BAGUIO CITY — Danny Albero is not your ordinary caddie.
The 62-year-old grandfather has traveled around the world, claims to speak 46 languages and dialects, has worked as kitchen staff, room boy attendant, janitor, and house boy, and has even lived with soldiers fighting communist rebels.
Originally from Jaro, Tacloban, Albero is a product of a broken family.
At a very young age, he sold ice drops to earn a living.
“We only ate once a day, mostly sweet potatoes,” he recalled.
Albero said he met a lady doctor who hired him as a house boy with a salary of P20 a month.
“I would clean the house and bring food to the doctor in the hospital. I stayed for five years until I asked permission to leave to look for my father,” he recalled.
Initially, the doctor convinced him to stay and even offered to raise his salary but eventually relented.
Albero did not immediately go to Baguio where his father was based. He stayed with his soldier friends for a year. He worked as a foxhole digger for P50 a month.
It was the height of the insurrection in the Visayas.
“I had no gun. There was fighting everywhere. Bodies of soldiers and rebels were buried in mass graves,” he recounted.
Albero eventually left for Baguio City using all of his savings.
“At that time, the minimum fare was 10 centavos. I think the bus ride to Baguio was only 10 pesos,” he recalled.
He met his father who worked as a caddie at the Baguio Country Club. He found work at BCC as a room boy. During his free time, he worked as a caddie.
He eventually left his father and stayed with his uncle.
“My father drank too much alcohol,” Albero reasoned out.
Albero, who finished high school in Baguio, soon was assigned as a kitchen helper.
During his time at BCC, he became proficient with golf.
During the nineties, Albero’s fortunes took a 180-degree turn. He became a seaman which allowed him to travel to many places.
His golf skills also carried him in good stead. He became close with ship captains who would invite him for rounds of golf.
During his stint, his skills with the knife were noticed.
“They would allow me to create shapes from fruits and vegetables,” he said.
Eventually, Albero was enrolled in a culinary art school in Miami.
Albero worked in ships for 26 years until he went home for good at the height of the pandemic.
With his savings, he opened a rice retail store which he let his two daughters manage.
Meanwhile, he needed something to keep him busy and in shape.
He went back to caddying. It is something that he had always wanted to do.
“One good thing about being a caddie is that it gives you a lot of time doing something else,” he said.
Playing golf is one.
Carrying a five-handicap, Albero said his skills have brought him to several courses outside Baguio, thanks to a benefactor who financed his trips.
His last outing was at the Dakak Golf Club in Dapitan City last March.
This week, Albero caddied for actor Derek Ramsay on the second day of the competition.
“He (Ramsay) hits it long but had a hard time tackling BCC,” he said. “I tried to guide him and advised him on how to play certain holes but it was up to him to decide.”
Albero has gone a long way from his humble beginnings.
He has built a house from a lot he bought for P16,000 while still working for BCC in the early days.
“My dream was to build a house that looks ordinary on the outside but beautiful on the inside,” he shared.
Albero has two daughters, one of whom is married with two children.
“I told them to stay in the house unless they want to migrate,” he said.
Albero said he also brought to Baguio several relatives from Tacloban and helped them find jobs in the summer capital.
For all his blessings, Albero doesn’t want to leave the place that accepted him and nurtured him into what he has become.