On February 10-11, 2018, I drove with Karis and Mau to Infanta, Quezon to celebrate Ricardo Prudencio’s 56th birthday. We were joined in another car by Arin, Emoi, Al, and Anna.
Ricardo is popularly known and fondly called in the Metropolitan Mountaineering Society (MMS) as Papa Ding. I met them when I joined MMS’s training for membership last year. Al aka Mar Alrey Jumarang joined MMS in 2007, Emoi aka Esmeraldo Dedicatoria in 2008, Anna Labao in 2009, Papa Ding and Arin aka Lino Desembrana Jr in 2001, Mau aka Maurice Romarate in 2013, and Tin aka Kristine Orlino, Karis aka Christabel Corpus and me last year (2017). Papa Ding, together with the rest of the MMS members, was always there to lift my spirit up when I was sick; he sent me video of him in the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) lab, where he worked as the Laboratory Technician II, Purified Cobra Anti-Venum, in his labgown to encourage me to keep on fighting and living. In the same outfit and in the same place, he shot his send-off video for my dystonia awareness and fundraising bike ride from Pasig to Pilar Capiz. He is also the star of MMS socials as he tells so many funny stories and jokes with his tandem Emoi and Al. He plays the guitar, too, and makes every gathering a joy to experience.
Lino aka Arin Desembrana contributed his goat and our master chef Emoi did his magic by transforming it into champene and adobong kambing.
We went straight to Papa Ding’s house on February 10 in Infanta, Quezon for lunch and met his 90-year-old mother whose memory was still sharp. She used a vocabulary that I never heard before so we needed Papa Ding to translate them.
Tin was already in Infanta as she attended another gathering.
After lunch, we proceeded to The Surfing Camp in Real, Quezon where, with other guests, we pitched our tents and started our birthday celebration.
On the way to Real, Quezon, Arin dropped by the fish market and bought fish which he made into sashimi in Real. Emoi also served his adobo and champeneng kambing. Champene was my favorite. Before my brother died of dystonia, I used to ask him to cook for me innards of cow or carabao. I like to chew on the gummy texture of the innards. And Emoi’s champene was just perfect. So was his adobo.
Papa Ding brought from his house empanada and fried lumpiang shanghai prepared by Anna. He also brought salad, two cases of, and hard drinks.
In the afternoon, Emoi coaxed every one to join him playing frisbee by the shore. Mau, Tin, Karis, and Arin joined him. Anna and I followed a little later. They were already perspiring when Anna and I arrived. I wasn’t sure though if it was because of running after, catching, and throwing the frisbee disc or because of the lady in her golden two-piece not far away from them lying on the sand with her companion.
When it was dark, we returned to our cottage and continued our birthday celebration. Papa Ding had other groups of visitors composed of his relatives and his fraternity brothers and sisters. He would sing a song or two with us then transfer to another cottage to entertain them also.
We retired for the night consuming only a case of beer, Arin’s basi wine from Japan, and the bottle of Fundador Light which was Mau’s gift to Papa Ding. I took
sips of the black label and consumed very little.
The following morning, Papa Ding was busy pouring beer into a Nalgene he filled with ice and serving every one beer. In no time, the remaining beer was gone.
Tin, Karis, Emoi, Arin, and Al went swimming at the beach. They returned around 10 in the morning and then we left. We were to see each other again in the first minor climb of MMS Batch 2018 trainees in Gulugod Baboy or the mountain Al fondly calls Gulugod Oink-Oink.