Saturday afternoon 11 November I saw Jong N. carrying a shoulder bag and a desk electric fan at the corner of 15th Avenue and Aurora Boulevard Cubao waiting for a ride towards the East. Perhaps going to Montalban? I thought.But with a shoulder bag and not a backpack? And an electric fan? Later on that day, I read the MFPI egroups message which said, Kubaw is gone. When I passed by 136 15th Avenue Murphy Cubao near the corner of P. Tuazon, all I saw on a Saturday night was a bakery and a tightly closed metal folding window with hardly any sign of action.
Kubaw is a two storey residence of Jong that can be considered an icon as important as among the institutions that were set up in the late 70s to early 80s such as the UPM, NMFP, PALMC, NMC, UST Mountaineering Clubs. Its significance is as colorful as the history of mountaineering in the Philippines. It is versatile space that was a sleeping quarter of out of towners mountaineers from Bicol, the Visayas and Mindanao conveniently accessible at the center of GMA. Pioneers have one way or another slept, got drunk, eaten, traded notes, stayed overnight at this address.
It is the original campsite at the lowland where there were spontaneous socials spiced up with beer and gin drinking, food from street hawkers and animated story telling participated in by seasoned, novice climbers and by standers.
Information, trails, incidences, equipments were traded, personal lives were exposed and recipes invented. Kubaw is a center at the time when the internet and email were not yet in fashion. It s the place to see mountaineers and connect with them even without the benefit of a text message. To put a form to the function the place provides, the front space was leased for an outdoor store on friendly terms. A tradition it maintained was the annual Christmas party on the 25th which explains why no mountaineer left Manila on the 25th for Pulag. Bands performed. Yay O. prepared the food, St. Joseph’s Club helped fix up the place, Choy A. and Lex E. entertained. Banny D. would come home to check on Boy Ross. UPM and UP Org have not failed to attend. Guests brought in the drinkage. Everyone contributed their anecdotes.
When one has a climbing syndrome when in the lowland, Kubaw is the place to go to reminisce memories of a climb. There would always be a warm body that would give a listening ear to any speaker. In the turn of the century, Cubao has extended it address to Montalban venturing from trekking, spelunking to adventure racing.
My first encounter at Kubaw was in the late 80’s when Chang Guzman facilitated a spelunking in Peňablanca Cagayan. We were in the company of Negros trekkers like Snake who talked fondly of Kubaw. Through Snake, I was led to the legendary place where Jong stays. Years later, I found out that co-climber Mike P. of PALMC traced his climbing days at Kubaw.
My personal account represents only a small segment of what Kubaw stands for. While short, it was memorable enough. Kubaw is place composed of the experiences of the various parties that made it happen. As Kubaw can be considered a legend, it does not end with the move out of the tenants. Where it will be is regardless of the geographical address. Where it will go is in the hands of the stakeholders who would not let go of it. For me for now, I can only express my profound gratitude. Thank you for letting me in, Kubaw.
Chito Razon 13 November 2006
Larawan nakaw sa site ni Banny Defeo http://www.geocities.com/bannydefeo/estor.html