My History 101

Bagtican’s only Mommy

I’ve realized lately that I have become what I as a younger man hated to become, negligent of ones history. When I was child I can recall getting upset when my classmates would make fun of Bonifacio (the Andres atapang di a takbo joke). I don’t know why and where this started but my history education as a child was better than the other kids in town. I have the luxury of learning from one of our well off neighbours who had in their collection a vast array of titles, some are century old books. How I wished that they were preserve but as far as I know they where all disposed when they sold their place, gone forever. They were the Quillen who used to own a huge part of land in Calle Bagtican San Antonio. They also use to own the grounds where the Chinese school Pasay Chung Hua stands.

I was very fond of Mommy (Matriarch of the Quillen-Keyser-Magcale clan. Queen of Bagtican!) everyone calls her Mommy because of her generosity and good heart.  This Irish (she’s part swiss too) old woman enjoys a bottle San Miguel in evening time. She’s very proud of her family with the exemption of her husband who I recall she would dotingly whoop names from time to time. Vividly I remember how she would sing ‘when you wish upon a star…’ she would encourage me to sing along, it could be the alcohol that makes her mood gay and merry but I’ll never forget those moments. They were golden to me. I was shy as always but she always finds a way to hear my low ugly voice – utouto as they call it. I can’t forget even now those lovely blue (I think they were) eyes staring at me as if I was her own grandchild. I’d tell a story or ask her some grade school questions about history and she’ll have an answer.  I always have her undivided attention. I never run out of questions and as I expected she always without fail gives an answer. I never had a grandparent all my life, they died early. Mommy was the closest I’ve ever had.

Add to the books are my usual round of Q&A with Mommy, she would answer my questions as if she was there when those historical moment took place. I remember one day when I asked her about the Filipino-American war(how it all started) and she replied that Filipinos were just being difficult, they refused to be civilized and educated and that the Estados Unidos was reaching out as a friend. It was an awkward moment for me since I’ve never seen her mood change so quickly. She was an American national after all, how dare I question her nations intentions in her presence. I never had the courage to challenge her again perhaps I learned that day to accept that no history book, no history professor or expert can change how she look at things.

The rest of my History lessons was concluded in schools, although the lessons were acceptable in my standards I’ve always felt that it was insubstantial. In my adult years after college I’ve bought my own books to supplement my studies but not as avid as I once was. Past is past they say but not unless you study them you would make the same mistakes. As my favorite history quote goes ‘One faces the future with ones past’. I now try to regain some lost grounds on my study of history, its never too late for all of us to study and preserve what is left.


My History 101

The Undisputed Queen of Bagtican

Goodbye Dona Amparo

Mommy Amparo’s “New Life”

Mi Mommy Amparo que en paz descanse

*Photo courtesy of James Magcale


17 responses to “My History 101

  • allan agudo

    YO! IT’S ME ALLAN AGUDO Tol’maganda yun sinabi mo sa wawa mo na touch ako sa sinabi mo, kamusta ka na at ang buhay mo tol?

  • allan agudo

    YO! my man, kamusta ka na tol, ok yun sinulat mo is bout ur wawa iam so touch what u said bout ur grandma. I hope someday I can go vacation philippines I miss u man, how’s ur life tol, here my cellphone#(425)829-1945 ok,

  • Kimjoe Ygrubay

    I remember the old lady..god bless her heart for being kind and nice to mother used tobe a Metro Aide in San Antonio..her rota to Sweep the street was the St.Paul Bagtikan ..i remember when I was a kid helping my mother to sweep the street we stop right in the corner in Bagtikan n St.paul to get rest n get some snack..n then this old woman mommy we call back then..likes talk to my mom and she is so kind and loving person…I remember she always say ..””dont forget to drink water!! its to mainit..!!”””..I just say salamat ”PO””..a respectful way to say thank you…by the way where is the Arnaiz!!..just to let you know that we are the YGRUBAY family is one of the Original people in LUMBAYAO st…just say mang IPE…the drunken master…hehhee..thats my father..not to shame to say that be’coz he is part of the history in San Antonio Village..I miss the OLDy life…

  • James Magcale

    I am truly grateful for this tribute you have written about our Wawa. She has now joined out Lord at 620pm of July 11, 2011. She is indeed a great and unconditionally-loving Wawa, mommy, tita, and friend to all whom she met and knew in her lifetime.

    Thank you for this again and I am, above all, grateful to Wawa for everything.

    Her Youngest Grandson

    • De AnDA

      James – Thanks for taking care of “our” mommy.

      Kimjoe – She’s so kind and loving. I’m glad you remember her.

  • De AnDA

    @ Bochok & Franchesca – Mommy greatly influenced my life. Some of the best lessons in life I heard from her, and I was like what 6-9 years old when she was dishing ’em out to me! She treated me like her own grandchild. She’s an amazing woman. We, the Arnaiz brothers, love her dearly. I’m forever indebted to her, for without her I would not value learning as much as I do today.

    I visited her last year – hopefully I can visit her again. It was nice seeing James and his family. Regards to all you guys there – I remember Maidu and Tia Rose.

  • julius magcale

    TO WAWA,
    You’re my earth, you’re my world; you’re my moon that circles my world.
    You’re my moon, you’re my star; you’re the one I look upon in the dark.
    You shine like the sun that brightens my day. And take all the dark storms away.
    I will be there for you whenever you need help. I will shine like you did through my sickness and health.
    I will be that angel that sits on your shoulder to make you happy and better when the sun goes away and sets for the next day.
    Don’t worry, I will still be on your shoulder and I will love you until the world end.

    thank you wawa,,,,,,,for everything and to my younger brother and her family for taking care of our wonderful grandma…..

    and sayo aranold salamat for the wonderful story you made for wawa also known as MOMMY sa buong SAN ANTONI VILL…….THANKS…

  • Franchesca Casado


    I am the grand daughter of Amparo Quillen Keyser aka “Mommy.” Yes she was known as the Queen of Bagtikan, a friend to the local gangs and the one who can beat anyone to beer fest!

    Time has flown and I appreciate how you have recognized this wonderful woman whom we call “Wawa.” Wawa now resides with my younger cousin James in the Philippines as most of us have migrated to the US. He has taken such great care of her through the years, which we are all thankful and proud of.

    Again, thank you…

  • The Undisputed Queen of Bagtican « With one’s past…

    […] to visit my step grandma (salamat sa friendster at nagkita kami ng apo niya), affectionately called ‘mommy’ by the entire Calle Bagtican neighborhood, this great lady has in so many ways showed me what a […]

  • nold

    Yes thats her Kim.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • Kim

    Is that the “mommy” Old Lady in the pic? where is she now?

  • nold


    Your right! I really appreciate observation.I’ve already made changes on the title unfortunately the web address would have to stay that way.

    I’m not really big on whether I’d get wide attention here, I’m happy with friends and family following what i do here. And when I’m lucky like today – be read by a complete strangers like you.

    Hope you get to visit the site often and if your feeling generous spending your time correcting my grammar and spelling all the better.


  • Ms. Grammarian

    Hey Arnold! Your blog’s title should have an apostrophe on the word “Ones”. Therefore, the correct title should be “WITH ONE’S PAST” (note the apostrophe). I hope you’re not offended. Many historians today, especially the big-named ones, are so “mayabang”. I don’t want them to belittle this noble start-up” of yours. Great blog, though (you may or may not publish this comment of mine; that’s OK). God Bless! =)
    Ms. Grammarian.

  • Mr WordPress

    Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

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