‘Gen. Bato’ Alvarez soldiers on in mainland
Alvin “Gen. Bato” Alvarez is playing beautiful music with congregants of a caregiving facility in Oregon where he now works as an attendant.
The 56-year-old Pasay City in the Philippines native said since arriving in the U.S. mainland to join his family late last year and finally getting a job, all that he’s been doing is work.
“My life has turned around completely. It’s now all work and you just use your house as a place to sleep. On your day off that’s when you do your household chores like cleaning and laundry plus quality time with your family. You relax by going out to dinner with the family, watching a movie, or going to the mall,” he said in Filipino.
Alvarez admitted he imbibed alcohol with friends almost daily when he was still on Saipan, but that’s no longer the case with his new life on Oregon with his busy schedule.
“Probably when I finally have a group of friends then I’ll go back to drinking, but only occasionally now because everyone is busy with work and everyone I know lives far away,” said Alvarez, who bears a resemblance to Philippine Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
A good consequence of his busy schedule and new no-alcohol lifestyle is he now weighs 30 lbs lighter.
Asked what he misses most about Saipan, which was home for 31 years, Alvarez said it’s the whole package.
“I miss everything… my friends, the food, sports, hangouts, and me serving as announcer in basketball leagues…of course I also miss the beauty and the simple life of the islands,” he said.
Before shifting to badminton a few years ago where he played with his beloved wife and coining “Musika” during his stint as basketball announcer, Alvarez was a feared big man on the hard court.
Among the teams he played for was Kentucky Fried Chicken where he suited up with the likes of Bruce Berline, Tony Raho, Andy Nepatial, Roger Valencia, and the late Warren Villegas.
He was also in the lineup of Bud Ice in the Centennial Basketball League, Aquarius Hotel in the inter-hotel league, and POWER in the UFO league. Among his teammates in those squads were Boy Garcia, June Alipio, Boyet, Suing, Jeff Garcia, Rene Pe, Ed Palma, Bogs Dayrit, and the late Pasky Peleno.
The lone championship he won on Saipan was when he was with Team Pepsi in the Shirley’s Coffee Shop league where he joined forces with the likes of Jojo Garon and Kiko Sarmiento.
His message to all basketball fans on Saipan is “keep on ballin’ and enjoy the game and thank you to everyone who supported me!”
Alvarez, made special mention of his adopted family on the island, among them the families of Jojo and Merlie Savellano, Boyong Dela Rosa, Lito and Malou Mendoza, Ding Ordonez, Shirley Kim, Anette Ta, Roger and Celia Vales, EIlie Betchay Garcia, Billy and Loida, Kuya Boy and Violy Ching, his DLX and Eagles family, Blu Haus family, DFS airport staff, badminton family, and “all my local friends…I miss and love you all,” he said.