Water supply will worsen, unless… (2)

March 19, 2019

In the excavation where my parents’ ancestral home once stood, many are wondering why a pool of water remains despite the hot summer month, coupled by short supply of water all over the city. Many are wondering where the pool of water is coming from.

Before my father built the ancestral home which he gifted my mother in the 1950s, the house was not there before the outbreak of the war. Instead, it was a beautiful garden full of exotic trees and flowers, including a huge swimming pool. For sure, none of my younger siblings would remember, but I do. I am the eldest and some of my siblings were not even born yet or too young to know.

Sometime in 1940, my father had a deep well constructed in one part of the property. That fresh water well supplied the swimming pool with water; and later the ancestral house, as well as the houses of my siblings in the compound.

Nobody ever thought that World War II would trigger two years after the construction of the fresh water well – called “pozo.” To make a long story short, that “well or pozo” supplied water to thousands of people in the neighborhood and farther areas with no supply of potable water. That well (pozo) saved so many lives during the war; and people lined up to get fresh water from the well. That was during the war years and there must be few survivors still living today.

That explained the pool of water in the excavation site in the middle of summer that refuses to dry. As the earth sips the fresh water from the well, the main vein down deep under the ground still spreads water in the excavation site.

It is really a pity that the excavation hit and destroyed the “pozo” which springs fresh water into the excavation site. We used to connect with the well for potable water. It’s a very deep well.

Sayang po talaga kasi ‘yang pozo na ginawa ng aking ama, Tomas Morato, should also be part of the historical site for without that fresh water well, constructed in 1940, many people in the neighborhood and from far away places would have died during the war years Manila was occupied by the Japanese. That’s only part of the story to tell about our ancestral home which was built beside that historical fresh water well that kept so many of our people alive, including the family and other relatives.

The big swimming pool was converted into a fish-pen where “gurami” fish were bred in it also to give away to those who needed food. But before my father was brought to Fort Santiago and later released by the Emperor of Japan after 8 months of incarceration, my father buried about 89 personal handwritten letters of President Quezon to my father and other personal things of his, put in a drum and buried in that swimming pool which was fully covered by ground and landscaped into a beautiful garden with fruit-bearing trees such as santol, marang, langka, kamias…

With this excavation, I wonder who got my father’s documents for I told the excavators to please watch out for that steel drum. No news who got it, including his firearms as colonel of the USAFFE, one of the reasons for his incarceration for the Japanese came to know that he was helping the guerillas during the outbreak of the war, supplying them with trucks of rice and other provisions in the mountains.         For comments and suggestions email at mlmorato@yahoo.com