Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Googling Gogoling

I can't resist that title. Years ago, CNN featured a woman named Dot Comb and how her life changed because of that appropriately IT name. Abe Gogoling is a regular bar habitue in Baguio because he is a darts player. A damn good one because when i googled "Gogoling," that is one of the few entries on him. You can just see his hands and how smooth his followthrough. He is also a computer instructor at the STI Baguio, which is my mother's neighbor. He is an IT instructor even before "Google" was conceived so it's perfect material for a news story. Anyway, Gogoling is also back in the news because he topped a national Scrabble tournament in Baguio. It is the first time that a Baguio boy won such tournament. Scrabble in Baguio had a surge because of my friend Pigeon Lobien. Yes, Pigeon is his name. He used to work for "Skyland News" so he is pretty sick of the "Skyland Pigeon" joke. Pigeon is also a good darts player but sometimes he is pikon and not as consistent as Gogoling. Pigeon was hooked (different meaning for Scrabble players) and went on a crusade to teach Scrabble to young students. He also organized Scrabble tournaments here in Baguio and edits Lexico, which is the official organ (different meaning for Las Pinas boys) of the Baguio Benguet Scrabble Tsu-Tsu. Lobien placed sixth in the tournament that Gogoling topped.

You know my story is about something else. Last week, an old friend from the US of A came home and brought her classmate. The classmate brought her husband who has not been to the Philippines for 30 years. Evelyn B (my friend) called up all her classmates in UP and they set an Ilocos trip. I am not a classmate (maybe a dozen years younger or more but let us not rub that in) but I was set to plan the Vigan and Santiago Cove legs. So last week, despite three screaming deadlines, I joined them. Now Manny Pasetes (the guy who was not home for 30 years) had a grandpa who was a tobacco trader in Bacnotan, La Union. Manny wanted to see Bacnotan (he had never been there) and perhaps have a photo in front of the church or something. Manny is an IT guy back in California and was glad that Philippines is also making leaps in the IT field. He would notice a transmission tower along the way and would be very happy. He was always talking of "internet capability" of the places we passed by. He dreamt of starting an Internet cafe in Evelyn's backwater village named Tarugtog. We reached Bacnotan at about 12:30 and when we went to the Church and Municipal Hall. There was one official there having a siesta. He woke up and had a little conversation with Manny who mentioned that he is a Pasetes. Thsi man then lit up and said, you must be from Nangatiran! He said that 40 percent of the Pacetes (Pasetes? Pacetes? Sim sim) are there. Maybe the 60 percent migrated to the US. So he sketched a map for us and then later guided us to the place. Nangatiran is about five kilometers away. He texted the barangay chairman who is a Pacetes and when we came there were about six women waiting for us. There were awkward moments but we were glad that Manny finally found his hometown. There was even one relative who rushed out of the ricefield, muddied slippers and all, to meet his cousin.

"Roots," my brother (the classmate of Evelyn) said, recalling Kunta Kinte of that Alex Haley's book and miniseries. Then DomC added, "Ro-ot" which means "grass." Ok, that is why when you say grassroots, an Ilocano would say "redundant."

"Well, Evelyn, you can't google this," I said. This, meaning the Ilocano way of finding connections to everything.

The mystery official who made the reunion possible helped us because we came from Baguio. He is related to Bishop Salgado who used to be our bishop in Baguio and now in Vigan where the group went.


Blogger Rizalist said...

I shall never forget the day, just a few years ago, when having escaped the awful miasma of Manila, and fled to the stone-cold quiet of Sagada (so I could hear my hear my heart beating), I turned some corner near the square, and was stunned to find the little Sagada boys playing Counterstrike and acting pretty much like younguns anywhere. I wsa both saddened and overjoyed. This was even before they turned the Bontoc cell site antenna slightly to serve Sagada, though cellphones as you know are much in use there now.

Until this incident, Sagada has had America in its bosom for a hundred years, yet one might not have known it. Aklay the Baker complains he cannot get anyone to bake croissants much as he tries to reveal its secrets to them...he sez they just prefer Tastee. And the butcher fled. Yet the buses from Baguio come with their incredible regularity, daily surviving the trek along the Halsema. Thrice upon a time, twenty pounds ago, I actually mountain biked from Baguio to Sagada. Then I knew how dangerously close the 21st century was coming to the Kankanaey and Ibalois . Will they shrug it off too? Do they know something we don't?

7:51 AM  

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