Thoughts & Memories:

My Friend Pito

My father mingled with friends of his children sparingly when they visited our home, much more entertained or talked to our visitors after introducing them to him for he was a busy man.

I remember it was the visit of my good friend, Jose Antonio dela Riva, Pito or Pits to his friend, that he tarried with us and even sang two songs, one was Spanish song Carmen/Carmela and a Tagalog song with this lyric, “Katulad mo’y magandang bulaklak sa isang halaman, dinidilig ng hamog sa katanghalian, upang laging sumariwa ang kagandahan, ganyan o hirang ang pagmamahal”. I forgot the title of this song though I tried to remember it.

I was surprised by father’s attitude or welcome to Pits that he stayed up to the moment Pito went home around 4pm.

Father and me conversed some more after Pits left. He volunteered information even without me asking him. He said, “I know his uncle Juanito and there were occasions when we have enjoyed drinking wine together with other of his friends”. He told me other stories which I cannot recall vividly now.

The beginning of my friendship with Pito was inside the carinderia of Tiyo Jose Tablizo at San Jose street not far from Catanduanes Colleges. It was nearing lunchtime when he arrived and occupied a table near the window. That time I was with dear friend Macario Surtida Arcilla Jr. and we were almost through with our food.

When Pits and Jun’s eyes met, there were instant recognition plus waving of their hands, manifesting camaraderie. Later, we approached Pits and our firm handshake sealed the beginning of a long friendship.

From then on, it’s a common sight in Virac poblacion whether on the street or restaurant when you see anyone of us three sitting on a table dining or walking on the street that we were never alone.

Progression cannot be stopped on earth; it’s either for the better or worst. On our environment, progress brings collateral damage but on friendship more laughter, festivity and storytelling.

Then Bo Rodulfo comes, along with Antonio Pena, Almario Morales, Abing Rodolfo, Noli Arcilla, Nap de Luna and Nestor Bobadilla.

What the unforgettable events or happenings that I keep in my memory bank I treasure, for when I recall them, they have brought me relief from stress and make my mind experience unquantifiable rewards and


One I recall was the Mayon volcano eruption in May 1976, when I was sent by father Bailon V Zafe Sr. to Sto. Domingo, Albay to represent him at a wedding celebration between elder brother Bailon Jr and Ate Mary Valera, on May 11, 1976. I was with barangay chairman manoy Godofredo Masagca (husband of Dr. Virginia Masagca) whom I invited for moral support. The tying of the knot, the activities and celebration after were all memorable. When invited guests and visitors were having a good time, I asked permission to leave with Manoy Godo from brother Jr and ate Mary to visit a friend, Pito dela Riva, at Gogon, Legaspi City. I had other interests to do that night and it was to watch the Mayon Volcano eruption. I had a telescope with me in my shoulder bag. The home of Pito in Gogon, Legaspi City was just the right place to watch the Mayon Volcano eruption. I knew it for I’d been there twice already.

I was sure we have beer with peanuts while watching the Mayon eruption that night but not sure whether Pit’s mother were around. Taking all things that happened in two days, from leaving the port of Virac and the moment we said adios to Pits, I considered it a beautiful, two-day respite from teaching and being able to watch closely the eruption of Mayon at my age of 26, the third year of being a college instructor at then Catanduanes State Colleges.


I saw in the Facebook account of Domingo Ibayan Cardano Jr., my friend and my chronicler in reconstructing and writing the history of Buyo, his busy schedule the past five days. Giving seminar to many children from age 12 to 19 as needed requirements for children before they can be given the sacrament of confirmation. Our hardworking Diocesan priest Fr. Joey R. Tendenilla is overseeing these activities in district 5 with nine barangays. Our revered and respected Bishop must be happy that his bringers of faith to the marketplace are doing their tasks to the letter.

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