A cosplay? Why heritage tour guide’s photo in Manila is earning buzz

February 8, 2024 - 11:35 AM
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Big Smoke
Alex Avila in the Light Rail Transit-Line 1 Heritage Tour of Renacimiento Manila on Feb. 4, 2024 (RebirthManila/Facebook)

Wondering why your Facebook friends are sharing a picture of a bespectacled tour guide holding a picture of a train?

One of the pictures of cultural organization Renacimiento Manila in its Light Rail Transit-Line 1 Heritage Tour went viral on the social networking platform.

It featured Alex Avila from the org discussing the different train sets that were used or are being used by the LRT-1.

The photo was taken during the org’s LRT-1 Heritage Tour on February 4, which was conducted in partnership with the Light Rail Manila Corporation, the operator of LRT-1.

The heritage tour was also made possible with the coordination of the National Museum of the Philippines and the Philippine Sports Commission.

The tour highlighted the history of the LRT-1, the story of its trains and the stations and the landmarks and attractions located near each of them.

It utilized the train as a means of travel to link separate sites across the city.

The February 4 tour featured several stops such as the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Rizal Baseball Stadium and the National Museum of Natural History.

The group also visited Plaza Goiti, Santa Cruz Church and the First United Building Lobby at Calle Escolta near Carriedo Station.

It also passed by the Plaza Salamanca and Central United Methodist Church, among others.

One of the org’s heritage tour photos went viral on Facebook as some Pinoys commented about the look of one of its tour guides.

“CJ, my dawg!!” a Facebook user exclaimed in the comments.

“CJ is [on] a different map, Smoke!” another user wrote.

“Pinoy Big Smoke,” commented a different Pinoy.

“Astig, cosplay,” a user wrote.

The photo has amassed 7,900 likes and reactions, 1,100 comments and a whopping number of 10,000 shares so far.

Alex Avila
Alex Avila of the Renacimiento Manila during the LRT-1 Heritage Tour on Feb. 4, 2024 (RebirthManila/Facebook)

Avila also shared a photo of himself in the same outfit on his account.

“no caption needed,” he wrote.

Avila’s look is a reference to Big Smoke, a character in the “Grand Theft Auto” video game series and an antagonist in the “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.”

The tour guide also cosplayed the character in an event in 2022.

“Grand Theft Auto” is a series of crime-drama video games set in the mostly fictionalized cities of the United States where the player takes on the role of a criminal and navigates the criminal underworld of America.

The player has to steal cars and carry missions and heists for shadowy kingpins, among others.