Sounds enigmatic?


17342750_1463576960319766_4974078923498822437_nBut Onie, Ka Onie, Tito Onie among the younger set , and friends, despite the long, grayish white hair and the solemn demeanor (when not smiling, which is rare) is hardly stern nor hard to read. Born with the name Honesto, he is anything but the quite type. Conversations with him can start with one simple thing, and then expound into a galaxy of art, bonsai, gardening, travel and music. There are no boundaries when you sit down with him and just discuss the known universe, and then some that are virtually unknown, punctuated with humorous anecdotes and side-splitting punchlines, there is no boring moment with him.
His creations – Patio Papa, BKD (bahay Ko Din), Ka Boy Grill, Bamboo Grande, Kalye Luna 17504273_1463576466986482_7615291576473567750_oin Baguio City and the two most dear to him Bamboo Giant Malate and Bambu Intramuros – are products of a mind that never cease to discover new things. Driftwood and strange artifacts often find themselves on display in and around these restaurants. And what with his botanical skills (he has designed gardens that has the acclaim of not just institutions, but a queen once congratulated him for a job well done!) Bambu Intramuros along with Bamboo Giant Malate are testament for his love of colorful plants, beautiful music and art. These are his concepts for ingredients of what a good dining experience should be. Indeed, you could call Onie the beating heart of his creations.

His creativity is fueled by music – jazz, classic rock,folk, country, world music and rock and roll. Add to these his keen eye for art in all its forms and disciplines, sulpture, painting, drawings, from the avant garde to the traditional and more of the found-talent types. He has friends and acquaintances from all walks of life, be it politics, public service, musicians, painters, poets, the common man, all are in thrall when the man walks. No, that is not lip service, you have to meet him to know what Bambu Intramuros is all about.

17504488_1463574043653391_1989260255065419780_oFrom concept to execution, choosing the right stuff for the right spot, hanging positive words to engage the diner on what could be just another meal and turn it to a whole intellectual experience, picking meticulously the musicians who perform every night, less electronic, more on acoustic, not just elevator music, these are but some of his passionate hands working. He disagrees with extravagance, but the lushness of the leaves and trees, poetry in music, collecting art and the open arms he extends to those who are looking for work is the unspoken lavishness of the man’s character. His organic farm elsewhere is a foundation for his altruism. His bonsai is the incarnation of his soul.
Enigmatic maybe too heavy to describe Onie in one word. Ambiguous? Far from the truth. Let’s just say that Onie and his creations are free-spirited, cannot be labeled with a single tag, but an amalgam of all the things his passion can visualize. You might chance upon him when you come and visit Manila.

group shot

Tito Onie with the Ladies of Bambu Intramuros (from left – Kim, Via, Grace, April__Joyce, Karen, Menchie, She and Haidee)


The Man and Me

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

Angry Again

Angry Again

Just the other day I was at a counter, a prepaid loading station
at the nearvy mall. This woman, I wouldn’t call her a lady, with
her pompous chin and a gaggle of brand-name paper bags,
jumped the queue and insisted on purchasing a prepaid card,
while I was still talking to the salesclerk. Didn’t say anything, but
it burned me.

How could somebody, apparently well-to-do and with good
education, act so crassly as to think it’s her right to be served
first? The clerk and I exchanged quizzical looks and let it go.

It’s like the day I was in Quiapo, and another woman, no.
certainly not a lady, asked me where is the direction going to a
Mercury Drug Store. I answered politely that she just missed it, it
was on the other side (we were traversing the underground
passage). What do you know? She, with her fat arms, and her
cane, in a loud voice ” Tange! Yung isang Mercury? (Stupid! The
other Mercury!).

I was stunned. I would have punched this behemoth of
redundant flesh, but I stayed myself. No use in hitting a woman,
an older one at that. I said nothing. I moved along.

It’s the same everywhere. people who looked like they got
education, good clothes, high paying jobs, who behave like
privileged royalties, pushing, swerving, talking loud on their
mobile phones, while the phone itself is in speaker-mode, sitting
in trains like they paid for three persons, walking in no apparent
direction, waking in the wrong direction, conversing in the
middle of a busy street. I begin to think these persons got
ripped-off with their education. It’s evident they didn’t learn
any good sense, much less civilized behavior. They ought to ask
for a refund.

Males are worse. Ever been cramped in line during MRT rush
hour and some dude with well combed hair, and smelling of
expensive perfume ( I can tell if it’s real perfume, fake ones
make make me dizzy) sweep you aside so he can be first while
muttering ” I’m gonna be late for work!”

Oh, yeah? You shouldn’t have gone out last night with your
drinking buddies! Not our fault you keep a lousy schedule. But
no, I didn’t say it out loud.

Scooters with loud exhaustr pipes and lowered frames infuriate
me. Drivers who don’t lower their headlights at night are a pain
in the butt. Movie critics who write reviews, but just
paraphrased from Premier Magazine. People who scoff at other
people for finishing everything on their plate at a food court,
saying it smacks of being “patay-gutom”. I mean, why the hell
not, I paid for it? I enjoy eating! I coulnd’t say the same for the
health buffs who lecture other people about their eating
habits, or the vegetarian who would crucify you if given the
chance. Banks with such beautiful catchphrases they could not
keep. Wannabes who think just because they had the money
and printed their crap comics, they should be treated as the
old-timers who are still struggling. Calling their so-called art
minimalist, line-drawing, and all sorts of mind-numbing labels to
justifytheir ineptitude, and jons a group so they can fool
themselves they are real artists.

And I could think of two worse kinfd of people: HR personnel and Vapers. Some of my friends work as HR people. But hell, these are the worst kind when it comes to asking applicants to go out of heir way and be on time at a particularinterview. And afterwards, these smug bitches won’t even spend a peso texcting or calling you that you, unfortunately didn’t get he job. Civility aside, wouldn’t if be more civil if yu can tell job hunters, hey, guy you just didn’t cut it for the slot. Vapers are worse! Their withdrawal from tobacco makes them arrogant and seem to think it’s their God given right to expel thick, pungent sweet vapors to someone’s face , just because their expensive vapes cost more than their average income per week. I loathe these people. Makes me wanna bitch slap them to their senses.

Someone I worked for recently called me an ungrateful, thick-
faced, no-good [insert all expletives you can think of] and I
think had my name on police blotter, or so I was told. This prick
can’t manage his office, cannot make an appointment on
time, pays too little and all that while I do everything in and out
of the office short of wearing a skirt. Hell no, keep your stinking
job, I’d rather starve (of which I am currently doing) than be
the whipping boy for a firm that has no direction.

I could be rude, crude, nasty and crass to other people.

But I won’t step to their level of arrogance.

Keep looking down on us.

Remember when you fall, we are there to see you drop.

Oh I forgot.

I could be as basty as I wannna be.

I dropped out of college.

I’m an unecucated scoundrel. What’s your excuse?