Monday, March 24, 2014

Twin Popsies and enchantment in an evening breeze

In October last year, before super typhoon Yolanda hit and wrought havoc on lives, properties and plans, I was blessed to be part of the workshop "Writing the Story: Communicating from Biblical Perspectives" at the Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture (ISACC). All the resource persons, Miriam Adeney, Frank Gray and Melba Padilla Maggay, set the participants at ease and helped us sustain the flow of words. There's something to writing in a group - too much solitude can be a pain sometimes. I share something short and hopefully sweet, instigated by Adeney's writing prompt: the ice cream cart. Read it through the un-seasonal showers that continue to tap on the roof tonight.

This blog is affectionately dedicated to pianist Najib Ismail and music lover Joseph Uy for reasons only they know. Najib, who was equal to Sumi Jo's lyrical singing early last month, will again collaborate with two Koreans, soprano Yun Kyoung Yi and baritone Daesan No, in "Enchante," an evening of bel canto and opera music, on March 27 at 7 p.m. at Makati's Ayala Museum.

Source of image:

Once upon a time, in the Year of our Lord 1965, the same year Marcos was elected President for his first term, a fourth grader from St. Paul College of Quezon City always counted the jingling coins in her skirt's side pocket. She had no wallet then. But she knew that if she let herself go hungry at lunchtime, she could reward herself with Twin Popsicles bought from the Magnolia ice cream vendor who parked his cart outside the school gates at dismissal time.

She knew how to tame her hunger in such a way that for certain days of the week, she had enough for orange Popsies. Later, as the coins grew in number, she had enough, too, for a bigger treat and a wider choice - the pinipig crunch or the ice cream sandwich

Once upon today, that convent-raised girl is now lactose intolerant, and the reward she looks forward to at the end of each day is the coolness of the breeze as she lays her head down for a well-earned rest. A rest now made possible by the sound of "Ombre Legere" from the comic opera Dinorah and gaily sung by Yun Kyoung Yi.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

To love and to honor 2 women

The outdoor party marking Julie Lluch's sexy eight birthday on March 5 was meant to be a surprise, according to the "conspirators" Aba, Issa and Kiri, the honoree's palangga. Trust their Mama or any Mama with an intuitive sense to notice suspicious moves weeks before The Day itself, including overhearing Kiri say, while making place cards, how hard it was to organize a "debut" for a mother.

Even before son-in-law Keith Sicat escorted Julie to Daisy Langenegger's garden, she already wore a knowing smile.

There's a sculptor on the cake.

With grandson Paris on her lap, Julie Lluch jokingly says about the white cake: "Be careful with that. It's a prickly heart."

It happened to be Ash Wednesday, too. Julie said the day reminded us all about our mortality, the ashes we were destined to become and how good it was to celebrate life "lovingly, lavishly under one sky."

One of the guests was Princess Nemenzo who even in her 70s remains a women's rights, women's health activist. No retirement in the horizon. That evening she regally carried her all-white hairdo folded into a soft perm. Another guest cited her resemblance to Bette Midler, recently seen at the Oscars singing "Wind Beneath My Wings." Still another dropped a hint of what was in store for her: "May araw ka rin!"

Meanwhile, another set of conspirators reminded guests at Julie's party about the surprise Women's Day (March 8) tribute for Princess. I like to tease her about the irony in her royal name and in her being a Marxist at the same time. The elaborate ruses and schemes were uncovered by the honoree herself--how could you make the Parangal kay Princess a top secret operation if you send the invite to an e-group of which she is part? Ayayay! But she was game and played along.

I walked on campus and reached the UP Executive House as the first of the summer sunsets was happening last Saturday. Stayed long enough to watch Princess make an entrance without a fuss and to slip a tribute package into her purse. Again, there was that knowing smile I had become familiar with since Wednesday.

Mabuhay, ladies! Continue being the feminist beacons that you are.

Princess also supports the arts, especially music and dance, particularly Pangalay. The classics and jazz appeal to her. Here she is with pianist Oliver Salonga after he performed Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21 at Abelardo Hall last year. Photos by Babeth Lolarga

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Soul in the city

Blessed are they who garden and who weed for they banish the cares and worries of beholders.

Thank you, Ester Dipasupil, for making an enchanting pocket paradise out of a spot on the intersection of Sgt. Bumatay and Laura Streets in Mandaluyong City that is growing more concrete edifices than much-needed trellises of green. Thus have you "ensouled" the place. Photos by Babeth Lolarga