The Daku Balay, July 2011

Self spent summers here as a girl . . .

View From the Main Lobby, Balay Daku

The Balay Daku was the first all-concrete house built in Bacolod City.  It had a working elevator that went up to the fourth floor.

Now it’s been converted into an office.  There are four floors of Villanueva secretaries —  oh my!  On Wednesdays, a man comes from Iloilo to practice “healing reflexology” on the employees.

The secretaries come from towns like Murcia and Magallon (now re-named “Moises Padilla”)

One of the delights of self’s childhood summers was being allowed to choose baye-baye, empanada, fresh lumpia, pinasugbu, suman, and other delights from the woven bilao of a vendor who came walking slowly down the main driveway, every day.

Self thought she was dreaming when, mid-morning, she saw a young man walking down the driveway with a bilao full of food.  Let me see, she ordered him.  He put down his bilao and this is what self saw inside:

The only thing new from the time when she was a child was the siomai.

Self bought a third of the bilao and distributed food to the secretaries.  Total:  160 pesos ($2.63).  The vendor (whose name was Nestor) was very abashed at having to relieve self of so much money.

Jerry is the Father of Ida, Dear Bros’ Passionate Adherent

Self spent some time interviewing a man called Jerry, who started working for the Villanuevas in 1952, when he was 32 years old.  He is now 81 and still goes to work in the Balay Daku every day.  He remembers a time when self’s Dear Departed Dad had an hacienda near Mambucal, named after Dearest Mum:  Hacienda Nena.

“Your father was always soft-spoken,” he told self.

“I look like my Dad, don’t I?” self asked him.

“Yes,” he said.

And now, self is off to meet another cousin.

Today is her birthday.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


  1. Valerie Trueblood said,

    July 14, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Happy Birthday!

  2. July 14, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks much, Valerie!

    Did I tell you yet how much I loved your MARRY OR BURN?

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