Sunday, December 28, 2014

Lara, Elnora and the ladies who lunched

Chilling at the new Cafe by the Ruins Dua with the beautiful Halili women (Lara on my right, Elnora on the left), all of us survivors of lo terrible Baguio holiday traffic

How did Lara Halili come into my life and I into hers? Total strangers, we shared a room for one afternoon that ended in a musical evening in Nueva Ecija. We don't mind confessing to being ardent fans of pianist Cecile Licad who we joined in a van with writer Pablo Tariman for an outreach concert in an auditorium that had seen better days at Central Luzon State University.

I had earlier pitched the outreach story to my Philippine Daily Inquirer editor Chato Garcellano and she gave me the go ahead. Problem was I had no camera to record the event. But Lara did, a state of the art contraption that she had mastered after a workshop in Batanes with Mandy Navasero.

Like a pro, she accepted the on-spot assignment, took lots of photos (two were used, one on Inquirer's front page) although she was in tears at one point, moved by Cecile's and the Manila Symphony Orchestra's music. Since then, Lara and I have stayed in touch even when she moved to the US. There she has lived her music aficionado fantasy, following Cecile at her different Stateside engagements, becoming friends with soprano Debbie Voight, attending season upon opera season of the Metropolitan Opera, even campaigning that it not be closed, etc.

Her stories of post-concert meetings with the greats backstage need a separate blog.

Over late lunch yesterday at the new cafe, we played catch-up. I met her gracious mother, her sister Eloisa and her daughters (Eloisa did the ordering--she knows her food well, being a restaurateur in Sta. Rita, Bulacan). The other sister, Elnora the pianist, is another huggable friend. I've been thinking of putting together another book of poems or essays perhaps just so I can launch it and have Elnora play at the book party (she has done this for another media pal, Jullie Yap Daza).

Before we parted, we brought out our respective cameras and asked a waiter to do the honors. This time I came prepare. I never leave home without my ever reliable Canon PowerShot.

Grand exit

From left: a bag lady with fake Burberry shawl, Lara, Elnora, Eloisa and Mama Halili
Post a Comment