Sunday, March 25, 2007

Chino Revisited

Wilson, the current bartender, with former Oarhouse guru, Chino Medina, February 2007

Chino and the usual cast of characters at the bar, Oarhouse 1994



It's only once in a blue moon now that former Oarhouse manager and bartender Chino Medina drops by Malate to have a beer or two at this place he ran under his father Jun Medina's ownership of the Oar from the mid-80s to the latter part of the 90s, but when he does show up, it's always a time to strike up the unforgettable memories of conversations at the bar over continuous ice cold beers and the people he managed to introduce to each other when we were only newbies to the place then.


But it was that quality of his being able to converse and make friends out of complete strangers who found themselves at his wooden altar of topical worship, and many of us still miss those times a bit when his mother used to prepare all the entrees of the Oarhouse from their home kitchen in Paranaque, and the way he would shove the small bowls of hot, freshly-popped popcorn to the regulars who came in at the faithful, usual hours of weekday evenings seeking solace and quiet time to nurse their bottles of pale pilsen like babies to pacifiers.


Chino stays mostly at their home now, away from Malate and Leveriza and no longer the social and indulging barmaster he was. But we followed him like the literal pied piper he was then, and struck a bond with this elder gentle brother through some of the best and worst moments of our early, heady years at the Oarhouse.


That's why we still remember why we love this place so much, and if the spirits of wisdom and excess could speak, no antidote would be available for those who'd once again be sucked into the fire and magnetic pull of what he always considered 'the great little bar' of Manila.-- Ben

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