I dig my files and clippings and I realize that this assignment is somewhat discomfiting. A flood of memories surges, tsunami-like. I feel the warmth of triumph and of freedom long-won, but also feel sadness over the loss of those I had met and known and written about.
There is definitely more to Santa Rosa, Laguna than just being the much touted gateway to Calabarzon, that burgeoning industrial zone and magnet for investors that straddles the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon. Younger folk too can find much more to this town than just the giant ferris wheel of the Enchanted Kingdom.
Bloody Mary singing about Bali Hai in the Broadway play and subsequent Hollywood movie “South Pacific” made us dream of islands in the sun, islands in the mist, an island paradise: “If you try you’ll find me, where the sky meets the sea. Here am I your very special island/ Come to me, come to me.”
The happy shrieks of children blend with the sonorous mooing of the cows. The striking green of the fields compete with the blueness of the sky. The patter of little feet, the chorus of voices in the classrooms, the rising of the nuns’ chanted prayers at eventide…
Printed stampita-size versions of a painting of EDSA People Power of 1986, with the figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary dressed in yellow, went around during that time when most Filipinos were aglow with patriotic fervor. The original painting was later presented as a gift to the then newly-installed president, Corazon C. Aquino, the widow swept into power by an almost bloodless uprising.