Saturday, October 14, 2006


This weekend marks the second week I am without phone service; the longest in my adult life I had gone without such basic convenience.

I really shouldn’t complain since there are those harder hit like the businesses in the area, unable to process any credit card transactions without a landline.

Notwithstanding, what’s more irksome is that no one in the PLDT organization can provide any reason for this loss of phone service. Neither is there anyone with any idea as to when the service might be fully restored. The only thing an affected subscriber can do is wait.

And as if that weren’t bad enough, right after the Milenyo typhoon, the city had started their drainage improvement project in the neighborhood. It’s all good, except for one thing, the ditch diggers had discovered a busted water pipe (or so they claim) that leads to the house. Although duly advised, NAWASA, the local water service provider is yet to send a repair crew to fix it despite my repeated calls to their call center and visits to their offices. Problem is the contractor has a deadline to meet; whether NAWASA fixes the pipe or not, the contractor will have to pour cement to seal the new drainage system; chances are, the inflow of water into our house might get interrupted if sealed without the busted pipe having been repaired.

On Wednesday, I once again visited the NAWASA office; this time I was assured by one of its chief engineers that a service crew would be dispatched the next morning. To date, no one has shown up. Unbelievable!

Speaking of water service, more than two hundred years ago, General Francisco Carriedo y Peredo — the Spaniard in which the popular street was named after (where the original ShoeMart Store once stood) and the water fountain that adorns Plaza de Sta. Cruz — bequeathed P10,000 in 1743 as an initial endowment for the creation of the first water system in Manila to provide free water for the poor in perpetuity.

Entrusted to the Obras Pias, this sum of money was to accumulate in the Galleon Trade until it should grow by way of profits and interest into a sufficient fund to build a water system.

Unfortunately, in 1762, an iron chest with P250,000 and labeled Fondo de Carriedo was among the spoils carted off by the invading British forces when it looted the city. Consequently, buried under tons of governmental archival documents, General Carriedo’s will was forgotten until a Franciscan friar, Fr. Felix Huerta began the search, found the documents and calculated that by 1878, the sum had grown to P177,853.44. Fr. Huerta spearheaded the efforts in actualizing the wish of General Carriedo, and within four years the water system was completed at a total cost of P742,509. With 153 hydrants, the system was inaugurated on August 23, 1882.

Incidentally, with the reputation and integrity of the friars in the 19th century Philippines suffering a severe blow from the outright scandalous wrongdoings by some members of the frock, almost buried under such heap were the valuable contributions of Fr. Felix Huerta. He was close to being forgotten despite the honor he brought to both his order and to the priesthood.

Fr. Huerta, as administrator of San Lazaro Hospital in 1859, worked tirelessly to have this charitable institution for lepers reconstructed when it was threatened with closure. It was also during this time that Fr. Huerta was said to have searched 300 government records (government archives existed since the beginning of the Spanish regime, for which we owe the existence of the 11 million documents in the National Archives) and discovered the Carriedo fund for the construction of a water system to provide free water for the poor of Manila.

It was also Fr. Huerta who managed to convince the Archbishop of Manila and the government to establish Monte de Piedad. The friar’s intention was to provide a savings bank for the city’s poor that would charge moderate interest rates.

A street in Sta. Cruz, Manila, was named in honor of this indefatigable Franciscan friar whose integrity was unblemished and beyond reproach.

The Carriedo Fountain in Plaza de Sta. Cruz currently undergoing renovation; part of Mayor Atienza’s citywide revitalization projects.


posted by Señor Enrique at 4:40 PM


Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

I believe I correctly predicted that your phone service would take a while since they charge you regardless, but the water! By now, I'd be looking to move. They are blowing you off to your face even... Pretty cool about Fr. Huerta. I'm surprised the city lived up to the old contract.

October 14, 2006 8:55 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...


Used to have an uncle doctor who lived along Felix Huertas St. (with an s) and he worked as a skin doctor in San Lazaro nearby. Thus, I was quite familiar with this street, hiking all the way from Avenida to get there.

One famous person who also used to live in the area was Boots Anson. And we'd watch her walk home from her ride in Sta. Cruz Ave.

As I recall, Felix Huertas used to also have stables for horses, the hippodrome being close there, too.
Are there still horse races there?

Again, Felix Huertas had many old, tall, two-storey timber houses.

October 14, 2006 9:33 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

Or maybe on second thought, I am confused.

Isn't the hippodrome in Santa Ana?

October 14, 2006 9:52 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the phone line will come back to you soon Eric. And as for the water, I guess if they still don't come and fix it, they ought to be bugged about it all the time. Well, responsibilities ...

And again, great information. Hehe.

Have a great Sunday ahead!


October 15, 2006 10:05 AM  

Blogger Unknown said...

laki na ng ginaganda ng manila ngayon, yung mga fountain magaganda na yung design at may tubig na. yung mga sidewalk naka bricks. bilib na ako sa manila.

October 15, 2006 10:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The govt shows no bloody concern for the people in the area if they allow the contractor to pour cement on the drainage. They got to fix the problem first before continuing with the project! The govt should make an exception with the delay. It's entirely their prerogative.

October 15, 2006 2:24 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss the Carriedo area, haven't been there in two years. Hm...maybe I'll stop by when I go on a travelling spree this sembreak. :D

October 15, 2006 2:45 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool how you could relate your present services problem with history. I don't even recall having ever read about General Carriedo or Fr. Huerta from Agoncillo or Zaide. :)

What I do remember though is my Mom bringing me to Shoemart (Shoemart then and not yet SM) and buying me Greg shoes. :)

October 15, 2006 4:06 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

“Join in the new game. It's called "Bureaucracy" Everybody stands in a circle. The first person to do anything loses.”

“You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.”

Sorry to hear you are still without phone and now without water.
That's not funny!

October 15, 2006 4:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an inconvenience, or two, to you, Eric. But you're right. All you can do is wait.

October 16, 2006 1:06 PM  

Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

Come on Nice, show some of that North American spunk you've picked up in the land of long winters. "Acceptance" is rife here in the Phils and is a BIG part of why nothing ever changes!

October 16, 2006 10:48 PM  

Blogger Analyse said...

it's funny how i see manila differently from your blog.

hope you'll get all your problems solved, the soonest!

October 17, 2006 3:04 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Everyone has to pay whether you're rich or poor, Phil. No more freebies ... hahaha!

It's actually with an s, Amadeo, but I used Huerta as printed on my resource (a book about Sta. Cruz Church).

The Manila Jockey Club was moved to Cavite, and the old San Lazaro Hippodrome is now SM San Lazaro and a couple of housing developments.

There is also another racetrack in Santa Ana (which I was never inside of; only in San Lazaro).

The water line has been fixed, Kyels, but no phone til now :(

Under renovation pa ngayon ang fountain, Cruise, kaya lalo pang gaganda it pagkatapos :)

I actually got a visit from someone from city hall, BW, who was investigating mounting complaints from residents affected by this. The water service company did show up finally to fix it after my repeated complaints.

Naku, Jhay, Carriedo area is very crowded with tiangge-style stalls. But still fun to visit :)

I should have listed my source, Toe -- it was a book about Sta. Cruz Church and its vicinity. I'll post another entry from it and will list the title and author.

I have water now, but still no phone, Sidney :(

You have no idea, Irene! What we take for granted are usually so important that we become frantice once without it.

I ought to march back to PLDT's office, Phil and do just that !!!

Thanks, Analyse!

October 22, 2006 1:12 PM  

Blogger dodong flores 도동 플로오리스 said...

That's quite a brief yet precise account of a very interesting historical fact. Thanx, Eric. I need not go to public library to learn. I only need to dedicate a few minutes reading your blog and I got facts...

August 02, 2007 5:31 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Dodong! Glad you enjoyed it :)

August 03, 2007 6:10 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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