I KNEW I had to get out of the city when I saw the photo of Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz’s burial the other day.

To those who didn’t know, it certainly looked like a send-off for some VIP. Then again, to residents of Duljo-Fatima, he was their Santa Claus and Robin Hood all rolled into one.

He was their go-to guy in case of emergency. No money to pay for a sick child’s medicine? Jaguar was there to pick up the tab. What, no rice for dinner? No need to worry, Jaguar was more than happy to part with a few kilos and probably threw in some cans of sardines and packets of instant noodles to go with the rice.

That Jaguar touched a lot of hearts in his community was made even more apparent last Tuesday. Or so I thought. You see, pictures can sometimes be deceiving.

According to sources, those who accompanied the funeral procession were each given between P500 and P800. I’m not saying that everyone there needed to be paid, but it made sense that residents of Duljo-Fatima continued to benefit from his largesse even in death.

Wait. Let me rephrase that. It made sense that some residents of Duljo-Fatima would continue to take advantage of Jaguar’s generosity even in the afterlife.

Yeah, that about summed up my take on the whole thing. And although it made feel a bit better, I still felt the urge to take a breather from the city.

So early morning yesterday, I got on the bus and headed to my grandparents’ hometown of Argao. I got there around lunch so I went straight to Carmen’s where I had humba, bam-i and rice. I then walked to our family’s property along the highway in Looc where I dropped off some documents that my cousin Pete Vincent Briones had left at our house in Banilad.

There was a slight drizzle so I decided to return home. I had gotten as far as Don Gil when I spotted Petpet across the street on his motorcycle. Apparently, he also saw me because he made a U-turn.

He asked me where I was going. Back to the city, I told him. Hop in, he said. I thought he would drop me off at the waiting shed in Poblacion but instead we headed to the Taloot wharf where vessels set sail for neighboring Bohol. The road to the empty port was flanked by mangroves. Other than that, there was nothing else there.

He wanted to check out Bugasok Falls but he didn’t know the way. The last time I was there I was still a Capitol consultant under then governor Gwen Garcia and that was back in 2009 so I was no help either.

We ended up going to Maria’s Batchoy in Dalaguete, where I ordered lomi. Mind you, I also recommend their pancit guisado and their chop suey but we were there for snacks. So there.

Anyway, Petpet asked if I’d been to Osmeña Peak. I told him no. Did I want to go? Was it far? I asked. It’s just beyond Mantalongon, he said. I figured, we were already there so why not. So off we went.

On the way to the top, we saw a group of elderly men by the side of the road having the time of their life drinking tuba. It was 3 p.m.

And just like that. I stopped thinking of Jaguar.