Hope springs eternal
AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) - September 8, 2014 - 12:00am

I must apologize that for the past weeks I have become a cynic more than a believer that things will change in our country.  When your spirit is tested by a government that seems so self-centered, you tend to lose hope. 

I try to shake off all the bad vibes I get from the news I hear and read. But when you are affected by a government’s inability, disorganization and carelesness, how can you just shrug things off?

My father lived as a journalist all his life.  He began writing profesionally in his early twenties and on the day of his death, he still had a column written the night before.  He never thought that it would be his last.

I write about my late father, Max because it was his birthday last Thursday, September 4. He would have been 85 years old.  I have no regrets that God took my father almost 8 years ago. I’m pretty sure he is in a better and safer place beyond the grave.  Had he been alive today, he would be frustrated as well but as a veteran journalist even if his heart was bleeding inside he continued to bring us inspiration.

 In his kilometric columns which gave us facts, insights and humor, he never told us to give up nor to pack up and leave this country.  He always wrote to inspire the Filipinos to fight for our country, the only country we have. He taught us never to lose hope. 

But how can you continue to smile when you are stuck in traffic for 4 hours? When you have to pay a high cost of living (electric, gas, water, telecommunications, food and other basic commodities)? When the money you diligently pay the government is misused or stolen?

*      *      *

Last Friday, yes the time when motorists and commuters were stuck in traffic for hours at the North Luzon Expressway, I was on my way to Angeles City to celebrate their 50th anniversary of cityhood.  We had an event entitled O Bayang Mahal, a musicale that also showcased the best of Pampanga. Today, this province is an epitome of victory over tragedy, several man-made and the others caused by nature’s fury. 

 Historical records say that in 1796, the gobernadorcillo of San Fernando, Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda, and his wife, Dona Rosalia de Jesus, along with some followers, staked out a new settlement, which they named Culiat. On February 11, 1822, Don Angel filed a petition for the township of Culiat to secede from San Fernando, but it was denied. After donating 35 hectares of land for the construction of the first Catholic church, a convent and a primary school and paying the full amount required by law to separate Culiat from San Fernando, it became a separate municipality and was renamed “El Pueblo de los Ángeles” (The Town of the Angels) in honor of its patron saints, “Los Santos Angeles de los Custodios” (Holy Guardian Angels), and the name of its founder, Don Ángel.

On March 17, 1899, General Emilio Aguinaldo transferred the seat of the Philippine Republic to Angeles. It then became the site of the first anniversary celebration of Philippine Independence, which was proclaimed a year earlier in Kawit, Cavite. It was viewed by General Aguinaldo from the Pamintuan’s residence, which became the Presidential Palace from May to July 1899.

On August 10, 1899, US forces began the attack on Angeles confident in capturing it in a few days. However, the Filipino Army defending the town refused to give in so easily and fiercely fought back and for three months, they battled the Americans in and around the town. It was only after the battle on November 5, 1899 that the town finally fell into American hands. The Battle of Angeles was considered to be the longest in the history of the Filipino-American War in Pampanga. In January 1900, General Frederick D. Grant organized the first US Civil Government in Angeles by appointing an alcalde or municipal mayor. This began the American colonization in Angeles.

During the Japanese invasion, another type of local government was set up on January 22, 1942. Clark Air Base then became a major center for staging Japanese air operations. Japanese aircraft flying out of Clark participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, considered to be the largest naval battle of the Second World War.

Angeles was finally inaugurated on January 1, 1964 as a chartered city under Republic Act No. 3700 under President Diosdado Macapagal, the ninth Philippine president and a native of the province of Pampanga.

It is said that the transition of Angeles from a jungle clearing to a barrio, to a town and finally to a city took 168 years and in all that time, it survived locusts’ infestations, wars, epidemics, volcanic eruptions and typhoons to become one of the fast rising towns in the country. Their perilous fight with man and nature has made them stronger as they managed to still become one of the brightest stars in our country.

As Angeles City celebrates its 50th anniversary, the incumbent Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan and the strong community of significant Kapampangans continue to unite to preserve their culture and heritage by using their past and present experiences to make them a stronger force that will take on the challenge of providing a better future for the city and the coming generations.

Their story should inspire our youth, our only hope for change. If only our leaders will work towards the protection and preservation of our land for the future of our children and their children’s children.

Our liberty will not be secured at the sword’s point... We must secure it by making ourselves worthy of it. And when the people reaches that height, God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered, tyranny will crumble like a house of cards, and liberty will shine out like the first dawn. – José Rizal


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