Monday, February 22, 2010


HAVE YOU NOTICED Cebu City's map or have tried walking upon its city streets or, better still, have ridden around the suburbs of this Queen City of the South? Chances are you would see street names where you would least expected it or getting curious as to how city planners of the past label such streets in a roughshod manner? Sometimes, if not, most of the time, you'll get confused.

Take for example V. Gullas Street. It starts from M.J. Cuenco Avenue infront of the Cebu State College of Science and Technology and ends at Legaspi Street near Ultra Vistarama Theater where, on the same straight route where Mabolo public utility jitneys ply, Manalili Street takes the rest of the length up to Calderon Street in Carbon Market. This is a contiguous road yet two street names are sharing it. Likewise the wide P. del Rosario Street and Imus Street, with the former cut dead at D. Jakosalem Street to give space to the shorter Imus. And why honor Imus? What part of the city's history did that name is being given importance of?

Legaspi Street, on the other hand, which starts from M.J. Cuenco Avenue near Plaza Independencia is abruptly stopped at Colon Street in Oriente Theater where, Pelaez Street takes up the rest of the conterminous downtown by-way starting from Cinema Theater. If you look at the city map only Legaspi is fixed like this whereas parallel streets crossing Colon are exempt like D. Jakosalem, Osmeña Boulevard, Leon Kilat Street, Panganiban Street, Climaco Street and Mabini Street.

In that same stretch and principle, the former city administrators liked to add the word “Extension” to the same immediate expanse of these city streets, taking for example, T. Padilla Street, Juan Luna Avenue and Gen. Maxilom Avenue where, by the time they cross east of M.J. Cuenco, they will have an Extension or Ext. appendage. And that's not all. They also love to append “Extension” to streets where they are not related contiguously or a half kilometer away.

Three classic examples are Legaspi Street whose extension is located running along the northern length of Plaza Independencia but its southernmost sidewalk is FIVE meters away from the main street's northernmost curb if you draw a straight line; Junquera Street where the location of its extension is running parallel near to it starting from R. Landon Street and linking at F. Ramos Street and the third are a couple of the mother of all extension-naming mock-ups – V. Gullas Street and Gen. Echavez Street.

The extension of V. Gullas is located a block away starting from Serging Osmeña Boulevard crossing Arellano Boulevard and M. L. Quezon Boulevard before ending at the Pier 2 waterfront! In the Gen. Echavez case, its extension is located deep within the interior of Barangay Lorega - a block away - making a loop that start and end at Gen. Lorega Street and another extension which start at D. Jakosalem Street running infront of the F. Ramos Supermarket and end at F. Ramos Street – two blocks away!

Conditions such as these are so common if you view any city map of Cebu. The urban planning is so confusing and full of many inconsistencies in street markings and naming. You wouldn't find any of these anywhere else, not even the most topsy-turvy places in the world. I have grown accustomed to these all and I am proud of my city and, for me, this is a unique trait. If you can make it here in Cebu then you are alright anywhere else you will go.

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer.

Monday, February 15, 2010

BABAG TO NAPO TALES XXVI: Maretzel & the Bytebandit

THIS IS MY THIRD Sunday this month on the trails of Napo to Mount Babag. Today is September 27, 2009 and the bytebandit – Vince Belicano – and Maretzel "Ching-ching" Altar are with me. I opted to tell our tale here in images.

The bytebandit and Ching-ching crossing the Sapangdaku River

This is the start of the trail to Mt. Babag.

The Napo Main Trail

The trail from Napo to Busan.

Above one of the Sapangdaku River tributary

There are several of these small dry tributaries that comes alive during rain.

Taking a rest below a big mango tree

This is the old resting place during my early days here.

The Trailhawk

The home team captain.

Down came a herd of goats

We were dislodged from the mango tree by the arrival of the goats.

A long line of goats

The goats never cared about trail courtesy and be sure that you are ahead of them.

The bytebandit contemplating on the second river crossing

This is the end of the Napo Main Trail and the start of the Kahugan and Busan Trails.

My Hi-Tec shoe in action

Given to me last year by Glenn Domingo, it is a sturdy

pair of shoes that complement my active lifestyle.

Up the Busan Trail

The trail passes by small flower plantations and an upland community

in Sitio Busan until it reaches the house of Manwel Roble.

Resting in “Mango Avenue”

So-called for its long line of ancient mangoes lining the trail.

Stopping to feel the caress of the cool breeze

Ching-ching and the bytebandit enjoy a good moment.

Ching-ching enjoy the dance of the bamboo poles and leaves

It is a refreshing site above a ridge exposed to the wind as it coaxed

a grove of bamboo to sway and bend to the caress of the cool breeze.

...if you could only hear the music...of Nature.”

The sound of nature at its finest moment is so relaxing

turning a tiring activity into one that is so enjoyable.

Climbing the Babag East Ridge Pass

After a quality hour at Manwel Roble's place wherein we ate our

packed lunch and later savoring a bunch of young coconut water

and its soft meat.

Ching-ching trailing the bytebandit

The bytebandit churns a fast pace but Ching-ching

puts a good face and took all in stride.

The bytebandit and Ching-ching savoring another round of cool breeze

Another rest at an exposed ridge. The sun remained hidden for the

whole day while the breeze kept up a consistent concerto.

Down to Napo along the Kahugan Trail

The second most famous trail here. This is where I do trail running.

My training load

My black Baikal backpack contained an 11-mm 17-meter kernmantle

rope, my old Camping Gaz stove, my new Bulin stove, a half-full

Nalgene water bottle, a red plastic container, an M&M can used as

container for the old stove, safety matches and two green coconuts.

Oh, the pair of dirty Merell sandals belonged to Boy Toledo

who just shared it here for posterity.

(After the hike, I came just in time when Boy T and Ernie Salomon opened the first of many bottles of San Miguel Beer Grande and Red Horse Strong Beer in our usual hang-out along V. Rama Avenue.)

Photos taken by Nokia 3650 2.0 megapixels camera

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer

Monday, February 8, 2010


WE WERE IN A celebratory mood as we drove from Toledo City down to Pinamungajan town on the west coast of Cebu in the morning of October 14, 2009. Eddie Alberca drove the white Suzuki Every220 and Noel Ronquillo sat beside him. Meanwhile, I have all the spaces in the back seat. Willy Sulib, drove from behind us on board his motorcycle.  

It is a fine Thursday morning even when the clouds were wispy gray and a promise of rain tingled the senses. Soon enough, it rained, drenching Willy following us. The wind slapped hard the windshields and visibility became blurred as the water cascaded on the glass.

We were cruising slowly along the seaside road of Cabiangon in Pinamungajan when we caught sight of fishermen unloading their net from a beached small fishing vessel. By this time, the rains had already stopped. Women and children milled around the blissful activity and joined the fishermen in picking their catch.

Curious, I asked Eddie to stop the mini-van and I went down from the vehicle into the pavement and from the breakwater wall I jumped five feet below into the soft sand of the narrow strip of beach. I came nearer and, instantly, my gastronomic juices came alive when I saw the glints of the tiny scales of the freshly-caught anchovies.

Then and there, I “begged” to have a part of their catch and, after a very brief haggling, I was able to tow away a kilo-and-a-half of the fresh little fish to the direction of my waiting miniature van with two grinning faces waiting inside. This done, after I paid just a hundred pesos (almost $2) for it. Not bad for a few minute's “work”!

Up ahead, we decided to stop by at our favorite watering hole in this part of the province. Instantly, Noel and Willy de-scaled and de-boned the anchovies by washing it first with fresh water while Eddie mixed vinegar, onions, garlic and pepper. The anchovies will then be eaten raw after dipping it in the “reinforced” vinegar and, what do you know, we will taste a sample of heaven. In Japan, they call this sashimi but here we call it simply as kinilaw. Minus the wasabi, of course.

On the other hand, I found a half-gallon of bahalina – a native concoction made from the sap of a coconut tree and fermented for a few days to produce a strong drink with a very tangy taste. To make it compatible with the tongue, I mixed one part of it with another part of a locally-made soda drink – Jaz Cola. “J & B”, that's what people call this drink. Short for “Jaz Cola and bahalina”! (Laughing)

We ate, we drank and we talked; making most of our free time; enjoying the good fortune that the day have heaped upon Willy and all the efforts that Eddie, Noel and I have accomplished after more than a year of trying. It is a good day indeed and it is a good time to celebrate.

Wanna try kinilaw and “J & B”?

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer

Monday, February 1, 2010


I GOT SICK today. It is Saturday, January 23, 2010. I have been vacillating in my bed if I will go to work today or not. Wife Vilma is already up and went to the market minutes ago to buy something for breakfast. Youngest son, Cherokee, is feeding his pigeons while grandsons Jarod and little Gabriel are busy perfecting their Navy SEAL skills.

A knock on the door send the duo scurrying towards there for the privilege of opening it first. My neighbor, Odoy, came with another guy and introduced me to him. Oh, a TV technician. Oh, yes, I did have a TV set that is in need of servicing. It had lain idle since June 2009 when it conked out. Trust the wife, she arranged this.

Jarod and Gabe are the peskiest little homo sapiens in my house. They raise your blood pressure often and make your throat horsy hoarse. Jarod is eight and a first grader at the University of Southern Philippines Mabini campus while Gabriel is four and still learning the ropes of proper home behavior and the tricks to evade the spanking clothe hanger.

As the TV was set down and its back cover removed, the ruckus created earlier by these two denizens died down and their pair of eyes were now glued to the innards of the TV. Oh, silence, at last. My home instantly became a monastery at that early hour and it boded well for my fast recovery from the flu.

After a few minutes, the technician smilingly showed a busted part from my dead TV like a dentist would have done to an extracted bad molar. Then he went outside for a while to produce a workable spare from an electronics store and, after tinkering with a soldering iron, my Sharp 21-inch flat-screen TV buzzed to life.

Wait...there's more!

My wife shoved our defective portable DVD player to the technician and, in just a couple of minutes, it followed the fortune of my TV. I parted just 500 pesos for the TV repair and 50 pesos for the spare part plus a hundred pesos for the DVD player. It would have cost me more if I brought the TV to a service center plus taxi fare and porterage.

By now, Jarod and Gabro are sitting infront of the TV set watching Spongebob. And they were very silent...and so dead serious. My eldest son, Gringo, just woke up and came down from his room upstairs and watched a pirated Avatar movie on the DVD player and the duo's attention were now divided between Spongebob and Avatar and the latter won.

Meanwhile, my heart swelled with joy and my flu slowly dispersed from my body system. It gave me strength and I rose from my sick bed and ready myself to dress and work for a half-day. Strangely, my movements up and down my house and all around were now unobstructed which I have not had experienced in about six months. The reason: Gabro snubbed me for the Avatar movie.

Everybody were very busy with something yet my home is silent except for the wee voices from the player's little speaker and the sound of the ladle scraping the pan as my wife cooked pancit bam-e, a local pasta. How long would the TV and DVD player last? I am tired of raising my voice trying to rein in little Gabe and Jarod from outward mischief.

Perchance, I could spare a few hundred pesos for the expected increase in electrical consumption brought about by the reconnection of the TV set to the outlet provided I will achieve household peace. Ha! From the corner of my eye, I saw Gabe eyeing me from the corner of his eye, perhaps, remembering how he would badger me every morning for a peso. I believe the sun will always shine on TV.

Meanwhile, Vilma and I ate the bam-e she cooked and I love the way she cooked it without those MSGs. By habit, I rarely eat breakfast but, today, I will break this morning's fast. Left at 11:30 AM and I feel warm.

Document done in OpenOffice 3.1 Writer