“Sir, gusto mo samahan ka namin kay Fang-od, yung traditional tattoo artist sa Buscalan.” I said. One way going to Buscalan is via Bontoc, the route Tado’s group has taken. “Ay, punta din ako dun this week, naimbitahan ako ng kaibigan ko pumunta.” said sir Tado, not knowing that this will be his last after the grim bus accident.
This was our conversation just a few days ago when we were at his shop, LimiTADO. Having his own Tattoo shop, we were showing him our traditional tattoos and urging him to have one.
More popularly known as an actor-comedienne, host and former Brewrats’ DJ with the moniker “TADO”, whom many may have not known, was also an activist. He was active in social, political and environmental issues and one of the founders of Dakila Collective; An entrepreneur and owner of Limitado; A dad to 4 girls and husband to Leiz Jimenez. But lately have I only learned, he was also a traveler, an adventurer.
He talked about his 40 Mountains project (Life Begins at the Mountain). He was also going to write a book on this project.
He also shared a few of his stories in mountaineering.
“Mount Cristobal, naakyat na namin yan kaya dapat gabi at maulan para maiba naman, hehehe.”
“Tamang tama, kinabukasan akyat kami Davao para sa birthday climb ko sa Mt. Apo, birthday ko kasi sa March 24.”
He said his climb to Mt. Apo is not the usual trail since they will be taking a more gruelling 6-day hike. “Sir buwis buhay mga trip mo ah!” I said. He said, “Kanya kanyang trip lang yan e, kung oras mo na, oras mo na, kahit san ka pa.” And then his infectious laugh.
Funny, small details of our conversation came rushing back. I am suddenly dissecting every thought and every word. It all seemed funny at that time, but now his words seemed ironic. Chillingly like a premonition even. “Pede din ako pang-burial!” he even said during our phone conversation a few weeks back.
No, we are not close. We were supposed to get him as emcee for our wedding reception that’s why we were in his shop. He kindly accepted our humble offer for his services. He even offered the StrangeBrew DVD as wedding gift. He talked to us as if we are one of his friends. It was hard not to laugh with him. It was hard not to engage in long conversation (an almost 2-hour conversation). He sincerely talked about his vision, his plans, biking, mining, Yolanda relief efforts, music, mga kung ano mang trip nya sa buhay. No, we are not close, but for that few hours, we felt that we already are.
Tado is not only my idol, he is an inspiration to me.
Sir Tado, Apir! Start your new adventure. Your life truly began in the mountain.