Vanishing Institutions in San Fernando

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Friday, March 21, 2014

IN THE 70's, Kit's was the place to be. Maniaman ing mami. Maniaman ing halo-halo. Maniaman ing pansit luglog. A trip to San Fernando would not be complete without dropping by Kit’s Restaurant. It was a medium sized eatery with a mezzanine. It was patronized by the rich and the poor. Almost always, you waited to be seated. We came to know later that Mang Kit was the wife of a former Congressman Mars Pineda. When she died, Kit Restaurant folded up.

In almost the same period, there was a restaurant in Juliana, MacArthur Highway. The food was home made. Their longganisa tasted heavenly. The fish was cooked with something you associate with mother’s dishes. Their pata tim was comparable with the best. It was mouth watering.

Their primary sukis were the drug salesmen and private road contractors. You should go there at 11:00 a.m. otherwise, ubos na ang paninda. The secret of their success is they served newly cooked viands. Even the rice was steaming hot. The price was affordable. By now, not many Fernandinos remember Marissa’s. It operated awhile after the death of Apung Tacus and wife. Then it was gone forever.


There were two eateries of Everybody’s Café. There was one right within the vicinity of the church and the municipio. The one that continues to operate, Thank God, is at McArthur Highway, Del Pilar. The first one was the favorite habitué of lawyers with their clients after court hearings. It was also the destination of church goers. Their sotanghon was of gourmet standards. Yes, of course – the Pampango exotic dishes of camaro, tugak and paksing bangus topped the list. Then we heard that the owner, Santos couple, died one after the other. Their two (2) children had a misunderstanding. Their rift reached the court. Then, the first Everybody’s Café also died – an untimely demise.

The favorite reception place for weddings was Café Fernandino. The upper middle class had only one option for the celebration of a milestone – Café Fernandino. Ask your parents where they entertained their guests after their wedding; most likely, their answer is this place. The owner, Quirino Yap was ecstatic for the success of the restaurant. We can still see Gloria Centrum and Quirino Yap and Sons Hardware today but not the Café. When Tang Quiri died, Café Fernandino faded into the night.

Pampanga Hotel is dying. If not resuscitated, this institution will breathe its last. Their Pansit is still one of the best. Since it has not updated with the trend, the hotel is dwarfed by its giant newly arrived neighbor, SM. It is like an old tree whose roots are about to decay. SM looms and is ready to take over this last bastion of an institution – within our city.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 22, 2014.


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