To me the most beautiful lady in Bangued when I was a kid was Mg. Trining. Her mother, Nana Tanang Nakpril from Panyianqa, was light-complexioned. Hence Mg. Trining was sort of a mestizo and lighter in complexion than most ladies in Bangued.
Since I was a child, I have had a particular liking for light-complexioned girls, as my cousins Mg. Susing and Mg. Maming, whose mother, Nana Iday Almega, was light-complexioned.
Maria Garcia, one of my classmates in elementary grades, was a special attraction for everybody because of her light complexion as a mestizo. I found out later that she is a half-sister of Fina’s father, Mg. Paevy, who was a “tisoy.” Their father was of Spanish blood.
A neighbor of ours, Alice Belisario, was also small but beautiful, like Mg. Trining, because she was light-complexioned. She, like Mg. Trining, had plenty of admirers. The mother of Alice, Nana Iuing Landeto was mestizo.
The two Bañez sisters, Nena and Cita, were both considered beautiful because they were mestizos. Tony Bañez, my high school classmate and friend, was a tisoy and many women were attracted by him.
Tony had an illegitimate child with one of the Abra beauties, Mary Valera, who later on was married by Congressman Carmelo Barbero. She and her sister, Pitany, were like the Bañez sisters. They were white and beautiful, although their father was an ex-convict who murdered his cousins, the Vasquez sisters, for gold.
The deLeon sisters were also white and beautiful.
A second-year high school classmate, Fredewinda Alzate from Bucay, Abra, was very attractive, too. I had a crush for her.
When I got promoted from Section B to Section A with Graciana Barreras, I had the most beautiful girl of Abra, Josefina Abaoog, as a classmate. All men were attracted to her! I had a special crush for her, too, but I never spoke to her! Ligaw Tiñgin!
My friend Ham Tuazang was so enamored with Graciana Barreras to the extent that he became an old bachelor and married late because he failed to win the heart of Pining.
She died young as a doctor, married into a very prominent family as former Secretary of the Department of Health. I did not go to her funeral so that my memory of her beauty would not be marred or erased. She did not become a beauty queen like Josefina Sibayan, although she had a fairer skin than Jojo, only that she was short like Bing.
My neighbor, Nita (Juanita Valera), daughter of ex-Mayor, ex-Governor Bienvenido Valera, was the only girl in Bangued I kissed. That happened when we were up in the mansanita tree, when I wrote short love notes whenever she asked me to solve her geometry homework daily.
Her father and mother were both light-complexioned. Hence she had a fair, light skin as mestizo.
Sorry she never responded to my love notes. But after she got married and I was already a Captain and a Lawyer, she came to my office unexpectedly to borrow money from me. I did not know what was in her mind then. JBS
Nita had a very close friend by the name of Elisa Lizardo. She was our neighbor. Lisa was more beautiful than Nita, with eyes like that of Elizabeth Taylor, only that she was thin and darker in complexion.
When I was studying Spanish under Mr. Arviceta Lozo, our neighbor, Lisa was also taking lessons from him in embroidery by sewing machine.
Manang Ceto coaxed me to go near her and kiss her, as we were the only three in his house. I don’t know why, but I did not have the nerve to do that, although I was already 17 years old. Maybe because, unlike Nita, who was white, I was not aroused by Lisa’s dark skin and thin body. But later on Lisa got married to Dr. Patronillo Seares, who became Governor of Abra when Jojo became Miss Red Feather Philippines in 1970.
There was a beautiful fair-skinned lady who passed our house on her way to school who attracted my attention. Her name was also Josephina Padoca. I could not help following her with my eyes every time she passed by. I had no chance to speak with her because we had no social activities to put boys and girls together in the C.S.C., which had separate buildings for the Girls High School Department from the High School Boys Department.
A classmate in elementary grades attracted my attention because of her friendly relation with me. She was a brown beauty. Andring Castañeda became a closer friend when we met in Manila. During my Holy Week visit in Bangued when I became a Corporal, I visited her after mass in her house. I was very much welcomed. When I went to Bangued in 1973 she visited me and we just ran into each others’ arms and embraced each other for old times’ sake!
Meling Navarro is another light-complexioned lady. She is a distant relative whose parents came from Vigan to Bangued with Father.
During her debut, the first one I had attended, she looked so dazzlingly beautiful, with a glittering earring I can’t forget.
Every man wanted to dance with Meling. She was up on her toes the whole night. I did not have the nerve to rush to get her to dance with me when the band started playing, so I just swallowed my saliva all night, wishing I could touch her!
I had a friend, Col. Frerneisco del Castillo, a mestizo from Vigan, who claimed Meling to be his drag when he was a cadet in the P.M.A. He said he practiced lovemaking with her in Baguio.
When I visited Meling in Bangued (because my stepmother told me to see her to grant her request that if I were there, she wanted to meet me), she was still looking young and beautiful at age 75.
I asked her why she never got married, and she said maybe it is her fate not to get married although she had so many suitors in her life.
She recalled with me our childhood days and our parents rolling each other CHECK as fond memories. Her house was big, beautiful, and well furnished. She was in the jewelry business.
We spoke for several hours, eating lots of chocolate candies, until I excused myself, promising that when I returned, I would buy the necklace she offered me for ₱15,000.
She accompanied me up to the gate of her yard, where I asked if I could kiss her. We KISSED!
Another light-complexioned lady in Bangued was Anit Jevier, the sister of my mother-in-law. She was about my age. I was attracted to her because of my weakness for a “napodao nga balasang” (a fair-complexioned lady). She lived with her parents in a farm far from Bangued, as her father was a farmer.
I understand that during the war the guerillas raped her. She never got married. She must have liked me in a very shy way by the way she glanced at me.
During my last visit in Bangued, she gave me her bed and beddings to use, including her room because it was the best part of their house.
She went to church every morning. I was alone in the living room when she arrived, and I kissed her when she entered the door. She sort of liked it. Maybe she has missed the better part of her life as an old maid.
When I went back to Manila, I expressed my desire to have a pillow and a mosquito net to be used by me. She gave me hers and in return I gave her my travelers watch.
Her two brothers, Cillio and Simon, were killed as guerillas during the war. Hence her mother received pension until she died.
Anit helped her sister-in-law, Ancing, wife of my brother, take care of their nine children. She has grayed a lot after all these days but has remained pious and religious, married to Christ, the Lord.
I guess my watch wakes her up for the mass every morning, and I hope she also remembers me and prays for me once in a while. JBS
Two beautiful sisters, Bioley and Sisie Makotieg, were neighbors of ours. The carpenters who prevented our house from getting burned built their house on the lot previously owned by us, where I and my brother were born.
They bought the lot from us after we were offered by Mother’s father to buy his lot, with Bienvenido Valera and Beinoy Benidito as witnesses.
That is why the Makotieg family used the carpenters of Bautay, Ilocos Sur, who built our house, to build theirs.
Their house built on our former lot was BIG, with stairs at the middle of their house of about twenty steps going through a hole at the bottom of their floors. It was the most unique house in Abra then.
Gold pieces were placed at the bottom of each post for luck. The stair steps had to be counted to end up in GOLD, from Copper, Silver, Gold. Their father, Tata Maning, and his wife were both nurses manning the newly opened Dispensary at the foot of the hill, around 1930.
When I went for Holy Week vacation, Bioley invited me to their Protestant church at night. We were seated on a wooden bench side by side when the lights suddenly went off. I had the temptation to kiss her but desisted when I realized we were in the Church of God.
That was our last contact, in 1937. I found out that Bioley was raped by the Guerillas and that Sisie got married to Jesus Bustamante of Sinupangan, a driver. Their big house got burned, like our house, during the carpet bombing by U.S. planes during the liberation of the Philippines.