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Reminiscing the Past Year

Three posts in one day? Me? I must be setting a new record!

Well, maybe not. But since this is the first day of my last full week here in Cagayan de Oro, it felt like a good time to post some photos and reminisce. After all, tomorrow's Monday, and the gods of Advibe Media felt good enough to drop two more atomic bombs on my own personal Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which means that unless some miracle happens, I'll be stressed out by the end of the day for the next week.

Anyway. Let's begin our trip down last year with photos from my village, the aptly named Buena Vista Village in Baranggay Patag, Cagayan de Oro.

While this isn't exactly my street, Pearl Avenue is the one main street within the village. The avenue starts from the highway, where you will be greeted by an empty lot that always, for some reason, smells like someone had been smoking marijuana in it. The empty lot faces this pretty big townhouse and this small sari-sari store called Eddie's Place, where my former labandera lives. Further down the road, you'll run into the Opus Dei-run Kitanglad Study Center on your right, which is actually an empty villa that numeraries from Cebu take care of once every two weeks - this is usually during the weekends. I spent my second week in the city at the center, where my companions were the night guard Ponce, and the caretaker, Kuya Toto Oladria. Back when I still smoked, I shared a lot of stories with these two. Now, I see them once in a while, but since the pad where I live in is further into the village, I rarely get to spend much time with those two. I must drop by with a bottle of Tanduay one of these days.

This stretch of road you see on the right is the highway just outside my village. The damn thing overlooks a series of rice paddies down the mountainside, and in the morning, when the dew is just setting in, the sunrise can be pretty breathtaking. This section is at the foot of the mountain, so you won't see much. However, if you shift the view a little bit more to the right . . . .

. . . you'll see this little hole in the wall. The sign's too small to be visible from this shot, but this humble little shack is Bob's House of Bulalo, the legendary "Home of Creamy Shake in Town." Yes, the grammar is horrible, I know. But Mr. Bob, the owner of this place and my personal bartender of sorts, is an impressive cook, and sneers at the Batanguenyo method of cooking bulalo with corn kernels. The place is something like Manila's own Barrio Fiesta, except that you can get bowls of hot bulalo with rice for thirty-eight pesos here, and a bottle of ice-cold pale pilsen is twenty five pesos. And in case you were wondering, yes. This place also serves one of the best-tasting fruit shakes I have ever had in my entire life.

Pardon the miniscule thumbnails - just click on them for a better view. These are the front door, lobby, and the reception room, respectively, of the company I work for, Stickymedia Solutions Incorporated. The office can be found at the Merrel II building in downtown Divisoria, within spitting distance of all the bloody cabarets within the city, as well as the VIP Hotel, which was once a high-class place but has now succumbed to the pull of the economy, and now serves as the hub for majority of the pimps within downtown CdO. The office is filled with some of the biggest geeks I have ever had the pleasure of encountering; the CEO has a Naruto figurine sitting on his desk's terminal. Within the office you can find empty Herbalife canisters (thanks to Riza Rodano, the local Herbalife pusher), FHM Magazines, porn galore, an unused microwave and coffee maker (we never seem to have coffee beans, and yet the management insists on keeping that monster within the premises), and, depending on the season or the event, bags of lanzones and an ice chest full of empty beer bottles. I kid you not.

When it's time for dinner, there are myriad choices within Divisoria alone. JRJ Fried Chicken, for one, is a pretty popular choice. Imagine dining on Kentucky fried chicken-style chicken fresh from the vats, getting your choice cutlet of chicken (because you choose the slice you want to eat from a heap of chicken cuts like the photo to the right). You then eat them with your hands - cutlery is nonexistent in almost all JRJ branches - from basket plates covered with a banana leaf. The best part is the cost; each JRJ fried chicken costs anywhere from sixteen to eighteen pesos (the eighteen peso variant can only be found in the airconditioned JRJ outlet within Divisoria), while cups of rice range from three to five pesos. I tell you, this joint is the fastest, most delicious way to clogging your heart valves.

All the grease you can handle for forty-two clams.

This man to the right is John Pimentel, also known in some circles as Shazbot, within the BOTW team as Optimus Pimps, and recently - since the bastard got married and acquired for himself a ring - the Pimp Lantern. I call him Keannu Ribs. He is, without a doubt, one of the biggest geeks I know, and is currently my artist for a webcomic called Continuum because he knows he's a badass and that's reason enough for me to call him to arms. This guy is the only other writer I deem as my peer within the company (Lia is an exception because she handles the payroll), and helped make my stay here a whole lot more enjoyable.

The only qualm I have with this guy is the fact that he is a total wuss when it comes to alcohol. The first time I dragged his sorry ass out drinking, the guy shrivelled after the first pitcher of gin-pomelo and used his wife (back then, Jovie was his girlfriend) as an excuse to go home and fumigate his stomach. He never hears the end of it from me.

This guy pictured below is Soren "Kabong" Chavez, the resident corrupted gretchin of BOTW. He is rapidly expanding thanks to his introduction to beer courtesy of me, is a geek of such magnitude second only to John Pimps, and is the victim of a rather surprisingly deprived childhood, having never witnessed shows such as Batibot, Bioman, Thundercats, Silverhawks, Dino Riders, Voltron, Voltes V, Centurions, Tiger Shark, Karate Kat, Street Frogs, Gummi Bears, Mazinger Z, and a whole gamut of other cartoons that people of my generation should have immersed themselves in, and is a pushover. This guy is a more stolid drinker than John Pimps, but this other friend of ours, Joseph Javier (the only guy I know who competed in a local vale-tudo martial arts match), outdrinks him.

We call him the lapdog. I think we were threatening to mangle his penis in this shot.

This man on the left is Gabriel Medina. Just when I was despairing that everybody I went drinking with couldn't go the mile with me whenever I felt like getting wasted something awful, this guy pops up. He's thirty-seven years old, more than a decade my senior, and has a nasty stutter, but the man's worth his weight in gold. I've never encountered such a master artist (he beats even you, Bruce), and I am proud to say that he is now collaborating with me on a long-slumbering project. This guy once did a one-man show composed of ten paintings - ten of which he did from scratch within the time span of a month. A month! Portrait-sized paintings within a month! He finished a cross-hatching diagram bust of a dark-skinned character wearing a dark shirt within ten minutes! Ten bloody minutes! The man is a genius! And he can drink one small bottle of gin all by himself! I can't believe he has to live all the way here in the middle of nowhere.

He also happens to have a large collection of salakots. He even has a pair that are of the exact same design as the ones my lolo left behind. Here is a photo of me with one of the said hats. If you'll notice the furniture at the back, you'll see a series of paintings; those are just some of Gabby's works that can be found throughout their home.

Gabby also has a pair of Altec Lansing speakers. If, within the limited time alloted to me within this city, I catch him unawares and drunk, those speakers shall vanish from his house, this city, this part of the country forever.

Okay, Gab, I'm kidding.

Anyway. That's pretty much most of the things worth mentioning about my life within the loving - and sometimes, boring - arms of Cagayan de Oro. I'd love to visit this place once in a while, since it
is really beautiful, and I've made a lot of pretty fascinating friends here. But I wouldn't want to live here for very long. :P I leave you all with one of the earliest photos I took within the city: an afternoon scene in the Park Cafe.

The Park Cafe. Where beautious bodies hang out during weekends, for some reason.


  1. Wait, wait. So that's your M.O.? Getting people drunk as a gully dwarf and stealing their PC speakers? :)) Glad to know you're now drinking with Gabsmeds; now my X-530s are safe at last.. >:)


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