much good for the city. Skeptics will tell you that we are neither a city of character nor a creative one, certainly no longer a city of pines, no longer able to claim exclusivity to being a summer capital.
In truth, the competition is drawing away the tourists and other visitors.
Without the Christmas break and the Panagbenga, what would Baguio be? Thank God for the year-round cool weather.
A city of quakes, landslides, garbage, and informal settlers most likely.
JDLC: The new mayor seems to be trying his darnest to change that sorry image, but critics say he wants to enhance his image as well.
You know how it is in politics. Once bitten by the bug, the poison in your mind starts to work, and you begin to think you deserve a higher office as time goes on.
It’s like the pursuit of wealth and happiness. The richer you become, the more you crave for more and more, and more.
O.C: You think that has something to do with the Filipino psyche, influenced by Spanish imperialism and American corruption. Too bad the Japanese were only here for four years. If they had stayed longer, we would be a proud, dignified, and an honorable race, whose love of country exceeds love of self.
JDLC: You are right. As we are, happiness is never enough. Already happily married, a scheming woman can still take you away from all that, promising a better paradise in the comfort of her bosom, while her hands dig into your pockets.
O.C. Mr. de la Cruz, if you don’t mind, can we go back to what ails the city?
JDLC: Ah yes, it is a problem all the world over, like in the U.S., which will always be divided because white or black will never see eye-to-eye.
The blacks proclaiming that the U.S. can only be united and one regardless of color.
But their agenda is suspect insofar as the whites are concerned, that what they really want is not a united America but a black United States.
Slaves in the colonial years, they want to turn things around this time.
But who can blame them? It is the same here. Too many ethnic groups wanting to put one over the other, and pretty soon, the resentment transforms into hatred.
Baguio should have been preserved only as a tourist spot and educational center. No migrants, no big businesses.
The multinational companies should have been set up in nearby La Union, and the open invitation to Muslims to come and reside here may have been an error that we will continue to regret.
Look at China, it isolated itself by putting up the Great Wall.
That is why they are a world power today.
O.C: Mr. de la Cruz, these are sensitive issues which we would rather not discuss with you. Let’s just leave our fate in the hands of the Almighty.
Post script: At last, a true-blue Baguio boy as Philippine National Police chief. We pray that after two months, his tenure will be extended by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Only someone with a Baguio heart knows how to run a 209,000-strong police force. Hearts and minds are what new PNP boss General Camilo Cascolan has. Adopted Baguio boy Art Lomibao might be able to help him, not just for the sake of the PNP, but for the Filipino nation at large.
Saludo sir, kayang-kaya mo ‘yan.