September 14, 2014

DOWN SOUTH | Capul Island |Gimata, the Word that Stays

This essay appeared on my travel column DOWN SOUTH with a different title,  ‘Gintama’ or new moon: The pleasures of Capul and its dialect, on September 6, 2014. Text and photos by Jona Branzuela Bering | Lifestyle Section, InterAksyon “Lagas” was the only word I understood.  I was walking with three girls fresh from high school to the lighthouse and we met a boy on a motorbike. I assumed he was their classmate. He asked a question to the girls, which they answered but all I could catch was the word “lagas.” They must be talking about me. Lagas, back at […]
August 18, 2014

RAPPLER | Tales of a City Walker

This essay, Tales of a City Walker, first appeared on Rappler.com. Text and photos by Jona Branzuela Bering Nobody warned a foreign friend about the gay hookers at Mango Avenue who targeted and chased foreign tourists. “I would never go back there. Just plain ewww,” he could not stress that enough.  I wonder which one chased him viciously. Working by Mango for more than five years now, these resident gay prostitutes in their short shorts and 5-inch wedges and I sometimes exchanged his and hellos. Some would pretend nonchalance, others would smile when I complimented their look for the night, […]
July 3, 2014

Sun.Star | The Flowering Tree That Nobody Knows

Round and nothing short of grand, the moon lit our way to the hundreds of stilt houses outlining the coast of Busuanga. Rigor—the young Tagbanua I met at the entrance of Baracuda—guided me through the pathways and alleys that got narrower after several turns. Busuanga’s islandness is different from that of Siargao or Malapascua. Restaurants, coffee shops, bars interjected between small local stores, oddly positioned between a cement shop and a vulcanizing shop. Everything seemed scattered and in disarray. Everyone seemed comfortable with the indistinguishableness between the seeming luxury and utter poverty. Everything shared a place. Everything had its own […]
April 25, 2014

Ka Bino Guerrero: History on Foot

Ka Bino Guerrero: Profile Essay He wore a fusion of the new and the old: a white barong, jeans, and black shoes. With his cane and native hat, he looked like a gallant sage. When I asked him to find a position he was most comfortable, it did not take him long to find one. He squared his shoulders and looked contemplative with his gaze fixed somewhere. Balbino Pada “Ka Bino” Guerrero Jr. is a character: the kind that belongs to the streets of Cebu. Perhaps this is the very reason his name resonates in the tour guiding industry. He […]