Tuesday, May 27, 2014

First of 2 nom nom days

“In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.”

~ Bertolt Brecht

To me laughing with and among friends is a form of singing in these horridly hot times. The Sunday and Monday past, I felt privileged to be among friends again after the relative isolation imposed by Manila's heat on me this summer. I spent close to two months just within the walls and arms of family in Baguio so the summons from Gilda Cordero Fernando, who is her own best events organizer, to join her in Antipolo on May 25 couldn't be ignored. Neither could Angge Goloy's to be with the ladies who lunch in Tagaytay on May 26.

Come down, come down from wherever you are. I did, chancing it as a Victory Liner passenger at past one in the morning on a Sunday. I told my husband that I wasn't sure anymore how much time I have left or for that matter, how long in the world my own friends will be around. So many loved ones had left abruptly in recent months and years. I wasn't going to wait for another occasion.

So here we are again, captured in pictures. Gilda's event was an advanced 84th birthday lunch at daughter-in-law Lanelle Abueva Fernando's Crescent Moon Restaurant in Antipolo City. The heavens were kind. The sky was overcast so temperature was below stifling

By happenstance, in a separate dining area, old pal from kindergarten years Marissa Ileto was also present with her family. They were feting a balikbayan cousin. That was totally unplanned. So I made sure the moment was captured with her kids Issa and Lawin flanking us.

When Marissa saw the photos, she went: "Naku magka height na tayo! At the rate I am going, chomping away and sitting all day, my width is soon to follow! Nom nom nom..." Nom nom nom means "yummy." At least for me that is what it means. Apparently for others, it's drinking alcohol.

Nom nom nom was the buffet spread that Lanelle's crew laid out: plain lugaw with over a dozen toppings or condiments to choose from (I returned for the slices of century eggs more than twice), crisp fried noodles again with sahog of your choice (new experience was having curried vegetables and tofu for the toppings), among others.
It was actually former UP President Jose Abueva's birthday. He and Gilda are mag balae (he was pa-in-law to Gilda's eldest son, the late Bey), she the mod mom-in-law of Lanelle. Gilda's BFF Mariel Francisco teased that La Gilda chose that day to celebrate to earn a "free ride." She was riding onto the Abueva event.

GCF (the lady second from left wearing what my sisters and I called "muscle shirt") with Edna Zapanta Manlapaz, Mariel and Ning Encarnacion Tan. The fans or abanico on the table are production designer Gino Gonzales's presents to Gilda and guests, the butterflies came from Mariel (saved from a granddaughter's birthday party).

The loooooong table with no permanent seat arrangements. Each one, after finishing his/her food, stood to move around which is what Gilda likes about her parties. No one stays put with just one conversation partner. Clockwise: Juju Tan, Chit Roces Santos, Karina Bolasco, GCF, Nonon Padilla, Ning, Manny Chaves, Mariel (standing) Gino, Lorna Kalaw Tirol and Edna.

The Gemini girl with a birthday coming soon demanded a group photo before we broke up and headed for home. The production designer in Gino couldn't stand the idea that we'd have a row ofcaldero for our background so the chairs were re-arranged to cover the buffet table and to prevent back lighting. We also followed his instruction to hold our fans. Front row (from left) Lorna, Rita Ledesma, Gilda, me and Gino. Second row: Mariel, Lanelle, Chit, Manny, Edna Juju, Nonon and Karina.

Everyone's summer muse or how we hope we'll look like if we're blessed to reach the age of 84

Most photos by Babeth Lolarga
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