Sunday, July 13, 2014

My incredible week in review

Waya Araos-Wijangco, Jerry and Melen's eldest daughter, with her niece and everyone's fave little girl, the sociable Amarra Araos Encabo

Old ties renewed: Host Doc Melen, writer Gemma Corotan-Kolb stand behind Nympha SaƱo, who Odette Alcantara used to call "Nymphette", and a blogger who has adopted the babushka look (coming soon, when her budget finally allows, peasant blouses)

The week of July 7 to 10 will be recorded in great detail in my personal diary as a very full one--the jingle lang ang pahinga kind of week that has taken a toll on a bum knee. The Sunday began with a visit to the Araos family, a hi and a ho to remember Jerry by. He would've been 70, a milestone year.

While I was there, Melen and youngest son Julian brought out some bubble-wrapped paintings that are bound for Florida, the US of A (not Florida Bus Lines). These were gifts to Jerry when he was hale, hearty and the biggest "encourager", after my husband Rolly, when I returned to art school. He saw to it that I would exhibit with his art guild Salakai in one of the biggest simultaneous art show events at the old SM Megamall Art Walk in May 2007 (them were the days when the SM chain of malls still had a veneer of credibility). These works haven't been exhibited; they were personal gifts to JVA's family. Now Jerry and Melen's youngest daughter Mira, who's infanticipating, will hang them in her nursery.

It just occurred to me now that these works remain untitled. So, Mira, it is with extreme pleasure that I give them the "names" they need for after all, they are the babies of my mind, heart and hands. Dear Mira, these are all the "authentication papers" you'll need.

"C Is for Crabs, C Is for the Cancer-borns" (Jerry, Mira and I are all born under the zodiac sign of Cancer.)

"Tea Time for Stones and Two Jars"

"Cubes, Ovals and a Ripe Orange"

After Jerry died, Melen said when she met my grand-daughter again two years after she delivered Kai/Butones that she hoped Amarra and Kai would become friends. This is to continue the deep ties of the Araoses and Lolargas--what Jerry had written in the past about how our families are intertwined. But due to geographical reasons, it may be Amarra and my grand-niece Machiko Skye Lolarga Susi (right) who'll hit it off. Max, as the family calls her, is, like Amarra, an Antipolo resident.

Monday, the seventh of July, was Maestro Darrell Ang day. When he arrived at NAIA the day before, Joseph Uy, consultant of the Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation, who was there to welcome him, texted immediately: "Ma'am, Darrell is now here. He's gorgeous. You'll like him."

I texted back: "Baka naman himatayin ako!"

Joseph: "Don't worry, Ma'am, I'll catch you."

That's what I love about Joseph. He has this deadpan humor, and he doesn't add cheesy smiley emoticons on his messages the way I always do.

I had to give up a ladies' lunch (postponed for the nth time) for this coverage for Vera Files. I always am thankful for good, kind cab drivers, even the talkative ones, who bring me to my destination and back to the house without incident. I can't tip them anymore, but if there's an anti-hypoglycemia pack of sugar-free anything (mints, candies, cookies), this goes to the driver of the moment. Better than a tip because their faces light up when they say: "Mommy, solved na merienda ko." With the babushka look, they initially speak in English and ask from what country I am. Naks! I'm inclined to say Greece or Ukraine, but I don't want the discussion to get political and complicated so I quickly confess I'm Pinay and I have a pangit haircut to hide which is true. The barber (yes, barbers are cheaper than salon hair stylists) is still alive, by the way.

Group shot around Maestro Ang (seated second from right between classical music blogger Andrian Lontoc and a babushka) at the Makati Sports Club. Others in photo are Jasmine Cruz (bending left) of BusinessWorld, Baltazar Endriga, chairman of the board of the MCO Foundation, Ellen Tordesillas of VERA Files, Malaya and Abante, and Allan Pastrana, contributing writer of Philippine Daily Inquirer and a teacher at Miriam College. I told Mr. Endriga it must be nice to called Chairman of the Board like Frank Sinatra. His quick reply: "But he was Sinatra, and his friends in the Rat Pack were all millionaires! I'm not."

Tuesday I filed my story only to learn that the Vera Files site had been spammed and hacked.

Wednesday was teaching day--the first time I went to school accompanied by a yaya, my mom's. Never, not even in my nursery and kindergarten years, was I ever accompanied by a yaya to school. But this time, someone had to help me carry my students' notebooks (the equivalent of theme notebooks in my high school years), other teaching materials, my umbrella and backpack of personal stuff.

Should I also be grateful for over-frank students who ask for my exact age, what the matter was with me and if I'll be due for retirement soon because of disability? One asked, "If you're sixty by next year, will you have to go? And if you do, will they dissolve CW (creative writing)?"

My answer was diplomatic: "When the time comes for me to leave school, someone will take over. No one is indispensable in any organization."

Thursday, oh my! It was La Gilda Day, her vernissage at Silverlens Galleries in Makati, but I'll reserve a full-length account of that wild evening for another outlet. I wanna share this precious pic of funny girl Chit Roces Santos who's always Not Quite There and her babushka pal. I asked what did she come as. She said, "Masahistang bulag!" We sat together for a bit by the registration table at the entrance, and I said, "If people ask, you're my caregiver. Class ako ngayon--tisay ang yaya ko!"

Chit and blogger

Don't even talk of Friday because from the moment I woke up with my husband by my side (a rarity when I'm in Manila), I was in a go-go-go mood. His idea of a treat was to cover all meals in one blow--yes, a luncheon buffet that started at 11:30 a.m., ended at 2 p.m., 15 minutes before all the stations closed. He seemed insatiable and steadily ate through plates of sushi, sashimi, chorizos, three flavors of green ice cream, halo-halo with just the sangkap, not the ice and milk, buko pandan, mango sago, all downed with beer. I was waiting for him to turn comatose before my eyes, but it was I who got sleepy from just two plates of sushi.

What woke me up was when the waiters started singing table to table where a birthday celebrator was seated. They were a threesome: guitarist, a maracas and a tambourine player. One of them carried a portable sound system. I envied the tables that had a celebrator each so when our neighbors enjoyed the birthday song plus another pop hit, I asked if anniversaries were counted (our 30th was coming up in a few days). Yup, they "performed" anniversaries, too. A waiter proceeded to fetch this huge tarpaulin with "Happy Anniversary" writ large. When the singing started, I felt an instant shot of adrenalin. It was my cue to rise with my cane, sit on Rolly's left leg and do a lap dance. Guess who walked with a limp after? And the song we were serenaded with? "Kahit Maputi Na ang Buhok Ko!"

Old couple marking their Pearl Anniversary with a cheerful photo bomber behind them. I'm pretty sure that if I die ahead of him, Rolly will miss me acutely because of moments like this one and thus forgive my past transgressions.

Hubby and I capped date night at the Mostly Mozart 2014 Festival. Knowing what a screeching, shameless fan girl I am when the gods and goddesses descend from Music's Olympus, Rolly kindly took my photo by the grand piano with an Adonis, Maestro Darrell Ang.

As if all those activities weren't enough, I met some of my CW students yesterday, a Saturday afternoon, at the entrance of the Ayala Museum for a field trip. They not only visited the permanent diorama and the Fernando Zobel retrospective, they were present for Dr. May Jurilla's lecture-presentation on "Romancing the Book." My instruction to the kids was to listen well so they could ask one well thought out question each. In the end, only three overcame their shyness to raise their hands during the open forum.
One, two, three: Hashtag Ayala Museum!

Photos by Angel Reyes Nacino, Babeth and Suzy Lolarga, Maite de la Rosa, Rolly Fernandez and others like another restaurant customer
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