The Prodigal Son Returns

The day started with me walking up Buendia Avenue on a nippy Saturday morning, on my way to a rendezvous point where Arniel, an old friend whom I haven’t seen for about a decade, give or take a few, is going to give me a ride down memory lane.

The blasted dude didn’t age one bit! Still the tidy, neat guy he was when we were getting shitfaced drunk back in the day (well I was always shitfaced drunk back then, he was seldom inebriated, methinks). He arrived and we gassed up, he did some work stuff for a couple of minutes and we were off.

We went to see the boys back home, home being Paete, Laguna, where we grew up.

The Bulldogs Club, as we’re famous, or infamous for, depends on who you’re talking to, was a bunch of guys growing up in Paete, painting souvenir bulldog pen heads, and everything started from there. We had a basketball team that became one of the team to beat at our local basketball tournaments (yes we have a pennant!) which came slow and hard, as we were wet behind the ears and was only in it for the heck of it. Our early team names, as Ka Emer reminded me, was Loafers, then became Youngsters, back then already giving the opposing team a hard time, and the official Bulldogs Team that won a championship, if I recall correctly. Basketball games at smalltowns are really an event worth cleaning and brushing your flipflops clean and be seen among the fans shouting bloody murder when a referee failed to call a foul.

Good times!

It’s not just being a basketball team, I can hardly dribble, but the rest of the guys were good at it. We also dabbled in music. Everyone in our crew can sing, but it was me who did most of the vocal duties when we decided to learn our chops seriously. Ambo on guitar, Tavern on drums, Me on bass and vocals, and most anyone who would jam with us, with the few song list we can play decently. Most of the time we were playing, we were also drinking, as most boys in our age then are wont to do. There was also that part of long forgotten memories, when, before we started palying in a band, we would pool up our money buy some pasta, set-up a place with a few strobes and colorful lights, taking turns at the tape player and turntable and viola! The party is on! To make sure all the invited girls can eat what measly food and drinks we had to offer, we made sure everyone has taken their share before eating ourselves, maybe even waiting for some leftovers.

Bulldogs Club Collage

Photos: Nelia De Luna, Arniel cajumban, Mahalia dalay, Rey Cajipe

Music has always been a part of the Bulldogs Club. And yesterday, I sang my heart out, because I haven’t anything to contribute financially, I just added some entertainment with my singing, even though it’s really hard to say the words when I’ve got less teeth now as I did back then. Still, yesterday was when I feel I could fuck up a song and the guys wouldn’t mind. But I think I did pretty well, considering I had to follow a more visceral singer in the person of Ramil. Continue reading

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The Retelling Of The Tale: Stories

I enjoyed “The Hobbit“. It was as if the two hours and forty-something minutes was too short to have had the pleasure of taking part in an adventure.

Not because of the HFR, nor the excellent cast and locations, although these aspects of the movie did add to the  joy of watching and unravelling the whole Middle Earth tales and adventures. It was the way the stories were retold by Peter Jackson, or the visuals the whole outfit created this beautiful, sprawling, I should say, rambling place full of character and characters, if you know what I mean.

It Is In The Retelling Of The Tale

Middle Earth inspired sketch

But I always get ahead of myself. Maybe because I woke up in the middle of night and felt the need to write these thoughts down.

Let me tell you something first about my love for stories. Continue reading

In September 21, 1972, I was 3 . . .

I was born in this small town, in the crook of Sierra Madre’s long arm that stretches from way down South, reaching to the North of the archipelago.  My memories of being a three-year-old in September 21, 1972 is long forgotten. But I remember growing up with DWIZ and DZRH on AM Radio. My mother, a widow, was a great cook, and has her own recipes for popular delicacies and some entirely her own. Growing up, I was  surrounded by the sound of hogs squealing in the morning, the smoke from the fire for cooking Suman, and the daily chores of peeling Santol being prepped for making Sweet Santol Preserve,  slicing, chopping veggies for the Ulam to be sold at our makeshift store, Burong Mustasa, and the artistry that was Paete – all woodcarving, furniture making, paper-mache and music.

Our evenings were spent watching John & Marsha on our Toshiba Television, with the sliding covers, wood inlays, plugged to a big-ass power converter with the gauge that looks like something you’d see on a jeepney dashboard. My Mother insists on not being disturbed once Aawitan Kita is on.  Of course, me and my four siblings (I’m the 4th , do the math) take turns watching our favorites. It was a time when Toyota and Crispa were the major Trophy contenders on Channel 4.

Continue reading