August 2009


smallribbonMom, I remember …

…how you loved Rogelio Dela Rosa and Carmen Rosales.

…that you were a fashionista way back in college — being the first-born among a brood of 8, you had the privilege of always having new things, and never had to wear hand-me-downs.

…how you liked wearing heels to help add precious inches to your 5’1” height.

…that you used to design and sew dresses by hand, including beautiful beaded wedding gowns, and had clients like veteran actress, Boots Anson-Roa.

…that you adored two of the most handsome (yet closeted gay) leading men of the Golden Era of Hollywood: Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson.

… that you baked macaroon cupcakes, chiffon cakes, and apple cinnamon pies.

… that when you were a young college student in UP, renowned artist and Amorsolo’s contemporary, Ireneo Miranda (the “Dean of Filipino Cartooning”), took a liking for you (*ahem* since you apparently looked like his wife) and often invited you to model for his portraiture classes.

… that you valued the importance of reading and it was because your decision to invest in books like the Dr. Suess series and Companion Library Book Digests made a lifelong reader out of me.

… that you liked joining spelling bees in high school; and your tips on how to spell (close your eyes and ‘see’ the word; spell by syllables not by letters) were quite helpful even up to now when I teach MY students to spell.

… that everyone said the same things about you… that you were the favorite niece, the favorite cousin, the favorite daughter-in-law, the favorite aunt… I of course didn’t bother to ask why. We all knew why.

… that I used to watch Nora Daza‘s cooking shows with you every Sunday morning; I found it fascinating how you would be ready with your little notebook and pen, how you would jot down the ingredients but not the directions (which you mentally noted instead)…

… how I didn’t heed your suggestions on suitable career paths for me, but now I see. Moms are always right all along.

… the shape and softness of your hands and fingers as I held them in mine, and the contours of your face since I often caressed them when I was little.

… that you were not gifted with robust health even when you were young — reminding me to not take for granted my own health – to eat healthy, to exercise more, to sleep early.

… that we had you for a such a short time — reminding me not to take for granted my own existence, my own dreams, my own time, and the people around me – to live and appreciate life fully, and to love dearly.

… that you never had the chance to enjoy your grandchildren, but if you were still here, I’m sure they would have loved you to bits because I bet you would have made an awesome grandma.

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Love you, Ma, and Happy Birthday!

smallribbonIf John C. was the celebrity I had been worshipping since I was a tweener, Trent Reznor was the rock god I have adored since I was in my young twenties.  I remember when I was a DJ in a rock station, I would play his music using my own CD that I bought from the store.  Since the songs were unedited or unapproved by the programmer (meaning – not fit to play on air), I had to resort to bleeping those nasty four-letter words in the lyrics myself while they were playing on air (*sighs*—those were good times…) even at the risk of bringing on the ire of the ntc or my boss.  I did it because of my love for Trent and his music…  But as time passed, from a rocking dj, I moved on to a more conservative job and lifestyle.  Also, my taste in music changed and mellowed.  But my infatuation with Trent remained.   What sets him apart from other screaming rockers was his unique voice. His gut-wrenching screams and howls were heartfelt and real.  The belief and conviction in his lyninmanilarics and music were still there.  He wasn’t giving you b*llsh*t.  It wasn’t all flash and show.  He was real and sincere, and in that sense, he was deeply respected and admired by the old fans who remained loyal and by the newer generation as well.

NIN rockin in Manila (right)

So when I heard that NIИ would be having a concert in Araneta Coliseum on august 5, the rockgirl in me rose from its deep slumber. I immediately sprang into action and bought the necessary ticket.  I wasn’t going to hesitate to buy the seats close to the stage.  This was said to be the farewell concert tour, it has to be now or never.  It is not every day (or every year even!) that such a legendary act like NIИ comes to our humble shores – we are always being bypassed and ignored for other affluent Asian nations.

How was it? I’ll cut the story short.  The place wasn’t packed but it was ok. We had a blast6248_1180422103047_1002990736_30595476_5832540_n and worth every centavo! Trent sang a lot of new unfamiliar songs but the ‘classics’ were there – Downward Spiral, Hurt, Closer, Afraid of Americans, The Hand That Feeds, Head Like a Hole…  and even if a lot of songs were unfamiliar, we were absolutely thrilled.  Our mouths agape almost the whole time… couldn’t freaking believe that The Awesome Man in Black was finally here… in our midst… watching him sing! Water bottles were thrown plus mic stands, guitars… Trent even threw his tambourine to a lucky person in the audience (“Ay? Panu naman kami!”)!

The Awesome Man in Black (left): I was seated at the far right of the stage. Good view. Pero sensya na. I took countless of pix but only a few shots came out well.

The next day, my friends asked me how it was. I just couldn’t describe it well enough. I was still at a loss for words… then I guess the best way to 6248_1180421903042_1002990736_30595472_2182958_ndescribe it was (ahem! kids, cover your eyes first): “It was like great sex!” Basta, yun na yun… haha! It was full of high energy, dripping with dark sexy testosterone… Ibang klase talaga magrakrakan ang mga kano.

But then, I also watched the 1995 Manila concert of Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, and Sonic Youth — NIИ was never anything like that… which only meant – ibang klase talaga rumakrak si Treznor!

Treznor waves goodbye (right): No, don’t retire yet, Trent. We can’t live without you, man…

As I said, I do have pix but they’re not worth posting (only worth looking at by me) so I’ll just repost pix from nin’s website. These following pix were taken by NIИ’s art director, Rob Sheridan. Click on the pix and they will lead you to their website:

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Hello, SEXY BEAST! Trent sings Heresy… He screams, yells, and sweats profusely…

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“Help me… I broke apart my insides!”

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Final encore song was HURT: this is the SOP concert moment wherein we hold up the customary lighters and lit up cellphones with matching swaying swaying…You can see my lit Nokia at the far left.  Ano ba. Of course I’m kiddin…

BTW, those 3 pix can also be found in nin’s wp blog.

Thank you, Trent for including us in your NIИ’s Wave Goodbye Asian Tour 2009.  We will surely won’t forget this… ever! It was superbly … asteeeg!

smallribbonI first saw John Cusack in Better Off Dead.  From that moment on, I was instantly smitten.  He was funny and had that goofy, likeable charm that easily translates to a dependable bestfriend-cute boyfriend material.  And he wasn’t a bad actor, taking his craft seriously—the fact that he survived the 80’s Brat Pack was let alone a big feat, for while the careers of his contemporaries stumbled and faltered – his saw smooth sailing with occasional minor bumps along the way.  He can play the Hollywood game but he can pretty much steer his own ship, too.  He valued his privacy—something that I find truly cool and which I unconsciously emulated —one’s private life is his own business and not yours. He is not the type who would kiss and tell (especially about his current paramours) which I find extremely classy and manly.  But we do know he is loyal to his family and friends – making sure to include them in his successes, happiness, and plans.  And johnqsackhe’s obviously smart, too.  He is very vocal and genuinely concerned about real issues – political and social.  He just doesn’t do the talk he does them, too.  And unlike other celebrities, he does them without so much fanfare.  Can you blame me for sticking by him – through thick and thin?  There’s this FB group (of which of course I am a member) whose name sums it all up– “All Men Pale in Comparison to John Cusack.”

Just like any other normal fan – I look him up from time to time on the web but only for the purpose of getting some updates (e.g. imdb) and ‘stalk’ him in the typical kind of way – not the freaky kind.  There’s not much info on him though – I mean compared to uberstars like Pitt and Clooney.  He does have his blog in Huffington Post and his myspace site but there was no possible chance of any sort of interaction that I was wishing for.  So his recent forte into the twitterverse was something I rejoiced about (Twitter, love na kita– srsly grabe!).

Thanks to actor/comedian, Rob Corddry whose account I was following before John’s. Rob C. outed John’s supposedly ‘secret’ twittername with the tweet, “This is proof Screwheads. Cusack is @shockozulu. Now can we talk about something else? http://twitpic.com/9urha (You see, during that time, Rob and John were wrapping up their latest movie, “Hot Tub Time Machine”— yes, no joke, that is the actual title– in Vancouver so I do know that it was all legit).  I immediately checked it out and much to my utter delight – he was twitting back to his followers!

His tweets were typically Cusack—quick, manic and cryptic most of the time; reflective, cool and savvy on some days.  And so what if he was a bad speller (which was a surprising new thing I found out about him – dysgraphia?), it didn’t bother him… which was cool by me. Right away, I sent him messages, hoping I could get one in return.  He could be generous one day and stingy the next with his retweets.  It was clear to me that this wasn’t going to be easy.

I learned that the best time to get a retweet was when you catch him on-line.  However, I couldn’t get an opening. A lot of his fans—including me– were all vying for his attention.  And not only that, I also couldn’t catch a break — either I’m the one who was busy working or sleeping every time he was twitting or he was the one asleep when it was my turn to tweet.  He preferred to reply to quotes or tweets about Hunter T., politics and social issues (or whatever catches his whim at that moment).  But I can’t pretend that I know anything about those. That would be so fake. I didn’t want to beg either.  Or act like an annoying troll (which some pathetic losers resort into doing) to force an angry retweet out of him (lesson learned, read Trent Reznor’s bitter twitter experience).  I just have to do what I can by being myself.

Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to give up. My motto became Operation Qsack: No Retweet, No Surrender!

Then, one sad day, three days after Cory died, I finally got a chance.  The timing was perfect.  We were both finally on-line at the same time. He was then twitting about presidents (US’ Bill C. and Mexico’s).  I tweeted about what I was feeling at that time. Seconds later, this was what I got:

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Aug. 4, 2009: JC sends his condolences via twitter…

My eyes brimmed with tears reading his 6 words.  Even if it wasn’t much, even if he already shifted his attention elsewhere, and to another fan’s twit, it was enough for me.  It was consoling at a time of grief.  It made me feel better.  Like hitting a small jackpot lotto prize.  Yay!

Now that this was over, one short term goal has finally been ticked off.  And as I told my friend sreisaat, “I can now move on with my life.” Haha!

Thanks, John.  You don’t know how much this means to someone like me. Really. And I know it might be a one in a million chance… um, ok, come to think of it — with the help of tags… make that one in a hundred thousand chance for you to be reading this but hey, who knows, right? Dreams CAN come true!

BTW, did I mention that I sooo love you, Twitter? I did but I’ll say it again- I heart Twitter! Thank you so much for making this fangirl super-duper happy!

Up next: An awesome experience with Trent Reznor!

UPDATE:

Well, what do you know? Weeks later I got a second retweet from JC… click here to read about it.  😀

PS. For personal reasons, there may be times my twitter account maybe on lockdown.  If it is,  sorry! I may change also my account in the near future… but I haven’t decided yet so.  Whatev. 🙂

smallribbon(Note: A yellow ribbon will be placed on all my August posts as my sign of respect and sorrow over the passing of our beloved former President Corazon C. Aquino ~SL)

It has been a week since Mommy Cory died.  Everyone calls her Tita Cory. Even if I didn’t know her personally (the closest encounter I had with her was when I saw her pass by during a campaign rally for her chosen senators),  it felt like she was more than an aunt or tita.  It didn’t feel right to call her just “Tita” (In the Phils. and even in other Asian countries like Japan, that’s how you address the bestfriend of your mom or your friend’s mom).  It doesn’t feel right to call her just that.  Losing her was like losing a mom– the second time for me, having lost my real mother when i was in my late teens. Now here it is again.  The tears keep on coming.  Grief and bereavement…  Hurt, anguish, and despair over what’s freakin’ left for us to deal with, now that she’s gone.  It is really difficult to accept it. We feel like a motherless nation now– we feel so alone.

Even so… this was also a strange week wherein I got two of my wishes granted which cheered me up somehow.  It has something to do with two of my most favorite celebrities in the world  – John Cusack and Trent Reznor! One I made actual contact with and the other I get to see live in person!

I know I should be giddy and excited about it. But every time I think back about Mommy Cory’s passing, I shed hot tears all over again.  Such an emotional roller coaster week this is… along with a bipolar, roller coaster weather (rainy…sunny …rainy… sunny…) to match it.

I would like to share some of the lovely, poignant pictures that my older brother, Ito, took since Cory’s death last Saturday.  Living and working in close proximity to the places where he took these pictures, he was able to capture these historical moments superbly.  The captions are also from his FB album pages, too (If you wish to repost these pix in your website or blog, kindly ask for permission first – These pix aren’t mine… and even I had to ask permission from him. K? Thanks.):

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August 3, 2009. President Cory was transfered this afternoon to the Manila Cathedral. Thousands line up to view her remains and pay their respect at the cathedral. Meanwhile hundreds more are trooping to the Aquino residence along Times st., Quezon City.

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“They linger in front of the candles and offer their prayers to the President. And probably many are also praying for Hope and Change for the country.”

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“1 am, Aug. 4. And they continued to line up so that they can pay their respects to the President at the Manila Cathedral.”

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Despite the intermittent downpour of rain, they continued to wait patiently for their turn. The line snaked in front of the cathedral and extended almost all the way to Manila City Hall outside the walls of Intramuros.”

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“4pm, Aug. 4, Necrological Service at the Manila Cathedral.”

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“An opportunity to earn a little money…”

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“Aug. 5, 1pm. The people are waiting for the funeral cortege to pass through. This was at the corner of Roxas blvd and Quirino Avenue.”

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“Finally, the coffin of Pres. Cory with the military honor guards on top of a truck.”

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“L for Laban! Not anymore Loser.”

BTW, even if Cory did not have a state funeral (the family refused the offer from the current administration on account of political -and personal-differences), she was still better off without one.  I think her wake, cortege, and burial were truly well-organized, beautiful and touching.  I would like to congratulate everyone who made all these possible — the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, all the singers, musicians, choirs, the nuns, the military honors, the guards, the police, the priests, the people who lined up at the wake, and walked beside her before she was laid to rest. I would also like to commend the reporters, too, especially those from GMA Channel 7 – the Kapuso Network – that made it possible for millions of Filipinos (here and abroad) to take part in the ‘virtual vigil’ during their unselfish, tireless, almost 24/7 coverage of the events via their free online livestreaming tribute page! You all make me truly proud of being a Filipino – especially when we band together – we can REALLY make things happen!

Para kay Mommy Cory, mabuhay po tayong lahat!

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Para sa minamamahal naming Tita Cory…

Kami po ay nangungulila sa inyong pagpanaw– parang nawalan ng mabuti at mabait na inang nakasama namin sa hirap at saya.  Tila kami naman ngayon ang nag-iisa. Masakit man ito ngunit maligaya rin kami sapagkat kayo ay nasa matiwasay na kalagayan na ngayon– ligtas  sa kalupitan dulot ng inyong naging karamdaman.  At dahil kapiling ka na rin ng Poong Maykapal, taos-puso naming hiling na sana ay maligaya at mapayapa na kayo sa inyong kinalalagyan.  At dahil alam naming malapit kayo sa Kanya, nawa’y ipagpatuloy ninyong ipagdarasal na sana matamo na ang inyong mga pangarap para sa inang bayan.  Nanalangin din kami na sana sa aming pagsisikap bilang mamamayan at taong-bayan na maitaguyod na rin namin ang mga ito para sa inyo sapagkat ang mga pangarap ninyo ni Ninoy ay mga pangarap din namin.

Maraming, maraming salamat po sa lahat….

-SL

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Maria Corazon Cojuangco Aquino

11th President of the Republic of the Philippines

1933-2009