Volunteerism is in the Heart of my Neighbors, Angie and Hector Garcia

Volunteerism is in the Heart of my Neighbors,

Angie and Hector Garcia

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

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.

 

An Ideal Homeowners’ Association…Flores Village Phase II (Bangkal, Davao City)

An Ideal Homeowners’ Association
…Flores Village Phase II (Bangkal, Davao City)
by Apolinario Villalobos

Life in a subdivision is not always idyllic. There are always setbacks such as unreliable security, stray dogs, arrogant neighbors, and irregularly maintained cleanliness of surroundings. Having a reliable homeowners’ association then, becomes the only hope of the homeowner from nurturing regrets for having lived in such kind of community.

During one of my trips to Davao City, I was invited by a friend to stay with his family for a night which I gladly accepted. He lives in a middle- class, though exclusive subdivision, the Flores Village Phase II in the suburbs of the city, particularly, Bangkal. As I was used in our subdivision of being bothered by the presence of stray dogs and their incessant barking at night, my overnight stay at the Flores Village was a relief, as I never heard a single bark.

Incidentally, my friend, Ed Collado is the president of the homeowners’ association and I got interested on how he does his job. He confided that among his implemented priority projects was the installation of the CCTV units at strategic locations around the subdivision. The cleanliness and cordial relationship among neighbors are also maintained. The vacant lot which has been developed into a plaza which lately, has been provided by the local government with a multi-purpose shelter and basketball court is further made useful with the Council’s encouragement of homeowners to maintain plots which to date are planted with vegetables. Much earlier, mango trees were also planted to provide shade and later, fruits.

A healthful activity of the homeowners is the early morning brisk walk around the village which they commence as early as five in the morning. Usually, the earliest to rise is Manuel Pabriaga who is also a staunch volunteer in practically all activities of the association, despite his being a non-officer. But Ed, considers him as the Council’s “Ex-O”.

Noticeable in the subdivision is the abundance of ornamental and medicinal herbs. Some are rare which prompted this writer to encourage Ed to have them propagated and sold during agri-trade fairs, making such venture as a fund-raiser for their association. And, for this purpose, a small portion of the community garden can be converted into a nursery.

I was also told that coordination is being done with the local government for the provision of additional streetlights that will definitely make the village more livable. As of now, only the “tri-sikad” (non-motorized tricycle) is allowed to service the transport needs of commuting homeowners within the village to maintain the peace and quiet.

Interesting is their “mortuary” program for the homeowners which is akin to the “paluwagan”. In such, the homeowners are encouraged to deposit in their common fund, Php100 per month that can be withdrawn to provide relief when somebody dies in the family. This is aside from the fixed death aid benefit.

Aside from Ed Collado, who is the President of the homeowners’ association, the rest of the officers are: Emeterio J. Josue, Jr. (Vice-President), Elizabeth E. Sacco (Secretary), Rolando V. Supetrano (Treasurer), Alex Cordero (Auditor), Jesus Galcio (Business Manager), Federico Limjuco (Public Information Officer), and Rogelio Limjuco (Peace Officer).

The successful Council of the Flores Village Phase II, showed that an effective homeowners’ association is very crucial to maintain a friendly, clean and secured in a subdivision.