Joie de Vivre: Eugene Benipayo Sañosa

Eugene Sañosa wrote his life story for his children and grandsons in January 2009 seven years after his retirement. Like his father before him, he similarly ventured out to discover the world and through his own efforts and resourcefulness built a wonderful career. Here it is.

My siblings and I
My name is Eugene (Eugenio) Benipayo Sañosa. I am 75 years old going 76 in January 2009. I am the seventh child of Crispin Villez Sañosa of Polangui, Albay and Florentina Saunar Benipayo of Ponso, Albay. I was born on January 8, 1933 in Sorsogon, Sorsogon, where my father was assigned as municipal auditor at that time. The following are my siblings:

Crispin and Florentina's children, October 1973

Front (L-R): Freddy (38 yrs), Manay (51 yrs), Purita (45 yrs), Caring (36 yrs)
Back (L-R): Manoy (54 yrs), Vicente (49 yrs), Eugene (40 yrs)
*Missing is Junior (Crispin Jr.) who was in Albay

My eldest brother Jose (Manoy, deceased ) was born in Albay. He was a lawyer and certified public accountant by profession. He was married to Isabel Logronio. They did not have any children, but they were able to adopt a child named Diana. Diana is now married with one child. She and her husband live with her mother, Sabel in Metro Manila.

Next in line is my eldest sister, Salvacion, (Manay) who was married to Alfredo Ceballos (deceased). Manay was also born in Albay. She is 86 years old now and living with one of her children, Beng Beng in Metro Manila. The other children of Manay are living in the Philippines, Australia. U.S. and Canada.

Third in line is Vicente who has a son named Efren from his first wife Purita Zafra. By his second wife, Consuelo Decena, he has a daughter named Vivian. Vivian, a certified public accountant by profession, is married to Willie Saguil. They later emigrated to Toronto, Canada and brought over their three children and also Vicente and Consuelo. Vivian and Willie's eldest son, Paul, is a lawyer in Toronto.

Junior 54 yrs, 10/5/85,Manila

After Vicente came Rosario. She died at a very young age. That was what my father told me.

Following Rosario was another sister, Purificacion (deceased), who was married to Maximo Paterno (deceased). Their eldest daughter Maria Belen (Maribel) is a registered nurse and married to an American (Mark Mogill), whom she met while touring Europe. They are now living in Berkeley, California and have one daughter, Rebecca.

After Purita, was another brother, Crispin, Jr (deceased). Junior died in Bicol just after he retired. Sadly, he was hit by a tricycle on his way home after attending a party with some of his friends.  He is survived by his wife, Lydia (Fernandez) and son Bobby, who is married with two children. Bobby lives in Daraga, Albay. He is an engineer in Legazpi City. Junior was also born in Sorsogon, Sorsogon like me.

I follow after Crispin Jr. I'm married to Josefina Lee. We have two children. Elizabeth is a graduate in Electrical Engineering and an aerospace engineer by profession. She is divorced and has two boys, David Joshua, and Miguel Angel, who were both born in Cadiz, Spain. David is currently a college student at a University of California while Miguel is in high school. Both boys assumed the Sañosa last name when Elizabeth divorced and brought them back home from Spain where they were living for close to five years. Joseph graduated in Political Science and pursued graduate studies at a school in Central California that specializes in international studies and foreign languages. He is currently working in higher education. Although semi-retired, I still work as an engineering consultant. Josie and I are living in Southern California.

Eugene's Balikbayan Family Reunion at Lolo Crispin's House, Manila 1980s

Seated (L-R): Isabel Logronio Sañosa; Anne Paterno (Manos); Josefina Lee Sañosa; Nga Le Cheng We (Josie's friend); Flordelis Sañosa (Lola Flor, Crispin's 2nd wife); Eulogia Sañosa Miranda (Lola Loleng, Crispin's youngest sister); Crispin Sañosa; Eugene Sañosa

Standing (L-R):  Maximo Paterno; Miguel Paterno; Maribel Paterno (Mogill);
Nelda Miranda Ferrer (Eulogia's only child); Marilou Paterno (Vargas);
Jean Untalan Sañosa; Joseph Lee Sañosa; Alfredo Sañosa;  Jose Sañosa;
Purita Sañosa Paterno

My younger brother Alfredo came after me. He is married to Jean (Virginia Untalan) and living in Antipolo City, Rizal. Both of them are retired and their two children are both professionals and working in banks. Freddie was born in Cavite.

The last of my siblings is Zacarias. He recently died of a stroke in Manila. Carrey was born in Cavite like Freddie. He is survived by his wife Hermie and son, Christopher.

The 1940s - World War II
When I was about six years old, my mother died of tuberculosis in Manila on March 23, 1939. Later on, my father remarried, this time to his Spanish tutor, Flordelis Santiago (deceased). She was a professor of Spanish and taught at the University of Santo Tomas and the Instituto de Mujeres. They did not have any children.

My father supported all eight of us especially during the Japanese occupation of Manila from 1940 through 1944. My father worked at the Philippine National Bank (PNB) as an auditor.

Japanese Occupation
In 1941, Manila was declared an “Open City”, meaning the Japanese could take the city but not harm its citizens. The Japanese Imperial Army occupied Manila, and I at a tender age of eight years old witnessed a lot of Japanese atrocities towards the Filipino people. Children caught stealing were tied to a tree under the hot sun. They baked the entire day and were not given any water. There were also the Makapili (Japanese collaborators and spies) who finger-pointed and identified for the Japanese those who were connected to the guerilla movement.

 I recall the time when my friends, brothers and I suddenly heard a loud siren while playing in the streets. Everybody ran for cover to the safety of their respective homes. Above us, we could see the American planes coming and flying in "V" formation. All of a sudden, we heard anti-aircraft artilleries going off without letup. The skies blackened by the explosions of the artilleries. 

Another unforgettable incident was when I first witnessed dog fights between U.S. and Japanese fighter planes. My brothers and I peered through the windows to see the action in the skies. The raid lasted for about twenty minutes; and when the “all clear” sounded, I found out that a stray bullet had killed one of my friends. I was badly shaken and saddened by it.

Source: Universal News Reels

The War brought hard times for my family. My brother Junior (Crispin Jr.) and I would go to the Philippine National Bank office every month to pick up the half sack of rice ration allotted to my father as a bank employee. We would divide the half sack of rice into two sacks of quarter loads and carry these on our backs. We would ride the tramvia (the streetcar powered by electricity during that time in the 1940s), with one hand hanging on to the streetcar's door handle while the other glued to our precious sacks of rice. The tramvia was always crowded and packed with passengers.

The Japanese also introduced some changes in the schools. As a student at Padre Gomez Elementary School, we were taught katakana (one of the Japanese writing systems), performed calisthenics facing East and learned to sing Japanese marching songs before class started.

Padre Gomez Elementary School Students, c. 1943
(Gene, 10 yrs, 1st student standing left corner on top most 5th row)

During occupation, my family lived at the corner of Oroqueta and Tayuman streets in Manila. When my son, grandson and I went back to Manila for a visit in 2008, I had asked my brother Carias to show me our old home, which was originally a school. During the war, my parents had rented the building's ground floor. It was close to the Manila Jockey Club where I used to watch horse races every Sunday. After occupying Manila, the Japanese converted the Club into their headquarters. From the streets, you could easily see its interior where people caught stealing were tied to a tree for days.

The Japanese officer
Living directly above us on the second floor were Japanese officers. One of them was a Japanese lieutenant named Mori. Mori-san befriended me and would often bring me a bowl of rice with some meat or fish every evening. He spoke English and often told me stories about himself. He talked about the losing war effort and mentioned that they were forced to fight by their emperor.

Liberation of Manila
In 1944, the American tanks rolled in to retake Manila. We were living in Kalimbas street at that time, which was close to the University of Santo Tomas, where the American civilians were being held prisoners. The Americans headed there first to liberate their fellow citizens. The tanks rumbled through the streets and took over Santo Tomas without a fight. The Japanese were taken by surprise. There was even an incident that when the Americans went through one of the gates, the Japanese sentry stationed there didn't even realize that he was saluting an American officer. 

Source: United Movietone Pictures

My brothers and I were on the roof hiding and lying down on our stomachs looking down on the streets below when the Americans tanks came rolling down our street. At first, people mistook them for Germans because of their helmets, which looked different prior to the war. When the local citizens finally realized that they were indeed Americans, they went berserk and came out in force to greet the liberators, flashing the victory sign and shouting with joy. The American soldiers responded by giving away treats, throwing candies, chewing gums and cigarettes to the jubilant crowd. My brothers and I remained on the rooftop watching and enjoying what was happening in the streets below.

HS Grad,1951 (18yrs)

I completed four years of high school at Arellano Public High School (formerly West High School), which was one of the four historic high schools of Manila. After graduation, I worked as a Disbursing Clerk in the Malaria Control Division of the Philippine Department of Health. My father recommended me to work there as I had to become self-supporting because my father could not support my college education since he was already supporting a brother and sister in college.

I enrolled myself as a working student at the Mapua Institute of Technology, a school known for its high standards in engineering, to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Going to school at night after a day’s work proved difficult for me.  Most of the time, due to lack of money to pay for my tuition, I had to drop some of my subjects. At times, I had to ask for financial assistance from Manoy (my eldest brother), because my salary was not enough to cover my school expenses.

It wasn't unusual to head home at 10:00o’clock at night walking the five mile distance from school to home. I'd often daydream and ask myself, "What would I do if I had a chance to go to the US? Would I be successful?". By the time, I reached home, everyone was already in bed and I had no choice but to eat a cold dinner as there were no microwave ovens back then.

MAPUA Grad,1959(26 yrs)

In my last year of college, I had thought of quitting school. I felt so discouraged and depressed due to lack of money for my schooling. I weighed the pros and cons of not finishing college. Fortunately, reason prevailed and I decided on finishing school and obtaining a degree. I quit my job and sought my father's help for financial assistance. He agreed to support me full-time and I was able to continue my studies and finish my final year.

I remember having loaded units and taking classes on Sundays. All the hard work and lack of sleep eventually paid off, when I finally graduated in 1959 and passed the government board examination for Mechanical Engineering the following year.

Passing the board exam was one of the happiest moments of my life. I felt like walking on clouds and everybody was greeting and calling me “engineer” because my family, friends and co-workers had learned about it through the newspapers which posted the exam results.

Marriage to Josefina Lee
While all this was happening, nobody in my family knew that I was already secretly married to Josie. Josie and I had eloped and got married in a Catholic church in Cabuyao, Bulacan on August 8, 1959.

I temporarily rented a room for her at my friend's house. One night after returning from work, I asked my father to stay awhile as I wanted to talk to him privately. My father like any father asked what was bothering me. I confessed that I already have a wife, and that she’s staying with some friends of mine for the time being. My father asked me where she was staying and I told him.

The following day after work, when I went to see my wife, I discovered that she was gone. I asked my friends her whereabouts and they claimed they didn't know. I was so nervous and afraid that something might have happened to her. But when I got home, I was surprised to find her in our house. My father brought her home.

Josie, Elizabeth & Gene

Dagupan City 1960 - 1965

When I passed the board exam, I was given a promotion right away and was assigned to the Department of Health's Regional Office No. I in Dagupan City. This region consisted of the provinces of La Union, Zambales, Pangasinan, Abra, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Mountain Province. 

As a professional engineer, I was made in-charge of procuring all mechanical hospital equipment, supplies and all motor vehicles spare parts in addition to overseeing vehicle maintenance and repairs. In the beginning, all I did was sign papers. It was a very cushy job. But later on, after a couple of months, some of my co-workers started to make money off transactions which had my signatures and approvals. Unfortunately, I became involved because I was the one who authorized all the transactions. An incident happened which made me realize that it was time to look for other opportunities.

A doctor from the Mountain Province came to Dagupan to retrieve his jeep which was under repair. He had already paid for the services in advance. When I checked and followed up with the mechanic, I discovered that the jeep was still on the rack. The tires were removed and the canvas top, which needed replacing, was still untouched. I felt embarrassed and angry that I ordered the mechanic to expedite the repairs and threatened to take my business elsewhere if he couldn't do so. Fortunately, after two days, the repairs were completed and the doctor happily reclaimed his vehicle.

After this incident, I thought that I should no longer be involved with these kinds of shenanigans because it would bring shame to my father and our family. My father was a respected government auditor and well-known not only for his fairness but also honesty. He could have enriched himself if he wanted to by using his position, but he never did. I was determined not to let this happen again.

In search for a way out, a friend and I went to Manila in March 1965 to apply for a position in South Vietnam. My compadre our Administrative Officer, tried to convince me to stay telling me that I'd earn the same amount of money in Dagupan. I told him that this was not about money, but rather about my desire to practice my engineering profession as I wanted to put it to use.

South Vietnam 1965- 1973
In March 1965, I headed for South Vietnam and temporarily had to leave my family in Manila. As a recruit of the Pacific Architects & Engineers, Inc., I landed at Tan Son Nhut airport in Saigon, South Vietnam with other Filipino engineers. 

Departure for Saigon (with Lolo Crispin & Tia Purita)

I found a place to stay in Chilang, a Saigon suburb where I made some new friends (Nestor Leyco, Celso Recinto, and Leo Holgado). The four of us were temporarily assigned at the Tan Son Nhut Airport facility. After a couple of weeks of orientation, I was re-assigned to Vung Tau, a beach resort, which the locals referred to as the South Vietnamese Riviera. Vung Tau is known for its white sand beaches and was a favorite spot for American soldiers to take their R&R (rest and recreation). In Vung Tau, I met Rudy Buluran (Buko Kilo), who was in charge of security, and Jess Manlulu, an architect. We became good friends.

In South Vietnam, our work mostly consisted of engineering design, construction and repair work of all US Army facilities. We constructed all kinds of infrastructures from building roads, bridges, barracks, mess halls to providing water supplies, and electrical facilities for the US Army fighting there. My assignment from the Army Corps of Engineers was to survey the locations, plan and stage all the materials needed for construction, and then evaluate the crew and come up with a completion date for the project.  The construction crews mostly comprised of Vietnamese locals. Josie and the kids visited me at Camp Cu Chi, an army camp occupied by the 25th Army Division. They were also able to explore Saigon.

Music: L'anamour (by Ivy) & Comment te dire Adieu (by Françoise Hardy)

Vietcong Attack
There were a couple of harrowing experiences while I was working there during the Vietnam War. One unforgetable incident that stands out vividly was the time when we were attacked by Viet Cong sappers at Camp Cuchi. One night at around 10 pm while my fellow Pinoys and I were drinking beer in our hutches (our barracks), singing and having a good time, we suddenly heard sporadic shooting coming from the camp perimeter.

We could see the tracer bullets illuminating the night as if it was New Year’s eve. We heard the rat-tat-tat of machine gun fires and sporadic explosions all around us. Within seconds, the US forces came and occupied our positions and told us to get out as fast as we can. We bolted towards the Administration Bldg, which was about 100 yards away and dove under the heavy equipment parked within the compound each time the flares went off. I remember running so fast out of fear that my feet seemed as if they were not touching the ground. We didn’t want to be mistaken as VCs by the choppers overhead by trigger- happy marines.

The skirmish lasted through the whole night and when morning came, we could still see some human flesh clinging on barb wires and smell the stench of death around the camp perimeter. That was very scary. We stayed inside the administration building waiting for the order to deploy towards the air field, where a C-130 cargo plane was warming up to take us to Saigon in case the fighting got worse. Fortunately, when the smoke cleared, the Americans were able to stop the incursion and there was no more need for us to be flown to Saigon.

On Catholic retreat as a Cursillista (member of the Cursillos de Cristianidad)
Eugene (seated center, 34 yrs) while on vacation in the Philippines, Batangas, 1967

The Tet Offensive of 1968
I vividly remember another incident which occurred during the Tet offensive in 1968. The Tet offensive was the time when the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese attacked the city of Saigon. During this time, my house mates and I (Nestor Leyco, July (the dentist), Pepe Ona, and Pol Polintan (the entomologist)) were holed up inside our apartment with only bacon and rice for food. Nobody was allowed go out on the streets for a week. All the stores and markets were closed. Only South Vietnamese soldiers were out patrolling the streets. There were check points with barb wires in every street corner. We took turns guarding at night and carried a .45 caliber pistol and a rifle for protection just in case the VCs barged in on us. In 1973, when I left Saigon, I dumped the guns in the concrete water tank on the rooftop of the building.

There were also three Filipinas who took shelter in our apartment building because of the intense fighting in the streets. We temporarily gave them one of our rooms and shared whatever provisions we had. When the fighting stopped and people were finally allowed to go out to the streets, these three ladies thanked us and returned to their homes.

I also recall some happy moments like the times when the GIs were not allowed to leave their base camps. During those times, we, the international civilian staff (mostly Filipinos and Koreans), literally owned the city's bars. A good thing about being a Pinoy was that the VCs never bothered us. The VCs often times, surrendered themselves to the PHILCAG, the Philippine army contingent in Vietnam who were sent there by the Philippine government to help the people of South Vietnam. They built roads, hospitals and provided humanitarian assistance.

Source: publicresearch.org

America Bound
Another good thing that happened to me in South Vietnam was the time I applied to immigrate to the US. I didn't originally plan it. It just happened that some friends asked me for $10.00 to pay for the application forms. Reluctantly, I gave them the money and they headed off to the US embassy to get them. I ended up filling and mailing one up. Within a month and to my surprise, our applications got approved. The process was quick. I worked for another three years. Then, one day, the US embassy called and directed me to take my physical which was a prerequisite for issuing the US visa.

When I left Vietnam, I already had a U.S. visa. I left Saigon in April 1973 and returned to Manila to be with my family. After a month's stay, I flew to the USA. Two years later, in 1975, South Vietnam fell to the North Vietnamese. I was already in the U.S. by then. All my friends who applied to immigrate to the US also made it there.

California, USA 1973
1973 was the year I immigrated to the US. I did not bring my family at first because my visa was issued for me alone. I applied for my family’s visas later in California. They followed and joined me two years later in 1975.

Music:So Far Away (by Carol King)

When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I called a friend and former colleague in Vietnam, who picked me up at LAX. He let me stay at his apartment with his family for a week. While I was living with them, my friend lent me his car so that I could get a driver's license and go to job interviews.

One Sunday right after mass, I met a Filipino who asked me if I needed a job. I told him that I only had $100 left in my name and that I needed one badly. He instructed me to meet him the following day at the National Recreation Company in Long Beach where he worked. He encouraged me to fill out an application with a caveat that I not mention about being a college graduate. I did as he instructed and stated on the application that I only completed first year high school.

I was hired as a machine press operator with the task of boring holes on motorcycle handle bars. Although the work was not hard, it was dirty as I had to deal with metal burs and dirt getting stuck on my clothes and body. I got paid $2.76/hr. While working there, I sent out my resumes to different companies. The majority of my co-workers were originally from Mexico and could not speak a word of English at all. Some of them couldn't even write and would sign their paychecks with only an "X" mark.

The Bechtel Years
In April 1974, while at work, I received a phone call for a job interview from Bechtel Corporation, a global engineering and construction firm. Fortunately, the construction industry at that time was in dire need of all kinds of engineers and Bechtel was building four nuclear power plants at that time. After three interviews, I was offered a job.

A funny incident happened after my meeting with Human Resources. As I was waiting for the elevator, the HR Administrator at Bechtel caught up with me and asked me to return to his office. I was surprised and wondered if the salary I had asked for was too high. He sat me down, took out a piece of paper, and started to make some calculations. He inquired, “Gene, is this really what you wanted for your salary?”. I said, “ Is that too high for you? “No", he said. “Look, you will buy a car, right? I said,"Yes". “You will rent a place to live, right? I said,"Yes" again. After enumerating to me all the expenses that I'd be incurring, I discovered that the salary that I had originally asked for was actually insufficient to cover my living expenses. So, he increased and adjusted the amount. I was so happy going back home that day. I worked as a Cost Engineer and then as Project Controls Engineer from 1974 until I retired in 2002.

Battling the snow, Ohio, 1988

I've had a wonderful and rewarding career with Bechtel. Some of the U.S. projects that I was assigned to are as follows starting from the latest:

AWS 3G Project, San Francisco Market, CA – Telecommunications, 2002
AWS 3G Project, New York/New Jersey Market – Telecommunications, 2001
AWS 2G Project, Orlando Market, FL – Telecommunications, 2001
MFN Fiber Optics Project, Atlanta, GA – Fiber Optic Installation, 1999 - 2001
D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant Re-start, Bridgman, MI –Nuclear Plant Re-start, 1999
Environmental Restoration, Hanford, WA – Nuclear Waste Disposal, 1997
ARCO Clean Fuels Project, Norwalk, CA – Refinery 1992 - 1994.
Euro Disney Project, Glendale, CA – Theme Park, 1991 - 1992
SONGS Unit 1 Thermal Shield Repair, San Clemente, CA – Nuclear Power Plants, 1991
TVA Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, Athens, AL – Nuclear Power Plants, 1990
TVA Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant, Oak Ridge, TN – Nuclear Power Plants, 1989
Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant, Oak Harbor, OH – Nuclear Power Plants, 1988
Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plants, Winsterburg, AZ – Nuclear Power Plants, 1987
San Onofre Nuclear Plants Units 2 & 3, San Clemente, CA – Nuclear Power Plants, 1985
Norwalk Main Office – 1974 to 1980

As for the International assignments, here are some worth mentioning:

Comision Federal de Electricidad, Mexico /city, Mexico – Electrical Power Plants, 1981
Maraven Refinery Expansion Project, Cardon, Venezuela – Oil Refinery Upgrade, 1985
Dubai International Airport, Dubai, UAE – Airfield Expansion, 1996
Telephone Expansion Project, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Fiber Optics Installation, 1997 - 1998

In Mexico, I was stationed in Mexico City where I worked under the Comision Federal de Electricidad (Federal Electric Commission) as an advisor to the Mexican cost engineers. I taught them the Bechtel procedures on cost control. Josie and the children stayed with me for awhile. We enjoyed the casual walks on the Paseo de la Reforma. We'd visit the Zocalo, a big plaza where they held parades and rallies, Chapultepec castle and Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. I also visited the Mayan ruins of Chi Chinitza in Merida and the beaches of Manzanillo during my field trips visiting power plants. I enjoyed eating carne asada tacos prepared fresh in front of you.

Eugene & Josie, Mexico City, 1981
At the Paseo de La Reforma with Chapultepec Castle in the background.

In Venezuela, I worked as Project Control Engineer for the Maraven Refinery Expansion Project. As in Mexico, I was the advisor to the Venezuelan cost engineers and taught them how to implement project controls. I visited some interesting cities such as Maracaibo which had a lake filled with oil rigs. On Sundays, the beaches were always full of people with loud latin music playing in the background. It was nice to relax, drink beer and eat fried chicken on the beach. During my monthly trips home, I had the opportunity to stop by Cozumel and also Aruba, which is a Dutch territory. A lot of tourists visit these places.

In Dubai, I worked as estimator on an airport expansion project. Dubai is a modern and rapidly developing Middle East country. When I was there, skyscrapers were sprouting everywhere. During the entire project, I got to stay in one of the best hotels in the city, which made my stay there even more enjoyable.

Saudi Arabia - Life of an expat
In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Bechtel employees were housed in the American and foreign compounds. I stayed in the Al Hamra Compound, which was a city in itself. It boasted first-class accommodations with several outdoor swimming pools, bowling alleys, tennis courts, restaurants and other modern amenities. In living within our compound, you wouldn't think that you"re in Saudi Arabia at all. Josie joined me for awhile and enjoyed her stay as she loves foreign travel. 

I learned much about Saudi culture and Islam during my time in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis pray five times a day and when it was time to pray, the city became suddenly very quiet. One could only hear the prayers being recited and broadcasted through the loudspeakers.   The religious police could also be seen everywhere randomly checking people. If a woman happened to show her ankle, the police would just hit that foot with a stick. Single men and women could not sit together in restaurants. The women were always separated from the men except in a car or taxi. If the religious police were to discover that both passengers are of the opposite sex, unrelated and single, the poor victims could end up in jail. I also saw some gruesome pictures of beheadings which occurred in the main plaza every Friday. These were pictures of criminals who were executed and publicly beheaded.  After two years, our contracts were not renewed. All of us from Bechtel were directed to return to our home bases. I headed back to California.

Project Conclusion,Riyadh, 1998

Homeward Bound
I returned home in January 1999 and passed through Manila on my way back to the US. HR hinted that I should retire. I told them that there's no way I would do so not until I have completed my 25th year anniversary with the company.

Atlanta, Georgia
I later ended up working in Georgia when the project manager for the Metro Media Fiber Network, which managed the installation of fiber optic network cables throughout Metro Atlanta, specifically asked for me as the project controls manager in charge of cost control and scheduling. I worked in Atlanta for two years.

I finally completed my 25 years of Bechtel employment.

Orlando, Florida
As the project was about to wind down in 2001, I was given a short-term assignment and transferred to the AWS 2G Orlando Florida Market Telecoms. The project in Florida lasted a couple of months after which I was assigned to the New Jersey/New York Bechtel Telecom Project.

New York /New Jersey and 9/11
I was scheduled to leave for New York on September 13, 2001. On September 11th, while having breakfast at a restaurant with a friend of mine in Atlanta, I saw on TV the two planes crashing into the twin towers in New York. It was shocking to watch those buildings fall. When I drove into New York City, I could not get close to the twin towers area because it was restricted. However, I was able to drive around the city, which was in a somber mood.

I worked as a scheduling engineer while assigned to the New Jersey Telecom Market. I worked there until December 2001 after which I transferred to the San Francisco Telecom Market. I remained in San Francisco until May 2002.

I officially retired from Bechtel in August 2002.

Retirement Day

Southern California Edison
In May of 2004, I contacted a retired friend of mine and asked him how he has been all these years. He invited me and another former colleague to lunch to catch up on things. The three of us were lunch buddies when we were colleagues in Norwalk back in the day. For our reunion, we decided to meet up in Nogales. During lunch, the former colleague, who was a manager in Southern California Edison, inquired about my life post retirement. I told him that I wasn't doing anything special. He then asked if I'd still be interested in working even on a part time basis. When I said that I would be, he offered me a job.

The following Monday on June 7, 2004, I reported for work at the San Dimas office of Southern California Edison as a subcontractor. I am presently still working there. Being back in the workforce is not only therapeutic, but also keeps me busy. I like it!

I am writing this on my 76th birthday this year in 2009.

Eugene B. Sañosa (January 2009)

*On November 18, 2010, while en route from Laughlin, Nevada to their home in California, Eugene and Josefina Sañosa were involved in a very serious car accident that left them both hospitalized. They are currently in recovery.

Wednesday the 23rd. 888Poker. Sañosa Family History
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