Story by: Lex Perry Ignacio
Photos & Video by Kris Villano & Chino Villagracia of The Visual Club (@thevisual.club)
Music/Audio from c/o Beastie Boys
It’s oddly refreshing to know about the remarkable or extraordinary matters that happen in and within the neighborhood. Unless you’re someone who hears word about what goes around, it would obviously take quite some time for one to take notice of such things or incidents since they rarely occur… Well, there may be areas where bizarre events transpire on a daily basis, but that’s not the point of this article. However peculiar, this one is unique in a really fascinating way.
If you frequently pass by or live near the DBTK Flagship store, there’s a chance that you may have come across a band of four male elders casually strolling the streets in feet-powered wheels. It’s a pretty interesting choice of ride and entertainment for senior men as they cruise in a skateboard, longboard, scooter, and a bicycle.
Correct me if I’m wrong but they’re likely the only group in the area with that kind of set-up and composition, so if it does ring a bell, that’s probably them I’m referring to. I mean you don’t always see something like it – especially in a group past their teens, so it’s not a surprise for them to turn heads and break necks.
So all of this started when Vince & I were talking about content to produce, thinking of who and what to feature, and then they came in to mind – although similar to what I’ve said earlier, they are not always present around our vicinity so they will be somewhat tricky to find. Coincidentally, as we were conversing and developing ideas beforehand, we saw them on our way home.
The sun was about to descend at the time so we hurriedly went to where they are so as to not miss the opportunity to meet and greet them. A little hesitant to ask at first, but they were very accommodating and easy to approach. Albeit their similarities, it is noticeable that they are distinct from one another and they all had loads of riveting stories to tell right off the bat, so we decided that it’s best to have a separate blog about them and take account of all these appealing information.
Separately, they are also deeply passionate about other things, and I know without a doubt that other millenials will be able to relate to their personal and collective interests. Back when technology wasn’t as developed as it is today and the Internet wasn’t much of a thing, these folks made use of available resources to them like magazines, phone call party lines, and intimate meet-ups to cultivate and enrich their knowledge about their hobbies.
We had everything set for the next day. We had two of our friends from TVC over to help us cover the story, then we proceeded to the home of Carlet Abalos, the “kuya” or big brother among the four, as according to them, he is the one who influenced them to try these extreme activities and even provided them the gears and equipment they will need to get started.
Hospitably received, we entered his humble abode and quickly prepared our questions and gears so we could get started, while doing so, our host went to the house in front of his to get his skate deck and little did we know, it was his playmate Aj Cuatchon who resides in the place, just a few seconds later, we were already recording the two riding along the stretch of the street, both in their natural habitat.
Mr. Carlet, who is now 57, is involved in a lot of things; Motorcycles, BMX, Fixed Gear, Archery, and many other else, but mainly, he is a fashion enthusiast who is enthralled in high fashion & workwear. He owns rare and special pieces of clothing from prominent brands like Comme Des Garcons, Visvim, Raf Simmons, Wacko Maria & Bape among all others, and some of it were acquired from Bambang – a place known for its thrift goods.
He shares that it was back in the 90s when thrift shops became one of his common places; the usual schemes known to most ‘ukay’ fans weren’t knew to him, as he was already practicing a familiar ploy. He then continues to tell us how he knew of these brands that offer products and garments of superior quality and recalls his memorable experiences on how he came about them.
A few moments after we were shown a spectacular wardrobe, Mr. AJ presented us his extensive cap collection, well kept and properly maintained. He is the “Thrasher” of the group who started skating as early as 77’ and never stopped since. Now at 51, he still likes to cruise with his portable speakers blasting the songs of Beastie Boys, and apparently, he is the only one among them who could pull a longboard slide.
To make ends meet and provide for his family, he works overseas as a seaman. We’re just fortunate enough to catch him on vacation enjoying his free time, which is skating with friends and finding free spots that are wide and lengthy enough for them to stroll in. If schedule and time permits, they will even attend events and fun-runs whenever they can to enjoy a good and long ride.
While we were munching on pizza and casually conversing along the street gutter, their other friend arrived in his bike and approached us with a warm greeting. It was Dennis Moguerza, who is also 51 years young. Sporting a long hair and piercings over his body, this man was the 1st place winner in Dutdutan back in 2007, an event where tattoo aficionados gather to showcase and present their skin art.
The story of his back piece tattoo started when he used to sell tattoo equipment back in 91’. From there he met various tattoo artists including the likes of Ricky Sta. Ana – a known personality in the tattoo industry. He even shares that he goes all the way to Olongapo back then because there weren’t any tattoo shops in Manila.
An era where a lot of genres and interests have risen is where they came from – the 80s’ decade. New wave, punk, preppy, trash metal, hardcore, dance or rock n’ roll as they tell us, it was an age where vast majority were experimenting and trying out new things. A different trend or craze would pop out somewhere and it was because of the influence of various cultures.
Mutually, they all told us that there’s no harm in trying new things and channeling our interests in something unfamiliar, but then they reminded us to hold to those things that help us express our personality and show our identity. That we can always explore, try different looks, and take on various endeavors as long as we don’t lose who and what we are as a person, even if all others think otherwise.
Yet again, the skies were slowly getting dark and we were out in the open giving their steed a test-drive when the fourth and final member of the crew came looming fast in his scooter. Alas, the troops were finally complete and altogether, but since there was no more sunlight, we chose to resume filming at the shop.
Now we have 50-yr. old Sigmund Salamat, the most adventurous among the four. Though he wasn’t with us earlier, he made sure to fill-in the moments he missed. Not only is he speedy in riding but also quick to catch-up. This man has tried scuba diving, running, swimming and his constant & perhaps never dying hobby – “girl-watching”… (laughs!) After all, boys will be boys.
We were certainly given a tour down memory lane as they all reminisced the good old days and slick old ways. The times from listening to bands like Urban Bandits and Dead Ends to watching a Metallica concert in Ultra. From watching the jazz funk dance moves of Jojo Alejar to giving their own sample of a strut dance, from watching drag races in Greenhills to doing skwalas or donuts (360° drift/turn) in a Toyota Corolla 1600, the memories were simply endless.
Wise as they may be, they advised us that there still are a lot that we can do and achieve. A gentle reminder that now is the time to start and work on what we want to do or be. To not mind what others might think or say, but to honor and take into consideration the sermon and lessons our parents try to teach us. To choose our friends wisely and enjoy the little things, but still know our limitations.
At the end of the day, we have learned that maybe not many people may approve of what we do or want out of life, but it shall never dampen our enthusiasm for we are separate and distinct from them. Like these guys, there are people who wonder why they allot their time riding such things but that doesn’t hinder or stop them from doing what they love to do while they still can and are able to.
All of them made us realize that it is only we ourselves who know what we are truly into and passionate about. It’s a matter of having genuine perspective and purpose. I hope that this article has not only amazed you, but also encourage you to go out and live your life to the fullest, as cliché as it may sound and unless necessary or made better, some things don’t need change for these are life lessons that must remain, be maintained and be passed on to the younger generations next to us.