QUINCHO GONZALEZ

Quinchio

Joaquin Julian Salgado Gonzalez, or “Quincho” was the eldest son of Joaquin Jorge Gonzalez and Julia Salgado. He was born on September 13, 1922 in San Fernando, Pampanga.

He married Beatriz Bisquerra Mejia, the first child of Fabian Mejia  and Rita Bisquerra of Abra.  Fabian graduated from the Philippine Military Academy and his first assignment was at Natunin, Mounain Province. New graduates of the PMA are usually given hardship posts.  Natunin was located in a very remote place, only reachable by horse.   Betty was born in Natunin.

Then Fabian Mejia was assigned to San Fernando, Pampanga. She went to school at the Pampanga High School. Quincho was living there, just at the back of the School.  That’s where he met Betty.  She didn’t like Quincho at first glance.

“E que buri kanita,” she said.

Then Betty went to become a college intern at the Philippine Women’s University.  Quicnho went to La Salle. He would park his car in front of PWU and wait for her.

When World War II broke out, Fabian Mejia brought his family to Mindanao and became a leader of those fighting the Japanese.  He ended up as the aide of the President Manuel L Quezon.  When Quezon took a submarine to Australia, he was one of those who saw him off.  Quezon promised that, when he returned, he would make Fabian Mejia an important member of his staff. But Quezon died in Australia.

At the time when it seemed that War was coming, Quincho fetched Betty from PWU and brought her home to the family house in Sta. Ana, Manila.  So she stayed with him and gave him seven  children.  During Liberation (1944), Jojo, the eldest son, was born.  Quincho took an apartment at Gastambide, Sampaloc. The children were then born one after another.  Since Quincho was close to the universities, he  decided to study  Commerce and later Law at the Far Eastern University.   By the time he graduated from his Law degree, he had already four children. All of the children went up the stage.  It was now 1949, the year  Jimmy was born.    Quincho almost topped the bar, but he never practiced law. At that time, he was already working at the Tours and World Service, a travel agency.

When Joven was born in 1950, Quincho’s luck exploded.  The family  called Joven their “lucky boy”.  Quincho was able to buy a house in Josefina, Sampaloc, where they lived until Jeffrey, the second to the youngest child,  was born.

The turning point in Quincho’s life was when he joined Eusebio Canilao who owned the Tourist World Service.  They became very close, so much so that  Seung (Eusebio) became the godfather of Joven in his baptism. Quincho also joined the CF Sharp Travel and Shipping owned by the Rocha family. Then he took his brothers Alfonso and the others and put up his own company, the International Travel Consultants (ITC).

In 1951-52, Quincho took a break. He went abroad for three months.  He lived in Spain. He wanted to see how the world was, outside the Philippines. He also wanted to know more about the countries where he was sending people to work.

Quincho  was very motivated. He personally serviced VIPs like the Alontos, Diosdado Macapagal, Ninoy Aquino. Alonto would take a whole block of an airplane when he went to Jeddah for his pilgrimage and other business.

Quincho became very successful in the travel agency business.  He got his brother Susing, who was then driving for a company, to work in the travel business. He got his sisters, Zeny and Dorita, then  his other brothers, Ponzo and Dado.  Susing and Zeny opened the Continental Tours—Susing, the Continental Tours in Makati, and Zeny the Continental Tours (Dewey Arms branch)  in Bayview Hotel which  later transferred to the Elke’s club.  Netting and Dado ran Air France, with Dado as the sales representative. Even Quincho’s  sons joined in the business.  Jojo became the KLM and the TWA manager.  Jesse from the States, took Cathay Pacific.  Butch was in Alitalia.  All of them arranged tours and brought the first Overseas Workers to Europe. It was a fun time for all of them, with the money coming in and with travelling first class and staying at the best hotels in Europe.

In 1968, Quincho was at the peak of his career.  He bought a house in Jupiter, Makati.  Then  the house in Forbes Park, Makati came along, and he bought  it.

He let his sons drive expensive cars.  Jojo remembers driving up to Baguio with his two younger brothers when he was just sixteen years old.  Of course, at that time, the driving was easy, and the sons were good drivers

Martial Law  was declared in September 21, 1972, and put an end to all of that. People could no longer travel at will. They either had a migrant visa or a study visa, for them to go abroad.   Quincho suffered a heart attack  in 1972 because the travel agents couldn’t collect money for tickets issued to their customers,  and  Quincho had to pay off the tickets which he had issued to the agents.  Their life changed overnight.

Since there was no more travel, Susing went to oversee the farm in Pandacaqui. Later, Dorita took over as Overseer.   Quincho, Betty and their children went to the States in  1976 to live there. Zeny and Alfonso  also followed suit.

At the beginning, Betty was just being seen by a doctor in the States.  She started getting episodes where she had to be hospitalized. Then in 1981, she was operated upon in Pasadena, California.  She stayed long in the hospital. In 1987, Betty passed away.

Betty  resisted in giving up their Forbes Park house.

“I want to have a house where my children can return to, when they  go  to Manila, “ she protested.

“Betty, you are the Queen of that Forbes House,”  Quincho said. “Without you, that house has no soul, it isn’t alive. And it looks like you will not go back to that house. Let it go.”

Quincho had been trying to sell the house, but couldn’t because Betty was emotionally tied to it. But with these words, she relented. As soon as she gave her consent, the house was sold within a few days’ time.

Quincho stayed on in the States for a while after Betty’s death.  He returned to Manila off and on, but  in 1992, he decided to return permanently to the Philippines.  After a year, on August 10, 1993, he died. He was  89.  Life without his “Queen”  was not the same, so it was just as well that he join her.

Three of his children—Butch, Jojo, and Queenie have returned to live in Manila, whereas the others have found their lives in the United States of America.