Where have all the old Baguio families gone?
(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 Jan. 28, 2018.)
When I was still an Assistant Prosecutor assigned to Branch 5 of the Regional Trial Court then being presided by Naguilian native Joven Costales, he couldn’t help but wonder aloud why many of the lawyers appearing in his sala carried hyphenated names.
I told the judge that it was the current trend, and to get used to it, as many more would soon be coming.
But what happened to the old practitioners like Florendo, Cabato, Paraan, Rillera, Cardenas, Labiaga et al,” he queried.
I replied that some have moved on to the big courtroom in the sky, others simply grew tired of practice, frustrated as they were that the lawyers with connections were bagging the more lucrative cases, still others were lost to politics like Lardizabal, Fangonil, De Guzman, Claravall, Rillera, and Floresca.
A remaining few opted to join the Judiciary like the Cabato father and son – Federico Sr. and Fernando, and later on, Illuminda, nee Cortes.
My talk with the judge got me to thinking, what about the old Baguio families like the Yandocs, Lamsangs, Pinedas, Jonsons and Garcias of Abanao Street; and also the Penas, Daeps, Ramirizas and Disinis of old Kayang Street.
On the other side of town were the De La Rosas of Plaza Theatre, the Avilas and Ranoses of Pines Cinema, and the Laperals, Sta Marias, and Nassrs of Session Theatre.
Also, other families with business establishments along Session Road were the Contemprates, Bermudez, and Munsayacs, famed souvenir and silver storeowners.
Jimmy Tong of Session Café stayed single all his life, while Ah Kong’s kids of Dainty, I heard, have migrated to the States, and likewise the Rufinos of Star Café.
Families in the beer joints business were the Blancos, Navarettes of Igloo and La Casita, their Harrison Road neighbors were the Reyeses, who were in the RCA radio business, and old man Stewart and Joe Icard.
Pioneers in the field of education were Fernando Sr. and Rosa Bautista, although their brood of seven boys is now down to five, Fer Jr. and Jojo now with their folks in the next world. But the University of Baguio will be here until the atoms drop.
Despite odds, the Salvosa family, with grit and determination, transformed the old Baguio Colleges from its Mabini Street origins to the University of the Cordilleras, even if family patriarch, lawyer Benjamin, chose to practice law in Manila, matching wits and trading legal barbs with the Supreme Court Justices.
Many of today’s political leaders are products of the B.C, the B.C.F., and the U.C., one and the same.
Mama Etang Fernandez, for all her thrifty habits, put everything that she had in the old Eastern Philippines Colleges, now the Baguio Central University.
Many years back, I dismissed a case filed by BCU students against Nang Etang for “unlawful increases in tuition fees.”
She thanked me with a gift of Tela Barong, which had the same texture and color of the uniforms worn by the waiters of a Manila restaurant.
God bless your kind heart Nang, wherever you are.
Assumption Street is a short stretch albeit divided into two by General Luna Road.
Among the residents of Lower Assumption (that adjacent to Session road) were the Buenos, Aquinos (Judge Flor and his large brood), Dimacolis, De Leons, Arvisus, Bergantes, Tesoros, Murillos and the Platas. At Upper Session were the Runez family, the Fontanillas and Estepas.