The Baguio Connection


The Baguio Connection

The Baguio Connection (probably a spoof of "The French Connection") 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 51 strips long. In 1992, the story arc was reprinted in "Pugad Baboy 3", the third book compilation of the comic strip series.

ynopsis

Kules, home on vacation from his job in Saudi Arabia, takes Bab, Tomas, Ka Noli, Joboy, Pao and Polgas on a trip to Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines. They take in the sights at Camp John Hay, Mines View, and Trinidad Valley. They also visit an Igorot village, where Polgas purchases a shrunken head as a souvenir.

The action begins when the gang stop by an ube jam store on the Hilltop Market. The proprietor slams the store window close to their faces, and pickpockets steal their wallets and Tomas and Ka Noli's guns. Polgas, in the guise of Wisedog later returns to the scene of the crime and begins an investigation. He takes two jars of the R.D. Ube Jam as evidence.

Back in their pad, Bab sees Wisedog putting the jars in the cupboard. He samples it and gets an unexpected "high." Wisedog takes the jam to the Thunderdog and has its on-board computer analyze the concoction's chemical content. It turns out the jam is spiked with "cannabis sativa". The makers of R.D. Ube Jam are actually pushing marijuana. To gain some intel or flush out the suspects, Wisedog decides to push the two bottles of jam. An elderly gentleman recognizes the jars and the gang takes him in for interrogation. Tomas makes the poor guy watch video-taped episodes of daytime drama soaps, "The 700 Club" and "That's Entertainment" until he couldn't bear it anymore and became a stool pigeon. He reveals that a lab is hidden behind the ube jam store, that the marijuana plantation is located in Mt. Pulog and that Igorot tribesmen are protecting the plantation.

Wisedog goes undercover as an "asong-Baguio", a native Baguio dog, knowing that the Igorots' favorite dish is dog meat. A fake Igorot tranquilizes him using a blow gun dart laced with "Trankaso", a super-potent liquid comparable in effect to the sweat under the arms of an Iraqi soldier, but before he loses consciousness, he manages to signal the Thunderdog, which is bark-activated. The Porsche 959 discreetly follows Wisedog to the pushers' hideout and marked down the coordinates of the plantation. It then races back to Baguio in order to alert the Pugad Baboy gang.

Interviewing his fellow captive dogs, Wisedog confirms that this indeed was the marijuana plantation and that the plants grown there were not ordinary strains of maryjane but a cross-breed of the marijuana plant and the sweet-potato vine, called the "Kamote-Jane" ("kamote" is Filipino for "sweet potato"). Besides disguising the plant as a harmless-looking sweet potato vine, the cannabis yield is more potent; a single Kamote-Jane flower is equal in potency to five grams of hashish. Wisedog decides to move immediately and neutralize the enemy. He escapes from his cage and releases the other captured dogs. They take on the fake Igorots and just as Wisedog's "garapata gun" runs out of ammo, the Thunderdog arrives with the Pugad Baboy gang.

Tomas brings cadets of the Philippine Military Academy, the campus of which is in Baguio; Ka Noli brings his New People's Army pals from the Cordillera Administrative Region and Pao brings his gay friends from St. Louis University. Seeing the gays, the Igorots surrender, in terror of what they call the "loincloth collectors". Unmasking the mastermind, they again discover that it's no other than Renate Domingo, alias Atong Damuho - former dognap king. (See Wisedog.) Exploring the plantation, Wisedog discovers a gallon of PSSI ("Pawis sa Singit ng Sundalong Iraqi" - Filipino for "Sweat from the Underarm of an Iraqi Soldier") from which the "Trankaso" blow gun poison of the fake Igorots is made. He loads the smelly liquid into the Garapeater Cannon mounted on the Thunderdog and shot up the entire plantation. All the Kamote-Jane plants dissolve.

In gratitude, the Mayor of Baguio rewarded Wisedog with the construction of a secret lair under his master Dagul's residence in Pugad Baboy. This came to be known as the "Dog Cave" (a spoof of the Bat Cave), official residence of OCB agent Polgas, alias "Wisedog".

Epilogue

Technically, the story arc ends with Wisedog's arrival in Pugad Baboy. However, there are three extra strips which detail what happened to the Pugad Bad Boys.

Kules, Bab, Tomas, Ka Noli, Joboy and Pao regret the fact that they do not tag along with Polgas in returning to Manila. Worse, because they have their wallets picked, they have no money for gasoline since Kules' car is already out of fuel. Tomas has an idea of one of them dressing up as an Igorot tribesman so tourists will pay them just to take his picture. Everybody's eyes turn on Bab, whose skin color and vest make him a perfect choice to be a tribesman (his hair only needs a trim). Bab doesn't like to go with the plan, but the boys do not let him get off easily. They restrain him and Ka Noli calls in Edward Scissorhands to cut Bab's hair. As a result, Bab (forcibly) dons the Igorot get-up and the Pugad Bad Boys earn money from tourists who want to have a picture with Bab.

The money the Pugad Bad Boys earn is only enough to buy eight liters of gasoline, which may or may not be enough to drive them home to Manila. So to save on gas, Kules decides to freewheel his car downhill all the way to Pangasinan, to the horror of Pao, who has to hang on the top of the car because he obviously won't fit inside.

As for Bab, he keeps the hairstyle for some time (two strips in the next book feature him sporting the same hairstyle), eventually letting his hair grow back to its original length.


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