We count our blessings

ROSES & THORNS - Alejandro R. Roces () - July 26, 2008 - 12:00am

When I arrived in the Philippines after graduating from college at the University of Arizona, the building where we presented our passport was the Nielsen Tower which is now the Makati Museum and Library Building. The international airport was in Makati and there was nothing to indicate that it would replace Manila itself as the country’s center of trade and commerce. The City Government of Makati published a book entitled From Sampiro to Makati. Makati was generally referred to as Sampiro because its real name was San Pedro. Sampiro was the popular name of San Pedro. The Americans had their own version of Makati’s name. They called it St. Peter McArthy. Actually before the war, the name Makati was almost unknown. What was known was a street in Makati called CuliCuli, more popular at that time as the red light district of what is now Metro Manila. So if one is to give a title to the history of Makati, “From CuliCuli to Makati” would be more appropriate. Who would think that one day the red light district would be the Makati we now know to be the prime economic and business district of the entire country. Now, residing in Makati is something to be proud of and that includes me.

Me and my brothers were born and raised in the corner of Oroquieta Street and Zurbaran. Then we moved to the corner of Taft Avenue and Remedios. Recently we toured Oroquieta Street and we did not recognize a single building or home. This was because after World War II, Manila was the second most destroyed city in the world. And of course, the streets had undergone several facelifts since then.

Now as I look back, the more I realize that I did not make a mistake in making Makati my permanent place of residence. In our village, I have experienced nothing but peace and tranquility. This despite the fact that Makati has become the center of political demonstrations. And recently, there was an explosion in Glorietta, which is not too far from our residence. In fact, we heard that blast. The same is true of the Valentine’s Day bombing. Up to now, no one really knows what it was all about. But all in all, Makati has been a safe city to live and do business in.

We say all this to count our blessings. Residing in the correct community is one of them. We read of disasters both natural and man-made in the news every single day. Radio, television and the internet have turned the world into a global village and so bad news is a daily part of our lives. The Philippines is situated at the Pacific Rim of Fire, yet we have been lucky we have had no bad volcanic eruptions, bad earthquakes and extremely damaging typhoons. We want to see peace and tranquility and we mean everywhere in the whole world. One problem the world will have to face is climate change. In the United States and Europe, climate change affects summer, winter, autumn and spring. Here, it simply means more or less rain. Excessive rains may cause floods and landslides. Less rain may lower our harvests. Hence we should continually adopt the relevant measures that will lessen natural destructions and ensure enough food and shelter for our underprivileged brothers.

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