July 16, 2024

(Editors’ note: The Midland Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on June 28, 2009).

My friendship with Governor Nestor Fongwan—I like to think it is that—goes all the way back to the early days of the Ford Fiera, forerunner of today’s Innova, and before that, the Tamaraw and Revo.
Expect the Japanese to pick up a good idea and improve on it, but Gob Nestor is not Japanese, he is Chinese, but his Ibaloy roots makes up for all that foreign blood running in his veins.

I was a new lawyer then, counseling for the La Trinidad Operators and Drivers Association of which Gob Nestor, a Ford Fiera driver-owner plying the La Trinidad-Baguio route, was the elected vice president.
President was another old friend Vincent Dizon, a Bontokis who wouldn’t be caught dead being under a Chinaman, and an Ibaloy at that.
No wonder Vincent now lives in Manila, and not in Benguet.
With Nestor around, association meetings were always lively and interesting, with questions like where the contributions and dues of the members were going, which president Vincent parried by saying that parking spaces in the city are blessings that come only if you contribute generously to the collection plate of the powers that are.
For a public conveyance operator, Gob Nestor was articulate, incisive, and buddy-buddy with everybody, traits that would serve him in good stead when he would later venture into politics.

And true to his destiny, Gob Nestor was first elected councilor of La Trinidad, subsequently vice mayor, but like all of us husbands at home and so too in politics, poor Nestor got clobbered—no, no, foiled would be more apt—by a woman in his initial bid for the mayorship.
Unfazed, Nestor would try again, with a win that started a run of three consecutive victories of a nine-year mayoralty term that saw him stage well-publicized activities like the popular strawberry festival, a feat that went into the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest strawberry short cake ever.

Endearing himself to (former) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with his exemplary work ethic and a string of successful endeavors, he would later be named by PGMA herself as vice president for Luzon of the Lakas-Kampi party, the political vehicle of the President that is expected to sweep next year’s political exercise for various positions, except that the unkindest cut of all would be the sure election of an opposition president.
Whatever, Gob Nestor will surely find himself on the good side of the next leader, given his pleasant personality and political clout in this part of the region.
Having increased the earnings of the province from P400 million to over P600M today, he targets a billion for this year or early next year as income for Benguet.
Big dreams for Gob Nestor, the man with the big comb and thinning hair.
Gob Nestor will likely go bald trying to reach that dream, but expect a feather to adorn his cap that he will be needing to cover his pate—with one more achievement after another that he has always been known for, starting from the very first time he was elected a public servant.
I can tell you other stories about Gob Nestor, but he will likely scalp me if I go into details.
Please, nothing at all what you might be thinking. Gob Nestor and I share a vice or two, but we are both loving husbands and good fathers.
Well, large appetites, for one.

Apologies to my cousin Manuel, whose name went missing in my list of cousins gone into their seventies and hopping off to the eighties.
It seems the secret of us Caranteses to stay long on this earth is to get beyond the sixties—just like the third base in baseball—and then you slide to home plate safely, unless you get a bum call from the umpire.

Arabs, Chinese, Americans, Filipinos, people of whatever color or creed, are taking to the streets to dramatize their feelings on what they perceive to be unfair, if not evil.
Some are dispersed with water, others with clubs and truncheons, and still others with tanks and gunfire.
Freedom and free choice are the common grounds for protest, and in many instances, blood is shed or life is snuffed.
The human heart throbs only for three causes—love, independence, and fairness.
God, country, and family are of the mind.
A glorious 4th of July to all freedom-loving Americans, even if they seldom play fair.
Not in this country, anyway.