Monday, August 14, 2006

THE LEGEND OF KID BUNTAL

Before the big war, Lolo Porong moved his family from Umingan to Sta. Ana, Manila then back to Umingan again. After the war, he moved back his family to Revillen Street in Sta. Ana from Santiago where they stayed during the war. A maestro carpentero, Lolo Porong worked in Guam after the big war until the mid-1950s, one of the Philippines’ original Bagong Bayani. The dollar remittances ensured a comfortable life for Loal Senang and the children. They lived in a two-story wooden house that they owned, and Lola Senang kept her own store at the Sta. Ana public market.

Kid Buntal spent much of his childhood and teenage life in Sta. Ana whose mean streets made him learn the art of boxing. It was the only sport that interested him and in our own childhood, we heard stories about boxing matches at the Luneta when it was still more of a forest than a park, and of a copy cat Lo-Waist Gang that engaged in fistfights and gunfights. Boxing would be later taught to me and my brother through two pairs of smelly boxing gloves, a sand bag hanging from a coconut tree, and a few rounds of sparring every day.
His oldest brother is Lilop who took up but did not finish a law course at the Manuel L. Quezon University. He married a neighbor, Mama Ched Caindoy of Samar, and their youngest son, Kuya Jerry, will be a frequent visitor in Bambang and Almaguer. Lilop worked as foreman for the Manila City government. He died 10 years after he retired.

Auntie Angeling, the second eldest, enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts course at the Centro Escolar University but got married before completing college. Her husband is Domingo “Uncle Doming” Miranda of Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya whom she met during a fiesta in Sampaloc. Only Kid Buntal attended their wedding because Lolo Porong and Lola Senang did not approve of Uncle Doming. They said that being an Ilocano, Uncle Doming is kuripot and won’t be able to give Auntie Geling a comfortable life. But she will become the richest among her siblings and build one of the biggest house in Bambang. She died in 2006.

Only Auntie Loleng did not attend college. She was the lost child of Lolo Porong and Lola Senang having spent most of her life with Lola Senang’s sister in Santiago as a paalaga. She married Uncle Marcelo “Selo” Salatan, a distant relative, and settled in Agbannawag in Santiago, where Kid Buntal will spend some of his younger days. When Kid Buntal got married, Auntie Loleng gave a cow for the padaya that was held in Auntie Angeling's big house. We heard shed died before Auntie Geling.

Kid Buntal completed his elementary and secondary educations at the Sta. Ana Catholic School and the Calderon High School, respectively, where he distinguished himself as an honor student and a student leader. He took up law at the Far Eastern University but did not finish college because of barkada. He is known in Sta. Ana as a siga, and his mean fists earned him the moniker of Kid Buntal. There was a story that their friend Diomedes Maturan always win in singing competitions because their gang threatened the judges.


He will later join Lolo Porong in Davao, then Bambang where he became a member of another copy cat gang --- the local Pitong Gatang. All of Kid Buntal’s Lo-Waist and Pitong Gatang gang died violent deaths. Except him because as Lola Senang said, he got married to an angel.

A short walk from Revillen Street is the church of Sta. Ana that is dedicated to the Our Lady of the Abandoned. It was the first Franciscan mission outside the walls of Intramuros. The first church was built of light materials in 1578 that was replaced by a stronger building in 1599. Fr. Vicente Ingles (OFM) initiated the building of the present church in 1720. It was restored in 1977 under the supervisions of Arch. Juan Nakpil and Engr. Arturo Manalac. On 8 May 1975, my future wife was baptized in the church. She remembered their house in Sta. Ana as along an estero in Sampaloc Street, near the Sta. Ana Race Track and the Delpan Bridge. Many years later, my brother and I will flee the wrath of Kid Buntal for failing to finish high school and took refuge in Lilop’s house in Sta. Ana.

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