Tag Archive: Santiago de Cuba



Walking Around Santiago de Cuba On Tuesdays

By Gardenia de la Caridad Hung Fong

Last April, I visited my Cuban-Chinese family in Santiago de Cuba with my youngest brother Roberto Santiago Hung Fong who wanted to see our family relatives living in this historic city founded in 1614, five hundred years ago by Don Diego Velázquez de Cuellar. On the 500th Anniversary of the founding of Santiago de Cuba, I returned to visit my Aunt Xiomara Fong Ramos and her husband Pedro Rafael Zayas Guerrero who still live at my Grandfather Alberto Fong’s Grocery Store and Butcher Shop, at the corner of Calle 3 No.119 entre Calle 2 y Reparto Maria de la Torres, next to my Mother’s oldest brother José “Pepín” en Carretera del Morro y La Trocha.

At the Antonio Maceo International Airport, we were welcomed by my cousin Dr. Santiago Mock and his wife Ileana Castillo Revé, as well as by my Aunt Xiomara Fong Ramos and her husband Pedro Zayas Guerrero who brought a Spaniard friend of the family, “Gallego” as our private driver. We arrived on Friday morning, April 1st, 2016, returning as adults to visit Santiago de Cuba and our Cuban-Chinese family, after 45 years living Chicago, Illinois as U.S. residents.

At the airport in Santiago de Cuba, my cousin and his wife told us that they had to go on their own car and would see us later at their home in Carretera del Morro and La Trocha.

Calle 3 and Carretera del Morro, Avenida Eduardo Chibas in Santiago de Cuba

Calle 3 and Carretera del Morro, Avenida Eduardo Chibas in Santiago de Cuba

Before they left, I asked Ileana Castillo Revé for their telephone number in case I had to get help from her and my cousin Santiago Mock Hung during my family reunion in Santiago de Cuba with Aunt Xiomara and Uncle Pedro Zayas Guerrero. They only talked about my youngest brother Roberto Santiago Hung Fong staying with them in the back bedroom with a single bed. I knew that their Cuban home is rather small and narrow in Santiago de Cuba since it has been restored and remodeled from my Grandfather Alberto’s grocery and hardware store where customer could get their food, groceries, as well any type of household tools, fishing tackle, fishing hooks, construction tools, like in a General Store.

During the drive back from the airport, the four of us, Aunt Xiomara, me and Robert were sitting in the back and Pedro Zayas Guerrero sat in front with the driver, we were all sitting close and tight in the Cuban car, while our Spaniard driver took us sightseeing on Carretera del Morro in his old vintage car, bouncing on the road, up and down the hills.

I began to be concerned because there was no room or bed for me at my Aunt Xiomara’s Cuban home in Santiago de Cuba. “Where was I going to stay or sleep in Santiago de Cuba?”

Pedro Zayas Guerrero suggested to use a portable open bed cot, known as a “catre” which they use for their grandson Rafael Alejandro Zayas Rojas when he visits them. I did not like the idea of sleeping in the living room or next to their bed in the same room.

Upon arrival, I called my cousin Santiago Mock and his wife Ileana Castillo Revé on their mobile cellular telephone for help in providing lodging accommodation at their home in Reparto Sueño near the Ciudad Escolar by the Cuartel Moncada. My cousin Santiago and his wife Ileana were willing to accommodate me in Chaguín’s bedroom, their first son who is already married and has a Cuban home with his wife Ileana. Cousin Chaguín inherited my Aunt Luz “Leing” home in Rastro.

I was glad that Dr. Santiago Mock and his wife Ileana offered their hospitality like my oldest Aunt Luz “Leing” Hung always has done for our family—she is kind and generous like my Grandmother Salustiana Gertrudis Mustelier Baró used to be with family relatives. They offered to pick me up in their car at Xiomara and Pedro’s house in Calle 3 and Avenida Eduardo Chibas, Carretera del Morro y La Trocha which is quite a distance and a long way from Reparto Sueño where they still live in Santiago de Cuba.

Ciudad Escolar Cuartel Moncada in Santiago de Cuba

Ciudad Escolar 26 de Julio en El Cuártel Moncada en Santiago de Cuba

On Tuesdays, my cousin Santiago “Chago” goes to visit the family farm near El Cobre which used to belong to his father Guillermo Mock who was a Master Freemason at the Lodge Prudencia in Santiago de Cuba.

My cousin Santiago Mock asked Pedro Zayas Guerrero to pick me up on Tuesday in person and take me back to his Cuban home on Calle 3 y Carretera del Morro in the morning because he was going to be busy all day during his trip near El Cobre while he visited the family farm there.

During my April 2016 stay in Santiago de Cuba, the first Tuesday my cousin Santiago Mock left early for the family farm near El Cobre, Pedro Zayas Guerrero offered to pick me up in person and he arrived on a motorcycle share ride which costs $20 CUC or Cuban pesos. So, Pedro thought I would get on a shared motorcycle ride from Reparto Sueño near Ciudad Escolar Cuartel Moncada, all the way to Carretera del Morro y Calle 3, with my two (2) shoulder hand bags strapped on my back. I did not want to share a ride on a motorcycle by myself in Santiago de Cuba and Pedro share another motorcycle ride for $40 CUC Cuban pesos, instead of taking a Cuban Yellow Taxi for the same amount with less concern over travel safety along the way. I wanted to share a taxi ride, instead of a motorcycle on Tuesday.

Pedro Zayas Guerrero pretended not to understand my concern over the shared motorcycle ride and my two (2) handbags strapped on my shoulder. So, I walked over to Avenida Garzón and hailed and waived a Cuban Yellow taxi myself. The Cuban cab driver took me with Pedro to my Aunt Xiomara’s home on Calle 3 and Carretera del Morro in Santiago de Cuba. I told Pedro that I have travelled around the world by myself and always call for a Taxi Cab Driver to take where I am going to go. There are always taxis available for travelers and visitors in town or out-of-town.

Afterwards, I told Pedro Zayas Guerrero not to pick me up again at the home of Santiago Mock and Ileana Castillo Revé. I wanted to prevent any other misunderstandings or problems between him and me during my stay in Santiago de Cuba. I told him that I was not a child any more and knew how to travel and call a taxi in town.

The second Tuesday, Aunt Xiomara had to pick me up at cousin Santiago and Ileana’s home in Calle E #53 near Ciudad Escolar Cuartel Moncada in Reparto Sueño. Since cousin Lilita Sánchez Fujishiro had called cousin Chago and Ileana to invite me to visit her at the Plaza de Marte where her daughter lives, we walked on the way back on Avenida Garzón to the Plaza de Marte to find her home across the street. So, Aunt Xiomara began walking back from Reparto Sueño all the way to Carretera del Morro y La Trocha to Calle 3 No. 119—around noon in the tropical scorching heat of Santiago de Cuba, my feet began to blister, swell, and hurt all the way back to the house. I even got sunburnt from the exposure to the sweltering Cuban sun. Aunt Xiomara made me walk all the way from Reparto Sueño all the way to her home in Carretera del Morro y La Trocha. There was too much walking long distances in the sultry Cuban heat at noon time.

Calle 3 and Carretera del Morro in Santiago de Cuba

Calle 3 and Carretera del Morro, Reparto Maria de la Torre, and La Trocha

When I returned, I was already perspiring, dehydrated, overheated, annoyed and irritated by the time I got back to Aunt Xiomara’s home for lunch time. So, my youngest brother Roberto Santiago Hung Fong began to scream that I had to see the doctor at the Clinic for my traveler’s medical check up for blood pressure and temperature. Roberto began to grab, touch and feel my skin and two arms, telling me that I had to go to the doctor immediately. I was already angry enough to tell him off, “Don’t touch me!” I just got here after walking all the way from Reparto Sueño with Aunt Xiomara who did not take a taxi cab back home.

Then, I told Roberto Hung Fong:

Why do I have to go to the doctor right now?

I can go when I can and I just got here from walking a long distance. I am already suffocating, hyperventilating, and dehydrated from the excessive heat in Santiago de Cuba. I go to the doctor when I can get there, not right now.

Robert, Can’t you see that we just got to the house. From now on, I am going with Aunt Xiomara to the Clinic when we get there.

These two incidents did take place on Tuesdays after walking long distance from Reparto Sueño by the Ciudad Escolar Cuartel Moncada all the day to Carretera del Morro and La Trocha in Santiago de Cuba. Afterwards, I was able to go with Aunt Xiomara, with her neighbor Delia Margarita Lozada Guerra or on my own in Santiago de Cuba.

Excessive walking in the noon-time scorching heat can cause the skin to sunburn, the feet to blister, swell, and damage toes and skin tissue. In addition, beware of fatigue, dehydration, sunstroke, hyperventilation, and perspiration in the heat of the Cuban tropical sun. Even when walking can be the best way to sightsee in Santiago de Cuba, please take a taxi to your destination and save yourself the consequences of over walking long distance in the Cuban tropical sun.

Carretera del Morro and Avenida Eduardo Chibas in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba

​Gardenia C. Hung, M.A., B.A.
Consulting Social Media Arts Communications

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“Cuando Vaya Al Cobre, Quiero Que Me Traiga Una Virgencita De La Caridad”

Vamos al Cobre el día 8 de septiembre

Santiago de Cuba

Cuando salimos a las 12:30PM de Carretera del Morro en Santiago de Cuba, llegamos a la Basílica de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre a la 1:10PM de la tarde en el carro viejo y destartalado del chofer Lescay.

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Este plan de excursión al Santuario Nacional de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre fue organizado por Pedro Rafael Zayas Guerrero, peregrino y espiritú de fe y devoción a la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre.

El Tío Pedro es el esposo de mi Tía Xiomara Fong Ramos la cual es la hermana menor de mi madre. Pedro y Xiomara se casaron el 21 de octubre de 1969—hace 47 años que ellos tienen de matrimonio juntos. Ellos solo tienen un hijo que se llama Pedrito Zayas Fong, de 46 años de edad que nació el 23 de diciembre de 1970. La esposa de Pedrito se llama Xiomara Rojas Hernández oriunda la ciudad de Caonao en Cienfuegos con quien tiene dos hijos, Eliannie Zayas Rojas la cual estudia becada para ser médico y Rafael Alejandro Zayas Rojas, ambos de edad escolar. Ellos siempre van al Cobre juntos en familia cuando visitan a la ciudad histórica, heroíca y hospitalaria de Santiago de Cuba.

Figure 1 Chofer Lescay con carro checoslovako Lada en Santiago de Cuba para ir al Santuario Nacional de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre el sábado, el 16 de abril 2016.

El chofer particular Lescay se retrasó por llegar en su carro de marca checoslovaka Lada de color vino. No llegó a las diez de la mañana, como había acordado con el Tío Pedro Zayas Guerrero para una excursión al Cobre para visitar el Santuario Nacional de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, el domingo, 16 de abril 2016 para la misa de las 10AM. Tampoco llegamos a presenciar ni a participar en la Misa del Domingo temprano por la mañana porque el chofer Lescay llegó tarde, media hora pasada despúes del mediodía—no fuimos a la misa dominical como habíamos planeado por devoción a la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre.

Chofer particular Lescay añade el agua para el mantenimiento de su carro Lada de marca checoslovaka en Santiago de Cuba.

Entrada al estacionamiento del Santuario Nacional de la Caridad del Cobre.Santiago de Cuba

Pedro Rafael Zayas Guerrero en la escalinata del Santuario Nacional del Cobre

Altar de la Basílica Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, Santiago de Cuba

Santuario Nacional de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Santiago de Cuba

Gardenia C. Hung, M.A., B.A.
Consulting Social Media Arts Communications

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June 7, 1931-2014

The historic city of Santiago de Cuba was established in the year 1515 and founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. The motto of Santiago de Cuba is still in Spanish “Rebelde Ayer. Hospitalaria Hoy. Heroica Siempre.” During the 21st century, Santiago de Cuba commemorates its 500th anniversary as the second largest city of Cuba in the southeastern region of the Caribbean island.

Eighty-three years ago, in the year 1931, the historical population of Santiago de Cuba was estimated to be of 101, 508 inhabitants and residents. On June 7, 1931, Roberto Hung Mustelier was born, the fourth youngest son of Santiago Hung Choi and Gertrudis Salustiana Mustelier in a family home of Santiago de Cuba, near the Military Hospital and General Guillermón Moncada Headquarters, known today as the Ciudad Escolar 26 de Julio. Antoñica, “Ñica”, second sister of Gertrudis Salustiana was a registered nurse at the hospital and witnessed the birth of Roberto, her nephew. Her oldest sister, Eduvigis was a certified teacher and helped her with the older children Luz Leing, Miguel Chung, and Filiberto Yuck while she was giving birth and nursing the fourth baby, Roberto. Mario Mustelier was also around to help the family when Gertrudis and Santiago had their fourth baby son, his nephew.

Eight years afterwards, World War II began on September 1st, 1939 in Europe. Roberto Hung was only eight years old and studying in third grade at the Elementary School, when the Second World War started as a global international war in 1939. His youngest sister Caridad Cei-Chieng had already been born in a Cuban-Chinese family of five (5) children born to Santiago and Gertrudis Salustiana in Santiago de Cuba.

In 1945, WWII ended on September 2, 1945, when Roberto Hung was a 14-year-old beginning as a freshman in High School, planning to attend Law School at the Universidad de Oriente in Santiago de Cuba and the Universidad de La Habana in Cuba, three years later. On Roberto Hung’s seventeenth birthday anniversary, his oldest brother Miguel Chung and sister-in-law Silvia Simons had a new baby daughter named Olivia Hung-Simons, who was born on the same date, June 7th. So, Roberto Hung was asked to become his niece’s godfather upon christening of his brother’s and sister-in-law’s new baby daughter. Olivia Hung-Simons was born on June 7, 1948, after the Second World War ended, during the Baby Boom years.

Since Great Grandmother Antonia and Great Grandfather Juan lived across the Military Hospital with their daughters Eduvigis, Antoñica, Gertrudis Salustiana, and youngest son Mario, their children grew up around military veterans of foreign wars who travelled to Cuba and were treated for military rehabilitation and recovery by Cuban medical staff in Santiago de Cuba.

Today is the Memorial Birthday Anniversary celebrating 83 years for people like Roberto Hung who were born on June 7th and lived through the Second World War when the country of Cuba was among the Allied countries around the world who were involved in WWII.

Mr. Roberto Hung Juris Doctor

Mr. Roberto Hung Juris Doctor

©2014. Gardenia Hung’s Blog. All Rights Reserved.



Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre in Cuba

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