Saturday, July 15, 2006

Willy C writes 30

Let's give the floor to Manong Paul Baquirin

If anyone can speak out for Baguio, it was Willy Cacdac. He has always aligned himself with the oppressed and the weak. Cockfighting aficionados will describe him as "dehadista". And with the unceasing onslaught to Baguio's environs, Willy had always spoken his mind and influenced his fellow Baguioites to act on major issues. Most often he would be a key player in conceiving an impact community project. Perhaps it was his exposure to the political savvy of his former boss the late Mayor Lardizabal. . This is how I recall Willy whom I first met at City Hall while he was Mayor Lardizabal's secretary and I was a neophyte employee right out of college connected with the City Budget Office. I was then part of a section of that office, the Economic Development Staff charged primarily with the Mayor's impact projects. So most of the researches for projects we recommended for initiation in the communities, to the Mayor without a miss would find their way to Willy's desk. Willy Cacdac and Freddie Mayo, they were the dynamic duo. I recall all those happy days working with them. I learned a lot of things from these guys i.e. when not to barge into the inner sanctum, when to tread lightly and when to voice out what you think. They knew the old man to a T and everyone who needed to get inside will need to get the queue from them when it was the right time. His was a thankless job. He stayed there until the old man left and only on rare occasion will he leave early. At most times he will go around the city after office hours so Willy had to tag along. He only gets a breather when his boss goes out of town but still had to stay on top of everything as he gets a phone call ever so often. But in all he did, he did smartly and with finesse. You would see him at the office with a pen tacked on the right ear and with his long sleeved shirt rolled up until the elbows. Mayor Lardi's eloquence when he spoke in public can be attributed to the dynamic duo. I never saw them stressed out. Or perhaps the after office hours visit to those "shot" places that I also got initiated to was their way of distressing.

I left city hall when Gen. Bueno was appointed in place of Mayor Lardi. So did Willy who went back to media to do what he did best fighting for Baguio through excellent journalism. We lost touch only meeting occasionally at Dainty or Star Café or Session Café when I catch him with common friends from media, Peppot, Steve, Bembo and trade news. It was after several years when again we had the chance to work together. With his media friends, they organized Bangon Baguio in response to the earthquake calamity in 1990. It was a movement that unprecedented united all sectors of the community and rise up from the disaster. It proved to one and all that the people of Baguio can be united for a common cause. Right after the earthquake, the electric cooperative was also going through its own crisis and its consumers were caught in the conflict with deteriorating services. Willy entered the fray and came out regaining the confidence of consumers to its cooperative. He was branded as traitor by some but despite this, he was convinced what he did was right. I did to because I worked alongside him, developing strategies and proudly contributing to the complete turnaround of the electric coop to being ahead of the rest of the coops in the region in terms of performance. He became the voice of the cooperative fighting for it over the air waves, writing its press releases, organizing dialogues with media, hitting the road to preach the gospel of rural electrification to the people of Benguet, training its employees in leadership and consumer relations. He played a key role in putting back the ailing utility firm on its feet. You get motivated by just seeing him do what he does. Then I heard he left the coop. This surprised me. Then I just read he became editor of Sun Star. So I realized he moved on to that thing he really is passionate about. One memorable project he did was to convince the coop to lead the way in helping disaster victims of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. With his old friend Swanny Dicang, who envisioned "Operation Sayote" they led a convoy of truckloads of goods for those affected by the eruption. On their second trip my son Bien who was a classmate of Swanny's son Peds, asked permission to go. And I let him. Here is one anecdote of the trip he narrated to us.

It was raining when they reached some part of Zambales. With then fog, visibility was very poor so they had to stop for awhile as the drivers were having a difficult time on the road.. They found a shelter near by. So they gathered wood and built a fire. When suddenly Swanny told Willy his stomach was grumbling and told Willy in the dialect " Willy makaramraman nak ti pinikpikan!"(I feel like eating "pinikpikan"). To that Willy countered "Pagalaam ti lubong iti ipikpik mo nga manok? (Where in the world will you find chicken to cook?) Swanny countered, "Anya nga manok?...Manok ken pato, ah!" (What chicken? We need a chicken and a duck!) Willy asked, "Ni apay ngay?" (Why?) Swanny: " Wen ah, tapno CockDuck!" And Willy swore at him in the dialect and ran after him with a piece of wood! They eventually found a chicken but not a duck. Now we can't forget Willy whenever there is pinikpikan. And who knows he is right now with close friends Freddie Mayo, Bembo, Steve, Peppot enjoying themselves around a campfire swapping yarns and enjoying their shots with pinikpikan as pulutan.

Farewell Willy!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmmmmmm. So Frank, you lurking at BWI pala ha.

6:13 PM  
Blogger frank cimatu said...

no it actually came from you via larry m

1:06 PM  

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