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​Attending my niece Jenny Ann Allera Pimentel’s graduation from the University of San Carlos’s School of Law and Governance the day prior may have perfectly overtured my encounter yesterday with this Spaniard from the city of Barcelona. 


That’s because this twenty-seven-year-old dead ringer for Ryan Agoncillo is a lawyer whose name is Alvaro Calderon. 

We chummed up right away at Liloan Port in Santander, Cebu, while I was waiting to board the fast craft bound for Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental through Sibulan Port. 

Girls, Atty. Alvaro Calderon is legally handsome, as you can see. But what makes him more appealing is that he’s an intelligent conversationalist and a devil-may-care companion for the three hours that we’re together drifting around the “city of gentle people.” 

I told him, “Attorney, you have a very sexy accent. It’s delicious to the ears. How do I properly name that? And you have an impressive command of the English language, considering that Spanish is your first language.” 

The bespectacled, well-spoken, and well-traveled Spanish intellectual said, “Thank you, Ariel. Thanks to my four years of teaching tourism to international students in Sydney, Australia, I can speak the language with confidence. As for the way I talk, you can call it a Spanish-Aussie accent.” 

It’s interesting that Atty. Alvaro Calderon graduated from the law school in his native country, passed the bar examinations with flying colors, worked at a law firm, and is a lawyer by profession—but he shifted to teaching in the world of tourism. 

He said that after practicing as a lawyer for a good few years, it dawned on him that he’d like to change gears, but he won’t discard his legal profession, for he can always revert to it, anytime. What he’d like to do in the meantime is continue traveling and sharing his knowledge of travel and tourism to those who want to see the world. 

We dropped by Santa Catalina de Alejandria Church, and I asked God for His divine protection on my new friend Alvaro’s behalf. He was fascinated by the smell of the candles, thanking me for praying for him. 

I took him to Dumaguete Port again, after failing to catch the ferry en route to the island of Siquijor earlier, three hours ago. I thanked the security personnel for the tight measures at the gate (as well as the many policemen we passed by while strolling along Rizal Boulevard, for making us feel a strong sense of protection). 

I left him with a few words: “My friend, you need to be extra careful with everything you do, everywhere you go, everyone you meet. I hate to think about it, but you know what’s gone wrong in this part of our country recently. Please take care of yourself as much as you have fun. I will certainly miss you.” 

“Thank you for everything, Ariel. I want to see you again. So that means we’ll see each other the next time I visit the Philippines. I don’t mind coming back again and again to such a beautiful country as this. Come on. Let me give you a hug,” he said good-bye. 

Attorney Alvaro Calderon said his Filipino friend back home in Spain had talked him into trying Chicken Joy at Jollibee. So here we are, on the second floor of Jollibee, but facing Chowking across the street. Next block is the Super Lee Plaza of Dumaguete City. 

You can’t skip Rizal Boulevard when in Dumaguete. So we didn’t.