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The footprints of Sammy Palanca

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

Here’s something to think about for those who “want to get away from it all”, and can afford to! Here’s this guy named Michael Branson who has gone through it and is now offering to organize tours of space, which, I think is just the  thing for those who are getting fed up with all the problems and troubles they are encountering in this planet called Earth. So far I have not heard about any takers for the tour, but, who knows? The time may come when it will be just another “tour”. For those who have both the inclination and the funds, of course.

***

Now it’s clear he’s not joking. I am referring to our friend, world renowned pugilist-boxer, if you want plainer terms – who I am sure has been getting urgings from his   friends and fans to go for the presidency! And I don’t think he is joking, not when he said, why not? We’ve had so many bright guys and gals, and we still seem to be in the rut we had been in for years and years. All that time, we have been led by very bright, talented and well-connected leaders and here we are, still at what seems to be Step One. Who knows whether we only need a simple, practical and unsophisticated leader this time?

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With Manny Pacquiao, we may have less of those oratories and discussions that often end up nowhere. Note that sessions among our supposed brightest solons often, if not always, end up as talk-and-talk exercises that simple folks do not understand, anyway, and if they do accomplish something, it is often a surprise how they manage to do so after wading through all those discussions and elocutions. If Pacquiao were it, I bet he will be the action man, with the “Less talk, less mistake” motto. And if things go rough, he can say “Let’s settle this outside”.

***

Is it correct? I mean the news item saying that, so far, only 13 million have been vaccinated against the Covid in the Philippines? Well, that was in yesterday’s, not the other day’s report, so it must have increased since then. But even so, isn’t that rather slow as an accomplishment for our Health officials when this is a pandemic and no childhood disease they are dealing with? But I think our city and province have been doing better as far as this scourge is concerned. Of course I cross my fingers as I say that.

***  

Even if he was not a close friend and I knew him only casually, I was saddened by the death of Sammy Palanca, whom I admired as one of the most talented children of our province, and resident of our city. Although initially regarded only as an astute businessman, people never realized that he was going to literally and figuratively change the landscape of our city. Who could imagine, way back in the ‘40’s, that someone would be able to extend the shoreline of our city, providing more space for business and recreation?

***

But I was working at the Development Bank of the Philippines in Bacolod after six years at its main office in Makati, when Sammy Palanca first came to the bank to seek financing for his project, that was the expansion of the shoreline of Bacolod. Of course some of my officemates, and even myself, thought that was, well, not exactly crazy but a rather outlandish idea. But the chairman of the DBP then, Leonides Virata, was just as far-seeing as he was, and encouraged us to entertain Palanca’s bid for financing. Seems both were the same kind of dreamers and doers, and soon Bacolod saw its former seashore moving away, to give space to what are now business establishments and other projects, or his Reclamation Area.

***

And he was a humble person, too. Despite his known wealth and connections, he never pushed his weight around when he was dealing with the bank staff. But I confess we were all doubtful about his plan for the loan he was seeking which was to expand the shoreline of the city! But it happened that the chairman of the DBP then was Leonides Virata, another visionary, who liked the idea and encouraged our branch officials to entertain it, and eventually recommend it to his office in Makati where it was approved. And thus was born BREDCO.

***

Every time there were celebrations at the BREDCO area, we were always invited and that was when I noted that he was actually a shy person, who did not talk much or exchange banter with other executives also present. One could therefore say that he is one person who has really left his footprints in the sand, on the shore of our city. Rest in peace, Sammy. You deserve it.*

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