Being Koboi

“Koboi” is a term I learned from my local music hero Rico Blanco. Koboi is a tagalized word of “Cowboy” and in cultural terms, being a “Koboi” means being able to adapt to all environments, not finicky at situations.

I’m a proud Koboi, I grew up in the middle of where the wealthy and poor lived, literally. And being one of the lucky ones to study at a school that promoted simplicity and being frugal about worldly material, I was molded to being a Koboi. Sometimes I think I was indoctrinated by Franciscans so much that until now, 90% of what I wear are gifts or hand-me-downs. I would really frown if I had to buy clothes for myself, because I believe in the concept of “wear and tear”. One funny example is my faded jeans, I’ve had it repaired at least three times and I’ve been wearing it for 8 years now.

And my shoes, too! I like shoes, but I wouldn’t buy anything that exceeded $60. There are a few exceptions, but most of the time. That’s where my limit lies. I’ve already been told by my friends to invest in clothes, and I will! That’s one of my goals for this year until 2018, to update my clothes, but knowing myself, you’ll find me at the U.K. stores.

But my real Koboi moments really show when eating food, I’d almost eat anything I see as long as it has no cheese (Lactose Intolerance is a bitch). I eat food with cheese only when I’m at home. Since graduating in 2012 I really miss eating streetfood and cartfood.

I went to college in Intramuros, and studying in downtown Manila meant one thing – food everywhere! It was the height of my street-eating escapade. I ate everything and sometimes I didn’t even know what I was eating, as long as it was delicious. And I have to thank my tummy for being able to withstand the dirt of streetfood – I mean let’s get serious, streetfood is not clean even if it’s deep fried, but if you have the stomach for it, don’t waste it, start eating!

And where I live, streetfood is so rare that when I saw beef stew that’s being sold in a cart, I pulled up immediately. The vendor was a little surprise to see a big guy wearing a suit placing an order. Hey, it’s just a suit!

That’s probably why I really consider Manila as my spirit-city. Because even in food, I can only find it in downtown Manila.


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