One afternoon we drank Redhorse beer from plastic bags using plastic straws

After almost two years, I met him again three afternoons ago. I just finished with my writing class when I saw him waiting for something or somebody outside the library. He seemed not to have changed a bit. He was wearing the same black plastic rimmed eye glasses I remember he has been wearing six years ago when I first met him at UP.

He was then a senior BS Bio student; I was at that time a confused BS Bio freshman who was about to quit college because of another Math 17 (Algebra and Trigonometry) exam of which I failed, twice in a row. Instead of studying and doing practice tests, I was at the library that time reading the Diary of Franz Kafka edited by Max Brod. He approached me and asked about the multi-colored tubao I was wearing around my neck. He pointed out, in our first meeting, how I was so desperate in differentiating myself from the rest of the crowd by donning that dreadful piece of fabric like a noose. His nerve intimidated me. However, it did not occur to me to question why he was wearing a hat made from nipa grass which also looked funny on him. I saw him around the campus indifferently walking as if it was but natural to wear that strange-looking hat. And there he was, commenting on my tubao which I must admit, imbued on me a character of a jokester.

For me then, he was the most radical, the weirdest, and the most original student at UP. He set the highest bar on how far one can get in order to separate oneself from the brain-deadening crowd. He introduced me to the philosophies of Marx without him being a Marxist; to the value of a revolution that will change the entire Filipino mindset, but mind you, this revolution is mired with ironies as, according to him, the only necessary participant in this revolution is himself.

He is three years my senior but finished his bachelor’s degree in 2009 after changing his thesis several times, from the behavior of drones during mating, to some experiments on mud crab, and finally settling with something which he dubbed as groundbreaking—salinity tolerance of the larval stage of two species of crabs.

And three afternoons, after not having seen each other for almost two years, instead of the perfunctory questions about what adventures each has gone through during those years, we opted to forgo this part and decided to dive head on and tackle issues of import. We had a very long unplanned, almost meandering conversation about my angst and but mostly about his compulsion, no obsession, in transforming this world into a place for intellectuals. It has always been how he wanted it to become.

He’s considering the ‘public clamor’ for him to run for the highest office in the land; after all he is qualified, he said. He was so fiery while delivering his speeches. I felt like an insignificant mortal walking beside the next president of the country. Only to realize rather late that he’s only 27.

He ran for Barangay Captain in his hometown of Bugasong, Antique. Not counting the votes he got from himself (of course), his parent, and two siblings, he got two additional votes, which gave him seven votes, out of the 470 total population of his barangay. He did not view this defeat a failure. In fact he was happy because had he won in that election, he wouldn’t have finished university. Aside from being the most radical, the weirdest, and the most original, he’s also the most disposed to take the most favorable view of things. A true-blue optimist.

We walked under the intense afternoon sun to my favorite place famous for its batchoy and coconut water, where my best friend and I used to frequent during college. Unfortunately, it closed a year ago and in its place now stands a furniture shop. So in lieu, I invited him to drink softdrinks at OMPs, a local bar that faces the university entrance. But a bottle of cold Redhorse beer was more tempting than anything. He only gave me a smile when I asked the woman at the counter to pour the contents into plastic bags and asked for plastic straws.

Nothing beats a carefree afternoon spent conversing with an old friend, walking our way to an undetermined direction, and drinking cold beer from plastic bags and sipped the alcoholic content using plastic straws. This while the sun is radiating heat in full glory overhead.

Rodelo’s one of those few people I’ve met who has remained faithful to his identity, who has held on to what he has believed when he was younger, who has truly gone against the current of general hysteria and calming boredom.

Making me so envious, because I can never be like him.

23 thoughts on “One afternoon we drank Redhorse beer from plastic bags using plastic straws”

  1. wow…as in wow! pidoy and i were classmates coz we both took broadcasting when we were 1st year in UP…but then i decided to shift to biology coz i plan to enter med school…but the reason why pidoy also shifted to bio was his belief that it could be course that would best suit his intellectual capacity….whew! i remembered those times when he would really stand up for his beliefs…piss off some of our professors…pidoy is always in a defensive mode when attending class…i do admire you! good luck on your endeavors!

    1. wala pa siya facebook. he needs to have a good internet presence in order for him to wage a successful campaign.

  2. guys may ara kamo email maemail ko tani sa iya naging classmate na kami tag broadcast communication pa siya… kung sino ang may ara e-mail of him please email me na lng.
    rodelo if you are dropping by in this site email k aman da. c juvy ambot lang kung makilala mo pa ko… dugay nako ng-out UPV e.

  3. Hi Rodel…I know what you aspire for and what you want to do in your life…just do what you think is good and can benefit humanity…hehehe…
    Yes, I am with you… excited to know your inventions, though that may sound weird to some, pero go for it if you think ma maayo na, after all, it is you who knows best what you’re inventing.

  4. I was teary-eyed after reading what you have written about me as well as the comments of my friends and batchmates. you have written what is essentially true except that i am only 25 this year, and with regards to votes I only have five instead of seven . I was told by geimbo about this last night. Knowing that my friends still admire me for what I am and believed on what i am capable of doing makes me more confident about myself. Thanks a lot!

    1. Basta ikaw, del, wala gid kaso. I wish you all the best. A lot of people look up to you because you have remained true to yourself.

  5. whoah! ginhilot and masahe ko ni pidoy and nag ayo ako hehehe…yeah pidoy really is one of the very few whos not ashamed of what he is no matter how and what people react about his so-called weirdness and all…

  6. he never pursued those topics; he actually gave me the reasons but i might not have been actively listening. i didn’t realize amo ni gali kadamo friends si rodelo.

  7. so… wala gd gale na push through ang “how bees die in pairs” or “increasing pigs receptivity when fed with kuhol”.. haaayy.. pidoy will always be a part of my up life.. partners in zoo lab and physics lab.. and in those times he never failed to show his oddness and absurdity..
    he’s ideals are entirely different from ours, like it was almost out of this world, but well, pidoy is odd, and is consistent on being one.. i thought my amazement on him would stop right there in up, but i was mistaken.. up until now, he never fails to intrigue me..
    the weird, odd mr rodelo pidoy..

  8. Uy, thanks a lot for having this in your facebook. He’s a good friend, and I just thought of writing about him. Thanks for reading.

  9. I was surprised when i received some email alerts from facebook friends regarding sa article kay rodel. I and rodel were close friends kay upod na kami sa saquian boarding house and I am one of those who convinced him to shift to BS Biology program…

    The last time we met, i think, 2 or three months ago here at SEAFDEC, when he was still working with Maám Gilma Tayo…he is still the same Rodelo that I met sa UP…

    He is the kind of person who takes a path that few people (or non at all) dares to take…

    Rodel…you’re the man!

    1. Giembo, musta kna?diin n si rodelo sbng? That resilience soul who mademy Saquian days worth remembering…extend my bloody regarda to him…

  10. is he really serious about his political plans?

    the one and only Pidoy! a true UP classic!

    so he finally settled with crabs for his thesis?! that is something we both have in common! ma’am Baylon, anyone? LOL

    now i’m missing UP..=/

  11. i met him last friday, and said he’s leaving for manila this week to effect the change he wanted to see in the philippines. why don’t you meet him there?

  12. never talked to this guy but he is famous or rather infamous…he may not know it but he is sikat….. i salute him for being different and not being afraid to show it…..

  13. Yes, good luck to our good friend.

    Naremember ta ka nang ba, you were the clovers’ gov during my first year. Thanks for passing by.

  14. we really thought that he graduated last year…sbong lang gle na year? I really agree on your statement that Pidoy is the most radical, the weirdest, and the most original student at UP. Being one of his batchmate in BIO, i have seen Pidoy at his best, worst and weirdest forms especially during our Field Biology trips. i heard he is taking it to the next level in politics. Good Luck to Pidoy!

  15. nagkitaay man kami ni pidoy sa main building kang nagbakal kami supplies sa central store. wara tana ti kalo, pero parehas kami naka tsinelas. hindi ko gid malipatan nga linya na: knowledge is not power, action is power. (nakasulat sa papel nga laminated kag ginsab-it sa bulletin board kang AS. . ‘steg pidoy. hehe

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