In my hometown called Lucena City there is a park where I used to visit when I was a kid. The place is very nostalgic and my quick visit brought back a lot of memories.
In the early 90s, the park was composed of several so-called sunken gardens. Each garden had its own fountains teeming with local fish. My dad and brother (sometimes with our neighbors) would drive to the park during early afternoons, when the sun is about to set.
There weren’t much traffic jam back then, and the drive is very smooth. We would bring with us some junk food called pompoms, and throw them to the fish. The fish happily gobble on the snack.
There were also street food back then but it was the pink crushed ice fondly called as “iskrambol” with milk powder and sometimes choco syrup that makes our afternoon complete. To us, the pink ice crush served in a small plastic cup is a big deal. Sometimes the ice buko or ice munggo is there. I smile when I think about them.
Today, the parks have changed. There weren’t many fish anymore. The feeling is totally different now. It is as if, I am now a stranger in this familiar piece of land.
But perhaps places are like people too, they grow old; they mature and they move on.
Perez Park was named after the late governor, Don Filemon E. Perez. Don Filemon Perez is the son of Don Simeon Perez, who was then an influential leader in Lucena. He finished his degrees in engineering in the United States. When he (Filemon Perez) returned to the Philippines, he initiated the construction of a sunken garden in the early 1920s, and was later donated by the Perez family to the City of Lucena.
Perez Park is considered one of the biggest and most beautiful parks in the Philippines next to Luneta and Rizal Park and second largest park in the country after Luneta Park (Abella, 2012)
Abella, Carm. 2012. Perez Park in Lucena City. http://www.lucenahin.com.ph/perez-park-in-lucena-city/