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 […]
May 15, 2014

SUN.STAR | Those Women, Mt. Talinis and Jeanette

She arrived. She positioned her backpack beside her. It was almost as tall as her and perhaps as heavy. This would be our second climb together, and somehow, I expected her bag would be as interesting as the one she brought to Kan-Irag. About 30 meters from the jump-off, her nostrils flared from exhaustion. We all panted, but her huffs were more audible. Always, the start is the most arduous. “Pwede mag-weight distribution ta? (Can we have a weight distribution?),” I suggested. There were six of us: two of us were women, three men, and one young capable guide. Obliged […]
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 […]