Tuesday, December 31, 2013


My coffee mate said yesterday only newspapers do year-enders; in other words, what right have I to issue an e-mail with the subject head "year-end report"?

This is my personal thank you in words and photos for those who made the year 2013 good to me. A la Rod McKuen, I'm singin that song while I post the pics:

I call this my Baguio coffee mate Rolly Fernandez's Albert Einstein look. Here he is enjoying his mug of Benguet beans brewed to his liking--no sugar, no cream, just a dash of cinnamon to decrease his blood sugar level.

Mamay Kimi and Nanay B on Christmas Day

The butones herself, Kai, with her Booboo

My girls, Kimi, Ida and Kai, before Ida left for her new job in Sg.

Headed by The Matriarch "Mommy" Lolarga, the Lolargas of Pasig, Antipolo, Quezon City and Calgary, CA, in their look-up pose

I call this photo "Third Movement, Humoresque Concerto for Eight Hands." The players are: Chit Roces, Pablo Tariman, Vergel Santos and the girl with the brown lenses.

A lot of girls, gays and similar hipsters go to Gilda Cordero Fernando for life, light, love lessons. She never fails to deliver. Take it from Anna Leah Sarabia, Lorna Kalaw Tirol and Neni Sta. Romana Cruz, she's the best guru who doesn't like to be called one.

Perla Macapinlac, ICM, is Gilda's St. Theresa's College contemporary. She continues to run the ICM House of Prayer in Baguio where she conducts retreats. Her instruction is simple: dive deep, emerge whole, and don't be afraid of the monsters you see.

This is the first batch of participants at "Journey to Self: A Creative Journal Workshop," a project of the Baguio Writers Group, that pushed through despite super-typhoon Yolanda's visit to the South the weekend before. For facilitators Baboo Mondoñedo, Merci Javier Dulawan and myself, junior facilitator Jenny Cariño and secretariat head Sacha Weygan, the workshop was a fulfilling experience. We all came away enriched through the many encounters and shared experiences. Mabuhay!

Lalu Melen Araos with grand-daughter Amarra Araos Encabo host breakfast for their first-time visitor to their home and garden in Antipolo.

The spirit of artist Jerry Araos continues to live in his children like his son Jemil, here seen with daughter Widsy and Tita B. Jemil has an ongoing solo exhibit of sculpture and furniture at the University of the Philippines Los Baños Alumni Center at the UPLB campus in Laguna.

Jazz singer Annie Brazil can still croon, carry a tune at 80. Now and then she'd pause to sip water (or is it brandy?) or spray something into her mouth (asthma?), but the audience doesn't mind because she is truly funny, her spiels unscripted. As for Boots Anson Roa, I must thank her as a subject of an interview for Planet Philippines--I worked there briefly in the early 2000s. I re-posted the interview onto my blog. That entry has received one of the highest hits in this blog's history. Her second-time-around love story touches old hearts and farts like me.

Another funny girl is Jacqui Magno. Inevitable that Anna Leah and me clown around beside her. I never tire of telling Jacqui, "Thank you for the music."

When Anna went up to Renee Olstead to congratulate her on her performance in a tribute to Annie Brazil, she said, "You're an orchestra in one person." Renee's voice can sometimes sound like an oboe, a clarinet. She doesn't need to shout or make birit, I'm tellin' ya.

Bert Robledo, host of DZFE's Bravo Filipino, was once a choir member, too, during the time when soprano Evelyn Mandac was in her prime. Myramae Meneses, who cultural organizer Joseph Uy describes as "small but terrible," is, yes, princess of high C's. And she's just getting warm.

Prof. Rayben Maigue is the cool cat of the UP Jazz Ensemble.

Someone's supra-happy to be addressed "Tita Babeth" by tenor Arthur Espiritu in his normal speaking voice.

Yah, as Kai would put it, I saved this photo for last. The great Cecile Licad leafs through Marne Kilates' award-winning book of poems while a fan girl carries her grandchild. Kai sometimes forgets her manners; she failed to thank Ms. Licad for the vanilla ice cream treat.

This old fart with lotsa heart thanks everyone, even The One who sent a killer quake and typhoon, for enabling us to remember 2013 as one of the most memorable in anyone's life. For those who us who survived the year, the girls of Lincoln Park have this advice worth heeding anytime and everywhere.

Image from www.thegirlsoflincolnpark.com
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