(Photos courtesy of Barry Sumpio)

Many of Puerto Princesa’s famous structures and businesses are memorable because they carry memories for older generations.

These recollections are mainly of a simpler period when the city appeared like any other municipality in Palawan.

When one of the city’s largest and most famous business areas first opened, nothing could have been easier. Few people realize that the Rengel Store, now Rengel Center, has a deep connection to Puerto Princesa’s modest origins.

The Rengel Center began as a small store selling live fish sourced from the owner’s backyard. Back then, the first store was at Quito, a coastal community in the city. Buddy Sumpio, a military man and a fisherman, worked hard to provide for his family in the early 70s by supplying fish to his in-laws’ store.

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“’Yong father ko, bumabangon talaga ‘yon nang maaga para lang kumuha ng mga isda sa baklad. At ‘yon ang naging paninda namin while I was growing up,” said Barry Sumpio, Buddy’s son.

“Nagtatrabaho kasi ang mga magulang ko sa gobyerno, hindi pa ganoon kalaki ang mga sahod nila noon, ang aking ina ay nanilbihan sa Sangguniang Panlungsod” he added.

Sumpio’s family lived a simple life in the early days. However, things soon began improving when Barry started working abroad.

“Talagang nagsimula ang aming angkan sa napakasimpleng setup sa Quito. Unti-unti lang talaga na umunlad ng dahil sa pagsusumikap,” said Sumpio.

Atty. Apolinario Rengel, one of the brothers of the owner of Rengel Center, was a City Council member. Barry said that his family admired his grandfather the most because of his leadership skills and integrity.

“Ang talagang tumatak sa akin sa pamilyang Rengel is ‘yong integrity. Service, tulong sa tao. ‘Yong pagmamahal sa kapwa tao,” said Sumpio.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.