Saturday, March 21, 2015

Remembering the Old Cebu Downtown

When we speak of Old Cebu, we always associate it with Colon being the oldest street, along with Juan Luna Street, Plaridel, Manalili, Magallanes, Legaspi, Pelaez, Sanciangko, Junquera, etcetera For us baby boomers, these parts of Cebu will always be dear to our hearts as they form a fabric of our yesteryear, when we were the young and the restless, the indefatigable batch of fresh faces, replete with so much vim, vigor and vitality in the so-called "Yeah Yeah Vonnel generation."

Downtown of the Old Cebu was the place where I would run to for my shopping needs, from school supplies to wearables, toiletries, gifts, toys, and other items. You name it, the stores have it there. I remember it was in White Gold (located then in Juan Luna Street now Osmeña Boulevard.) where I went and shopped for just about anything I needed.

Downtown of the Old Cebu was the center for business and entertainment. It was where the movie houses were: Victor, Vision, Eden, President, Premier, Majestic, Mever, Oriente, Rizal, Seven Arts, Ultravistarama, Best, Omega, Diamond, among many others. It was Southern Flame at the revolving Skyvue Diamond Tower for our nightclubbing or disco sessions. Other times, I would find myself either eating my favorite chicken mami and siopao at Fuji Teahouse located in what is now Gaisano Metro, or shopped along Fairmart, Best Buy, Gaisano Colon, Gaw Fashion Square, Rosita's Colon, Cinderella, Chekito Bazar, Sen Hiap Hing, Paulino's, Atin's Supermarket, Felcris, etcetera.

I also vividly remember the other places located in downtown Cebu of the olden times, like: La Suerte Bar & Restaurant, El Tesoro, State Fair, Visayan Restaurant, Manila Restaurant, International Rice House, Cebu Majestic Restaurant, Snow Sheen, Swank Cafe, Ding How, La Fortuna, Happy Mart, Lao Eng Chong, Gazini Plaza, Ever Shoes Emporium, Shanghai Bazar, Gilmore Tailoring, Stag Clothier, Happy Emporium, Biema, Umerco, Fair Deal Electrical Supply, Tagalog Hotel, Apollo Hotel, Pine Hurst and many, many more.

In the '90s when the mall trend hit Cebu, with the establishment of Ayala Business Center and SM City Cebu, and the other gigantic malls that followed, the Old Cebu downtown has never been the same again. It has taken on a different stand. Gone are the movie houses, the restaurants, our favorite hang-outs, department stores, supermarkets, etcetera. Nowadays, the Old Cebu downtown is no longer the place where we run to whenever we need something. But in my moments of solitude, when life takes on a standstill, I still long for the Old Cebu downtown because it was where lots of beautiful memories were built and created together with the many significant people who have been part of my young life, in a world that was simpler, more peaceful, devoid of so much pollution, trash and traffic, trivialities and all.

I look forward to the recreation or renovation or reinvention or whatever we may call it... if only to bring back the glory that was the Old Cebu. In His Time.

Written by Henry L. Yu M.D.
Source: The Freeman Publications

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Open Letter for the President

Dear Mr. President,

In your inaugural address, you said to me, “You are the boss so I cannot ignore your orders…” Well, Mr. President, I am ordering you now to listen to me.

Forty-four of your men were killed in pursuit of international terrorists. Tactical mistakes were made in the battlefield and for that, the commander of the Special Action Force (SAF) Gen. Getulio Napeñas has accepted full responsibility.

No words, though, can adequately describe how I feel when you say, “Why should I take all the blame?” Have we installed a grown man into office or have we installed a schoolboy? No one is asking you to take ALL the blame, Mr. President. But we are asking you to take responsibility for the incident. You are, after all, Commander-in-Chief.

In an attempt to rescue 52 American diplomats in Tehran on April 24, 1980, eight US service members were killed. In the aftermath of the failed rescue attempt, US President Jimmy Carter issued the following statements.

“…I knew that the operation was certain to be difficult and it was certain to be dangerous…To the families of those who died and who were wounded, I want to express the admiration I feel for the courage of their loved ones and the sorrow that I feel personally for their sacrifice…It was my decision to attempt the rescue operation. It was my decision to cancel it when problems developed…The responsibility is fully my own.”

This is how a president and commander-in-chief speaks.

You, however, have chosen to take a different tone. Your latest tirade, in fact, leaves me reeling and seriously doubting your emotional maturity as well as mental fitness to stand as leader and commander-in-chief.

“Ngayon, sana ho pwede kong masabing tatanga-tanga si Napeñas, hindi niya alam yung lugar.” Did you just call the former SAF chief, “stupid?” I am shocked at your choice of words in reference to the former chief of the elite police forces of the country.

You say you cannot be blamed because Napeñas fed you lies. You say you were given wrong information. You say you were misled. You say you were fooled. E sino ba ngayon ang tatanga-tanga?

You insist that had Napeñas followed your orders to coordinate with the military, the carnage would not have occurred. Was this not sufficiently explained by Napeñas to the entire nation? That your friend, then suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Alan Purisima, after stepping out of a meeting with you, told him that he (Purisima) would take care of this and as such, Napeñas deferred to him?

You harp at Napeñas defying your order yet you conspicuously stay silent on WHY you put suspended PNP chief Gen. Alan Purisima at the helm of the operation. Mr. President, hindi rin kami tatanga-tanga. You cannot keep using Napeñas as your whipping boy. We already know the sins of Napeñas. It’s time you confessed to yours.

I was one of those who put you into office. You owe me, Mr. President. Or was that an empty promise you made five years ago? At the very least, you owe me a straight face, a truthful explanation and a sincere apology. And that is an order.

-Your Boss-

Melanie Lim
Taken from the Sunstar Network
Image from