I was at the Bacolod Cathedral when I heard a voice. I walked towards this voice and saw a man sitting by the church door with a stick, a can, a sign, all the accoutrements of a begging blind man. I called him by his name and introduced myself and just like old friends,we talked. It amazed me how a simple encounter with this man has opened up floodgates of memories of the years past. He told me he had eye operations but his sight could no longer be saved. He did not ask for anything. He just asked me to tell friends that he is just there. I was glad to have heard his voice and see him again.
Who is this man you may ask? He is Efren “Boy George” and he worked the grill of the famed pork barbecue stalls outside La Consolacion College. At lunchtime and in the afternoon he is obscured with thick smoke. Thick, cloying and sweet smelling smoke that happens when fat meets burning coals. He was different because he knew us by name, and he knew a lot about events, happenings, parties, who fell in love with whom, who fought who, a lot of stories. It was this trait that endeared him to us. He was no longer just the barbecue grill man but a friend. He was a regular fixture in batch parties. We do not just order barbecue, the barbecue man has to be there too.
His little placard has a message:
We are all equal in the eyes of God the Father. No rich no poor. We share what we have.
Salamat sa inyo gugma kag kaalwan. Sa pagpa-ambit sang gamay kag daku nga grasya.
Be humble like Jesus. Give the gift of life.
T.Y. and God Bless