When the unpaved roads of the Perpetual Village 5 was finally completed, courtesy of the City government of Bacoor City, flaws were discovered such as the low-grade asphalt that was used to fill the gaps of sections, and which practically cracked and broken into pieces in time, and the dangerous wide-gapped corners that endanger maneuvering cars, especially, vans and garbage trucks. Two garbage trucks almost lost their balance while maneuvering the corner along Fellowship and Unity Streets.
The anticipated dangers due to the precarious corners were brought to the attention of the contractor when the project was near completion, but to no avail. Understandably, he was constrained by the allocated budget that was allowed only for the approved width, thickness, and length of the roads in the subdivision. Rather than wait for mishaps to occur, the President of the Perpetual Village 5, Louie Eguia, decided to make use of the meager fund of the association.
As expected, Hector Garcia and the available members of his family volunteered to help – his wife Angie, daughter Mara, son-in-law Jet, and even the latter’s household “stewardess”, Ting. From eight in the morning up to almost noon, the small group toiled under the searing heat of the sun. Even Mara who was on day -off and the lean and young “stewardess” Ting, took turns in mixing cement, gravel, and sand. Jet, who just arrived home from an overnight job also shook off the fatigue from lack of sleep. With a wheelbarrow, Hector tediously, made several trips to the Multi-purpose Hall for the pre-mixed cement and gravel, while Louie, though, suffering from skin allergies from the prickly heat, untiringly did his part.
I have already blogged the Garcia couple due to their unselfish “habit”, worthy of emulation. The habit practically runs in the family which also contaminated their house help, Ting, whom I lovingly call “the stewardess”. They talk less, but work more, and this habit made them click with the equally man of few words, Louie, their homeowners’ association president.
Just like the rest of the pioneers in our subdivision, the couple, Angie and Hector Garcia went through the expected hardship of living in an unfamiliar new-found home, which in our case is Cavite, used to be known for notoriety – unsafe as many alleged. Add to that the difficulty of commuting to Manila because the only way was via the Aguinaldo highway that passes through buzzling public market of Zapote. The Coastal Road during the time was not yet even in the drawing board of the Department of Public Highways. That was during the early part of the 80’s.
A “short cut” to our subdivision from the Aguinaldo highway is traversed by a creek, deep and wide enough to be classified as a river. Several bamboo poles that were laid across the creek served as the early bridge, that was later “upgraded” to a safer one made of two electric poles floored with planks. During the early years the creek did not overflow, however, the constant reclamation of both banks constricted the flow of water that resulted to flash floods which did not spare our subdivision. These instances brought out the innate character of our neighbors that hinged on volunteerism.
As the home of Angie and Hector Garcia is situated right at the western entrance of the subdivision where the creek is situated, the homeowners’ association’s heavy duty rope was used to be left in their custody. They would bring it out when flood occurred so that those who would like to take the risk of crossing the bridge would have something to hold on to as they gingered their way through waist-deep flood. A heavy rain for three to four hours would put every homeowner on the alert as the heavy downpour usually triggered a flood. Angie and Hector would miss precious sleeping hours as they waited for the right moment to bring out the long heavy rope, one end of which would be tied to the post of the bridge while the other end would be entwined around the iron grill of their fence or gate. If the flood occurred at night till dawn, we would wake up in the morning with the rope already in place to serve as our “life line” to the other side of the overflowing creek.
The couple also took pains in cleaning the vacant area behind the subdivision’s Multi-purpose Hall and planted it to medicinal plants and mango tree which also provided shade. Vegetables were planted, too, aside from medicinal herbs for everybody’s taking in time of their need. The early morning as the sun rises would also see them sweeping the street in front of their house.
The leadership qualities of the couple, made their neighbors trust them. Hector had a stint as the president of the Homeowners’ Association, while Angie kept in her custody whatever meager earnings of the association from renting out the Multi-purpose Hall and monthly dues, aside from the collected Mass offerings, until clear-cut procedures were finally established during which she turned over the responsibility to the Homeowners’ Association’s Treasurer.
Angie is a cancer survivor having had a mastectomy, but despite her situation, she patiently endured the rigorous travel to Naujan, Mindoro with Hector to regularly check their “farm” which they planted to fruit-bearing trees. When I asked them one time why they take pains in maintaining such far-off farm instead of purchasing another either in Silang or Alfonso, both in Cavite, they confided that they have already “fallen in love” with their investment. Their love for the farm truly shows in their robust physique despite their age of sixtyish. I just imagine that perhaps, if they stop commuting to and from Naujan, Mindoro, weed their farm, and take care of the growing saplings, their health would deteriorate as usually happens to people who cannot stand being idle.
The couple has three daughters, all successful in their chosen fields of endeavor. And, one of them is serving the Homeowners’ Association as Treasurer.