“The passing of the ordinance is a great move for us to finally claim, not only by wordof- mouth but on document that sizzling sisig originated from our city,” hailed Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan of Ordinance No. 405, Series of 2017, which – if only to impact some historical affirmation to the mayor’s claims – cited Fray Diego Bergano’s 1732 Vocabulario de la Lengua Pampanga where sisig is entered.
Enthused Pamintuan further: “The ordinance also promotes sizzling sisig as a tourist attraction and preserves its authentic form and manner of preparation.” Thus, the proviso for the holding of an Annual Sisig Festival and Sisig Fiesta in the city every last week of April.
Reclaiming, preserving and promoting the city’s cultural heritage is one of the better – the best, to me – initiatives of the Agyu Tamu administration, unarguably bettering Pamintuan over his predecessors, bar none.
Indeed, only Pamintuan – steeped in lessons of history – could have conceived of and concretized the delineation of Old Angeles as Heritage District.
Only Pamintuan could have visualized and realized pocket gardens out of the garbagedumped vermin-ridden disused and dilapidate railway tracks crossing the city.
And in that process of heritage reaffirmation, to veer away, aye, in the language Pamintuan is most fluent, “liberate” Angeles from its Sin City notoriety.
Alas, it just ain’t so.
A week before the sisig ordinance passed, in the same city council, neophyte alderman Joseph Ponce delivered a pointed harangue on the city’s dirty secrets spilled into the open under the garish lights of Fields Avenue.
Ponce referenced his own “very recent” personal experience cruising the city’s foremost avenue of the flesh, aghast at:
1) Three out of five girls he interviewed on the street were minors aged 17 years and below, most of them “employed as masseur (sic) therapists” and dressed as such but with no place to render their services other than the motel or hotel rooms of their customers;
2) Transvestites, streetwalkers and pimps openly soliciting and hawking their services to just anybody they think of as potential customers;
3) Cigarette vendors, mostly minors, hawking Viagra and Cialis pills along with their usual fare of Marlboros.
All these happening a spit distance from the Angeles City Entertainment Promotions Office and Station 4 of the city police.
Nothing new in Ponce’s disclosures on Fields Avenue there. Dirty as ever, yes. The secrets have long been in the open though. As has often been said, like Lennon’s strawberry, Fields Avenue is forever.
In the light of the currency of culture gripping the city council, why not legislate too Fields Avenue as “tangible cultural heritage” of Angeles City?
Yes, as we have more than once advocated here:
Fields Avenue meets the qualifications of time, having been there for as long as anyone can remember; of historical signifi cance – of world proportions at that, playing a pivotal, albeit leisurely, role in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, care-giving to battle-fatigued American GIs; of cultural impact, being the melting pot of Waray, Cebuano, Bicolano, Ilongo and Capampangan culture, pulchritude, even idiosyncrasies, if not perversities; of ethnic identity, Fields Avenue is uniquely Angeles City’s.
Fields Avenue has an international reputation, being the point of convergence of foreigners, no, make that a miniature United Nations in the city, with its share of just about every nationality: American, Australian, British, Belgian, Swiss, German, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, whatever.
Notwithstanding that Fields Avenue could very well make the Interpol’s rogues’ gallery on the profiles of some of its habitués.
While at this, why not declare as tangible cultural heritage too the even more qualified – than Fields, that is – Area, also uniquely Angeles City’s.
Pre-war pa, it even holds some anthropological significance being the longpreferred locus of the rite of passage of Capampangan males. The Area easily coasted through the American Period, the Japanese Occupation, and the American Re-Occupation, and survived a number of conflagrations sparked by righteous religious vigilantism.
The Area – it is privately acknowledged – even serves as a zone of peace: the combatants – policemen, army troopers, insurgents of all persuasions – laying down their arms there to lie down in the arms of its denizens.
What serendipity! Area, the movie penned by the local culturati and literati’s Robby Tantingco, is the toast in the international cinemafest circuit, even winning best actor in a lead role honors for Ai-Ai de las Alas in a US festival.
Some signs there, if ever the city council needs any.
Fields Avenue and the Area make that Sin City so etched in the national psyche as an Angeles legacy. One heritage of sin that the thousand tons of Mt. Pinatubo ash and lahar that devastated the city failed to bury in oblivion. Nor simply be off set by the mouth-watering sizzle of even the world’s best pork dish.
So, Ordinance 4-69, Series of 2017 declaring Fields Avenue and the Area as “Tangible Cultural Heritage” of Angeles City, anyone?