March 20, 2007

Nostalgia Bloggista: Gigi Santos-Castaneda

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Name: Gigi Santos-Castaneda

1. Where did you grow up, and what made that place special?
Home for me was in Makati. My dad, a landscape architect, did several projects for the Ayala Corporation in Makati starting way back in the '60s so in exchange he was able to get a plot of land in our village for a pretty good price, I think. It was my whole world -- there was South Supermarket where I'd go buy my books and snacks, Magallanes Theater where I watched all my first movies, and the first Pancake House, where the walls were plastered with classic movie posters. I even remember there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken for a very short while, which oddly enough was a sit-down restaurant and seemed to be on the fancier side. Anyway it seemed like everything I needed was just a walk away and I always felt safe. My first friends were my neighbors, and all our homes were open to each other. Definitely a very idyllic time and place to grow up in.

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?
I was weaned on "Sesame Street" like most other kids my age. Even today, when I say a letter or number I have an image of how I learned it from the show. I remember starting off my mornings watching "My Favorite Martian" and "Get Smart" -- I loved both so much I could watch reruns over and over (because that's what they mostly were). Then at night I'd watch "The Carol Burnett Show" and "The Wild, Wild West" with my parents in their room. One of my favorite cartoons was "Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home" -- although when I think of it now, it really wasn't made for little kids because of the themes it delved into. But I also liked the "Flintstones" and all its offshoots, "Wacky Races," and "SuperFriends." It was a good time to be a kid in the '70s because the shows were so wholesome back then -- for example "Little House on the Prairie" taught me what it meant to be a good person. I mean, even "The Love Boat" and "Charlie's Angels" were relatively innocent, compared to shows now. And of course I watched all the popular Filipino variety and comedy shows; "John En Marsha" used to make me laugh so hard my stomach hurt.

3. Favorite music group or artist? Most memorable song?
I grew up with the radio attached to my ear so I have so many favorites, I couldn't possibly pick one or even a couple. I'm so thankful for "Jingle Magazine" because it taught me all the lyrics to my favorite songs. My earliest favorites were Bread, the Carpenters, Carole King, Carly Simon, James Taylor, The Fifth Dimension, Stylistics, America, even Todd Rundgren... I could really go on and on. I still know the words to all the songs I used to sing along to. I forget a lot of things these days but not the music I used to love. The '80s was a fun decade for music, but somehow it's the '70s stuff that's deep in my soul.

4. Share with our readers one of your fondest memories of growing up.
On some Sundays my dad would bring me with him to Nayong Pilipino, where he had a small tract of land he used as his nursery. Buried deep in the middle of the property was a little shack surrounded by a stream of mudfish and a wall of tall trees. I'd sit inside reading, listening to the radio and basically just putzing around all morning while dad tended to his plants. Once in a while he'd take us to that Maranao-style restaurant where I'd always order champorado and tapa. Until today, it's still the standard to which I measure all breakfasts. Sarap talaga!

5. What do you miss from back then that's not available today?
Space. Makati is so crowded and congested now, it's really become an urban jungle. If there's a postage-stamp-sized piece of land available, something is built on top of it right away. But the funny thing is I really do miss South Supermarket -- especially one of the guys who used to work there whom we called "Kulot" (I think his real name was Louie), who never seemed to age I swear. Before the place closed down and was replaced by a small Rustan's grocery store, I was lucky enough to visit home and say goodbye to this place I knew all my life, and I got to tell Kulot I'd miss him even if I left home more than 20 years ago. I found out that day that he was able to send all his children to college by working at the supermarket all those years. That really made me happy, such a great story to end my memories of an era. But I was also a bit sad because I realized that almost everything I remember about home and growing up was gone now.

More Nostalgia Bloggista: Maryanne Moll

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Anonymous said...

Hi,Gigi! Did you live in Magallanes Vill? Did you also watch "Donny & Marie"? There was also "Cher" briefly.

I get so excited whenever I catch "The Carol Burnett Show" on TV Land every now and then.

Anonymous said...

Hi TTM - I sure did! Oh yeah, I watched "Donny & Marie" every week too (Cher's show I don't remember -- but that could be because of weakening brain cells :( ). Whenever I see "The Carol Burnett Show" I can practically hear my dad guffawing. He's a really quiet kind of guy, but that show got him laughing louder than anything else could.

batjay said...

kaya pala familiar ang magandang mukha - si kapitbahay ko pala ang na feature mo.

great job.

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