PROJECT 2: THE PLACE I CALL HOME
If you love books and research, you must probably have encountered the name, F. Landa Jocano (author of bestselling non fiction Slum as a Way of Life). Or, if you an old timer and an avid sports fan, especially basketball, you should know Freddie Hubalde. Or, you are some one receiving intelligent notes on current events through opinion writer and Philippine Star columnist, Art Borjal
There was also former Senator Francisco Tatad and former Postal Chief Roilo Golez who once were residents including movie heart throb Jay Ilagan.
Again, if you are a chess aficionado, the name Ruben Rodriguez, Chess International Master and the one who taught the young GM Eugene Torre to achieve global chess recognition, a perennial face to watch. Or, perhaps rocker Mike Hanopol with his melodious song in the 70’s, “Laki sa layaw, Jeproks” would hit the airwaves. If you know all of them then, you must be a resident of Quirino District, Quezon City, otherwise known as Project 2, a Homesite Housing Subdivision a few paces away from Cubao.
It is in Project 2, where a listless orphan, a tisay would be recruited to tinsel town as comedienne—Nova Villa. Over in some streets in this area too, another sexy star of the 60s would also be known, Stella Suarez, the mother of actor Richard Gomez.
It is in Project 2 where my parents brought us up. It was a sleepy town, leafy and full of trees; the street corridors demarcated with ornamental plants. Most of the residents were government workers, majority of the youth, studious on the one side and rebels on the other. All of the youth though, the juvenile sector, which ever persuasion they found themselves in had one commonality: they were all spoiled with parental attention, hence the term “laki sa layaw” or “Jeproks”, the inverted term Project, from the phrase Project 2 (from where a musical band scored its term). My father would never allow me to undergo the same harrowing experience he had. And that was also true with most of my peers in the area. We were all shielded from the pain and agony of struggle. Hence, we invented ways by which we could experience it anyway.
We may never had a taste of War, like what our elders had, but we were fierce in every competition that we find ourselves in. Our generation is very competitive and combative when it comes to rivalry.
Presently, the old row houses, roofing made of asbestos, had already been replaced with GI sheets or modern Spanish tiles with improvements. Most of the residents had moved out and had transferred to better-gated areas. Some would leave for abroad. Those who remained are but a fraction of the original denizens. Those days of exclusivity, those parochial concerns, those puerile fixations have been replaced with matured and impersonal associations. Gone were those days of partisanship and almost chauvinistic relationships. Gone too were those youthful adventures where I was once a part of. It was replaced by gross anonymity. Only a fragment remained along personal lines.
A generation has gone by and it is not Project 2 that underwent changes. It has happened on several areas too. The rustic nostalgia of a place is overtaken by crass transformations brought about by permutations on social challenges and the shifting of principles, which the people have ingrained in the course of time. There was politics everywhere and a lot of compromises in between.
Despite the variations on social life, the more it should be different in the final count in fact, the more it becomes the same. The cycle never ends, as a matter of fact, it is as if it has never moved at all. The environment has grown stoically but the air remained pallid as it was.