Old man, long road

Text by: Kimmy Baraoidan
Photos by: Chris Quintana 

Summer is coming to a close, yet the heat is still unforgiving in the small town of Los Baños, Laguna. The trees are at a standstill, so still that not even a light breeze is blowing. The sticky, heavy air makes moving such a chore. Then, out of nowhere, a middle-aged man cruises alongside the long procession of jeepneys and crisscrossing pedestrians. He looks like a character straight out of a video game – with his conical native hat; his patchwork clothes made of katsa; his trusty, old pasiking or knapbasket; and of course, his rundown wooden longboard. It’s not every day that you see a middle-aged man on a longboard.

Tatay Dagsa showing some of the contents of his pack. Photo by: Chris Quintana

Tatay Dagsa showing some of the contents of his pack. Photo by: Chris Quintana

Tatay Dagsa's modified longboard carries his knapbasket, a water container and some books.

Tatay Dagsa’s modified longboard carries his knapbasket, a water container and some books. Photo by: Chris Quintana

The sweaty policeman manning the entrance to the UPLB campus looks at him suspiciously as he perches himself on a bench near the outpost. One would hesitate to approach him, though, as he looks something out of the ordinary. “Oo, maraming natatakot,” he relates. Upon closer inspection of his things, the cobweb-like cracks on the wheels of his longboard are easily noticeable. He seems to have come a long way.

A laminated ID dangles from Tatay Dagsa’s pasiking. It bears his real name, Felcon Rivera, in bold, black letters. His carefree smile and light-hearted chuckle tell of many stories and adventures. It would not take long before he opens up and recounts his experiences. One question leads to another, and in no time he is pouring his heart out, sharing what he is doing, going places with only his longboard and pasiking.

 

Felcon Rivera, a.k.a Tatay Dagsa, sits on the UPLB Campus grounds while narrating stories of his travels and advocacy. photo by: Chris Quintana

Felcon Rivera, a.k.a. Tatay Dagsa, sits on the UPLB campus grounds while narrating stories of his travels and advocacy. Photo by: Chris Quintana

Tatay Dagsa comes all the way from Bayawan City, Negros Oriental. He wants to tour the country on his longboard to promote environmental awareness. This is not the first time he did such a thing. Last year he went around the Philippines in his bicycle. A man as passionate as he is about what he does is hard to come by these days. He rummages through his pasiking and pulls out a book with the title, Lightbearers. It contains many stories, and one of them is about how he traveled the Philippines on his bicycle. And he is not alone in this endeavor. He belongs to a movement that advocates sustainable alternative living.

Everywhere Tatay Dagsa goes, he has friends who treat him like a brother and who welcome him into their homes where he can stay for the night or even for a few days. And he makes new friends along the way. He eagerly pulls out his digital camera and shows photos he took of his travels – the places he had been to, old and new friends. He again reaches into his knapbasket and unearthed several objects. He brings with him small items made from found materials either to show or to give. He says he wanted to show that simple household things can be created from what is already around us, as he displays his ladles made of wood and coconut shell. Simple items made from simple materials – it really isn’t that hard to do.

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2 thoughts on “Old man, long road

  1. Pingback: Dali Dagsa drops by UPLB on a bamboo bike | The Alternative Magazine

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