It was an old tale once told by the late Gov. Socrates. And I heard it too from former Vice Gov. Dave Ponce de Leon. The story was about Roy Golez, multi-term Congressman, President Arroyo’s National Security Adviser and all-time poster boy of efficiency at the Bureau of Post. But before he got all these titles and accolades, Golez was a sailor, Captain of a Navy ship that patrolled the high seas, crisscrossing the archipelago, passing by what was then the South China Sea and, occasionally, dropping off anchor at Puerto Princesa port.
Gov. Socrates would later recall that during those annual Provincial Meet when transporting athletes was a big problem, he would often request a navy boat to ferry delegations from island municipalities to Puerto Princesa. And in most occasions, it was the ship skippered by Golez which was available for the task.
From time to time his ship would also visit the bustling port of Liminangcong in Taytay. With a vibrant economy and a melting pot of sorts for traders, basnegeros and viajeros, Liminangcong was the center of commerce for barangays dotting Malampaya. With no road yet connecting to what is now the national highway, passengers and goods were ferried from Manila on board several “batels” owned by Asuncion Shipping Lines, and of course, by the iconic ” Miss Bataan “, owned by a local businesswoman, Aling Lita Tajuela.
It was, indeed, the best of times to be in Malampaya. The fishing industry was at its zenith and money was easy. And there was fun and entertainment for everyone provided by ” Sailors” and “Moonlight” cabarets. With its dim lighted halls and bailarenas” imported” from Bicol and elsewhere, the dancing crowd would sway to the sounds of Patti Page, Nat King Cole and Bobby Helms’” Fraulein”. It was also the heydays for families who made it big – the Quetolius, Sorianos, Abrinas, Bansons, Ocampos, Abogados and Dasigans of nearby Tumbod, to name a few.
And there was Silvestre Molo, everyone’s Mang Bete, the Kapitan, known far and wide as a tough enforcer of the laws, lest trouble disturb his little paradise at the mouth of Malampaya Sound.
It must be during Liminangcong ‘s fiesta in February when Golez’ ship called port for the merrymaking. But after a drink too many, the rowdy Navy men started making unnecessary noise to the consternation of Kap Bete. Failing to pacify the inebriated sailors with all the persuasions he could muster, Kap Bete just let his fists do the talking, sending off the troublemakers scampering back to the ship. But the fray just didn’t end there that way. After a few minutes, came Golez, the boxing champ at Annapolis, looking for Mang Bete, probably to give him a dose of his own medicine.
No one remembered how the score was settled. It was a horseshoe meeting, after all. Eventually, Golez would sail away to national prominence while Kap Bete, after some time, would settle in the new town of San Vicente where he became Barangay Captain of Alimanguan, got elected as ABC President and served the Municipal Council with pride and distinction.
On a personal note, I was Director for TESDA’s MPLTP district (covering the cities of Muntinlupa, Paranaque, Las Piñas, Taguig, and Pateros) when Roy Golez was the incumbent Congressman of Paranaque. It was in one of the many graduation programs I organized for his TESDA Scholars that I had the chance to ask him about Liminangcong. I must have touched a soft nerve, for in a few seconds, his serious mien gave way to an impish smile and in a wink of an eye, he was transported back in time to those halcyon days of life at sea, of a hard sailor’s life where the daily sameness is only punctuated by occasional fiestas and merrymaking.
He remembered it all – his rowdy sailors and their colorful language, and of course, Kap. Bete.
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