Doing His Utmost Best
The three-term mayor’s
crowning glory is the Hall of
Fame award for the Seal of
Good Local Governance (SGLG).
BY MARIDOL RANOA BISMARK
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMEO PERALTA, JR.
MARCH - APRIL 2022
If he had a school yearbook, the caption under Guiguinto, Bulacan Mayor Ambrosio “Boy” Cruz’s teenaged face would have read: “The boy least likely to succeed.” After all, the odds were against Cruz when he was a skinny teenager growing up in working-class Divisoria.
His classmates played basketball, lived in dorms in Manila, and got regular school allowances from their parents. Meanwhile, Cruz was working in his aunt’s candy factory.
That’s because his father, a warehouse man for a popular softdrinks company, lost his job after the future mayor graduated from high school. The family was forced to leave the housing unit the company provided. Cruz, the first of 10 children, joined the four other eldest children in Divisoria. The five youngest stayed in their hometown.
Surprisingly, separation from family and the trying times that went with it failed to make Cruz wallow in self-pity the way others in his shoes would. This, he says, is the first miracle in his life.
“I never questioned my fate. I had to accept it. I considered it the natural course of things.”
For this young man, the natural course of things meant staying with a cousin to review for the certified public accountant (CPA) licensure exam. It meant being content with a grade of 75 or thereabouts
because he had no time to study. He had to survive. All he wanted then was to get passing grades.
He worked as kargador (shipper). Instead of hanging around with men his age, Cruz mingled with Chinese merchants who called the small, lanky boy “Chiquito.” Divisoria being the melting pot of lawless
elements at the time, Cruz rubbed elbows ......