Thursday, August 20, 2009

memories of a funny sounding store name

i grew up in pharmacies. when we were still living in southern leyte, my mom had a small drugstore called ABC Pharmacy. abc presumably stood for annabella barot cruz, her name. or, it could have stood for anna concepcion, blanca anne, and carmel mathilda, her first three children. i console myself by thinking that the store name was registered before i was born, otherwise, i will demand that it be retroactively renamed ABCM. never mind that the store is long gone. and girlie will want ABCMG, and ramon jr will want ABCMGR, and ryan will want ABCMGRR.

when we migrated to zamboanga, when i was around six, mommy put up another store again. the name of the store is the stuff of family legend. my mom's sister's husband put up the money to build the structure. so of course the privelege of naming the store belonged to him by right. but then he went and named it, brace yourselves, botica sitio bangcas, after the purok in hinunangan where he was born and grew up.

IF the store were in hinunagngan, no sweat. people have gotten immune to the sitio bangcas name in the same way that zamboanguenos do not bat an eyelash at such names as bolong, dulian, taguiti, tumitus, lumayang, kalabasa, guisao....i am sure you get the point.

(by the way, to create the list above, i referred to this website. it is my first time to have heard of baranggay tumitus. cute. i hope they have tomato farms there to justify the name. and that they have a botica tumitus).

but the problem was, the store was in zamboanga. on a major road. when you exit the airport and you turn right, you'd see it, right between st. joseph school and zamboanga village restaurant.

all my life as a teenager in zamboanga, i have to constantly deal with classmates and friends asking "ano pa nga pangalan ng tindahan nyo yen?" or some similarly aggravating question. my teenaged self-conscious soul could almost not bear it.

but you know what the point of this blog entry is? it's just that i want to say how happy i am that the cheap quality meds act has finally, FINALLY, been approved. this was a long time coming.

mommy's store virtually funded the college education of seven, SEVENNN, kids. to ateneo expensive de zamboanga. it sent us, but barely. contrary to what many people think, drug stores don't really make a killing from selling medicines alone, unless you are part of a giant chain, like joan's, cecile's, oro, or united. drugstores made patong only 5%. the big chains can afford even 3% because of the sheer volume of their sales, much to the disadvantage of smaller stores, like my mom's. competition was fierce. my mom innovated by selling non-drug products like grocery items, toiletries, school supplies, snacks, and even small hardware stuff. heck, we even sold cigarettes tingi-tingi. at that time, in the early 80s, no other drugstore had an operation like that. there were times when we'd get comments from customers such as a sarcastic "grabe naman itong botika, pati bumbilya at pako, meron".

now, my visionary mom would turn her noses at the big drugstores, all, ALL, of them selling non-drug items. she's probably thinking, i thought of it first. some shouldn't even be called drugstores anymore. they are a grocery store, with a pharmacy department.

everyone in the family took turns watching the store. unlike in other places, people here buy medicines tingi-tingi. an old woman who has a once-a-day maintenance med for hypertension bought that same medicine once-a-day. tomorrow's medicine will be bought after she finds the money for it, tomorrow also. antibiotics for a seven day regimen aren't bought all at once. at around the time she closed the store, in mid 2000s, when she was growing cranky and curt, my mom would go on and on and on about how irresponsible people were with their antibiotic drinking. i think there was even a time she refused to sell antibiotic to someone who wanted to buy only one, afraid that the med-taker won't complete his regimen.

now botica sitio bangcas is closed too. it's now a restaurant called chinito's. i am sure apple go has a good reason for naming her chain of restaurants that.


  1. hahaha my parents named ours MARK ANTHONY (my bro's john anthony). it's supposed to be a rice/animal feeds store, but we're selling stuff in sachets or any na pwede tingi tingi :D if your mom's family is from leyte, i wonder if they know about the carzadas. my mom's maternal family comes from leyte and we have never known any carzada in zamboanga except for us.

  2. how about oscar carzada, the former adzu high school principal?

  3. Oca is no longer ADZUs HS principal?

  4. buddha b, it's ma'am rosie hong now, with janet fernandez as assistant principal. sir oca is with ateneo still, as consultant, i think, of a special program on leadership in education or something like that.

  5. Rosie Hong? haha now I feel old..oh wow..cant wait for's been 10 years since


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