The Interesting 70's
Davao and Southern Mindanao, Philippines
Excerpt from the Book, "My Incredible Life Journey"
[additional writings by Juana/Walden/Fe Cabonce, to our best recollection]
[Walden -- The first years of "Martial Law" were very peaceful, in total contrary to its name "Martial". There was real peace. With curfew set at 9pm (later extending to 12 Midnight, I thought we (William and myself) had the best times of our childhood. My Mother would take us to the movies once a week, of course, with a battalion of 10-15 people tagged along. The best movie houses then, "Lyric" and "Crest" were just 2 blocks away . We always walked to watch the movies - yes walked. During those early Martial Law days, it was unlawful to be in a group of more than 3 people. So, we would split ourselves into several splinter groups, and walking in different sides of the street. Back then Sundays were non-working day, yet I remember, tagging along with my mother to the store even on Sundays. Mother would always bring a battalion of 8-10 sales staff, and brought fruits -- durian, lanzones, santol, after watching the movie!
Mayor Elias Lopez in 1972.
Lanzones were PISO per supot.
Between 1973 and 76, I became very involved with the community particularly with the Davao City Chamber of Commere and Industry, and the Lions Club of Davao. I sincerely felt it was a natural duty for me to serve and contribute back to the community whenever I possibly can. The Lions' motto "We Serve" is embedded not only in my Lions Shirt Jacket, but in my heart. In March of 1976, in appreciation to contributions to the betterment of the minorities of Davao and my service to my community I was conferred the title of Datu as "Datu Looc" in the Tribal Festival in Davao at the "Palaruang Lungsod ng Dabaw."
[Walden -- By late 1976, my father has his eyes on a "run-down" 4-storey building right across the Davao City Hall, along Ponciano Street. The property used to hold the House of Magno -- a chain of department stores in Davao in the early sixties. The late owner Gene Magno was a very good friend, and my father signed up a 10-year lease with the family. This time, my father's dreams may have over-extended, or maybe not. The project was to have the first ever business with escalator, full size 13-Checkout Supermarket, a department store, a hotel and Restaurant, all under one roof in a fully airconditioned building.]
[Walden -- Back then in 1976, I was an 18 year old kid working and enjoying my youth with the top notch architectural firm - Manuel N Chiew Associates. I started to sensed a clouded financial stress in the business, although I was not actively involved in the business, but then I see my parents working extra hours. And I can see long faces and feel silent treatments during meals. They were cash-strapped, labor-short, and not to mention sleep-deprived. We did borrowed funds from a few close friends.]
[Walden/Juana -- Back at my place of work, I was assigned by Architect Manuel Chiew to handle my father's project. (My father contracted Architect Chiew to design the project.) I thought then, that in my more than a year's work at the architectural firm, I learned more than what could be learnt in a formal four year course. Thanks to my mentor, Manuel N Chiew, I was enjoying my work.) And yet, in between my work and my family, I felt guilty, very guilty. With a little push from my mother, I readily quit my job to help in the project. Not that I love my job less, but it was more of the sense of duty and responsibility in helping my parents, or perhaps, the guilty conscience kicked in hard on me.]
[Juana/Walden -- Papa was then 48, yet he looked older, his movements slow and often times weak. Although he never stopped moving around --- all over the place, supervising, going up and down the 4-storey building - non-stop, still I can feel that he was tired --very tired. Adding to this pain were humiliation and remorse by friends about my father's overly expanded project. My father was never a quitter, and nothing is impossible. Beyond the scorn and mockery -- with my Mother always by his side, they pushed forward.]
[Fe Cabonce/Walden/Juana -- Datu Complex Inc. official opened to the public on March 16, 1977, the Araw ng Dabaw (Davao Founcdation Day), to a cheering crowd. A grand parade featuring all employees in Dabawenyo Customes, and the Davao Chief of Police as the special guest to our ribbon cutting ceremonies.]
[Juana/Walden -- The store was packed, day-in day-out, 24-hours non-stop. Hotel rooms overbooked, and people lined up at the restaurant. Again - all roads lead to Datu Complex. One by one, we start to see lost friends -- former friends coming back, one by one, cheering and praising the brilliance of my father.]
[Walden -- Datu Complex firmly place Papa in the Who's Who of the business circle. On the other hand, the financial impact was extensive, it took many more years for us to recover. Yes, recovered, all debts paid.]