Posted by Jhun Nonato on Tuesday, June 30, 2009
About 20 years later, I revisited the Cavite Naval Base with my three young kids to show them where I grew up and spent my childhood and teen years. Upon entering the base, we turned right to where our Quonset hut used to be. My heart sunk when I saw that the Quonset hut homes that used to line the sea wall off Bacoor Bay, especially our quarters, were no longer there, now replaced by concrete structures. What used to be the Officer’s Country was now a housing area for enlisted personnel and their families. I understand that the officer's quarters were now consolidated at the Canacao Bay side of the base.
I brought my kids to the sea wall and found out that the pontoon barges were now totally inaccessible, the surface portion already corroded and eaten away by rust. Fish pens line up the whole stretch of Bacoor Bay, just about 500 yards away from the shorelines. I thought it was probably difficult to find enough fish in the shallower waters near the sea wall anymore since most of them would be trapped by the fish pens.
I gave out a deep sigh as we went back and boarded the car to tour the other parts of the base. The mini golf course was a pathetic sight and looked like it was not being maintained and played on anymore, judging from the condition of the greens. The basketball courts were still there alright and the swimming pool structure was still intact, though we didn’t get close enough to check if it was still being used.
Again, I heaved another deep sigh as we motored out of the base. The Quonset huts, and probably the fish and other aquatic life there may be gone, the pontoon barges may now be completely corroded, inaccessible and impassable on the surface, the golf course may be unplayable already, but still they will remain forever in my memory, for they were parts of an unforgettable decade of my growing up years. I also hope to perpetuate those nostalgic memories with my "Memoirs of a Navy Brat" website, and provide family members with information they probably never knew about, especially my own children.