Colon is Cebu’s busiest district. Despite the emergence of air-conditioned malls in recent years, the lure of good old Colon remains strong. But what makes Colon tick? Perhaps we can find the answer by examining the people you see there every day.
Here are the 21 types of people you see in Colon:
1. The Barkers
The Barker thrives (and in some instances, live) near jeep and cab stops. They ‘assist’ drivers (often without permission) in getting passengers by screaming out the route or route number. Barkers can be gentle and helpful. Oftentimes, though, they can be harsh and pushy.
The Look: casual shirt, shorts, slippers
2. The Coin Collectors
Coin Collectors come in different shapes and sizes. They can be as old and fragile-looking as a 90-year old nana or as young as a 2-month old baby. If you refuse to ‘help out,’ you get either a stern warning or a heart-wrenching look. Occasionally, you encounter able-bodied muscular guys who ask for coins, too.
The Look: tattered clothes, an empty soda cup
3. The Magician
The Magician performs magic tricks you’ve already seen a gazillion times. The Magician, however, is innovative enough to use materials readily available. Instead of pulling a bunny out of a hat, for example, the Magician would pull out a giant rat or a bagtok. After this, he would promptly offer you his state of the art rat-trap for only Php50.
The Look: casual shirt, pants, a small demo table
4. The Foreigners Who Try to Fit In
This type has been in the country for quite a while. They already know the people and the culture, thus, the need to blend in. They try to be low key. Be careful when talking about them when they’re around, though. They know a few Cebuano words (especially ‘batig nawng,’ ‘kano,’ ‘opaw,’ and ‘unggoy.’)
The Look: casual shirt and shorts, sandals
5. The PO Card Buyers
PO Card Buyers are a dime a dozen in Colon. They buy your PO card at a much lower rate. They’re easy to deal with. You just show them your cards and you’ll walk away a few hundred pesos riches. Or poorer. When they are not busy, they talk about the state of the nation, the weather, or their fellow PO Card Buyers.
The Look: casual shirt, pants, belt bag or pouch
6. The Healer
The Healer is charming enough to draw huge crowds. He’s a snake charmer, a true attention-grabber. He tells of the wonders of liniment, prayers, and white magic all packed into one tiny bottle filled with herbs and dried wood. The Healer oftentimes causes traffic. Or loss of a few personal belongings.
The Look: casual shirt, shorts, a suitcase, one giant immobile snake
7. The Traveling Salesmen
Traveling salesmen do not stay in one place. One moment they’re in front of Sto. Niño, the next they’re somewhere in Carbon. They normally sell fruits, household stuff, and light snacks. They are constantly on the lookout for nice spots for business. And that can include the middle of the street.
The Look: shorts, sleeveless shirt, a towel around the neck
8. The Bankers
‘Bankers’ are usually seen in busy joints occupied by vendors and small-time-business people. Every day, they walk around collecting ‘installments’ for cash loans they offer known as 5-6. They are known among locals as ‘Turko‘ or ‘Bombay.’ They are very fluent in Cebuano and they’re a huge fan of perfumes.
The Look: long-sleeves, pants, head wear
9. The High School Kids
Students make up about 40% of the total Colon population. Downtown Cebu, afterall is home to 4 of the largest universities in the Visayas. High school students come in hordes. They enter stores in batches of 5 to 10. They fill the grocery section to buy one bag of chips. Afterwards, they go to the nearest foodcourt to feast on their purchase.
The Look: school uniform, school bag big enough to hold a truck
10. The Coppers
There are two types of coppers in Colon. The first type consists of the young ones fresh out of training school. The second type consists of the older ones. They are usually seen driving bulky motorbikes or rundown cars. When it gets really hot, they stand in the shade and observe people.
The Look: uniform, boots or shiny shoes
11. The Skater Dudes
Skater dudes usually appear in busy intersections where they are easily seen and noticed. They hang onto the back of a jeep to demonstrate how awesome they are. Whether they are actually going somewhere or they just want to show off the whole day, no one is certain.
The Look: skateboard/roller blades, shorts, sneakers, cap
12. The Walking Ads
The Walking Ads are usually seen near schools. Equipped with brochures and samples on a cardboard, they stand in sidewalks telling people about their amazing products. Their usual products are ID photos, value meals, and quick document fixes.
The Look: shirt, long pants, leather shoes
13. College Kids
College kids travel in smaller and quieter groups. Their primary concern is lunch. Or snacks. Or the new boyfriend/girlfriend they’re meeting after class. During breaks, they hang out at food courts and snack bars where they pretend to study.
The Look: school uniform, one notebook/book
14. The Bag boys
Bag boys appear in areas near supermarkets and grocery stores. They push shopping carts and assist customers in getting a cab. They’re polite and friendly. Walking behind them when you’re in a hurry can be a pain, though. They’re mostly enjoying these little ‘freedoms’ that come with their job.
The Look: store uniform, neon vest, pushcart
15. The Sidewalk Vendors
Sidewalk Vendors are everywhere in Colon. However, aside from trying to get all the random stuff they have sold, one of their greatest goals is to give pedestrians a very hard time. During the quieter hours of the day, they read a newspaper, finish a Tagalog love story, or feast on each other’s head lice.
The Look: shirt, shorts, apron or belt bag
16. The DVD Sellers
DVD Sellers are people readers. They are socially aware. The next time you approach a DVD Seller, do not be alarmed when he stares at you for a while. Do you look like you couldn’t afford a decent fastfood meal? Expect the DVD Seller to offer you a Judy Ann film.
The Look: casual shirt and shorts
17. The Street Musicians
Street Musicians are talented individuals. They can play their instrument with one hand while the other is holding an empty cup and stretched out to the nearest generous-looking bystander. They also play requests. For an extra price, of course.
The Look: casual shirt and shorts, empty cup
18. The Shoppers
Shoppers can be seen lugging shopping bags bigger and heavier than a refrigerator. Since they know the value of hard-earned cash, they pick the cheapest store (which almost always happens to be the one farthest from their jeep stop.) At times, they are seen in the company of #14. Shoppers can be fun to watch. Especially when they’re trying to cross a very busy intersection. At high noon.
The Look: nice sandals, small belt bag/shoulder bag
19. The Foreigners Who Cannot Fit In
This type is new to the country. Although they try their best to fit in, they just stand out. And it doesn’t help that they don’t wear what most Cebuanos wear in Colon. They attract #2. They are also usually accompanied by locals who are less than half their age.
The Look: leather shoes, black pants, long sleeves
20. The Backpackers
Every once in a while, a Backpacker shows up in Colon. Backpackers almost always look baffled and bewildered. The Colon they see is obviously not the Colon that they’ve read about. But they enjoy the crowd and the chaos. And the fact that their head is at least 2 feet higher than everyone else’s.
The Look: trekking shoes, sleeveless shirt, shorts, a gigantic backpack
21. The Prophets
The Prophet stands at busy intersections. With a book in one hand and a microphone on the other, the Prophet lectures people on the evils of money and power. After a rather lengthy dissection of mankind’s greatest sins, the Prophet passes around a small envelope for donations.