MANILA -- While Quezon City officials and residents are celebrating the 79th foundation day of the erstwhile capital city on Oct. 12, I am recalling how I and members of my immediate family have become instant migrants in Quezon City since 1948 without moving even a meter away from our former house in a barrio of Novaliches, Caloocan, then a town of Rizal province.

The readers would likely say it’s impossible since the dictionary defines the noun migrant this way, more or less: “A person who moves from one place to another…” Corollary to this, the verb migrate is defined as: “To move from one place to another or from one climate to another.” Since the operative word in both definitions indicates movement, it is natural for some people to argue that migration without transferring from a certain place to another is not possible. But, at least in my case and that of my family, it became possible. Let me narrate how it happened.

I was born on May 20, 1939 and baptized eight days later at the then 83-old-year Our Lady of Mercy Parish Church in Novaliches, the seat of the town of the same name created during the Spanish occupation in September 1855. (I wish to state briefly that Novaliches suffered the sad fate of being reduced to a barrio during the American regime in the Philippines. As if this misfortune was not enough, it was partitioned later between Quezon City and Caloocan, which became a city in February 1962).

It was while Novaliches was under the Caloocan jurisdiction that I was born before Quezon City was created by President Manuel L. Quezon under Commonwealth Act No. 502 he signed on Oct. 12, 1939. I was therefore four months and 22 days older than Quezon City.

Nine years later, or on July 17, 1948, the then two-year-old Congress of the Philippines passed Republic Act No. 333 which made Quezon City the new capital of the country in place of Manila. That law was signed by President Elpidio Quirino who then had his summer resthouse built atop a hill overlooking the scenic La Mesa dam in Novaliches.

This law relocated northward the boundary of Quezon City, slicing Novaliches in half. This meant that the southern half of Novaliches became part of Quezon City, while the northern half remained with Caloocan.

As a result, the house of my parents was among those enclosed by the relocated boundary of Quezon City and the lot where it was located became part of Quezon City. My parents, four brothers and one sister thus became instant migrants from Caloocan to the then newly declared Philippine capital city. I am making clear here that our family became Quezon City residents without moving away from our old house. It was entirely due to the relocation of the QC boundary. To this day, I just need to walk about 300 meters away from our house to be in the neighboring North Caloocan City.

It must also be noted that several of most of our relatives, as well as other families from the old Novaliches town, suddenly became residents of Quezon City without optioning for such status since 1948.

RA 333 doubled to 15,359 hectares the original area of Quezon City which only totaled 7,355 hectares as stated in Commonwealth Act No. 502. The relocation of the boundary also caused the division of several Novaliches barrios (now called barangays) such as Caybiga, Talipapa, and Baesa. At present, more than half of the voters of these barangays are voting in Quezon City; the rest in Caloocan.

With the implementation of RA 333, Novaliches has become known as the only area in Metro Manila at present with the most unrealistic, obsolete and confusing laying of boundaries. It is not surprising to find in Novaliches today a subdivision or a factory partly belonging to either city.

In fact, there was also a time when some houses in Novaliches lay right on the boundary of the two cities. Such situations were corrected only after the house owners constructed new structures and decided to locate these on the city of their choice. Many lot owners in Novaliches still pay part of their real estate taxes to Quezon City and the rest to Caloocan.

In the divided Barangay Baesa, there used to be a unique old house owned by relatives of the famous World War II veteran pilot Col. Jesus B. Villamor after whom Villamor Air Base in Pasay City was named. According to my late lawyer friend, Alfredo B. Villamor, what made the house unique was that while its sala was located in Quezon City, its kitchen and dining room were situated in neighboring Caloocan.

In Sitio Damong Maliit, Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, Novaliches, there is a subdivision named Jordan Heights which partly belongs to QC and the rest to Caloocan. The former old signboard of the subdivision, located at its boundary along the Damong Maliit-Llano Road, indicated its address as “Novaliches, Q.C.” and “Novaliches, Caloocan City.”

Also owing to the unrealistic laying of the northern boundary of Quezon City in Novaliches, people going to Novaliches for the first time from any part of Metro Manila or the provinces are likely “to get lost” along the way.

This is because a vehicle-riding visitor, traversing for instance the old Novaliches-Polo Road (renamed Gen. Luis St.) branching out of the North Luzon Expressway or MacArthur Highway in Valenzuela City, will eventually find himself in the Caloocan portion of Novaliches in Barangays Bagbaguin and Caybiga.

After a few more minutes and barring any traffic snarl on the same route, the traveler will find himself on the Quezon City section of Novaliches in Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon. If he continues his travel beyond the Novaliches town proper through Quirino Highway going to San Jose del Monte City and Norzagaray in Bulacan, he is sure to find himself on the Caloocan territory in Novaliches once more after traversing about five kilometers. (PNA)