Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Tatlong linggong naiwang nakanganga si Carlo Guieb Tangilig.

Nanigas ang kanyang mga kable at lumambot ang mga gulong sa matinding pagngingitngit.

At ni hindi ko nakuhanan ng pityur ang mga seksing pulis ng Lima at ang kanilang mga masusuwerteng mga mountain bike. 

Nakalimutan ko din sa haba ng nilakad namin ni Oyet sa San Francisco ang whole day $150 mountain biking trek at half-day $60 city biking tour.

Mabuti pa 'yung mama sa airport, kasama palagi ang kanyang gitara.

Pero uuwi din ako.

At nakauwi nga, kaya inaakyat ko agad si Ariel Guieb Tangilig sa tuktok ng Maangol at kinamot ang matagal nang nangangating simbahan ng Licab kasama sina Lupo Domingo Quilban at ang bagong saltang si Placido Armando Catalan.

Sarado ang Lugaw Network noong bisperas ng pasko kaya nagtiyaga kami sa mami at siopao ng Chow King kasama sina Kuya Darwin at Andie.

Nagkitakita din ang isang bahagi ng 373 Bikers na tinuntun kung saan papunta ang irigasyon na dumadaan sa Villa Isla, at sina Ariel Guieb Tangilig at Placido Armando Catalan na nag-almusal ng matamis na pakwan sa Mapangpang matapos tagpusin ang Mangandingay at Burgos, at muli ng matabang na pakwan sa Munoz matapos sundan ang mga nakatagong kalsada papuntang Rizal.

Bago lumipat ang taon ay iniakyat namin si Kuya Rey sa Maangol.

Kasing tamis ng malambot na labi ng binibining Peruviana ang paghihiganti ng Ariel Guieb Tangilig.


Thursday, December 18, 2014


Was that Muir Woods being sucked into bottles of chili, toyo, and suka in the pantry?

Or the stoned ghosts of Gen. Frederick Funston and Pvt. Robert William Greyson playing hide-and-seek among the merry clutter of memories from an eternal journey? 

The Columbarium is a further footnote why elegant One Loraine Court looks down over eclectic Mission District who I presume the bored guard assigned to watch over the remains of the wealthy dead came from.  

Them dead might have lain in state at the Jesuit's imposing St. Ignatius Church of the University of San Francisco --- so palatial it can compete with the Vatican and bring to shame the current Jesuit pope.

Perhaps some of those now urn-ed in The Columbarium were exhumed from the vanished Masonic Cemetery where all funeral processions along Masonic Avenue once led, not far from where the Papalote Mexican Grill near where the Starbucks Lady was hanged sell the best burrito in the city.

Those who are now dead, what were they doing when the Palace of Fine Arts was being built? 

They missed the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge but did some of them spent time in Alcatraz

Their names, etched in broken tombstones, resonate from the Wave Organ off San Francisco Bay, gurgled like drowning ghosts, a haunting from the desecration of the Lauren Hill Cemetery, and perhaps that of 25 Van Ness where the brethren now displayed in fancy urns at The Columbarium once enjoyed the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment, and the oil of joy.

It was an interesting day of the dead that concluded with the realization that what was served at the Pampaguena Restaurant were once living things killed for the benefit of those who still breaths...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Everyday at 8 am for the next three days, I rise from my cozy bed at the Quite Mission Room, checked my emails, browse through Facebook, upload photos on flickr, take a quick lukewarm shower, walk the 25th for a bite of a Mission Pie, walk 5 blocks to the 19th, ring Oyet and Jack's doorbell, and go straight to their kitchen for coffee and a smoke.

Today we took Bus No. 49 --- the equivalent of the Hogwarts Bus --- and watch its passengers transform from mostly working class immigrants in their working class clothes to mostly whites in their designer office outfits as we went farther from Mission and got nearer to the heart of Van Ness at San Francisco's City Hall where Oyet showed me where he and Jack applied for a marriage license after which we became unintentional witnesses to an emotional blonde in a white dress being married to an emotionless bearded man in jeans and working shoes, an Asian groom and groom having their wedding photo, and a Fil-Am couple waiting for their turn while a middle aged woman tried in vain to take a selfie with her dog in front of the giant city hall Christmas tree.

All weddings but no funeral so we took Bus No. 19 to affluent Nob Hill then walked to 1111 California Street where I finally came face to face with the cavernous but empty Grand Lodge of California to satisfy a great Masonic itch, an uninterested guard waving us through the elevators to the Henry W. Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry where I took photos of Oyet and left a Masonic P100 bill before he took photos of me in the balcony outside the library, then rushing to the Grace Cathedral across the street because I need to pee real bad, and to a humorous Christmas wish from a kid named Bella, to the The Fairmont's 22-foot gingerbread house, its lower walls peppered with the marks of innocent bites. 

Then a church, the old St. Mary's Cathedral downhill in the corner of California and Grant Streets, built in 1853 and gutted by fire in 1906 after the Great San Francisco Earthquake, rebuilt in 1909, and today the object of Oyet's CIA-isked recorder, the quartet-that-turned-out-an-octet nailing me to the pew even after Oyet said that we should be leaving after the sixth song, and then the BART where a camouflaged marine nodded to sleep as Oyet triumphantly celebrated the quarter/octet songs stolen by his CIA recorder.

In Berkeley, a fat mental lady carrying a huge bag of newspapers and toting a huge book streaming with post-its cross the street as I vainly search for a missing lighter while Oyet decide lunch, settling on a Korean joint as I haggled a Berkeley souvenir shirt from a Korean saleslady, he ordering something with fried pork belly from a Korean waitress and I settling for a vegetarian Korean noodle bowl not for the food or Korea but for the first SFO pansit for circa 2014.

The only disappointment is the University of California's archive closed early because the archivists and the cute interns have to attend a Christmas party, and perhaps the long BART and Muni rides to the Army and Navy Surplus Store where the pee caught up with me, a chicken barbecue and beer dinner eventually while Oyet prepared an uncooked ham sandwich as Jack rustled four packs of instant noodles, and the long walk back to the Quite Mission Room.

It was a good day with a great friend through the paths of SFO less traveled.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Delta Flight 150 to Atlanta was delayed by 3 hours.

My Greenpeace friend with the infamous Nazca Lines stunt hanging on his head made it past immigration.

A lady in the Sky Priority check-in line at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport wondered if all the people queuing are business class passengers.

I have to run to Concourse A's Gate 12 of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to catch Delta Flight 1091 to San Francisco.

I was late but the flight was delayed too so I ate fried chicken with chili beans for lunch.

A capped man leaned to pick the vegan bag where I stuffed my panama hat as I wait for my luggage at San Francisco International Airport's baggage carousel.

"That's mine," I said.

It was Oyet.

He who made a late night call to my hotel in Des Moines six years ago to tell me that a pot roast I did not order is on its way.

I finally made it to San Francisco.

I checked in at my bed-and-breakfast lodging at Treat Avenue then had three beers at his place in A. Capp Street while we waited for Jack. 

We had dinner at a Thai restaurant.

He ordered Pad Thai, Jack had chicken in green curry, I don't recall what I ordered.

We walked along a street that's not Mission and stopped to look at some drawings posted at a shop's display window.

It's raining and cold in San Francisco and I have not slept for the last 36 hours...    

Monday, December 15, 2014


From a $135 hotel offer for a 3-hour private tour to a 110 soles half-day quickie.

Only a mad man will take the first option while the second one unfolded as Senor Taxi Driver took me, for 16 soles, to 599 Avenida Jose Galvez Barrenechea in Lima's San Isidro District where I have an unexpected but pleasant encounter with several Hermanos from the Gran Logia de los Antiguos Libres y Aceptados Masones de la Republica del Peru.

I came to take photos I said.

But the Lodge is closed and they are on their way to an installation ceremony they said back.

I was introduced to their incoming Grand Master and was asked if Spanish is the medium of our ceremonies in the Philippines.

It was a beautiful sunless Sunday of deserted streets and my being the Prince of Lucky Chances was again affirmed.   

From there to the UNESCO World Heritage inscribed historic center of Lima is 20 soles and that's where I made Senor Taxi Driver an offer he can't refuse on a slow Sunday morning: 100 soles for a rapid photography tour of the churches of Santo Domingo [Dominican], San Agustin [Augustinian], and San Pedro [Jesuit].

He gave me a big smile, nodded, and as an introduction and perhaps a token of his gratitude took me first to two unknown churches.

"Bonito!" he said, and I agree.    

And then a pink bell tower emerged from the skyline announcing our taxi's arrival at the Iglesia de Santo Domingo, built on the encomienda of Fr. Vicente de Valverde during the late years of the 1700s who is to Francisco Pizarro as Fr. Andres de Urdaneta is to Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, host to the remains of three Peruvian saints [San Juan Macias, Santa Rosa de Lima, San Martin de Porres], and founding site of the first chartered university of the Americas [National University of San Marcos, in 1551]. 

The taxi made a corner turn to the Iglesia de San Agustin and its intricate Churriguereque baroque facade which is one of the only two left in Lima [nee Iglesia de la Merced], its unusual blocked design masking its 440 years of history of which nothing much is offered by Wikipedia except its devastation during the 1746 Lima-Callao Earthquake and the 1895 factional war between the Pierolists and Cacerists.    

Finally, uno mas. 

The taxi parked at the curb but there's nothing much to be said of the Iglesia de San Pedro except of its completion in 1638.

Back at the hotel, I added a 20 soles tip to Senor Taxi Driver's services.

He was grateful. 

So is the other Senor Taxi Driver who took me to the airport for another 20 soles tip.

So am I to the netizens who made my 17th wedding anniversary post card the most liked of all my Facebook posts.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

A LONG WALK FROM PLAZA SAN MARTIN (Part 2: Prabin and the Great Churches of Lima)

My friend Prabin Man Singh from Oxfam-Nepal has never been inside a Catholic church.

So I asked him that if he did not have any plans after the Lima People's March and a heavy carnivore lunch of pollos a la brasa, then perhaps he would want to join me in a walking tour of Lima's great churches.

We first got lost of course, before stumbling upon the Basilica of Nuestra Senora de la Merced --- an 18th century elaborate Spanish baroque [i.e. churrigueresque] church with more than 400 years of history and dedicated to the armed forces of Peru.

Lima is relatively safe.

The only thing to watch out are strangers intent on making a conversation which a passing man tried when he asked me about the time and then where I came from.

He was dismissed him with a wave as we continued walking to the Plaza de Armas and the grandeur of the Basilica Cathedral of Lima: the keeper of Francisco Pizarro's remains who helped build the first church in 1535, host to a trove of religious art and history, and adorned with 14 chapels of various saints.

Prabin wondered why people are buried in the church and I told him that's the old way when rich people can opt for a church burial to be nearer to God, and that we should also visit the catacombs of the Convento de San Francisco if he wants to see more old bones.

We did and barely in time for an English tour of the monastery where we were introduced to [1] a carved image of a crucified Christ that came from the Philippines, [2] paintings by the Spanish master Francisco de Zurbaran and of a Peruvian version of the Last Supper by Diego de la Punte, and [3] the catacombs and some of the remains of the 25,000 buried there until 1808.

The church and the convent was started to be built in 1673, and I would learn later from Wikipedia that the convent is in fact known for its collection of 25,000 antique manuscripts, and the next day that the lone Filipina woman in the tour is in fact Rep. Susan Yap of the Philippine delegation to COP 20.

Prabin ended his initiation to Spanish Colonial Church 101 in a souvenir shop where he bought an assortment of apparels for the cold Nepalese winter. 

Mine were some alpaca shawls, souvenir t-shirts, and a Peruvian sweater for the wife.