I spent time the other night at the corner of Colon St. and Osmeña Blvd. while waiting for my wife finish her proofreading tasks at The Freeman. Standing on the sidewalk near Rose Pharmacy and Chowking restaurant afforded me a closer view of the crowd in Cebu City’s oldest street at this day and age.
Sitting on the steps of the pharmacy were four old men talking about various topics, specifically religion. I often see people like these in this area, seemingly whiling away their time in a place known to be a haven of sidewalk vendors, dispatchers, low-level prostitutes and call boys. I reckon that, like me, they were old denizens of the city who roamed Colon in its glory days in the ’70s and ’80s.
Two of them would later transfer to a lamppost near Chowking, where a man selling Yakult was. They continued the discussion there, with one of them picking up a debate with a passerby. The passerby would later walk away, unable to contain the spirited assault of the old man, who would spice his arguments with insults.
In this place, it is actually the balut vendors that rule. There are around four of them, placing long wooden benches on the sidewalk. I don’t eat balut much, but people, like those going home after a day’s work, do sit on those benches, crack the egg shells, eat silently then leave. Business was good, apparently.
What forced me to leave, however, was this young call boy, who smiled at me and asked me if I wanted to have some fun. He probably mistook me for a homosexual, and that was insulting. I told him to scram, then left in a huff. I transferred to another area where the prostis were, but that’s another story altogether.
–Candido O. Wenceslao, April 10, 2007