Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Where There Is More Heaven Than Elsewhere (Paying Respect to Gagalangin)

Gagalangin is in Tondo -- as in Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila. But its residents behave as though it is not. It is thinly separated by the unimposing Pritil bridge from the more trouble-prone Tondo of Bangkusay, Vitas, and Moriones, but the residents pretend it is a world away.

Ask a Gagalangin lass where she lives, and she is unlikely to mention Tondo, lest it scare away prospective suitors less fearless and fist-happy than Fernando Poe, Jr.

Kaming mga taga Gagalangin, the old guards say proudly, are respectful and respected.

Taga-rito si Dolphy, King of Comedy, they would tell the uninformed, and proceed to point to where his old house once stood in Sunog Apog. If you had more time to listen, they would probably whisper that Dolphy wanted sorely to marry the mother of his first batch of children, except the family of the woman thought he'd be good for nothing. "Big mistake, huge," they'd probably interject, with a "tsk, tsk."

Ganun din si Tirso Cruz, great band leader, and his famous offsprings. Same with Perla Bautista, Tony Santos, Ricky Belmonte, Gina Pareno. Award-winning movie stars.

Pitoy and Virgie Moreno. Renato Constantino. Atang de la Rama and Amado Hernandez. Armando Malay. Rolando Tinio. Teodoro Agoncillo. Francisco Buencamino, Jr. Vicente del Fierro. Icons of letters and the arts.

They all grew up there, these gentle and genteel people.

It was where I was born and grew up, too. I'd call it the "Gagalangin of my affections," except it is already taken.

The Gagalangin of my childhood was a congenial place where people lived more or less comfortably -- neither too richly nor too poorly. There were very few homes there that would qualify as mansions; neither were there too many rundown shanties. Many residents think it is the best place to live and have stayed put and they may not be too far from the truth.

My family lived in a squatter community, but you wouldn’t know from the way the houses looked.

We had spacious front yards, where we played patintero, piko, and tumbang preso every summer afternoon just as soon as the sun began its downward slope. Being lampa, I was always “it” and ended up “balagoong,” but it didn’t stop the quintessential Binibining Atsay from playing. Anyway, I could often cajole playmates to go inside the house later to play sungka, siklot and jackstone where I was sure to redeem myself.

Our side yards had gardens. My mother tended a proud one that was fed with horse manure, gathered from the droppings of the karetela that plied our street and therefore grew lushly. She had bandera espanyola, san francisco, paco, champaca, calachuchi, chichirika, water plants, and fragrant jasmine, sampagita, and dame de noche that sweetened our nights and our sleep. We also had a guava tree which so became a bone of contention with a kapitbahay who claimed it was theirs that I sometimes wished lightning would strike it down – the tree, not the kapitbahay.

It was much later that the garden gave way to a bigger house to give us children more room to grow. And I guess gardening had to give way to mah-jongg to give my mother more diverting escape from some huge sadness.

Our house had wide capiz windows, the better to watch the santakrusan in May, the prusisyon on Good Friday, and the drum and bugle band at fiesta time. I would spend summer afternoons looking out the window to watch younger children play when I thought I was too old for piko. Weekends were a good time to gawk at folks in their Sunday finery on their way to and from church. I must have watched from the window a trifle too often, for later, high school classmates would refer to me as the “babaeng laging nakadungaw.”

Our house was strategically located near where we studied, Gregoria de Jesus Elementary School and Torres High School. It was also a dash away from the Gagalangin public market (talipapa), St. Joseph Parish, Gagalangin public library, Gagalangin Theatre, Torresian School Supplies, Botika Santos, Mendoza Bakeshop -- Gagalangin landmarks all. As a result, our house was THE hangout of choice. Friends would gather there on the way to the graduation ball, jam sessions, and outings.

In first year high school, six or seven classmates from Maypajo and Caloocan would go home with me to eat their lunch baon at our table and my mom would sometimes serve them hot soup and matamis na saging.

One day, just as we were done with lunch, my Mom anxiously but sternly announced bad news -- she was missing a P50-bill (which could easily be P 5,000 today, given what it could buy then). She apologetically searched through every school bag and purse my classmates carried but didn’t find it. That night, she found the money tucked in a pocket of a soiled duster in the ropero. The following day, lunch was on the house and the classmates cried with joy and relief. But it took me months to forget that most embarrassing moment of my young life.

Six years into my marriage, I left Gagalangin to settle with my new family in Pasig. I visit it now and again, but more often lately -- in my mind.

Some translations:

Karetela - horse-drawn carriage

Kapitbahay - neighbor

Patintero and tumbang preso - team games -- seldom played now -- that required running stamina and quickness/nimbleness.

Piko- a game similar to the western hopscotch

Ang babaeng laging nakadungaw - Woman/girl who's always looking out the window

Ropero - closet for dirty clothes


Pearl said...

I have relatives there too and when I was a li'l kid, I'd always look forward to your fiestas because my lola loves to feed the whole community and would invite all her loved ones from faraway places. My mom spent her teenage days in Maypajo but she has often visited Gagalangin where all her cousins lived. Haayyy..sarap magrecall ng ganung mga memories, noh, Ms. Anna? Thanks for this post :-)

Leah said...

If just for the names and characters Gagalangin has produced (yourself included) , I would imagine it still as respected and as endearing today.
I can smell the fragrance of sampaguita just by reading your post. And funny how I start to go down on my own memory lane of my childhood neighbourhood.

lei said...

it's wonderful to reminisce about our childhood and old neighborhood. make us want to be children again at least for that time being. :D

we used to live in san juan and transfered to antipolo when i was 12. it pains me to leave but we had no choice kase binabaha dun. our neighbors settled to different places na rin kaya wala na din akong mabisita dun.

reminiscin' na din ako. :)

Gina said...

Natawa ako doon sa guava tree being the bone of contention with the neighbors, it reminded me of the constant war between us (my siblings and I) vs. the neighbors' kids over the guava tree between our properties. =))They claim it's theirs , and we staunchly claim ownership of it naman.

Wow, ang dami palang sikat na galing sa Gagalangin! Op kors, isa na dyan si Annamanila.

Toe said...

Very nice post about your own "province" in Metromanila Annamanila. :) Ang dami mo palang sikat na kababayan. :)

Hehe... I like your language... duster, ropero... this is also what we use at home. :)

Cookie said...

Its so nice to read (and listen) to stories about childhood memories. Yours reminds me of the stories my father used to tell me about his days in Singalong.

Uy..kababayan mo pala si Pitoy :)

exskindiver said...

i am going to email this post to my father, he will enjoy this immensely.
(and then he might start stalking you)

kathy said...

Bitin! I really enjoyed reading this post. I'm SO looking forward to the rest of this series. :) It's like a trip down memory lane for me as well, having spent several years living in Balut, Tondo.

We also had a guava tree in our backyard at Balut. From time to time some embarrassed mother would ask for guava leaves because her son has just had "tuli" (hehehe).

Btw I didn't know that several celebrities and famous persons originated from Gagalangin!

Anonymous said...

Dear Annamanila:

Your essay on Gagalangin brings back so may memories to me. I am the father of Chesca, and as you probably would surmise, well into and just bordering on my 80th year on this earth. I was born in Manila, and grew up in Manila.

As I recall Gagalangin, to get there from our place in Pedro Guevara St., in Santa Cruz, we had to go through Tayuman, and go all the way to Maypajo street. At the very end of that street, the house which faces Tayuman, was an old house, a big house with columns and a big yard. It belonged to the family of Marcelino de Leon Jr.. Chesca, you probably will remember Mommy's friend Letty de la Pena.. she married Jun de Leon and they lived somewhere in Loyola Heights when you were growing up.

I knew Jun de Leon from our gradeschool days in the Ateneo during the war, and our schooldays during the Japanese Occupation. During those days (the war years) some friends of mine would go once in a while to Jun's place to hang around (among them I remember Pete Sandoval, father of Peter Sandoval, a classmate of one of your brothers in the Ateneo Grade School of later years).

I think that street is Maypajo street. At the intersection of Tayuman and that street, if you turn left, that is where Pritil Bridge is which goes over an estero. Near the bridge was the first Aling Nena Restaurant, which later became famous for its bibingka and other native delicacies, branching out to Cubao many years later. If you turn right, you go towards Gagalangin.

Maypajo street is a long street, and that is where I learned to drive. Right after the liberation of Manila, which was in 1945 or thereabouts, St. Theresa's College which was formerly located along San Marcelino Street in Ermita, was completely destroyed and it opened at the the location of Torres Elementary or High School, along Maypajo, which you mentioned in your essay.

My sisters studied there and I drove them there from our home in Pedro Guevara, passing through Tayuman. First it was my father driving, but later on he allowed me to take over and that was how I started driving. The vehicles then were mostly military vehicles and I became proficient in my driving. So you can see that I knew that place very well.

But that is not all. Torres Elementary and High School, was, before the war, a military installation, where soldiers of the Philippine Army were garrisoned. I knew that because the Commander of that installation was then Major Mariano Castaneds, who later became a rather well known general in the Philippine Army, and who also is the father of Mariano Castaneda Jr. who became a Philippine Airforce General himself during the Marcos years.

I have a very memorable incident concerning this and it happened I think in 1936 or 1937. I was then about 7 or 8 years old. I and my elder brother Yeto, were in primary at the St. Theresa's College in San Marcelino. Also studying there in primary were Mariano Castaneda and his brother Juanito Castaneda. We knew each other very well. We stayed in school the whole day having a lunch break at noon. It was during one of these lunch breaks that Mariano and Juanito and I and my brother Yeto, decided to take off with our school bags. Mariano and Juanito led the way... I do not recall knowing where we were going. We just walked.. as I now recall, we passed through Plaza Lawton, now Liwasang Bonifacio, and then I think Jones Bridge, just walking through Binondo, then Tondo, then Pritil Bridge, and on and on and on until we reached the military installation where their father Major Castaneda was quartered which I know now as Torres Elementary or High School.

I remember Major Castaneda's surprise to see us .... he fed us lunch and made us play for a while and then asked us where we lived, and put me and my brother in his car and then brought us home to Pedro Guevara. I do not recall his coming up to see my parents..I think, looking back now, the news was that we were lost and the nuns at St. Theresa's started praying very fervently for our safety....Anyway, we came home safe and sound and I just don't know anymore about it except that it was one really great experience for me.

Your description of Gagalangin is so beautiful, so redolent, so descriptive of life then... I do not know if you have a picture of your home or of homes during that time.

If I am not mistaken, one of the old priests of Gagalangin was named Fr. Pedro Pajarillo. I remember the name because we had a neighbor by the name of Jesus Pajarillo, and when I was a young boy, I recall my parents saying that his brother, Fr. Pajarillo was the parish priest of Gagalangin.

Going back to Aling Nena, I recall going there during my early law school years.... it was a nice place... a great place. I also had friends in Tondo but I am sure they are all gone by now.

Please write again. Tayuman street is also very memorable to me. Coming from Rizal Avenue, there was a theater at the corner right across Espiritu Santo Church.. it was called Lotus Theater. I remember watching a Tarzan Movie there when I was a boy. Best regards and I hope you get this comment from Chesca...

Mario R. Silva

Annamanila said...


Hoy, babaeng laging nakadungaw

You didn't say who was the neighborhood bloke that you were nakadungaw for(and waiting to pass by and pretend you didn't see him at all --- dapat nakunan ka ng picture sa cellphone noong panahon na iyon - husay siguro ng posing mo).

You forgot the Manotok family -- bluebloods of Gagalangin. Didn't one of them run off with the President's daughter while he was still married to one of our Miss Internationals (and nearly got himself killed - in fact, the
President had him kidnapped) ?

I think Gina Pareno was either Balut or someplace near ... the S.del Rosario area, I think, not sure.

The subdistricts are bounded only by streets and esteros of our memories. There's Pritil. There's the Dagupan/Tayuman (daang bakal) area where I lived. There's the Raxabago/Tayabas area.... the Perla't Sande area (which gave rise to the famous Persan street gang), the Bangkusay/Velasquez foreshore area, the Moriones area which includes Tondo church, the
Dagat-dagatan area which includes the also-famous Pitong Gatang street. And there's Balut.

There's enough ideas there for a suitable feature article.

(I always thought you lived in Manuguit ... was that part of Gagalangin ?)

In your Philets days I have no doubt you did sit by the window waiting for

Do you still make dungaw nowadays ?


auee said...

I enjoyed this so much. It brought memories of my own.

I have relatives in Balut & being the impressionable youth that I was then, I'd always imagine their place to be overridden by Ace Vergel-types haha

Ahh, durungawan... What a romantic notion.

Anonymous said...

very nice memories of your childhood and interesting facts about Gagalangin and the famous folks that lived there.

Tondo is the most historical part of Manila I would think. THere's this strange notion that you might get in a crossfire of arrows from warring gangs that's why people are very wary of going into the neighborhood!

My uncle who was an officer of the MPD ( Manila Police) once wanted to set me up with a girl, a daughter of a well to do friend who lived in Gagalangin but I chickened out because I didn't want to venture into the area :)

ysrael said...

Feeling nostalgia talaga pag ito ang issue ano? Gagalangin quite appropriately, means to get some respect because some respected and well-known personalites who once lived there. Nagkaruon lang ng masamang reputasyon ang Tundo ng dumami ang mga eskwater at mga gangs. Siyempre hindi pa rin nawalawala yung mga matitinong tao diyan hanggan ngayon di ba? Sino ba naman ang hindi magagalit sa P50pesos na nawawala eh nuong early '60's puno na ang bayong mo kapag namalenke ka. Thanks for that post, ang ganda talaga ng buhay nuon.

Anna said...

What a lovely post about the good old days! The Tondo I know, I know only from headlines and urban legend. While I spent many, many years in Sampaloc, I think I may have been to Tondo only once--and only because it was a school requirement.

Your post paints a wonderful picture of a gracious neighborhood, the kind that I wish there are more of in this day and age.

witsandnuts said...

My first time here. I just stumble on your site. I enjoyed reading this post. =) And I learned new terminologies like 'nakungaw' and 'ropero'.

Annamanila said...

I know all about feeding the whole community during fiestas. Everyone is welcome. A guest does not even have to know any member of the family. While I was growing up, I used to feel miserable when there are lull hours ... when there are no guests at the table.

Maypajo is just a short ride away from where I live.

Annamanila said...


The comment above was for you, BTW, I visited your site but couldn't comment as a registration process is required. :(

Annamanila said...


Yeah, please blog about the neighborhood of your youth. You will find out the memories will flow and the words will, too. Yours is in Cavite?

Annamanila said...

San Juan is where my husband comes from and so I am very familiar with it too. Their house and store used to be directly opposite the municipal hall and right next to Rainbow theatre. I am sure there are plenty of memorable things to write about Joseph Estrada county. :)

Annamanila said...


The above comment was for you. hahaha ... ayan na naman si zheimer.

Annamanila said...


Yeah, the disputed guava tree was on the boundary between our 'property.' The funny thing is the kapitbahay has no children (being all adults and unmarried) while our bahay has four. Sana binalato na lang sa amin, ano? hahaha.

Annamanila said...


You know, I really had to kalkal my brain to remember ropero and I even spelled it rupero until I googled it. We also say aparador, suelo, kobre kama, chocolate batirol, and punieta. Eh, siempre, iba ang may bahid espanol. hahaha joke.

Annamanila said...


I have long wanted to write about Gagalangin but I thought there was nothing interesting to read about it. It must be my memory romanticizing the place. hahaha

Annamanila said...


Thanks for the referral to your dad. He wrote a delightful comment where I learned new things about the old Gagalangin. Will reply to him .. just bracing myself for it. haha

Annamanila said...


Balut is in Gagalangin too? No. It is just very near. Some of my dearest classmates are from there.

Bitin ba? In two days I will post a sequel on food nostalgia ... food tripping in gagalangin, circa 1950s.

Annamanila said...

Dear Mr. Silva

Chesca alerted me she would let you read my blog piece but nothing prepared me for the letter you sent -- nostalgic, extensive, and chockful of information and adventures. I am so glad my post, sketchy as it is, so limited to the little that I know, and so subjective, nudged a lot of memories in you.

Maypajo Street-- the long street where you learned to drive -- could it be what I know (and still is publicly known) as Juan Luna Street that starts from Divisoria up to the Manila-Caloocan border where it becomes A. Mabini? It should be, as Torres High School is on Juan Luna Street (corner Solis.)

I didn't know Torres High School was a military installation ... during war time? And that it became the temporary site of St. Theresa's College.

You know, we will soon celebrate jubilee year at Torres and will publish a souvenir coffeetable book which we will call "Jubilation 2009." What you recounted about our alma mater should be interesting tidbits to include in the feature stories we have started to gather for that publication.

Aling Nena's Bibingkahan! Oh my gosh. I almost forgot about it. Thank you for reminding me. It was the stopover of choice after a movie out at Recto, wasn't it? With my sisters, and then later my husband, I would would either eat in or take out after a movie. Aling Nena is the best bibingka and puto bumbong place of all, Ferino's included. Or is that just my memory being biased? I wonder if Aling Nena's is still there -- it was just a short drive from Pritil bridge, wasn't it. Well, I will soon check it for the both of us.

I know Espiritu Santo Church .. very near Catholic Trade, right? I am afraid I missed out on Lotus Theatre. The theatre of my memory -- not complete without manggang hilaw ang bagoong and plenty of cuts AND catcalls -- is Gagalangin Theatre, which showed two movies back to back. It became ... let me see now ... Lida theatre ... Leah? Omg, my memory is failing me.

Fr. Pedro Pajarillo was the Gagalangin parish priest .. the only one I knew. My childhood was a bit traumatic because of confessions where I often expected to be yelled at by the temperemental but well meaning Father, not because I confessed deep dark secrets but because I admitted to missing Sunday church goer. He must be a progressive priest after all because he set up St. Joseph Parochial School which continues to flourish to this day. My son went to kindergarten there and I met him on more professional terms as director of that school. Still I'd squirm when I met him thinking of the traumatic episodes at the confessional.

Oh my, Mr. Silva, see what you made me remember. hahaha

My piece on Gagalangin will have at least two sequels and I will be honored if you read them as well.

I told Chesca you would be a good blog writer too.

Do consider. And I will be privileged to be a blog buddy.

Annamanila said...


I am sure there are plenty more names and places I missed. The Anchetas, the Almedas, the Ampils to which our classmate Peter belongs.

I have two sequels waiting to be published -- one is about food tripping in Gagalangin, the other about a santakrusan which is where you might find out who I was making dungaw for.

Would you write a fourth sequel. I know you have the makings of a historian -- with just the right touch of romance -- in you. Kasi ako, I usually stay away from demographics. Sige na. Ty ty.

Annamanila said...

By the way, Rolly, I lived on Pampanga Street, and that is why we were classmates at Ampil, first year. If I lived in Manuguit ... eh di kasama ako dapat nila Cora and Jasmine. Teka nga, bakit si Pining hindi sa Ampil? Ah -- berks mentality, ano.

Annamanila said...


Ahem, you sound familiar! I am glad you're blog visiting again and I hope blogging too, which I will find out soon enough.

Balut is a nice place too ... near the sea ... bahain lang nga. Young people from Balut usually go to Torres High too, unless they prefer the Catholic-run and upscale Immaculate Conception.

Annamanila said...


Yes, the gangs (OXO and sigue-sigue yata) were supposed to be using poisoned arrows. I am not sure if that's only to spice up the movies, usually starring FPJ and Joseph Estrada.

Talaga ... you chickened out of getting to know a Tondo girl because of the reputation of the place? Tsk tsk. Exactly why most girls just say they live in Gagalangin, not Tondo.

Rudy said...

I agree with Ysrael, Gagalangin and the rest of Tondo used to be a nice, respectable place to live in. Well... at least it was, until it was invaded by transients from the provinces who decided to set up homes on both private and government properties.

Oh and, ehem... I am, and still is, a Tondo kid. I spent part of my childhood in the now notorious Moriones street, and according to my Mom, I used to play with my cousins at Plaza Moriones every night. Nowadays, the place has become a dangerous place as addicts and muggers have made the plaza their regular haunt.

Annamanila said...


Oo nga, Tondo has an unfortunate reputation .. maybe a bit exaggerated and the Asyong Salonga movies didn't help any.

Yeah, my mom couldn't be blamed for the action she took when she missed the P50-bill. Still, dyahi talaga ako sa mga classmates ko. I can still imagine my ears smarting. haha

Annamanila said...


I will eagerly wait for the Singalong of Anna's youth. It will surely be something!

Annamanila said...

Wits and nuts!

What a lovely accident -- your stumbling on my site. I wish more people would. hahaha.

Thanks and I be over the witty-nutty site asap!

Annamanila said...


Tondo boy ka din pala! How happy! Pero magulo pa din ba talaga? :(

Rudy said...

Well some parts of Tondo, like the Pritil area and North Bay blvd. are becoming somewhat respectable, as scores of middle to upper class housing projects have sprouted up during the last decade. Metrobank led the way via their Landwealth townhomes and condominium. Also, my best friend's family's company and their business partners had a housing project along North Bay in 1995.

Anonymous said...

Magandang araw po, Mr. Silva -

Coming from an old Tondo family, I am very much interested to read historical references to place names in my old home district. The main street that you refer to as Maypajo Street has always been known to me and as far as I can recall, to my late parents as well, as Juan Luna Street. This is Tondo's main road and until the 1960s when they widened and extended Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Juan Luna was the sole North-South artery that went right through the whole length of Tondo, from Divisoria in the south all the way north to, yes, Pajo. Your letter got me really interested to look up that street's history. According to Gilda Cordero-Fernando's definitive "Streets of Manila" the street (which actually goes all the way down to the Pasig River in Binondo) was originally called Anloague Street and renamed after the famous painter in 1913. So on the Tondo side, it could well have gone by the name of Maypajo Street, after it's northward destination, in an earlier and more gentle era.

The intersection of Tayuman and Juan Luna Streets that you described is my own home neighborhood area. The Juan Luna end of Tayuman Street has got Rizal Elementary School (my alma mater) on one side and Alhambra Cigar & Cigarette Factory on the opposite side. I know the big house you described on the Juan Luna side facing Tayuman; I used to walk by (or ride by, in the days when a jeepney ride would cost a kid five centavos) on the way to Torres High School where I was classmates with a dreamy but impertinent girl with pigtails who would later in life call herself Annamanila and devote herself to writing nostalgic blog pieces.

The famous bibingkahan near Pritil Bridge that you mentioned was named "Ferino's" and it had the best bibingka in town (with kesong puti and itlog na pula), far superior to Aristocrat's or that other one - Juanchito's (?) on Isaac Peral. The place closed down in the 1960s but was revived by a sister of the original owner as "Aling Nena's" first on Espana Street and later in Cubao and at the Manila Hotel. Now, I understand, Ferino's bibingka stalls are back in business in various food courts and malls in Manila. Everything does come back after a while, doesn't it ?

I felt really good in reading your contribution. It brought back a lot of memories. Salamat po. Mabuhay kayo.

-- Rolly Lampa

Abaniko said...

Wow, those are popular personalities! Gagalangin must be a respectable place. Too bad the area has transformed into a place of not-so-good reputation.

Annamanila said...


When I went to Gagalangin last, it had the trappings of progress. More commercial looking, you know. Kaya lang, the streets looked narrower than I remembered. Maybe, I should blame my eyes -- now more conditioned to EDSA and Ortigas and Quezon Avenue.

Annamanila said...


I emailed Mr. Silva a copy of your rejoinder, through her daughter Chesca who's my blog buddy. They're now based in PA. I expect he would answer you soon.

Annamanila said...


Even during my childhood, Tondo had already an unsavory reputation. And we Gagalangin folks like to pretend we are untouched by that. haha

lady cess said...

i am having so much fun reading your post - and the comments. gagalangin sure sounds like heaven!
and i dont think you answered the question that was posed - was there anyone special you made dungaw for?

Toe said...

Annamanila, what about periodico and cubiertos? :) Anyway, additional comment... Torres High School seems to be quite a prestigious school. My boss in Cambodia studied there. And there is also a respected Filipino couple from Cambodia who are very proud that they're from Torres. :)

Sexy Mom said...

i have only heard of gagalangin from others, and have no direct affiliation to it (sp sorry, lol). i must have heeded the invitations of Virgie Moreno to come to her house and visit her. one of these days i will--it seems to be really really interesting.

lei said...

kababayan ko pala ang husband nyo. if i am not mistaken. the place is near agora/sanjuan market.. dyan kami namamalengke though malayo ang nilalakad kase sa kabilang side pa kami ng sanjuan. brgy salapan is on the other side pa tatawid ng aurora blvd.

our place yata ang pinakamababang part ng sanjuan kaya binabaha. sa likod namin ilog at sa kabilang ibayo yung new manila..

Heart of Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your childhood days. It's nice to read some of your memorable moments as you were growing up.

Wow, so many known personalities have lived in that area. I don't remember anyone popular living in our place.

Annamanila said...

Lady Cess!

Thanks ... i am seeing Gagalangin now through nostalgia-tinted glasses ... kaya sobrang gumanda.

Please read the next sequel for a hint of who I was always nakadungaw for.

Annamanila said...


Cubiertos ... yeah, until now. Periodico? --- well, more of diario. Meron bang nagbabasa ng pahayagan? haha

Yes, Toe, you told me about your colleagues from Torres. That makes my Torresian heart big with pride.

Annamanila said...

Sexy Mom!

Oh wow. Virgie Moreno still lives in their ancestral home in Gagalangin?! Si Pitoy yata nasa Malate na.

Annamanila said...


Yup, malapit sa Agora,directly opposite the munisipyo, sila nuon. Pero nakalipat na sa Paraiso and F. Roman ang mga in-laws ko.

Maganda rin ang San Juan .. it would be wonderful to write about it too. Sige na .. will wait for your nostalgia pieces.

Annamanila said...


Ganun pala yun, when you start writing about the place where you were born and grew up,the memories just flow and so do the words. I didn't know. I thought there was not much I could write about Gagalangin until I started. Thanks for reading my pieces. Am tickled.

julie said...

Those people who grew up in Gagalangin, they were illustrious and that includes you MC :)

I know its a long shot but do you have any )big) projects for the place? You know, like a way of giving back to the place where you all grew up? It might be a long shot but...

Anyway I enjoyed reading your post and I wishfully thought I would not mind reliving those simple times.

guy said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. Now in my 40s and living abroad, I suddenly craved to learn more about my roots and decided to start where I was born, in Gagalangin, Tondo. I have no memories of the place as my family moved to Makati before I turned 2 and then at the age of 4 settled at my parent's hometown in Bicol where I lived for the next 18 years. My BC says we lived at 2358 T. Earnshaw St. Gagalangin. My mother said they rented this 2 storey house with capiz windows. It would be interesting to see how the place look now. Sadly, my parents didn't have a picture of the place. Maybe on my next trip to the Philippines, this would be one of my itenirary, to at least step on my birthplace.

Anonymous said...

my mom's eldest sister, tita nene married another a young doctor, pedro paulino also from gagalangin. they established a clinic & residence at the annex house in my lolo's compound on Juan Luna, before they moved to baltimore.

i remember us visiting lola ima, tito pedrings mother, who had a sari sari store, the family home upstairs. the area was densely populated but cheerful. i had no awareness of the negative "tondo" connotation at that age but i never felt any apprehension.

the area was always clean, well lighted, bustling with people. we may have looked foreign to the area
residents, arriving in mom's shiny red ford taunus or dad's imposing impala. we would rush in to lola ima's store and she would wave us off to feast on the many delights from chicharon, candies, pastries, sarsi..libre of course!

genteel is the right word to describe lola ima, tito pedring & his family and mom's family & friends indeed!


Edmund said...

this is a great blog about Gagalangin!
thanks for sharing...

Proud taga-Gagalangin,Tundo!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow thanks for sharing ms Annamanila! I am damn proud to be a Tondo Girl! I live in Balut but currently out of the country... Angelica Panganiban also used to live in Balut while Aubrey Miles was from Gagalangin (if you consider these actresses famous). Model Nicolette Bell was also from Balut before. I think there are lots of icons and showbiz personalities who were from Tondo, oh even Manny Villar grew up in Balut! =)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this pic! I lived exactly across Torres Highschool! I live in Nj now. I haven't had the opportunity to visit Philippines for more than 12 years.
Seeing this picture brings back memories! My cousins and I use to go inside Torres highschool to play volleyball in their open field.

Anonymous said...

great stories, its great to remember the things we used to love and the old home town we all grew up,gagalangin tondo. the old rotonda sa tecson now called plaza balagtas.juan luna and solis street,where you can find the elementary schools, the high schools that everyone will be proud of. these are the learning institutions that shaped the mind of the children of gagalangin and nearby places of tondo, children who are now leaders, politicians, industrialist, artist, poets, actors, businessman doctors, nurses, educators etc. i will never forget the old talimpapa in pampanga street. where i used to eat kakanin or lugaw from the kainan sa loob ng talimpapa. i remember ida theater. though raised as a protestant, i still remember and admired the solemn processions during lenten seasons and fiesta that would start from the st joseph church going around the street of gagalangin. how we would wake up from the loud music of the band as the march around the neighborhood to wake up the people for the simbang gabi.depending which side of gagalangin you grew up, who cannot forget the hot pan desal or tinapay from los angeles bakery ni mang yoyong sugay or the mendoza bakery sa tecson street. where do you get your ice for halo halo or matamis na saging or for your glass of gulaman but the old ice plant next to estero de balut just beside the old santa clara plywood building. yes i will never forget the long earnshaw street, that's how it appears to me as a young boy, from pampanga street ending at the north bay avenue where you will take the tulay going to balut or navotas to watch the pitetensya during holy the neighborhood will be so quiet and you can only hear the pabasa through the loud speakers . i remember interviewing aling patsy of tawag ng tanghalan, and the widow of artemio maiquez for a school report.used to see aling atang dela rama walking by our house sa s del rosario street. i remeber the old library at the corner of fernandez and tecson. why didn't they try to save it for the future generation. the old helth clinic at the corner of fernandez and pampanga which cater to the health needs of the neighborhood yes my old torres high school, wala uuna sa nauna as we used to joke and remember our school song. my old benitez elementary school, the nearby princesa urduja, gregoria de jesus, lakandula, osmena high school, immaculate concepcion academy for those who can afford and later the st joseph school. dr. albano and mrs albano of the st rita hospital. how i wish i can take back the time even for a short moment. to feel and to live again in the old gagalangin. times when life seems not too complicated, hard but not too hard as it was today. i still have some friends and relatives who live there. i pass by or visit once in a awhile. a see a lot of new faces, new buildings. the streets seems to have gotten smaller.the surrounding seems too dry. there used to be a lo,plants ,trees. it is a changing neighborhood. i have my own family now and have resided in the united states for more than 25 years but at times, i still miss the old gagalangin of my youth.

Anonymous said...

hi annamanila,
i came accross your blog while googling my f.benitez elementary school where i graduated eons ago :). your vivid description of the old gagalangin brought back memories of my childhood. i was a tondo girl too, born in north bay boulevard and later lived with my aunts in juan luna st. when my family transferred to caloocan. at that time, i was till in grade 1 and didn't know how to go to school on my own from caloocan, hence the reason why i lived with my aunts. i remembered my aunt had a store along solis st. near my old school and my aunt made the best buko juice in the area, judging by the crowd gathered at her store during "uwian" time. i officialy left tondo after elementary when i entered high school at manila science high school,but i remember going back to solis everyday in the first few months of high school. i had to stop when my mom learned that i was cutting classes to go to tondo. anyway, i so want to write more but i don't want to clog your mailbox. i just want to say thank you for writing this.

ellen sinson

Anonymous said...


My family were Gagalangin originals but we moved out mid 90's. I myself spent half of my life living there and I have a lot of found memories of that place.

Thanks for the post. Made me remember a lot of fun times. :)

Paul Gotaco

Anonymous said...

Hi Annamanila,...Wondering if your thes ame circa with my aunt. She's still lives there in gagalangin, preety much a lot of stories about the place...I also grew up there, studied at icam, and eventually moved out when i got married. I hope to share a lot of golden memories with our respected Gagalangin. My dad wanted to write a book about Gagalangin but just cannot find the time. We are from the families of Matute, Velasquez and Dalisay. We still own properties in bulacan street. So many things about your blog freshened my memories of what my old folks would tell about the place..hope to hear from you soon! Btw the writer Eipfanio Matute and Genoveva Edroza Matute are grandfolks of mine ..Can you Pm me so i can share..Thanks

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