• THE TIONGCO BROTHERS TALK ABOUT THEIR STA. ROSA

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    Long before the Jonas Brothers, there were the Tiongco Brothers – siblings Jun, Emil, and Arthur – who achieved pop star status because of their harmonious blending of voices.  Belonging to the prominent Tiongco clan of Sta. Rosa, they brought Philippine music to the world with performances in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and the US.

    They were star performers at the opening of the Tokyo Hilton, the first Filipino entertainers to sing at the iconic Sydney Opera House, performed for ARAMCO guests in Saudi Arabia, and gave a command performance for the King of Jordan, and were part of the Baliksaya Troupe sent by the national government to tour the US and Canada.  They were named Ambassadors of Goodwill and were elevated to the country’s Tinig Hall of Fame.

    While they have traveled extensively, their roots remain in their hometown, and here they share their remarkable musical and cultural tradition with us.  This is their Sta. Rosa.  This is their SM.

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    “Music is very much part of the tradition of Sta. Rosa and our family. We would say that Sta. Rosa has the best brass band, as well as many rondallas and singers.

    We also come from a family of musicians and singers. Our great grandmother, Maria Carpena, was the Zarzuela Queen of her time and the first Filipino recording artist of RCA Victor in 1912. Our father, Fernando Zavalla Tiongco was a notable piano and saxophone player of his time, and until his retirement, was the musical director of the Ateneo Glee Club.  Our mother, Teodora Medina-Tiongco sang in Zarzuelas.  Everyone in the family can sing.

    We were able to develop our singing talents through constant practice and exposure.  There were many opportunities to perform brought about by the rapid growth of Sta. Rosa, and these helped us in improving our voices.

    The Tiongco brothers, Jun, Emil, and Arthur, have brought much pride to Sta. Rosa and the rest of the country with their musical performances both here and abroad.  They are shown at the piano of the ancestral home of Teofila Munciao at Governor Feliciano Gomez Street, which has both family heritage antiques and pre-colonial artifacts dug up from their land near the lakeshore in Barangay Caingin.

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    “If we would bring guests around Santa Rosa, we would bring them to the Santa Rosa de Lima Parish Church, which was built around 1796.  It is known for its hexagonal belfry with a globe and its intricately carved doors.”

    “We were all baptized in this church, and have been singing here at every Misa de Gallo during Christmas time for the past 54 years.”

    The Santa Rosa de Lima Parish Church, one of the oldest cultural attractions in the city, reflects Santa Rosa’s rich heritage.  This beautiful baroque stone church is named after Santa Rosa de Lima, the first saint of the Western hemisphere, and the second patron saint of colonial Philippines.

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    “One important stop for our guests would be the town plaza, which was our playground when we were young.  It is also the place where we started singing and playing the guitar.”

    The Santa Rosa town plaza served as a gathering place for the residents especially during fiesta time.  The monument of Dr. Jose Rizal shown in the photo was built by David Dia in 1959, and renovated during the term of Mayor Angel Tiongco with the pylons towering some 18.3 meters.   The town plaza, which was expanded during the term of Mayor Roberto Gonzales, later evolved into a city plaza, which was blessed on August 23, 2006, the feast day of Santa Rosa de Lima.  One of the historical landmarks in Sta. Rosa, the plaza symbolizes the many dynamic changes the city has undergone.

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    “Many of our ancestral houses in Santa Rosa, like Casa Zavalla, have been well preserved, and through them, visitors can get a glimpse of our city’s rich cultural past.”

    The Tiongco brothers at Casa Zavalla along F. Gomez Street.  Built as a rice barn in 1888, it was renovated in 1997, and now houses the antique collection of Architect Mario Zavalla.

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    “The giant leap our city has taken as an industrial location has made it more progressive, and the opening of SM City Santa Rosa has given our city a new destination, an added attraction. It has also immensely helped in the progress of our city by giving employment opportunities for many people and added revenue for the local government.”

     SM City Santa Rosa has brought SM’s shopping, leisure, and entertainment excitement just around the corner.

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    “SM has everything, and we frequent the SM Department Store. We have noticed how people in Santa Rosa have become more stylish since SM opened.”

     Emil, now a Board Member of the First District of Laguna, at the Men’s Department of the SM Department Store.

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    “We like going to Our Home as the furniture and home items are great in design and practicality.  We also like the fact that Santa Rosa residents are able to see good shows of their favorite performers, as well as join in community activities at the SM Events Center.”

     Jun, who’s also into business apart from singing, at the Our Home store at SM City Sta. Rosa.

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    “We shop at ACE Hardware for our electrical and hardware needs. SM City Santa Rosa’s Foodcourt and restaurants also offer us many choices for dining with the family.”

     Arthur, who is now a City Councilor, shops for his DIY needs at ACE Hardware.