I CALL HIM MAGUA. Magua is the character played by Wes Studi in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. We all know, from the movie, that Magua is a vicious and scheming leader of a faction of the Huron Indians who were the main enemies of the Mohican people and who met his end from the hands of Chingachgook, the father of Uncas, whom he slew earlier.
Hmmm, so much for that, anyway, the Magua I averred to is no other than my good friend – Julio Florentino Estillore III – fondly known as Bebut.
Okay! Right now, his face is flushed red and I bet he's clutching his computer mouse with such force that the gadget seemed to implode in his right hand as he read this article. No offense meant, but Bebut is the nicest guy around I met. You go ask Nonoy Edillor or Daddy Frank Cabigon. They will vouch for the tenacity and temerity of his hardheadedness. Haha....hoho....heheh. I'm rolling all over the floor right now laughing my heart out.
Jeez...the guy is an enigma even to himself! I gonna hand him that. But there is something in him that made him stand out from the others. He is a mule-headed son of Dagohoy. Sorry, 'bout that Magz. Hehehe. Together with Tony Cabigon, Dennis Legaspi, Atong Genato and Patrick Young we were, what you call the stray bullets of the early Cebu Mountaineering Society's fold of “young” members. From 1992 to 1997 we all shared tent space and cooking stove and all in between – including the proverbial rounds of the beer mug.
I tell you, nobody dared to question his dictatorial suggestions and commands. But I did. And so were Tony and Dennis and Patrick and Atong. I guess, he could not tell the one from the other. Or is he color blind or slightly deaf? Or maybe he is just half-dazed and developed a sense of taste for Tanduay Rum 5 Years that made him stoop low when we override him. Linking us to his favorite drink sure have a hypnotic effect upon him, we being his regular drinking companions. I guess.
Seriously speaking, I have been sharing the trail with Bebut for a long spell and it is common knowledge to anybody here at CeMS that we raced with each other and each time he end up second best. Yeah, that's true. C'mon Magz, be one of the guys. Don't say no when everybody said yes. Did I hear a YES? Right. We both were natural racers on the trail, we being disciples of the late Sir Joe Avellanosa. I may have the advantage of speed and strength over Bebut, but there's one virtue where he excelled – going the extra mile.
You know what, if there's anyone who will volunteer to backtrack and rescue somebody left behind, it is no other than Bebut. He will bring you back in one piece and carry ten 80-liter backpacks if need be, even your whole house. He could endure anything and anyone and stay late until the whole bottle runs its course and go empty. He LEADS and I will go where he will lead. Sadly, like me, we laid low from CeMS in the late '90s and pursue other personal interests.
Then I heard rumours about Bebut answering the Call.
He visited me in August 2002 and he confirmed the rumour. He is going to be a novitiate of the Order of Saint Benedict (OSB) and will go to the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. I could only afford a smile. Inside I felt elated knowing that there's someone who will fight for me upstairs. And he is very tenacious when he sits his mind on to something. That was the last time I saw of him and I missed him for a long long time.
Then I tracked him in his Friendster account and from there we exchanged emails and text messages and we met again in October 2008 at SM City. Over lunch we talked of many things, people and events that we missed. He is now a holy man and I could not entice or subject him to temptation of the worldly things that we used to do like drinking. I feel awkward facing my good friend who reminded me that he don't do those kind of things anymore. With a wink.
Oh, I almost forgot. He also called me Magua. Yes. Tit-for-tat. The Magua name doesn't fit to my good friend now that he is wearing a cassock. No matter, Bebut still deserve the name and it doesn't sting anymore to both of us. Call that “terms of endearment”. He, along with Dennis and Claribel Delgra, happen to be the godparents of my youngest son, Cherokee.
Bebut with 4-month old Cherokee
He is now back at the monastery in Bukidnon after taking a one-year leave. He will be celebrating his birthday come July 27.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY...MAGUA...THE HOLY ONE!
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer.