Wednesday, June 18, 2008


He is one of the kids in a Quiapo neighborhood who calls me lolo. His mother runs an eatery popular among the residents and students of this university belt area. It offers an array of local dishes, including hamburgers.

I told Joshua once that his name happens to be one of my favorites; first heard it when one of the characters had that name in the epic movie "The Ten Commandments." And with a name graced with biblical provenance, I reminded young Joshua to be a good boy always. He promised to be one with an almost whisper-like tone.

The common haircut among the local young boys during the summer is the buzzed or crew cut. I sported it when I was a kid. And when Joshua had it early this summer, I noticed for the first time that he has two cowlicks, or puyo in Tagalog. And young boys with such characteristics, according to local folklore, personify the epitome of unadulterated recalcitrance, or 'double trouble' in simple parlance.

Invariably courteous and gentle with smaller playmates, I was convinced Joshua was an exception. Most interestingly, whenever seeing me, he's quick to grab my hand to place it on his forehead and say, "Mano po, Lolo," -- a local tradition that shows respect to elders. And this endearing gesture never ceased to impress me. What a charming young lad, I thought.

"Better not be too hasty with your praises," said my friend, the godmother of Joshua's baby sister. Prompted by the puzzled look on my face, she began to relate a story that happened a year ago.

Joshua's parents gave his eldest sister a cellphone -- a means for the parents to communicate with Joshua and his two sisters while they're in school. One day, the cellphone mysteriously disappeared. A couple of days later, Joshua's teacher dropped by their house after school to return the cellphone. She said Joshua gave it to her as a gift. The father gave the young boy five whips with his belt.

The following Valentine's Day, the teacher once again dropped by their house after school, this time to return a bundle of fresh flowers. Joshua later admitted that he had been pinching some change from the eatery's cash box in order to come up with the money for some flowers to give to his teacher. This time, the father opted to spare the rod, or belt for that matter. He instead convinced Joshua that he is much too young to be in love. He added that there was no way a teacher in her late twenties, though unmarried, would ever engage in such romantic liaison with a boy of eight.

I couldn't help but let out a whole-hearted laugh after hearing Joshua's adventures. Told my friend that I, too, had a crush on my religion teacher from Espiritu Santo when I was a fourth grade student at Bonifacio Elementary School. However, unlike Joshua, I never acted on such puppy love, I'd be too petrified to do so. Perhaps, it was because I don't even have single cowlick on the top of my head, I think.

* * *

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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:33 AM


Blogger Photo Cache said...

Joshua's story reminds me of the time I was doing my internship as a guidance counselor at San Sebastian College (Elem dept). I was 20 and the boy was 10, fourth grade. He was very friendly and cute too for a boy of ten. He managed to get a permission from the school to be able to eat outside of the campus (with his parents permission of course) so he could eat his lunch with me and my friends (I live a stone's throw away from his campus and downstairs where I lived was an eatery). I did not really pay attention to it initially until my friends told me the boy was infatuated with me. Holy Cow!!!!Kaya pala every chance nakayakap :=). I managed to complete my internship without further complications. I think the boy regained his senses.

June 18, 2008 8:27 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

Your story about Joshua seems simple but yet so much to look forward to! I hope there are more boys in Manila like Joshua. I'm sure his parents and elders can be as natural as him :-) kaya ganyan siya.
I also really like your photo of the boy! Quite refreshing actually---I really do not know how to describe it. Perhaps it's because of the tones as well as his self-effacing position.

June 18, 2008 8:48 AM  

Blogger FilMasons NSW said...

I don'tknow whether to believe the "puyo" signs. My two grandsons have two of these cowlicks, while the cheeky one has only one! So much for puyo. Nice photo as well as the story accompanying it.

Reminds me also of my puppy love to a classmate of mine in elementary school. Her name is Czarina, she stutters and attends a special class but I like her dimunitive look. I think she is now married and in NY.

Thanks for that great story!


June 18, 2008 9:22 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Religion on Wednesdays became a favorite class, Photo Cache, some thought I'd end up a priest. Little did they know, except for my best friend, that it was the religion teacher that I looked forward to seeing ... hehehe.

I'm quite familiar with that area, by the way. My favorite street is San Sebastian with its rows of charming old houses. A cousin also attended high school at San Sebastian, while my sister at St. Rita's College.

June 18, 2008 10:14 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Bernadette!

This young boy confessed that he wants to be a sagala escort next year after seeing the neighborhood celebrate its Flores de Mayo last month ( ). Told he should and I take pictures of him.

Incidentally this neighborhood, with its old houses, is a favorite location for movie and TV productions; hence, inspired by the glamor of spotlights and cameras, many kids in the area had developed the interest to become on-camera talents, and that includes Joshua ... hehehe. He does seem to be comfortable with a camera.

June 18, 2008 10:20 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

My pleasure, Mario!

Yes, I think most young boys are just rambunctious and incorrigible at times by nature. But nonetheless, many old folks believe that having two cowlicks equals stubbornness ... hehehe.

Ahh ... puppy love! It certainly adds spice to one's childhood years :)

June 18, 2008 10:25 AM  

Blogger the donG said...

this stroy also reminds me when i was in grade five. we already have girlfriends at such an early age. we date and we were committed. but it was still puppy love.

now, we still communicate with one another. but she already happily married with two kids.

June 18, 2008 11:48 AM  

Anonymous bertN said...

May natural guts si Joshua. I think he will go places...educated right and guided properly.

I had a crush on one of the student-teachers when I was in high school and all I did was looked at her with my admiring eyes and daydreamed. I feel so inferior to Joshua LOL.

You'll never experience success unless you risked failure - sabi nga, walang sigurado sa mundo maliban sa death and taxes.

June 18, 2008 1:23 PM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

I was in Grade One when I had my first suitor. He gave me a crudely written "I love you" note (grade one nga, e, hehehe) and enclosed a bead bracelet. I was shocked, I cried and threw it away. Isinumbong ko nga sa nanay ko. LOL!

Joshua is cute. I like his haircut. My two boys had the same haircut when they were his age.

The father might have felt some kind of tenderness when he learned his son had a great crush on his teacher, so he spared the rod upon knowing the truth why Joshua snitched some money from their store to buy flowers for his teacher. Parents are like that. They get involved with their children's emotions.

In connection with the 'puyo' and other beliefs.... it is also believed that people with naturally curly hair are bad tempered. :) So when a curly haired guy figures in a fight, people would be heard saying: "Kulot kasi, e." :)

June 18, 2008 5:37 PM  

Blogger EM said...

I like Joshua's profile. So innocent and cute...and the color creats an irony. The subject being so young and the picture quite old...very nice senior. Your or his story is cute too!

I did some teaching in an academy where my students are of the same age as me or older. That situation is alot different than in elementary teaching.

thanks for sharing.

June 18, 2008 7:50 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Wow! At grade five, donG? Can you imagine what a story it would make if from puppy love to marriage at adulthood? That'd be awesome :)

Thanks for sharing!

June 19, 2008 6:11 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Or as some would say, bertN, "No guts, no glory!"

You and me both, unlike Joshua, were too chicken to express our puppy love for our teachers ... hehehe.

June 19, 2008 6:14 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Iba na talaga ang "beauty" mo, Rhoda, grade one palang may nababaliw na, hehehe!

Oo nga pala ... curly-haired folks were also once thought of as moody and quick with their emotional outbursts. Thanks for reminding :)

June 19, 2008 6:18 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you, EM ... glad you enjoyed Joshua's picture and story.

I remember as high school seniors, we'd always give the young teacher/principal's office clerk a hard time whenever she'd take over an absent teacher's class. But she knew it was all for fun. In the end, we'd do the quizzes she conducted.

June 19, 2008 6:23 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

ATTA BOY! Josh! hahaha!
Some kids his age would still be kids, and Joshua must be watching too much telenovelas and dreaming of being a man already. :LOL:
I'm sure most of us at that age had some crush unless they had different sexual preference.
My crush during my elementary days was a Spanish nun and then my English teacher. Tapos yung classmate ko, may crush pala sa akin --ngak! Eh, puro lalake kami sa school ah!.

And seriously, maraming malolokang babae kay Joshua pag naging binata siya.

June 19, 2008 1:45 PM  

Anonymous kingdaddyrich said...

nagkaron din ako ng puppy love noong ako'y nasa elementarya. grade 6 ata ako non, at siyempre ipinagpipilitan ko sa sarili ko na matanda na ako.

hindi pa pala.

pero marami tayong natututunan sa mga ganyang karanasan.

out of topic
ganda ng mga kuha mo sa PLM. alumnus po ba kayo don? :)

June 19, 2008 2:45 PM  

Blogger luna miranda said...

what a sweet story of a sweet boy! gutsy, too!

i met a 4-year old boy named Miguel in Boracay a few years ago. according to the mom, Miguel was in love with me!:D the boy spent the whole day with me and my teenage nephews, didn't want to leave my side, even asked me to teach him how to swim (e di rin ako marunong lumangoy). so sweet.:D

June 20, 2008 2:53 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

"Tapos yung classmate ko, may crush pala sa akin --ngak! Eh, puro lalake kami sa school ah!."

Lol ... that's funny, Reyd!

I think kids these days tend to grow up too fast for their own good - ang aga nilang manligaw. Tama ka nga ata, those telenovelas must have inspired kids like Joshua to become young Don Juans ... hehehe :)

June 20, 2008 6:23 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I guess, grade six is when every boy tends to look at girls with a different outlook -- appreciating their attributes and all, as compared to earlier years when most girls are considered enemies :)

Thanks, Kingdaddyrich! Glad you like the pics of the PLM campus. No, I'm not a graduate of the school; a mere admirer of it and its students.

June 20, 2008 6:26 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Ah, that was sweet, Luna! Goes to show you that little Miguel has good taste, though his choice for a swimming coach may be suspect ... hehehe.

By the way, there are some girl babies who warm up faster to males than females; my nephew's baby girl is one of them. She'd shy away from her aunts but with her uncles she's fine.

June 20, 2008 6:30 AM  

OpenID equilibrium2008 said...

I find Joshua's story very funny. :)

Reminds me of my niece. He is very naughty that my mom needs to go to his school most of the time because of his naughtiness. :)

June 20, 2008 9:57 AM  

Blogger Daisy said...

Senor Enrique! I think I am really more at ease calling you Senor! than Eric-- there is no drama to it!

So funny the story of Joshua! It has been a while since I got the time to blog and read my favorite blogs as well!!! so good to read such stories with much heart!!!

Thanks so much for sharing!

June 20, 2008 5:58 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I guess, some families are bound to have one "makulit" kid that'll have a parent visiting with a teacher or principal more often than desired, Joy :)

My mother only had to see my high school principal once. For the principal to let me slide, mom had to remind her that five of her boys attended the same school ... and it was her first time to visit her office at such an inauspicious ocassion ... hahaha!

June 21, 2008 9:07 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

My pleasure, Daisy!

And thanks much:)

June 21, 2008 9:08 AM  

Blogger Lola said...

Ha, ha, ha! Kakatuwa ito si Joshua. This kid is going to go places later on in life. At siguro magiging playboy pa because he is a good looking kid. Reminds me of my grandson except mine is rambunctious and a ham. He falls in love every week. Doesn't have puyo though.

June 22, 2008 2:44 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Come to think of it, Pat, perhaps, the puyo has really nothing to do with the boys' incorrigible nature, as well as for them falling in love every so often even at such young age ... hehehe.

June 23, 2008 6:59 AM  

Anonymous dave said...

Haha! I remember I had numerous crushes on teachers when I was in grade school. There's a new one every school year! In fact one of them became my sister-in-law! Maybe because I was in an all-boys school. But even I doubt it that I'd be a young Casanova, because I'm torpe.

As for the hair, now I know why there was a graffiti in school saying "basta kulot salot." Also in anime, the cowlick represents an eccentric character.

June 23, 2008 5:09 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

"As for the hair, now I know why there was a graffiti in school saying "basta kulot salot." Also in anime, the cowlick represents an eccentric character."

Ain't that something, Dave? Whoa!

I do appreciate the guts some little kids have in making their crushes public despite the potential teasing that may come with it.

I, too, was a torpe much like my friends, and this may be why we call cigarettes "pang-patapang" ... hehehe.

June 24, 2008 6:34 AM  

OpenID juleste said...

Hi Senor!

Better late comment than nothing hehe...

Your post reminded me of my first year of teaching. Some boys in my class treated me like a goddess :-) One of them I still see from time, he's now married but he still got the funny looks in his eyes.

July 15, 2008 9:43 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

How wonderful, Juleste ... hehehe!

I guess, it's only natural to be infatuated with someone you look up to.

By the way, I just remembered my sixth grade teacher's name who encouraged me to develop my skills in writing -- Mrs. Soriano. She was already of near retirement age back then so she may have already passed away by now.

July 16, 2008 6:46 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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