Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Sir Paul, Mrs. Gomez and Ms. Bhagdad!

Posted on November 26, 2005 by jimparedes

I can’t believe next week will pass by and I will NOT be in LA to see Paul Macartney live at the Spreckles Arena. Damn. I actually have a ticket already. My sister bought it months ago but as luck would have it, I am Manila bound for now what with all the commitments I have to fulfill. There’s my upcoming photo exhibit and a few commitments that need to be done. Oh well. I know I am really missing a big deal but duty calls.

I actually saw the Beatles live in Manila in 1967. I was 15 years old and my brother Raffy and I were among those who packed the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. We were at the shitty sits at the back which were all we could afford then but let me tell you, it was GREAT. It was the second to the last show of the last Beatles tour before they disbanded. I look at that concert to this day as one of the high points in my life. Regrettably, it was also a memorable–no, more of traumatic time for John, Paul, George and Ringgo since the then powerful Marcoses through their henchmen maltreated and manhandled them on their way out of Manila for supposedly snubbing Imee, Irene and Bongbong at a Malacanang party. (Personally, I feel that should have been the first crime that they should have been shot for!).

And so, in place of seeing Sir Paul live in LA, I watched Paul Macartney Live in Red Square DVD this morning. Pampalubag loob! Just the same, you should watch it since it’s a great docu.

–In the glamorous, shiny and shallow showbiz world where I work partime, it’s not as easy to find real people. It’s not that everyone is a Barbie or a Ken, although many are content to project just that. It’s also the whole set-up where image is tops and decidedly more important than reality. People are projected to be bigger than life, perfect and special and several notches above all the rest of humanity. No one is a ‘regular guy’, not to their audience! It’s not their fault really. The audience also likes to play along.

Thus, often you may be mingling with people and not really have any conversations of substance. The cards can be stacked against forming intimate bonds, or getting a glimpse of anything beyond the ‘politically correct’ or in some cases, the bad boy/girl image that the media likes to encourage. Don’t get me wrong, I have close friends in showbiz too. But knowing that the biz is an image business is the reality we all live by. Suffice it to say, when we meet someone who steps out of the romantic, perfect image he/she is caged in and engages us as a real person, it is a pleasant surprise.

I first met Lucy Torres-Gomez a few days ago. She and Mark Nelson were the hosts of the South Forbes Golf City launch at the NBC tent where APO performed. It was quite refreshing to discover a real person beyond the regal, high-society, uptown girl persona and who also turns out to be a down-to earth, proud-to-be-promdi person so easy and pleasant to be with. During breaks at rehearsals and the show, she would sit with us and talk about everything. I was surprised to discover a very open person whose intelligence, refreshing innocence and candor were disarming. I found particularly amusing her anecdotal story of her ‘culture shock’ when she moved from Ormoc to Manila in college. While laughing, she told me how she was so surprised to know that people in Manila actually bought bananas and coconuts when those things were just picked out of their backyard back home! We talked about a lot of other things—politics, relationships, jokes, personal growth, etc. which I will keep to myself, not because they were intimate, important stuff but… because!

I knew there was much more to how media was projecting her especially when I read her columns in Philippine Star. (She told me people always ask her if she has a ghost writer. Understandably so since she’s ‘too good-looking to be a writer’, as I jokingly told her). It’s not that the whole sophisticated classy, beauty icon we see is a fake one. No. She is also all that–beautiful, glamourous, and much more. Richard, you’re one lucky guy!

There’s something important to learn about going beyond our own stereotypical impressions when we meet people. It does not do anyone any service to put people in boxes. As zen puts it, and I paraphrase, ‘the same moon is reflected on the big lake and the small puddle of water.’ Artista, celebrity, masa, karaniwang tao—it does not matter. Their really only labels anyway. Beyond all the facade of who we are projected or assumed to be, I believe we all share the same Original Face or Buddha nature!


Danny, Boboy and I were talking to Robert Sena, singer and veteran actor about his stint in the London and Germany Ms. Saigon runs, and an old idea flashed back to me. Imagine this! Ten years from now, West End in London or Broadway in NY may just make a musical about the Iraqi war. “Ms. Bhagdad” would be the true story of an American nuclear inspector who falls in love with one of Saddam’s daughters. Lea Salonga, and all the other cast members of Ms. Saigon (who should all be past 40 by then), can still apply since whoever plays the role of Ms. Bhagdad will have to be covered in a Burqa anyway.

Come to think of it, even Sylvia la Torre could aspire for the role. Can’t wait to hear “The Heat is On in Bhagdad’, and ‘You are G.I. and I am Baath party member’!

Ha ha!

0 to “Sir Paul, Mrs. Gomez and Ms. Bhagdad!”

  1. Marie says:

    I just love the way you talk about Zen and Buddhism without being preachy. You have what Tom Cruise & Madonna are lacking that’s why they get crucified by the media whenever they talk about their spiritual practice hehehe!

    The Dalai Lama was here in N. Ireland last week and he is SO cool. He said he just wants to be remembered as a “simple monk”.

    I salute the Divinity in you Jim 🙂

  2. girlie says:

    lucy,lucy… even in the most remote areas in our country bananas & coconuts are sold.unlike the torreses or lardizabals, not everyone owns a fruit or coconut plantation.ormoc is not a very big place to roam about.don’t tell me she hasn’t been around & noticed her surroundings.or was she kidding you?

  3. Jim says:

    Marie– Thank you. I was going to say I likewise salute your spirit, but then that would be redundant since I believe that all of us share the same Original Face or Buddha nature. So your saluting my Divinity is saluting yours as well, and everyone else. I hope you don’t think I am making light of your salutation. ‘I am you as you are me as you are he and we are all together’, as John Lennon sang it in “I am the Walrus’, is the eternal truth here.

    Girlie– I used to pick bananas off our backyard too in Quezon City but that was years and years ago. Actually, in many places in the provinces, I know people still do even as they sell off their excess. I am not talking of big plantation owners only but ordinary people as well.

  4. ang says:

    Funny you should mention the Beatles… my stepmom has a kareoke machine and we were singing along to many Beatles tunes after Thanksgiving dinner! (Hope your Thanksgiving holiday was splendid) That’s soo cool that you got to see the Beatles! I didn’t even know that they played in Manila!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have always admired Lucy Torres. She has such poise. Your article showed a new dimension to her that I have not come across. Thanks.


  6. VanillaSkies says:

    I have always admired Lucy too! You should have read her column about her story on her aunt krung krung. it was a very touching story. you can actually see the down to earth side of her personality.

  7. Screwed-Up AKA SnglGuy says:

    I still remember that manhandling incident of the Beatles in Manila,I was 6 years old then but I remember people talking about it in our house.Such abuse of power,tsk tsk!

    Too bad about your Mcartney tickets,they must have cost a fortune.

    I also admire how you put the Zen and Buddhist philosophy into practice and not just in words like some personalities.

  8. Ray says:


    I, too is a big fan of the Beatles. Who’s not, right? We literally grew up with the music. But much to my surprise, when I came here in the States, that the promoter of the concert in the Philipinnes was the cousin of my grandfather through my Mom’s side. My uncle said, that he got in for free at the Rizal Coliseum and he took all of John’s spit–that was how close he was! The promoter’s name was Ramon Ramos. Over here in NY, I met Pete Best and Cynthia Lennon in book signings. The Beatles are a phenom and there will never be a group like them.

    Great blog,


  9. Jim says:

    Hey Ray, Ang–I totally agree. The Beatles are the bset thing that happened to music since they came into the scene. 80% of my musical formation was probably influenced by the Fab Four.

    snglguy–Paul macartney, in an interview around 6 years ago still remembers that manhandling incident. He says he does not even want to fly over the Philippines since he was so traumatized by the Marcoses. Believe it or not, they even had to take a taxi to the airport, and right before the plane left, they were ‘taxed’ almost all their talent fee. Sad!

    Betty, vanillaskies-yes, Lucy is a breath of fresh air.

  10. BW says:

    I also missed Sir Paul’s concert in Toronto last month. It’s a pity that the Beatles never had a reunion after the breakup. Now that George is gone, it’s not going to happen anymore. Talking about DVD’s, The Concert for George , a tribute to George Harrison organized by his friends one year after his death was a treat to watch and I believe it was nominated for a Grammy.

  11. bing says:

    hi, Jim! wow, this is my first time here. so nice to see a pic of you after a long time. i was a big fan of your group when you were so active in showbiz before.

  12. jey says:

    i met lucy when i was still with the red cross. she’s one of our volunteers. yup, she is indeed a beauty. inside and out.

  13. Ray says:


    Yes, now that I’m mature enough to know the comparison, Apo is highly influenced by the Beatles. In fact, I can compare your “Pumapatak ang Ulan” with “When I’m Sixty Four.” It’s not exactly the same but the spirit and vibes are there when it comes to simplicity, melody, tune, etc. Also, the Beatles influence shows in all your “Abbey Road” poses/photos (ha-ha).

    And last, (and this is true) I always have this great feeling when I get tired of listening with all these so-called alternative music, I can go back and play the Beatles–it’s like a time machine.


  14. girlie says:

    hmmm…? i like lucy’s stunning beauty.
    about the FAB FOUR: i remember wearing a facsimile of their boots
    with my high school uniform(in a hot country like ours!), or donning a shirt with their faces on it, & what have you. me too was crazy collecting anything but i wonder now where all my collections are? some vinyl records are left.
    it is undisputable that they changed the music world with their songs & lifestyle. Down with the Marcoses’ quest for recognition & fame, say YEAH,YEAH,YEAH to the BEATLES!

  15. jlyn says:

    Hello — I love your website and I would like to purchase your books. There’s only 1 available in Amazon, is there another site that you know where I can purchase them. I’m based in N. California. Thanks for all the spiritual inspirations.

  16. Jim says:

    bw–Yes, I saw the tribute to George. Uncanny how his son Dani really looks like him. Good show.

    bing–so glad you could drop by. Do visit more often.

    ray and girlie–The beatles’ music is the mother of so much contemporary music. They really are originals.

    jlyn–Thanks for letting me know my book Humming In My Universe can be bought in Amazon. I was ‘shocked and delighted’ when I searched and found it there. I don’t know of any other place in the US where you can get the rest. If you have relatives here, the best woudld be to ask them to buy it and send it to you.

    Happy reading, and keep visiting!

  17. chino says:

    this is chino from the itchyworms. my bandmate jazz sent me a copy of your email to him. from a kapwa-beatles fan, thanks for all the inspirational words! i hope you don’t mind that i posted your email on my blog.

  18. AL says:

    I know what you mean by passing up something really you like for responsibilities. Well… well… ganyan talaga ang buhay.

    Have a nice week!

  19. BW says:

    Jim, have to extend this discussion further but I totally agree with your assessment of the Beatles. Never had a band come up with musicians and artists as talented as Lennon, McCartney and Harrison. It is also amazing how their diverse musical talents – each has his own unique style – had been somehow constrained by their being together as Beatles. In their early years of their existence they had to invent the Beatles sound but as they hung on longer together, it was almost impossible to tag their music to a particular style which was incredible. There was just too much talent and ego that the break up was almost inevitable. To think that Sir Paul had actually dabbled in composing classical music is a testament to his musical genius.

  20. Anonymous says:

    When Sir Paul announced that he will be coming over over to San Jose, CA one of my officemates just had to buy two tickets –$500/ea.
    I asked her why — her reply: Sir Paul was, and always will be, a Beatle — the best music in her universe …

  21. karampot says:

    Hi Mang Jim, its nice to know that Lucy is really nice in and out. I always suspected that. It’s great when we meet people like her.

    Apo will always be the “Beatles” of the Philippines for me, like I mentioned on my blog once. I guess its the influence of Beatles on your music that it is also as timeless as theirs. Sorry you couldn’t see the concert. Did you have the exhibit already? I would have love to see it.


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