Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The First Eye in black and white

That was how photos were printed in the past. Although color pictures were already being done when these photos were taken in 1990, black and white pics still have a different appeal. I can almost hear photographer friends Tommy Hafalla, Ed Santiago, Alex Baluyut et al say "Aye!" in unison.

The occasion here was the launch of my first book of poems, The First Eye, boldly published by Kalikasan Press. I say boldly because Dr. Gode, or was it Godo?, Calleja of Kalikasan took a leap of faith when he okayed my manuscript. Print run was only 200 copies, but for a poet, it was enough that her book saw light.

Bob and Cecile Feleo's kobre kama (bed covers), inspired by Filipino images (Darna, anting-anting, St. Michael piercing the devil serpent, etc.), served as backdrop for the launch. There was a bed made and designed by Bob in the middle of Hiraya Gallery where my readers-performers Gigi Duenas, who had just given birth to her first daughter Amihan, and Monica Feria, pregnant with daughter Jasmine, sat. Actor-tenor Dodo Crisol chose to stand by the bed and not create a false image of a menage a trois by sitting on it (kidding lang, Dodo, wherever you are).

As these pictures show and as the song goes, the people in it--"some are dead and some are living, in my life I've loved them all."

And bless you, Erning Mendoza, wherever you are now, too, for these photos. The originals are with the Ateneo Library of Women's Writings. I'm still hanging on to my only copy of the book. I will photocopy it on a less busy day and turn over the original to the archives.
Dodo's voice filled the space of the gallery in Ermita, including the mezzanine, I think. It was followed by a loud clap of thunder and if I remember correctly, the lights briefly went out. Drama!
Dodo sang two songs, both of them originally composed as poems. One was Christopher Marlowe's "A Passionate Shepherd to His Mistress." Among those in the audience are Leonor Orosa Goquingco, Odette Alcantara, Sol Juvida, Virginia Moreno, Hilario Francia, my dear framer Ricardo Arquero and Gigi Custodio.
Beautiful Dodo--we miss you. And there is the just-as-beautiful Gigi who seems to be stifling a giggle, or should it be a guffaw, over a private joke.
Gigi reading...
...with feeling. In the audience are guests Mauro Tumbocon (a.k.a Mike Feria), baby-face Chato Garcellano, then my editor at The Sunday Times Magazine, Marie Dimapilis, Lynett Villariba and Anna Leah Sarabia.
Odette Alcantara, like a nicely aging hippie with flowers in her hair, chatting with the Orosa sisters, Leonor and Rosalinda
Here I am feeling like I'm sandwiched between two grizzlies. Correction: two grizzled newsmen, Armando J. Malay and Nestor Mata.
This is one of my favorite photos from that evening. I'm with four guys I shared a past with: Fort Yerro, Art Cariaga, Rod Reyes and Mandy Manaloto. That's Monica behind Fort.
Monica I worked with at the martial-law newspaper, Philippine Daily Express. At one time, she was arrested and detained. Much later she was my editor at Mirror Magazine. Art I also worked with at People's Journal, San Miguel Corp. and briefly at the International Finance Corp. Rod Reyes was the founding editor of Manila Standard where I worked at the news desk.
Signing copy of Rod Reyes, one of the most gentle editors with whom I've worked. Behind me are two favorite gardeners masquerading as writers: Ester Dipasupil and Paula Carolina Malay. Behind them is my youngest sister Gigi who documented the launch in video, but where does one play a Betamax tape?
I think it was Armando Malay's stature as the Grand Old man of Journalism that let him get away with smoking in an enclosed, air-conditioned space. The others with me and who don't seem to mind the secondhand smoke are Odette and Nestor.
Chato and Lynett check out my book, Nino Aguilos enjoys his drink while Mayita Subido casts critical eye on the Feleo four-poster bed. Lynett designed the book cover and interiors. Nino, of course, is now known as Bituin Escalante's dad.
Dr. Tony Protacio, fellow culture vulture, seems to be having a good time. Also in photo are then Manila Times publisher Johnny Perez, Paula Carolina Malay, Ester Dipasupil and Wendy Regalado.
The making of a best-seller. Ha ha there! Maribel Ongpin awaits her turn while I get Margarita Holmes's copy. Laughing is my mom's colleague Allan Juanta.
My life partner, Rolly Fernandez, watches me sign his copy. He complained days later that he was the only husband he knew who had to buy his own wife's book. Good point! Skinny Suzy Lolarga also in picture. This should be where I end and put a smiley icon, but the blogging service doesn't provide it.


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