Sunday, May 31, 2009

BORA

Boracay has changed a lot.

Caticlan now boasts of an upgraded airport and a spanking pink port terminal. The era of cows grazing along the runaway and passengers piggybacked into the boats is perhaps gone.

Eleven years ago, we were ordered to pack up to Boracay and never come home until we can present a comprehensive 3-year program phase-out plan. Day 1 was almost a disaster when our Nueva Ecija team got caught in one of those notorious old NLEX traffic jams, then made a wrong turn somewhere along EDSA, before reaching the domestic airport where we rushed though security, the guards and the check-in counter and the airport police running after us (this was before 9/11), in a vain attempt to catch our Air Philippines flight to Kalibo which we were told was the plane taking off as we finally arrived in the departure area. But our quick thinking branch manager heard the second call for passengers of an Asian Spirit plane bound for Caticlan, collected our 2k each pocket money, got us the tickets, and arrived a full hour ahead of the Kalibo group. I still get amused recalling the assorted expressions of amazement painted in their faces as they got off the chartered bus in Caticlan and found us on the last bottles of a case of San Miguel Beer. There were some 30 of us that time from the 5 SRDDP provinces and the Central Office.

Eleven years from that scenario, two from the same group came back to Boracay. And as we shuffled from window to window of the pink Caticlan port to pay the various fees, I realized that only about 9 from the 1998 group remained with us. I know of 2 who died: Menard from our Bataan Branch whose young life was snuffed by the violent streets of Manila, and Maricel Vigo of our North Cotabato Branch who with her husband were murdered by suspected military assassins as they were going home to their 5 children.

Bora is more crowded now. The piece of beach where we once played harang taga is eternally plastered with green slimy lumot. The people are more uninhibited and I saw several topless sunbathers and really itsy bitsy teeny weenie bikinis. I walk to both ends of the Long Beach every mornings and afternoons, trying to shoot Bora beyond the white sand, the emerald sea, and the hot bikinis. And thank God for the Talipapa where we found respite from the lousy hotel food.

My wife’s birthday caught me in Bora. She wanted to come to Boracay and I would have love walking the beach with her. I planned to make a side trip to Pan-ay’s national heritage colonial church and its 10.4 tons bell which is probably the biggest of its kind in Asia, which I did not, then promised myself at least to a church in Bora which I’m sure there is, but which again I did not. I did have some pansit moments though and I guess that will do…


PHOTOS EXPLAINED (top to bottom): (1) The Nueva Ecija Team in Bora 11 years ago (from left): me AKA MVI, Pare Arden, Sir Tolits, and Pare Amor; (2) Maricel Vigo (left in white shirt) and the SRDDP cadres of PRRM; (3-4) breakfast in Boracay.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

KUBRADOR

BANGKING TRIED TO GET UP but unseen arms of the splinted bamboo bed seemed to pull him down. He closed his eyes as the thatched cogon roof suddenly contorted like gigantic waves rushing to engulf him. His stomach convulsed and he puked in an effort to keep from throwing what remained of last night’s pulutan and gin. The glow in his cheap imitation wristwatch said it is 4:30 in the morning. He should beat Barbasan to Lakay Puyot’s house.

He rose from the bed with one final effort, holding on to the sawali wall to steady his sinking feet, drinking the welcome cold morning wind that escaped from an assortment of rusty tin biscuit containers and shiny GI sheet retasos tucked in the walls and roof to keep the rain out.

Except for Lakay Porong who would be sweeping his yard by that time, Almaguer is still asleep. Bangking hurriedly washed his mouth, sprinkling what remained of the water in his head and folding down the unruly tufts of hair with his finger. He grabbed a neatly folded papelito wrapped around an aged yellow Bic pen and reminded himself to be careful in adding up the por lata. One saltod will take away the only work he can do at that time...


ALOT WOKE UP EARLY TO prepare for that day’s interview in the ili. Her Tatang Puyot, long time Apo Kapitan of Almaguer, had arranged a job for her as a clerk in the munisipyo that will pay her P1,500.00 every month.

She poured water into the sooth covered takore and added four scoops of ground barako coffee. Alot always liked the strong aroma of the barako. Somehow, that masculine smell arouses her, like what it is doing now, as she felt the familiar tingling sensation suddenly creeping from inside her up to her hardening nipples.

Last night’s dream was morbid. Alot shuddered as she recalled the big black snake wrapping itself around her body, hissing loudly and caressing her face with its darting forked tongue as they fall into a dark abyss. Bangking will explain to her the anunsiyo from the dream and she will bet on it. That’s what Alot thought as she started pumping water for her bath and mentally listed down what she could buy with a tumbok P10 sahod P5 win…


THE SIGHT OF A WET kamison clinging to the brown skin of Alot’s supine body blew away Bangking’s nasty hang-over. A surprised Alot stood up, covering her proudly protruding breasts with her hands. They stood there for a time, paralyzed by the suddenness of it all, until Alot finally walked to the banyo. Everything in Bangking suddenly came to life, and his heart leapt as he noticed that the banyo has no door. His mind screamed NO! as his feet began to pull itself towards the banyo. Alot is wringing her wet kamison when Bangking walked in. She tried to push him away as he began to caress and kiss her but her hands remained frozen to her breasts.

Manong….”

Bangking stopped.

“What is the lurok for a black snake chasing a girl into a hole?”

Bangking struggled with his words.

Uno and disi-otso for the snake. Treinta for the hole.”

Bangking’s hot gin-laced heavy breath smother Alot, and she felt his roused manliness.

“I’ll put P15 for a 1-18-30 kalut.”

Bangking nodded. Then kissed her. He began to explore inside her kamison. Alot closed her eyes as her hands groped that throbbing sensation pressed in her stomach…

PANSIT PHOTO: Pansit canton (and a pizza) from Bay’s Inn in Baler, Aurora.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

THE BOYS OF SUMMER

Felicisimo Tapec is synonymous with his green racer bike. It would not be him without the bike and the bike would not be it without him.

Felicisimo Tapec always competed in those fiesta races. And the whole of Almaguer would line the gravel road to cheer for him whenever a race passes by. But he never won.

Felicisimo Tapec, like the rest of Almaguer and Bambang, would converge in the sasang-atan every year for that most anticipated event of summer. A trickle of support vehicles will confirm that the race will indeed pass that way, whose arrival would later be announced by the passing of a funny F1-like car that calls itself the Spearhead.

Lupo Alava of Bagabag always have a plastic of crushed ice for him from Felicisimo Tapec who will be waiting with his green racer bike in the sasang-atan. Lupo Alava was at that time Nueva Vizcaya’s bet for the Tour.

Lupo Alava was Rookie of the Year in 1980. He did not win the Tour and retired 5 years later but not after bringing over a kailyan.

Ariel Marana the kailyan was the next best thing Nueva Vizcaya had for a Tour champion for a time. A perennial contender and runner-up, he was a consistent Eagle of the Mountain and was comfortably ahead in the overall standings when an over zealous fan in Nueva Vizcaya threw a pail of water at him, including the pail. The injuries he sustained in that accident caused him to quit the race the next day. That’s what’s been told by the blow-by-blow account of M1 Earl “The Pearl” Sapelino.

Ariel Marana won laps, especially those coveted killer Baguio laps, but did not win the Tour. He retired like that but not after parting the curtain for a kaanakan.

Carlo Guieb the kaanakan introduced himself to the Philippines by winning 2 consecutive laps in Baguio. He went on to become the Rookie of the Year that summer.

Carlo Guieb led by 46.12 seconds with one lap to go in the summer of 1991 when Bernardo Llentada, carbon loaded with 2 bowls of spaghetti and employing a never-seen-before aerobar and disc wheel, snatched glory away from him in that individual time trial.

Carlo Guieb did come back from that disappointment with Domingo Quilban, Nueva Vizcaya’s first Tour champion in 1969, for a coach and won the Tour twice in 1993 and 1994.

Carlo Guieb thus became a legend by becoming the only Tour ng Pilipinas back-to-back champion (the rest of the back-to-backs won in the Luzon only edition).

Carlo Guieb, his name carved in the mighty mountains where he did his greatest races, retired after sometime. In his place came another mountain man from Aritao.

Rhyan Tanguilig of Aritao, coming off a sagely advice from the great Carlo Guieb, won the killer Baguio lap in 2004 and crowned himself that summer’s king of the road.

Felicisimo Tapec today is a grandfather. Lupo Alava now raises fish in Lamut, Ariel Marana is stateside, Carlo Guieb runs a transport business in Bagabag, Domingo Quilban still coaches from time to time, and Ryan Tangulig an OFW in Dubai. I miss M1. But I will always be the young fan who will wait for hours along the road to salute his heroes as they pass by…