Friday, March 16, 2012


I CALL THIS INDUSTRIAL city north of Metro Cebu as “Steely Danao”.  Steely Danao of course is Danao City, 33 kilometers from where I write.  The word “steely” that I imply do not refer to the machinery that run the industries and commerce there but of the material that makes this city famous for: gun steel for their underground gun-making industry.

It's been a while that I have not visited my friends there, especially “Mr. and Mrs. Fine”, who really are a nice couple and who are very accommodating.  Mr. Fine has a shop that specializes with gun steel.  No he does not make guns, rather he fine-tune these and improve its appearance by bluing.

I go to him whenever my friends request me to have their handguns repaired, reconfigured or re-blued.  Last time I was there was on July 21, 2010 and I even featured this last meeting in this blog titled Early Dinner at Steely Danao.

Today, December 30, 2011, I am going there with my Camp Red buddies, Glenn Pestaño and Raymund Panganiban.  No, we are not going there to have guns repaired, reconfigured or re-blued.  We are trying our best to be Santa Claus and bring goodwill and happiness to their humble abode and, at the same time, induce Mr. Fine to have a lively conversation. 

Me and Mr. Fine have known each other for almost twenty years and I could vouch of his good nature and trustworthiness which his peers are found lacking.  I wanted to have Mr. Fine's shop as one of the places where international visitors would stop over if ever the International Outlaw Bushcraft Gathering would be realized. 

When we arrive, I saw Mr. Fine doing work on his shop buffering a KG-9 magazine to a shiny sheen preparatory to immersing these in his boiling “tub” of a sinister-looking chemical mixture of lye and hydrochloric acid.  He covers half his face to protect himself from fine dust and looks like Mad Wolf (aka Rodderick Scout) of Outdoor Skills.  Hahaha...

His son and assistant, “Mr. Coarse”, is not around.  Mr. Fine says gun business had been difficult and a few buyers come and Mr. Coarse had to help both ends meet by working in a construction job.  It only picked up in late December though.  I saw a stack of empty revolver frames on one side and disassembled cylinders and other parts on another side placed inside little boxes per set.  A set of disassembled pistols and a submachine gun are among those.

Anyway, I bring a box of ham for them and Mrs. Fine jumped up and down with delight.  Hahaha...  Since it is almost 12:00 noon, I slip a bill to Mrs. Fine and requested her to buy us raw fish, pork meat, rice and a gallon of fresh coconut wine locally known as “tuba”.  We intend to stay for the rest of the day and we could afford a late late lunch.

Raymund gets busy with his DSLR camera while Glenn begins exchanging information with Mr. Fine.  Me, I just listened and join the talk when I feel I have to and help Raymund with the picture-taking.  Here and there where free ranging fowls and their chicks and a lot of ducks.

The water apple tree begins to bear fruit while the papaya is full of huge fruits hanging all over its top trunk.  An Indian mulberry tree beside the shack have grown tall now while the jackfruit and mango trees remained green and healthy amidst a sprawling garden of Malabar nightshades, sweet potatoes, swamp radish, eggplants, pepper, gumbos, lemon grass, horse radish, sweet basil and cantaloupe.

Meanwhile, Glenn and Raymund decide to tour more of Danao by going in the hinterlands where the real underground gun-making shops are found.  Mrs. Fine arrive and I help myself with glass after glass of a fresh gallon of tuba which tastes sweet.  Amidst all that, Mrs. Fine's daughter help in starting a fire for the pork meat. 

At exactly two in the afternoon, the duo returned and the meal is served, although late.  Grilled pork, pork-ribs-and-cabbage soup and raw fish with spiced-vinegar-and-coconut-milk mix were the viands and everyone help themselves including neighbors who, by chance, have business with Mr. Fine.

The coconut wine served its purpose well as it helped in digesting the food and added more animation to the conversation.  Camp Red[1] is a repository of country lore and the more we collect, the more it will give value to our existence when the SHTF[2] time comes.

After a couple hours of talk, we decide that we have to go back to the big city.  We take a short walk to the highway and ride a mini-bus coming from Carmen town for Cebu.  We arrive at our destination at 5:30 PM whereby Raymund decide to walk to SM City while Glenn and I ride a jitney for the downtown area.

It is another good and productive day for Camp Red and a good boding for Mr. and Mrs. Fine.  Happy New Year, my dear readers!

Document done in Libre Office

[1]A Cebu-based outdoor group specializing in bushcraft and survival and the only one of its kind in the country south of Subic Bay.
[2]Shit Hits The Fan.  Standard word acronyms used by bushcrafters and survivalists when something goes wrong.

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