I was with a group of Holy Cross alumni the other night for the birthday party of Robert Paluga’s mom. I was seated beside Lenito Monter and we got to talking about San Lorenzo Ruiz Elementary School in Damilag. Lenito told me that it is owned by a Jino Tugot, son of Norman.
It led me to reflect on how the Tugots helped shape the culture of this place. This say a community’s identity is carved in three areas – the soul, the mind, and the body. And in these three arenas, the Tugots played major roles.
For the mind, The Tugots were educators. Troy John Tabanas’s mother Visitacion was the principal of Libona High School, which at that time, was the best option for those who cannot afford Holy Cross High School. Ligaya Tugot was the principal of Camp JMC Elementary School before she retired. The children were honor students; and if my memory serves me right Maripet Tabanas graduated valedictorian of her batch in Lourdes College High School. So, it doesn’t surprise me that one of the second generations decided to put up a school.
For the soul, the Tugots became famous for the Church of the Mother of Perpetual Help in Cawayanon. They put up the place and started a community of devotees. Until now, people still go to Cawayanon every Wednesday for the novena. Hordes of people in jeep caravans become a testament to the miracles that Our Lady mediates for those who seek God’s help. I do not know how this started but I am pretty sure that the old man Tugot had a story about this miracle.
For the body, the Tugots were excellent golfers, and are instrumental in making golf a popular pasttime among residents. The old man Celestino (Ka Tino) Tugot was the best golfer produced in this country long before his protegee Frankie Minoza hit the international headlines. This is direct quote from http://pinoygolfer.com
A local golf legend, Tugot is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best golfers the Philippines has produced. One of only two Golf Hall of Fame awardees and a 6 time Philippine Open champion Ka Tino represented the country 10 times in the World Cup, which is regarded as the Olympics of Golf. He was also the first Filipino athlete to be a guest of the U.S. President at the White House
Ka Tino designed and developed the Del Monte Golf Course in Cawayanon. Daughter Sonia Tugot was a many-time Philippine Ladies Open champion. Among the second generation, Tommy Tabanas joined the golf circuit and now acts as caddie to Frankie Minoza.
I am not sure if the present generation of residents know the Tugots, but they should be thankful that this family helped shape the culture that we are enjoying today.
And then of course there is MiAn Tabanas, the most unforgettable of all, as far as we are concerned. When she was little, she walked from home to our school, barged open the door of St. Cecilia and shouted at this brother Troy,”Tojan, asa daw ang kinagod nga lubi para sa biko.” In the middle of a difficult Algebra class! Only a Tugot can do that!