Text by: Kimmy Baraoidan
Photos 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.
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.