At long last, San Pedro Tunasán's rough and challenging road to cityhood has finally come to a victorious end with a mirthful bang of week-long revelry and homage to the sampaguita flowers!
|A new logo for a new city!|
My family's adoptive hometown has now classily styled itself as "The City of San Pedro" but without forgetting the scented heritage which made it renowned all over the country: ¡la flor de la sampaguita!
|San Pedro Tunasán is also known as the Sampaguita Capital of Filipinas!|
San Pedro recently celebrated the Sampaguita Festival which ran from the 16th to the 23rd of this month. But the main event, or the festival itself, always falls on the 22nd of February, coinciding with the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle. The festival, now on its 12th year, aims to promote tourism in San Pedro and to help revitalize the sampaguita industry which used to thrive in the place. It's a tough job considering the fact that industrialization is in everybody's minds right now. And because of that, the sampaguita trade here is dwindling. Dwindling but (thankfully) still alive and kicking. And so the yearly festival helps to enliven it in the people's psyche. For what would San Pedro be without the sampaguita? History has made the two virtually inseparable.
This year's theme is all about cityhood because San Pedro was recently proclaimed as a charter city, on December 29, coinciding with the 66th birthday of the cityhood's main proponent, former Mayor Calixto R. Catáquiz.
The road to cityhood was a tough one since power-hungry individuals sought to divide San Pedro into two to satiate their intense thirst for political lordship. President Noynoy Aquino's approval of Republic Act No. 10420 (which converted the Municipality of San Pedro into a component city) last March 27 would have been rendered inutile had the troublemakers won in the now legendary "Battle for San Pedro". There would have been no plebiscite had they won. Unfortunately for them, San Pedrense patriotism and common sense dictated the course of history. The troublemakers, however, were able to oust Mayor Calex from his post through legal gobbledygook and perhaps through politicking (an unfortunate "political reality" lording over the rule of law, says the former mayor). But in the end, the contravidas had a dose of their own dirty medicine: it was legal gobbledygook itself which did them in because Lourdes Síbulo de Catáquiz, Mayor Calex's gentle but firm wife, served as his replacement in last year's hotly contested local elections. Mayor Baby won by a huge landslide. She then took over the reigns of leadership. A peaceful plebiscite for cityhood soon followed (on December 28), and the rest is sweet history for the whole of San Pedro.
|Now it's PARTY TIME!|
|Feeling Vhong Navarro... ¡biguián ng "foods"! :D|
I can still vividly remember the first time we moved in to San Pedro. It was on a hot summer day during the Philippine presidential elections of 2004. That was almost a decade ago. No disrespect to the former mayor back then, but the place was really topsy-turvy when me and my family arrived: potholes in major roads, rowdy vendors here and there, rugby boys roaming about, piles of garbage in sidewalks, the flesh trade, horrendous traffic, etc. Whether or not it is the fault of San Pedrenses themselves, command responsibility will always come to mind whenever new arrivals have a first impression of a place.
I can say that I am proud of having witnessed all the positive changes that has happened during the past decade. Objectives were set and carefully organized. And bit by bit, improvements were introduced and realized. Here's hoping that the people of San Pedro, whether they be native San Pedrenses or just immigrants like my family, will support the positive changes being pushed by the current leadership.
A hearty congratulations to Mayor Lourdes S. Catáquiz and her team. Of course, former mayor and now San Pedro’s First Gentleman Calixto R. Catáquiz shouldn’t be left out in the acknowledgments; all this was, after all, the brainchild of Mayor Calex when he was still the Sampaguita Capital’s chief magistrate.
To be continued! In the meantime, please LIKE US on Facebook! ¡Hasta la vista!