Abet never saw him wearing slippers or shoes except on Saturdays when he attend the Sabadista church on top of the hill beside Apong Ino’s big house.
Most of the time, he goes walking barefoot around Almaguer with his crooked bamboo cane, as if in an eternal journey, his presence announced by the sudden escalation of frightened howls and yelps from the barrio’s canine population who seemed incapable of liking him.
It may be the way he looked --- the leathery wrinkled skin, a pronounced stoop, bowed legs, and a blind milky white right eye --- which has earned him second spot behind the kumaw as the favorite boggart used to force Almaguer’s children into their noontime siesta.
He just don’t like children it seems with Abet and what would be the Samahang Dilim having their fair share of being chased away and threatened with that crooked bamboo cane for no apparent reason.
Perhaps because he and his elfish wife never have children running around their small but neat bungalow-type house nestled on the slope of the hill just below Apong Ino’s big house; or his frustration and anger of not having a son who will carry on his name, or a daughter who will look after them in their golden years.
But what really made him a barrio legend, at least among the children of Almaguer, is his galing-galing.
He is said to be able to drink gallons of water and is so heavy that cars and tricycles will suddenly have flat tires once he rides on them.
Abet heard that his favorite prank is to ask for a sip of water that those who go to work in the fields carry with them in orange or red plastic kerosene containers, which he will drain in one drinking leaving nothing for the flustered host/s who have to fetch a new supply in the barrio which is a good walking away; or asking for a ride from the tricycle drivers who will later wonder why all 3 tires went flat at the same time.
The legend has grown to a point where those in the fields would politely decline his request for water and the tricycle drivers his request for a ride.
And it seems to be a good joke he shared with them as indicated by the smiles and laughter that would punctuate every request and denial.
The last time Abet saw him was during Amang Lakay’s wake.
Apong Liwliwa died shortly after.
Then his elfish wife too.
Bertong Langis noticed that their house on the hill slope is gone the last time he dropped by in Almaguer.
He wondered where Apong Liwliwa’s galing-galing was passed on…
PHOTOS (top to bottom):
CAINTA, RIZAL: The town was established in 1571 and its church completed in 1715 by the Jesuits. The church was seriously damaged during World War II and has been rebuilt with only the outer walls remaining of the old structure. It underwent a restoration process after the war which lasted until 1968.
TAYTAY, RIZAL. The first church was built of light materials in 1579 along the coast of the Manila de Bay. Because of threats from frequent floods, the church was relocated to its present site by Fr. Pedro Chirino (SJ) in 1591where another church was probably built 8 years later. This was replaced in 1603 by the first stone church to be built outside Manila. A new and bigger church was built by Fr. Juan de Salazar in 1630. This was damaged by a typhoon in 1632 and repaired by the seculars in 1768 then by the Augustinian Recollects in 1864. The church was burned down in 1899 during the Filipino-American War, probably rebuilt, and enlarged in the 1970s during which the remnants of the previous structures were incorporated into the façade.