It’s one despedida after another. Tonight will be my fourth straight one, and I don’t how many more before I leave for OZ.
The house is again a mess. Even if the movers have taken what will go to Sydney, we are all taking a second look at what we may still want to bring. Ang hirap mag-relocate.
Everywhere I go, everyone I see or look at seems to stand still but vividly shimmering before my eyes. They probably seem like that since I am giving them one last glance, the ‘goodbye look’.
Bills, papers, accounts, legal stuff are all being dealt with and finalized. This is what happens when one phase of life ends and another begins. Or at least this is how it should be if one has the luxury of being able to plan life’s transitions. I think of what it is like for other people of more humble backgrounds who are suddenly tossed in a sea of change—people victimized by tragedy, calamity who suddenly find themselves in refugee centers, school houses, churches, or relatives’ homes in place of their familiar abodes. Nakakataranta siguro. I wonder also what it was like for the Marcoses 20 years ago when they fled with hurriedly packed boxes of unsorted loot. Nagalsabalutan, as we say in Tagalog.
I saw old friends from ABS-CBN who gave Lydia and I a farewell party. It was great reconnecting with Agot Isidro, Melissa De Leon, Amy Perez, Bing Loyzaga, and then rest of the staff of the noontime show Salinggonaposila which we used to host. We met at Lena’s at Esquinita, a nice dive near Channel 2. It was great to see writers, production people, fellow talents. As expected, we talked about old times and where we are at this point in our lives. Everyone seemed to be excited and genuinely happy to see each other. We missed those who were not there, and some of our old staff memenrs who had the misfortune of being assigned (and now are being charged) to the ill-fated Wowowee show. It will be sometime before I see them again. Who knows what the circumstances will be by then?
Me, Rico Puno, and Jet Montelibano of Music and Magic. Where did time go?
Girlie Rodis, a friend from olden days and till now sent me pictures of myself and some showbiz friends taken more than 20 years ago when life seemed simpler due to youth. (Or maybe, I should say ‘when life seemed more complicated because of youth’ ha ha). Old friends are so precious to have.
‘Tunay kang tao’
Rustom’s ‘coming out’ announcement on the TV hit Pinoy Big Brother, though not exactly news was quite stunning since it clearly took a lot of guts to FINALLY come to terms with being who he is. The great story of redemption there is, in admitting he was gay (equate that with ‘flawed’ in the eyes of the righteous) he came out as a courageous and true human being. Thanks to Keanna Reeves who was there and somehow coaxed it out of him. Saludo ako sa’yo, Rustom!
I was talking to my group of friends who are steeped into politics and I was suggesting that if we could somehow make Keanna Reeves a part of GMA’s cabinet, could she get the President to finally admit to cheating also? If only life were like that. It should diffuse the political tension finally!
‘sleep of the tongue’
Just gave my last 2 talks today for a call center yesterday The first one was at 11 this morning. The audience of around 30 people made up of twenty- somethings were at the end of their shift. I was just a little nervous that they would be too tired to listen to a talk on leadership for an hour but to my great delight, they seemed to enjoy it. We even had a good Q and A after that.
The next talk was at 7PM which was two hours before their shift was to begin. I jokingly remarked that I felt I was talking to inhabitants of another planet where people were asleep in the day and were awake at night!
The call center scene is full of young people. There is a sense of dynamism everywhere although the hours and tediousness take their toll quite easily. It’s an artifical world where they keep American hours in the Philippines. And of course, a prerequisite to work in one is the ability to speak good English. A niece of mine works in one and she teaches people how to understand and talk English and straighten out questions about pronunciation. A funny story that has spread and also seems to be true is about someone asking when to use the words ‘confirm’ and ‘confeerm’ (read as written). Oops! Rented tongue syndrome.
zen to go
I have been receiving so much mail and comments from everywhere about my moving to OZ. Of about 150 comments and letters so far, I have received only two negative ones. The rest have been incredibly supportive, although many expressed apprehension about the state of the Philippines because someone like myself is opting to leave.
Last night, my brother-in-law asked me why I did not leave in 1989 when the country was in greater disarray, and why I am leaving now. I explained that at my age now, personal growth is very important to me since my window to do stuff like this is clearly diminishing. By itself, the situation in the country is not enough to make me leave. But other callings beckon.
In many ways, despite what the emotional fatigue and the physical toll moving does, I feel like a young man on the verge of a great adventure. So much to see, learn, and encounter—a new place to explore, new friends to meet, new challenges. I can feel my blood racing already. It’s like opening one’s eyes for the first time. Why, even a supermarket in Sydney would be an exciting place to visit!
I remember a zen saying and I paraphrase, ‘the zen one discovers in the mountain is the same zen one brought up.’ Which makes me wonder why I should even be leaving at all! Ha ha! Life’s contradictions make everything doubly curious.
Mabuhay ang Pinoy
Lastly, I wish to thank everyone in Aus who wrote offering various help in getting us started. Everything, from a place to stay, airport pick up, lending pots and pans, beds, tocadors, cars, etc. have been pouring in. I am completely overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of our kababayans. Filipino hospitality and down home kindness is something that never leaves us wherever we go. I feel this will be a softer landing. Salamat sa inyo mula sa kaibuturan ng aking puso at pagkatao.