50% administrator, 50% politician

I’ve been long cynical against politics, until I met Mayor Calixto R. Catáquiz, the beloved former chief magistrate of San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna and the architect of its cityhood (now known as the City of San Pedro, Laguna Province). It was he who opened my eyes that politics cannot be all that bad, and that there is more to it than what we usually hear from the news. A businessman first before he got involved in politics, Mayor Calex’s strategy of being a “50% administrator and 50% politician” worked wonders for the congested former municipality. In 1995, for instance, he was able to raise the coffers of the municipal treasury from ₱6.41 million to a staggering amount of ₱70 million. This, despite the lack of industrial sites.
Critics and other cynics will of course easily shrug him off as just another traditional político. But Mayor Calex cannot be categorized as such. A born realist, the soft-spoken mayor’s honesty during private conversations will stagger his listeners. His matter-of-factly manner of sharing his political ups and downs will elicit surprise, laughter, and tears. His biography is not just about the story of his life and political career but also the story of San Pedro’s journey from a mere rural municipality to a bustling city.

Lunch at Bricx Café & Bistro Bar. Mayor Calex holds the draft of his biography.

I’ve been chronicling his life story for more than ten years already. Finally, it’s done! It is now on its final stages of review, and will be edited soon by his friend, veteran journalist Chit Lijauco. Another friend, multi-awarded photographer George Tapan, will take care of photography and the book cover. God willing, Mayor Calex’s biography will be published and launched sometime next year, just in time to wrap-up our city’s Road Map 2020, a long-term development plan that was conceptualized and launched in 2010.
If my other writing gigs will not prosper soon, then Mayor Calex’s biography might just well become my second book after 2017’s “Captain Remo: The Young Hero“.

¡A Dios sea toda la gloria y la honra!

Captain Remo

La imagen puede contener: una persona

 

Abelardo Remoquillo (1922-1945), known among his peers, war enemies, and admirers as “Captain Remo”, was a young guerrillero from San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna (simply known today as the City of San Pedro, Laguna) who fought against the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. He is known only as a local hero. But I contend that he be declared a national hero. Why? At a very young age, he joined the Hunters ROTC guerrillas not to defend his hometown but to help defend his country. He fought against the invaders from different fronts of Southern Luzón and even participated in the famous Raid at Los Baños.

He died not in San Pedro Tunasán but in faraway Bay, La Laguna while attacking a Japanese garrison.

When he joined the Hunters ROTC, that is when his being a San Pedrense ended, and the exact moment when he completed his being a Filipino, a Filipino warrior to be exact.

Today is his death anniversary.

Copies of my bilingual biography* of Captain Remo are still available at the San Pedro City Hall. For inquiries, please contact the San Pedro Tourism, Culture, and Arts Office.

*The Tagálog translation is by Linda Sietereales. Her dear friend, famous novelist Lualhati Bautista, has a blurb for the book. This book is a project of the San Pedro City Historical Council headed by Mayor Lourdes Catáquiz.