Of Teban and What’s d’ Style

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo August 24,2019 - 07:53 AM

Everyone in my mother’s clan lived close to each other in Barangay Calawisan, Lapu-Lapu City so what happens in one house is known by the rest of the families in the entire compound. 

So when Lola Mikay’s radio blasted off the early morning news, I always had first dibs in knowing who jumped off the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge or which barangay was the site of a drug raid the night before. 

I learned about how the illegal drug trade operated at the grassroots level the same time I was learning how to read and write. Reading this may sound dangerous and dramatic but growing up, I never felt unsafe or threatened. I saw the world from a child’s viewpoint and during that time it was all about play, Anna Luna, Mara Clara and radio dramas. 

We had very little plastic toys save for some items that my maternal grandmother bought for me and my cousins at the Mandaue City Public Market. But the entire barangay was our playground. My cousins and I were free to roam around and play or visit each other’s homes. 

One of my favorite homes was that of Lola Mikay, the younger sister of Lola Patring, my maternal grandmother. They used to have an area where fireworks were made. It was only later that I knew it was illegal. Judas’ belt, the powerful and long firecrackers made from rolled newspaper and a gray powder, was made right there. 

My mother, Maria Elena, used to scare me off from visiting that house citing the fact that the  gray powder, which I later learned contains antimony trisulfides, is dangerous to the lungs when inhaled. 

Despite Maria Elena’s warning, I continued visiting Lola Mikay’s House because it was where I had an invisible all-access pass to listen to the radio.

The radio in Lola Mikay’s house had two large speakers personally made by my uncles, my mother’s first-degree cousins.

Every day, shortly after lunch, when I was supposed to have the Maria Elena-mandated siesta, I would sneak out of our house to go to Lola Mikay’s to listen to radio dramas. 

I listened to “Kini Ang Akong Suliran,” a radio program that featured the problem of a letter sender, which was then dramatized on air by radio talents. At the end of each episode, the letter sender lined up his or her questions, which were answered by Doktora-Abogada Lourdes Libres-Rosaroso. Incidentally, Dr. Libres-Rosaroso passed away on August 20, 2010, my 24th birthday. 

And then there was Handumanan sa Usa Ka Awit, another letter-sender whose life story was aired thanks to the voice talents of DYHP. The letter-sender requests for a song to be played which describes the theme of his or life story. Joe Lamont’s Victims of Love was often played. There were too many heartbroken letter-senders. 

After Handumanan, Maria Elena would be calling my name by then with a hanger or a stick ready to punish me with a whip. I often thought then that I could outsmart her by entering our house through the back door to avoid the whip by the main door.

I never succeeded. Not even once. 

While I was a regular at my maternal grandparents’ home to watch telenovelas and That’s Entertainment in the late afternoon to early evening, I was hooked on the radio from morning to early afternoon, especially during the summer time when there were no summer classes to speak of and I had the whole day to play and wander. 

My siblings and I loved the radio more when we moved to Libas, Merida, Leyte. My paternal grandmother did not have  television so listening to the radio became one of our favorite past times apart from climbing mountains, swimming at sea, Chinese garter and shatong. 

At the Merida town fiesta every month of May, we looked forward to the live stage drama. Oh how we clapped the first time we saw Teban and Goliat, the dynamic goofball duo whose voices we only heard on radio. My maternal grandfather used to tell me about Teban Escudero and the Manok ni San Pedro radio drama in the 70s, which was aired even before I was born. My grandfather, Diosdado, would always go back to the story of Teban when he taught me the values of humility and hard work. 

Later, as we grew older, my brother Hendrix and I listened to Kun Ako ang Pasultihon, the morning show of Priscilla Raganas and Teban. I could add in Bambina in this scenario; the perky person who provided the showbiz news.

In my college years, I listened to What’s d’ Style, which was a combination of humorous and sexy stories for adult listeners. When I wanted to learn how to write sexy scenes in my quest to be a creative writer, I listened to What’s d’ Style. Hendrix and I giggled every time we heard Teban’s voice whether he played the role of a villain or a protagonist. There was something about the man that can tickle your funny bones. 

On August 21, a day after I turned 33 years old, we heard the bad news that Teban, Julian Bacus Daan in real life, passed away while he was confined in a private hospital. 

He was 74. 

I shared the CDN Digital story on my personal Facebook timeline with the caption “Patay na sa Teban.” 

The news hit me with nostalgia. I was brought back to my younger days in Calawisan and Libas, two separate villages in Cebu and Leyte provinces separated by sea. In those villages I listened to the radio, loud and clear. In those villages, I listened to Teban and the many shows he was part of. 

A figure from childhood years sent me a private message shortly after I shared the news article of Teban’s death. 

She asked: “What’s d’ style of Teban’s death?” 

I was not there when it happened but I first read the story when it was sent by CDN Digital correspondent and dyHP reporter, Futch Anthony Inso. 

If I were to say it in classic Teban delivery, then it would be “malinawon style.” 

It was a peaceful one.

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