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Boothie

Retraining (Pugad Baboy story arc)

Retraining is an adventure story arc of the Philippine comic strip series Pugad Baboy, created by Pol Medina Jr. and originally published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. This particular story arc lasts 45 strips long. In 1993, the story arc was reprinted in Pugad Baboy 4, the fourth book compilation of the comic strip series.

Synopsis

Sgt. Tomas Sabaybunot receives orders from higher command to the effect that he has to undergo military retraining under Article of War 105. His flight instructor is the short, skinny, buck-toothed Sgt. Reynantes who takes the men through the traditional military tradition of breaking down the individual's sense of independence and attempts to instill esprit de corps by having them "carry the mountain", "consume everything" and "squish da banana". Their commanding general, Gen. Cresendo Lagumbay, one day pays the training troop a visit, speaking of having an open ear for their complaints, but nonetheless sporting a katana, spiked gauntlets, a riding crop, a guard dog and a bodyguard - definitely not standard military issue equipment.

The troops go to Mt. Makulot one day for a jungle and mountain orientation course. In learning how to survive by living off the land, the men stray into a mountain stream where an NPA amazon (a female fighter) is doing laundry. The troops are captured and taken to the NPA camp. The government soldiers are terror-struck; the NPA seem to be getting ready to execute the lot. However, it so happens that Ka Noli, the good friend of Tomas in Pugad Baboy, is among the NPA's in that camp. The soldiers are released and are invited for a drink with the NPA's.

While the new-found friends were happily drinking their training time away, they heard an aircraft fly overhead; Ka Noli mentions that he had heard rumors of a secret airstrip somewhere in Mt. Makulot. Tomas and Ka Noli decided to look for the airstrip and see who was using it. To their horror, they discover that the airstrip is being used by foreign pedophiles to smuggle children out of the country. Tomas radios headquarters asking the commanding general for permission to attack the camp, but is rebuffed; on the contrary, Sgt. Reynantes is ordered to detain Sabaybunot. The NPA's however, restrain Reynantes and Tomas is given access to the NPA's armory. Both Tomas and Ka Noli prepare to assault the airstrip.

Heavily armed, the duo turn the pedophiles' planes into smoking wrecks full of holes. The foreigners' Filipino contact, Fabian, however, takes refuge on top of a hill and reveals that he had a hostage - Tomas' only son, Paltik. Tomas and Ka Noli are forced to surrender. The mastermind of the whole operation arrived - it was none other than Gen. Cresendo Lagumbay, alias Sendong Langib. The Pugad Baboy gang would have been in a perilous position but for the timely arrival of Polgas, in the guise of Robin Hound - Prince of Fleas (a spoof of Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves). Polgas manages to disarm Fabian with an arrow that tweaks away his revolver; Paltik is able to escape and the bound Ka Noli and Tomas manage to evade their captors. In the confusion, all the pedophiles, Sendong Langib and Fabian board a helicopter and attempt to escape. Polgas, however, brings the chopper crashing down with an arrow tied to a tree on the ground. They all fall into quicksand and Tomas is able to extract a confession from Sendong Langib. Sgt. Reynantes is also able to extract a small measure of vengeance from his erstwhile commanding general; he makes the general do ten million push-ups.

As a reward for the capture of Sendong Langib, Tomas is made flight leader of his unit.

Miscellaneous trivia

  • Like some Pugad Baboy story arcs, this one has an instance of characters breaking the fourth wall. While being held captive by Ka Dina, Tomas tells Sgt. Reynantes that she is definitely a member of the NPA, starting from the red headband, the medal bearing the seal of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and even her conjunctivitis. During the conversation, Tomas even tells him that if the comic strip there are on were colored, Ka Dina's clothes would have been colored red, too.
  • Another play of words occurs in this story arc. Sgt. Reynantes instructs his troops to "consume everything" on the table. Tomas indeed consumes everything, plate and all. Reynantes then tells Tomas that when he says "consume everything," the plate is not included.
  • Tomas is only one of two residents of Pugad Baboy who successfully lost their weight, only to regain it sometime later. In the end of the story arc, Tomas returns to Pugad Baboy buff and muscular because of the retraining, to the amazement of Bab and Dagul. However, he goes home to eat dinner; his meal stretches so long that by the time he rejoins the two, he is back to his old obese self.
    • The other person to successfully lose weight and gain it back is his wife Barbie, this time through liposuction ("liemposuction" is the term used). Even Tomas wants to touch her, but she refuses to be touched because she still has wounds from the surgery. By the time those wounds heal (which is three weeks), she has become much more obese than before the procedure.
  • Robert Jaworski, who was a player and coach of the PBA Añejo Rhum 65 team at the time of story arc's publication, appears in this story arc, telling Tomas and Ka Noli about their "game plan."
  • When Tomas and Ka Noli invade the airstrip, they shout "Pigabanga!" "Pigabanga" is a spoof of the expression "Cowabunga," popularized by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The rest of the Pugad Baboy gang use "Pigabanga" in a later story arc, Ang Hiwaga ng Dueñas.
  • Likewise, in the story arc, Tomas is assigned to "Flight Pigtrot, Braboy Company." "Pigtrot" and "Braboy" are derived from "Foxtrot" and "Bravo," both part of the NATO phonetic alphabet. Medina has a penchant of attaching words relating to swine for comic relief.
  • Most of the names the NPA cadre are derived from Filipino words. Ka Mison (kamison, a type of clothing), Ka Boothie (kabuti, for "mushroom"), Ka Dina (kadena, for "chains"), and Ka Matthis (kamatis, for "tomato") all illustrate this point.

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