Espeleta: Estrella D. Alfon’s Tips On How To Care For Your Neighbors

How long is the street you are living in? Do you know your neighbors, greet them beyond a passing wave of the hand and a simple hello, or do you prefer to know them behind the blinds, looking on people throwing their trash or passing by your front lawn, which can awkwardly put you at the risk of being called the weirdo next door?


Can you find where Espelita Street is? (Image is a screenshot of

In Cebu, and in the rest of the Philippines, many streets are thriving, living macroorganisms. This is best illustrated by Filipino writer Estrella Alfon in her short story, Espeleta, who describes with nostalgia the Espelita Street in Cebu City:

“You could walk its whole length to where it ends by stopping humbly at the very gate of the San Nicolas churchyard; you could walk that whole unwinding length, as I say, and experience no shortness of breath, no dampness of perspiration (3).”

How would you describe your street? There are many short streets in Cebu City, each with a name after a political leader or a person with significance in history. One of them is Ballesteros Street in Barangay Tinago, Cebu City. One end connects to Lopez Jaena Street where I used to work and the other to A. Bonifacio Street where I would wait to hail a taxi just around the corner, in front of a rusty bakeshop interspersed with an equally rusty musty old house. Because it is very short, I could cover the street in just about 40 to 50 steps while, when going home, enjoying the front view of the well-conserved Casa Gorordo Museum to my left side and old houses to my right.

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