Friday, October 11, 2013

Doing the Romi Garduce journey vicariously

Nobody was more thrilled about my being part of Romi Garduce's journey to the making of what we hope won't be his first and last book than my daughter, Kimi Fernandez. 

Kimi, her friends and many more who have slept over or crossed the threshold of our homes in Pasig and Baguio are all alumni members of the UP Mountaineers (UPM). But you never actually call them "alumni" because once a UPM member, always and forever na

I had to squelch Kimi's enthusiasm and tell her firmly to save the excitement until the book was done, as in published and launched and distributed and read by many. As you can see, I am pre-empting her! Sorry, good daughter of mine, but I'm asserting my seniority.

Kimi wanted to tweet and announce in her social media outlets over the summer that her Nanay, whose physical exertions involve carrying her grandchild or walking to the nearby park with the little 'un or doing head and shoulder rolls after hours spent before the computer, was combing through Romi's manuscript, commenting, editing and finally, proofreading (any typos or editing oversights I claim as mine alone).

Kimi was sworn in as UPM member while dressed in her swimsuit atop Mt. Pulag in Benguet. Sinag de Leon, then UPM president, swore in the members of Kimi's batch. Sinag introduced me to Romi very early this year. Sinag is also godmother to our family's Kai/Butones. Interlocking lives, but that's what makes it more fun in the Philippines. 

Now how Romi, a BS Math major from the University of Santo Tomas and an information technology professional, became a UPM, I can't disclose. You'll really have to get hold of a copy of the book for some of the funniest experiences I've read in a long while.

Romi's a decent chap, what we call in parlance as "magaang dalhin." And he has to be and remain that way because of the life beyond the office walls that he has chosen. It's one thing to climb a molehill and imagine oneself as Maria von Trapp singing "The hills are alive...." It's another to carry half or equivalent of your weight to the most weather-beaten and highest mountains of the world. Emotional baggage is not allowed in the check-in area of any airport.

The launch of Akyat! Journey to the Seven Summits was also a refreshing departure from other book signing events. One of Romi's sponsors, Juice Jab, served only beverages, extremely healthy ones made from the juice of several vegetables and fruits and milk extracted from nuts. Not only healthy but good for detoxing the body of all negativism.

By putting out this book, Romi again shares with a grateful nation his/our story that yes, the Filipino can!
The secret to how he did it: "Struggles & Defeats and not giving up to win."
Macho Romi likes to pose this way in many of his shots with fellow mountaineers.
The author in a t-shirt that says it all for every rare person who summits the world's seven tallest mountains: "To climb is human, to summit divine. Akyat!" 
Addressing a crowd of dressed down book buyers (a.k.a., the mountaineering community)
Tada! There's Romi's first-born child and his birth attendants: his Tita Babeth and book designer Kerwin Nicolas.
And now for my shameless plug. Romi is giving this special offer, and I have highlighted it on this space: 

Get 20 per cent discount when you order 10 copies or more. Sell to your friends or use as personal giveaways. Note: shipping cost will be added in the total price. Email your order to Available in the Philippines only.

If you want to buy online, go to Central Bookstore website, beginning this month, or for those living overseas, Createspace/Amazon (soon).
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