I AM the sixth of the nine children of Pedro De Mesa Sangil whose parents were originally from Macabebe and Guagua. My mother Beatriz Tadeo Lumanlan was born and raised in Porac and whose relatives were the ruling families of the town for many of them owned lands and businesses. Others became the town leaders in politics, like the Dizons, Naguiats, Enriquez, Santos and Lumanlans.
My eldest brother Gregorio was already a correspondent of The Manila Chronicle when I was first grader in the town’s public school. I was first year high school in St. Catherine Academy when my brother Benjamin and Zenaida were taking up medicine and education courses respectively at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila.
My high school days, like those of growing boys anywhere, were filled with adventures, lofty dreams, but always circumscribed by careless adversities. I thought and dreamt of making a little name on my own.
After high school graduation, I went to Olongapo City determined to land a job even as a waiter in any of the hotels and girlie bars there. I sought a cousin who was a combo member to help me land a menial job, but after several attempts there was no luck.
Lacking special work skills and the brawn of a stevedore, I felt desperate after sleeping several nights on parked jeepneys, on front balconies of whorehouses and lobbies of night clubs after closing time.
Then I met this night club hostess Patricia (not her real name). Whether out of attraction or pity, she brought me one night to her rented room.
Several more nights later I was a kept man. If she was in the mood she will arouse me up from sleep when she arrived from her work at Wagon Wheel at Magsaysay Boulevard where most of the night spots were located.
I sleep elsewhere when her boyfriend, an American sailor was around. When the GI leaves for the naval base nearby, I would return and sleep again with Patricia on the bedside. I could not recall in truth how I felt or what became of me whenever I waited downstairs while the American sailor has the time with my girl on a creaking bed.
The little money I was able to save from what Patricia gave me was what I used in my journey to Manila. While the lights and sounds of Olongapo City fascinated me somewhat, my mind was set on Manila and determined to land a job, study and finish school to get a college degree.
And so at daybreak, while Patricia was soundly asleep, I carefully arranged the few things I had in a shoulder bag, left her a note, tiptoed downstairs and I was on my way to Manila.
From the distance going downhill and snaking on the zigzag road, the lights of Olongapo flickered like that of a harbor town that never sleeps. And I can’t sleep either for I was so excited what future was in store for me in the big city.