"He's a hero for my country," Orozco said. "Not only a hero, but a Superman like (the character) on TV. He's truly a hero."
Many wondered whether they would have been able to survive in a similar situation, but no one would openly cast any doubts on Alvarenga's story.
Alvaro Herrera, 38, who owns a shoe store in neighboring Cara Sucia, said he also admires Alvarenga.
"I'm telling you that he's a man of great courage because of what he went through. God was with him because God is good and does good things," Herrera said.
At the Alvarenga home, Areli Barrera was also waiting for the castaway. She's his former girlfriend and the mother of their 14-year-old daughter, Fatima.
She politely avoided answering questions about Alvarenga, saying only that she's glad he made it out alive. Fatima, who was not yet 6 the last time her father visited, said she remembers very little about him.
"I don't know him," she said.
As for Julia, when asked what's the first thing she's going to do when she sees her son, she extended her arms around herself, the universal signal for a warm, heartfelt embrace.