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Name: Regie (Escolin) Soriano
1. Where did you grow up, and what made that place special?
First, let me start where I was born. I was born in Metropolitan Hospital in Tondo. My aunt knew everyone there since she worked there and they said that in 1972, this was a chic hospital with good chinese food. We lived in Paranaque then. This was when all you can see in that place we either rice feilds or empty lots with tall "talahibs". The green revolution was in mod that time so my mom, yaya, labandera and maid planted vegetables like eggplants and yams (i think) on the empty lot in front of our house. She also had pet pigs which quickly turned into pork right in front of our eyes. One of my brothers would faint seeing the metamorphosis of our so called "pet". During those days, I guess it wasn't illegal to raise livestock in a village..... hehehehe. We also had chicken and dogs (but we didn't eat our dogs).
You know how when you are small and everything seemed so big? Well the roads in that village were big then, and my brothers would go out biking in the afternoon. We lived near the Paranaque City Hall and they would bike to BF Homes. There weren't much of the commercial establishments along President Ave (avenue ba? tama ba?) instead all you can see were tall grass and the feel of fresh air. I remember my mom would beat the crap out of my brothers because on some days they would fancy wallowing in the mud in the rice feilds in their white cotton shirts just at the back of our house in San Isidro. Oh and who would forget the sari sari store with all the goodies a kid from the 70's would wish for.
We did our grocery at Tropical Hut in BF Homes and banking in Banco Filipino. I was a member of their Lucky Savers Club. There was also a Gift Gate store with dreamy Sanrio items glittering inside. Oh and who would forget the Tropical hamburger wrapped in foil? The aroma speaks for itself. Rancho Ranchero, Hawaiian Glee... When I was four years old, my folks decided to move north (but not too much... just towards the north) to be closer to his siblings. At this time villages like Greenhills and Valle Verde were still new. My father decided to bid for a back to back lot here in Horseshoe, QC near New Manila. The other half was a seminary and the other was a home to a family that was migrating to the US. I don't know if my brothers were just pulling my leg but they said that when the workers were digging for the construction, they found tombs. Haha... explains weird things around here. They said that during the Japanese times, this area was they camp where they would do their "work". I would love to find out about the history of this place, but that's another story.
The first time I saw this place is when we actually moved. I remember I was with my mom in the "lipat bahay" truck with Jaworski and Arnaiz, our dogs. As it is today, this place was really nice because there were a lot of trees and plants. Right across us was the house of a big actor i the 50's. LVN was just outside our village so maybe that's why he built his mansion there. It's like 2 blocks, two big blocks and it has elevators inside. Of course the actor was gone even before we moved in. We have a neighbor who had kids my age. We played in each other's houses and the afternoon would pass us by playing with leaves, mud and whatever we could find in the garden. Clay pots were my toys and mango leaves were my ingredients. I would visit the nearby sari sari store to buy rubber bands which I would make into chinese garter. I would also buy the powdered candy which would me make cough and the candy in a straw with a flag on it. Anyway LVN then was great! I never really got to go in the studio but there were always fans lining up and I remember a white fountain inside.
Also near our village was the ever famous Magnolia Ice Cream Plant and the Ice Cream House which to my blurred childhood memory had wooden bar stools and a bar just like a diner in a western setting. They served Merry Martian, Ernie and Bert, banana split, peach melba, ice cream floats but i don't think the called the sundae "sundae". Instead they called it "a scoop" of ice cream. I remember this because when we went to the US and I won something from Mc Donald's after spinning their "roleta", the caucasian girl asked me what I wanted. She mentioned two choices and I was only able to catch the last syllable of the last choice. I chose tuesday, she laughed and looked confused and she said "oh, you mean a sundae". At that young age (6 years old) I wanted California to sink with me in it.
Anyway, back to my Magnolia story.... We always had the Ice Cream Cake which you order from the factory along their Hemady gate. It always came with the facinating dry ice. I remember the PX store along Hemady right in front of the Magnolia gate where I got my first Barbie (in pink bellerina outfit). A few minutes away, there's Unimart in the Greenhills Shopping Center. I remember Unimart with Orange Julius. The hotdog! I remember the heat press machine and my personalized tee with my name on it. Unimart was so big then, but then again, maybe I was just small. There were also the best shops like Regina's, Gift Gate, Ding Dong's and restos like Shakey's, a batchoy place with Larry Alcala's cartoons on the walls, Pancake House, Ling Nam, House of Mini's for that romantic date, Dayrit's, Tom Sawyer, Kentucky Fried Chicken... There was also the Greenhills Theatre.
The happening place in my side of Manila was Cubao. There's SM, Rustan's, Farmer's Market, Farmer's Plaza and Farmer's Garden where my mom would spend her afternoons looking for the perfect orchid. I think that was the in thing then. Farmer's Market always had a wet floor, a far cry from what it is now. There was also Ali Mall. If you wanted to watch the newest Nino Mulach or Dolphy movie, that's the place to be. There were a lot of movie theaters in Cubao. They had Skate Town there in the 80's. That was fun. I was always there with my cousins during saturdays but I never really learned how to skate. And of course, who would ever forget Fiesta Carnival? Remember they had those carabaos near the door and Nino Mulach had that milk commercial and he was riding the carabao? Fiesta Carnival used to be in the building where Shopwise is now. It was indoor.
There was also Manila COD. The xmas presentation they has was always a sight to see and Aling Nena's pancit right beside and when it was shoes that you were looking for, go to Marikina Shoe Expo. There was also Goldilock's in the Rustan's building which had signs that read "share a seat win a friend" on the walls because there were always no seats for all the diners. There was never a traffic jam and the air was always clean. That was then.
2. What was your favorite tv show, cartoon, or children's show growing up? What did you like about these shows that made them your favorite?
1. Benny Hill Show - I used to watch this in my dad's tv when they would be asleep because it's for adults. His this link to FEN Philippines which accessed programs from the US Bases (I think). He's is so funny and his show had this kinky flavor and who would forget his face?! I liked it because it was funny and it's "bawal".
2. Wonder Woman - Oh I wanted to be her! I would spin like her in the hopes of a miracle and when I stopped, the world didn't. Reminds me of having a hypertension haha....!
3. Bionic Woman - Once again, I wanted to be her with her strength and speed, I could rule the world.
4. The Six Million Dollar Man - Cute Lee Majors.
5. Charlie's Angels - The glamour and fashion that show has! I love it!
6. Incredible Hulk - Wouldn't that that talent be handy when the class bully pays you that extra attention?
7. Spin-A-Win - I love Jeanne Young!
8. Price is Right - I loved guessing the price even if I never really understood the exchange rate then.
9. WWF - I don't know why. I just loved it. I don't now.
10. MacGyver - My Discovery channel then.
11. Magnum P.I. - Tom Selleck and Hawaii.
12. Candy Candy - I loved the story and her clothes.
13. Sesame Street and The Electric Company - Ms. Piggy and Kermit's love story.
14. Moonlighting and Remington Steele
John and Marsha - It was always funny.
17. GMA supershow, Germspecial and any German Moreno show including the Negosyete show because of all the stars he would have on them.
18. Eumorpho - Lakas tao!
19. Telearalan - Educational.
20. Penthhouse Live! - Because i loved Martin and Pops as a couple.
21. Lovingly Yours Helen, Connie Reyes Mumar drama show (I forgot the name) and the old movies they show in the afternoon on channel 9 (channel 9 had a digital time stamp on the lower right hand side of the screen), Lotlot And Friends and Young Love Sweet Love. You know what I'm just gonna have to stop because I can just go on. I really loved watching TV then.
3. Favorite music group or artist? Most memorable song?
I always heard my mom listening to Chamberlain, the piano guy who played Helen Vela's music and Bee Gees. I never understood why grown men could have such high voices. But I love them now. In the 80's I love the Gogos, Spandau Ballet, Debbie Gibson (Electric Youth!), Tiffany (I think we're alone now.....), Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, Sharon Cuneta (to the max!)
4. Share with our readers one of your fondest memories of growing up.
I love it that I grew up in a time where there wasn't much tv, internet or any advanced technology. It was a time that when you wanted to play, you had to go out and "mag amoy araw". If you wanted to find out about something, you had to read encyclopedias and pick up some cool stuff along the way. During the summer or any vacation I can have off from school, I would go to our province in Roxas City, Capiz. My cousins and I would play all day in the beach or in the fish pond. Our toys were the leaves of any plant we can get our hands on. I would do anything to go to the province then. Ted's Batchoy then was just in a nipa hut and everything was homemade.
5. What do you miss from back then that's not available today?
I miss the air. The clean air that was in Metro Manila. I miss how grand and formal the City of Manila was. The Metropolitan Theatre was a show on it's own and the CCP complex was still clean and swanky. I miss the anonymity of listening to our party line and how your money could go a long way. I miss the personal touch of letters and I remember that if a guy really liked you, he would really have the guts to call you on the landline risking the embarrassment of your parents answering the phone. I mean there really was no other way. I miss Apparon, the snack our school sold which came from the factory of "ostyas", Macho, the nacho cheese snack with was bigger than my mouth and the ice cream waffle sandwich Magnolia had. I miss the guy with the bell selling ice cream. I remember before when I heard his bell, I would run out of the house screaming literally for ice cream. "Kinikiliti ang tumbong ko". I miss how people used to be so formal and nice and how they showed their good manners and I also miss Alice Kamatis. Oh gosh I miss those times. I miss being young and life then was never complicated. Everything seemed so pleasant.
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