Senator Lapid Reminiscing The Past

After 50 years, Senator Manuel ‘Lito’ Lapid returns and ponders on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, on his life story in Barangay Damayan, San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City. 

When Lapid and his siblings ventured out of their hometown Porac, Pampanga to try to make it in Manila as actors, they landed in a friend’s house in the heart of San Francisco, Quezon City, or “Frisco” to the residents. Coincidentally, it is also in this area that the late Fernando Poe, Jr. would set up his studios.
Lapid recalled that he lived a humble and exciting life in the village from 1974 to 1977 as a ward to his brother, Rey Lapid. Salud Calalay played host to the Lapid siblings.  
“Rey, being the eldest brother, mentored Lito and made sure that they earned their keep by making him do household chores like cleaning the house, doing laundry, and even cooking,” said Mrs. Calalay. 
Of the Senator, she said that “Lito is not handsome by generic standards, he’s not mestizo nor refined in his ways. But he is very simpatico. He has this charm that catches you off guard. He also worked out a lot so he had big muscles as a young man. Children would play with him, dangling on his arms while he lifts his makeshift concrete barbell.” “He would maintain long wavy locks and wear tight clothes that revealed his great physique. This made him quite popular among the girls in the neighborhood,” she added, with a knowing smile.

The Lapid siblings did whatever jobs they can get hands on to get in to the movie industry and follow the footsteps of their father. Rey worked as a cameraman while Lito started as a background actor and a stuntman. Their father, the late Jose Lapid, worked as a stuntman to both Fernando Poe, Sr. and Fernando, Jr.
Half a decade later, Lito would return to their hosts a film industry legend and a Senator. 

After attending an Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) distribution event by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in their barangay, sponsored by his Senate office, Sen. Lapid dropped by his old residence.
He was warmly greeted by his former neighbors and Mrs. Calalay. Sen. Lapid affectionately called Mrs. Salad, “GG”, short for “galunggong” an affordable kind of fish which was popular during their stay together. Lapid recalled that Mrs. Salud would buy the fish in bulk and cook them different ways for their household to share.

Sen. Lapid said that Mrs. Calalay helped them pursue their dreams. She shared whatever she had with the Lapid siblings, including money for jeepney fares so they can get to the movie set.
Sen. Lapid said the house was formerly made of lighter materials. Mrs. Calalay would be annoyed by the constant thumping sound of him practicing his tumblings in the free space upstairs but would remain patient with them in spite of their shenanigans.

Mrs. Calalay said that Sen. Lapid never forgot them even as he succeeded in his career. He would stay in touch with them and provided them assistance whenever they needed it.
Sen. Lapid may be the 'Supremo' of the Senate, but to the residents of Bgy. Damayan in Frisco, Quezon City, he is a beacon of hope and a testament to the power of dreams.

Zach Golez

A lifestyle blogger based in Iloilo City

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