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Boning Sia Sr. Street: Honoring legend behind the iconic business

By Jason B. Neola

AS a gesture of honoring a local legend, the city government of Naga, thru an ordinance, named the street that stretches from the corner of Bicol Access Health Centrum up to the opposite end at Zone 4 of Barangay Triangulo as Boning Sia Sr. Street.

The designation recognizes the contributions of the man whose humble store, the Boning’s Trading, which began its operation 74 years ago, has grown over time and hard work to become the city’s single biggest supplier of office and school supplies, as well as other basic merchandise.

The street’s name was established through Ordinance No. 2024-012, which City Councilor Jose B. Perez authored. The ordinance was enacted on February 6, 2024, and subsequently approved by Mayor Nelson S. Legacion on February 8, 2024.

At the unveiling ceremony of the street sign on March 15, 2024, Mayor Legacion emphasized that the gathering was not only a celebration of the street’s naming but also a fitting tribute to one of Naga’s local business industry icons whose words played a significant role in shaping the economic development of Naga during his time.

Through unwavering dedication and hard work, Boning Sia Sr. transformed his small business into a cultural institution — one that has witnessed the ebb and flow of economic tides, technological advancements, and societal transformations.

In an interview, Atty. Ruby Jane Sia-Isla, granddaughter of the late Boning Sr., expressed admiration for her grandfather’s work ethic, considering it a model for others to follow. She emphasized the value of hard work and compassion in any endeavor.

According to her, success isn’t solely dependent on education; rather, she places greater trust in individuals who exhibit industriousness over those with talent but lack perseverance and determination.

THE descendants of Boning Sia Sr. stand shoulder to shoulder, their faces alight with pride. The city of Naga has bestowed a well-deserved honor upon the patriarch, naming a street after him. Boning Sia Sr., once a humble store owner, now immortalized in the city’s fabric, symbolizes resilience, hard work, and community spirit. Photo also shows Mayor Nelson Legacion (6th from left).

The continuity of Boning’s Trading stands as a proof to resilience and adaptability. Over the years, it has not only contributed significantly to the local economy but has also provided employment opportunities for countless individuals. The memories, traditions, and shared experiences associated with this establishment have woven it into the fabric of Naga City.

The family owned enterprise, which was set up in 1949, has been in continuous operation with about 30 employees and personnel despite the challenges posed by bigger department stores and malls from Manila and Cebu.

It was recounted in the ordinance that in the year 1924, 9-year-old Boning (Bonifacio Sia Sr.) was tagged along by her older sister in Bicol from Amoy, China. They settled in Barangay Ratay in Calabanga, Camarines Sur and stayed there for four years to pay for his fare working as a young household cook and helper. He then ventured alone in the nearby town of Naga where as a growing young man he worked as a rice and copra trader. When war broke out in 1941, he fled to Canaman town.

In the year 1946 when peace finally came, Boning married Dominga Villafranca Sy, a young lady from Daet, Camarines Norte, who was introduced to him by a friend. The couple started a “chucheria” along downtown General Luna Street where the present Naga City People’s Mall is located.

The Sia couple had borne five children who are now all professionals and businessmen/women by themselves. One of three sons became a board topnotcher in civil engineering for whom his proud University of Nueva Caceres honored him in a victory parade throughout the major streets of the city. The engineer son, Ruben, upon the encouragement of then City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo, laid the groundwork for the development of what is now known as Naga City’s Business District II which heretofore became the core of the city’s continually expanding business development plan.

In June 2016, during the Mayoral Awards as part of the city’s celebration of its 68th Charter Anniversary, the Sia family’s Boning’s Trading was bestowed the Leon SA Aureus Award. The citation reads: “It is looked up to as a major player in the local commercial and trading scene, earning along the way the people’s approval because it conducts business the old fashioned way: It offers various kinds of goods and supplies at affordable prices, shares generous donations in community projects and pays taxes honestly and religiously, consistently making it one of the top taxpayers in the city.

The elder Bonifacio Sia Sr., fondly called by his friends and customers as “Boning” peacefully joined his Creator last September 27, 1980.


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