Even for someone who’s been at it for 36 years this year, March 20 at the Cache Creek casino was super fun. The lights were magnificent, the sound system clear as a bell, the band tight as a fist, the audience of 1,800+ filled to the last row, and the three of us in great form, substance and playful spirit. It was a night every performer wishes for and remembers for a long time. The enthusiastic crowd which included some of our classmates watching us for the first time since we were still wannabes at the Ateneo college quadrangle gave us a reception to die for.
Filipinos are very valuable clients at most casinos, especially at Cache Creek. Like the Chinese and Vietnamese, we love games of chance, and as a recognition of how much management cares for Filipino patronage, you can find Tapsilog, Kare-kare, Adobo, etc. on the menu together with the usual bland continental and American dishes offered. Indeed, Pinoy power was evident that night as we showed up in droves outselling Jay Leno, Joe Cocker Kenny Loggins, etc. who performed there the previous weeks. Gary V. and APO probably hold the box office records for shows there. It was no surprise to us then that we were wined and dined like stars even as the casino management offered us a return engagement in the next months.
Portal to Oneness
–Flew in from San Francisco on the 23rd of March to catch another plane to Davao where my family was enjoying the beach at Island Buenavista. With jetlag and exhaustion, I arrived in Davao and spent the next 4 days unwinding. It was one night of restful, healing sleep on a Balinese bed fronting the ocean in the island, and three cool, magical nights at the Eden Mountain Resort near Mt. Apo. In the daytime, we drove on little golf carts through the pathways that opened to forests, spice and flower gardens, fruit orchards, meditation areas which rejuvenated my tired body and cleared my overactive mind.
Finding oneself amidst giant, ancient trees and ferns and the magnificence of nature can give a sense of belongingness in this universe. I was, to speak in zen prose, one with everything. As narcissistically urgent our needs may scream at times and demand to be met, there are moments when something else arises within us. In one such moment, I sensed a ‘melting away’ of myself as it seemed it was only Oneness that existed in the middle of Eden. The quiet trees, the stillness of the evening, the bright moon that reflected on the puddle of water by the path and down the Davao sea visible from the top of Eden only proved that Oneness, the Christ, Allah, God, Goddess, Brahman, Atman or any other name we want to use to refer to the experience of complete integration, permeated everything. In the end, there was/is only Oneness, and the experience of it confirms that we are everything, and everything is us. Or as a Hindu would probably describe it, “Thou art That!” Like the few fireflies that glowed, I beamed quietly knowing that the zen I met at the mountain top could only have been the same zen I brought up. (Cosmic giggles at the thought of that!).
Here’s something from poet William Blake who must have tapped on the same eternal Onenness two centuries ago.
To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
To hold infinity in the palm of your hard
And eternity in an hour
Cherry of LA
The next leg of the tour is a few weeks away. Already, even more tours are being scheduled after the May to mid-June one. I really enjoyed this last brief one. Aside from performing, I was able to indulge in some serious photography in LA. Jen Santillian of Kewlit Co. gave me access to her family studio in West Covina where I took portraits and stuff. We are scheduling more when I come back and we are throwing in a photo exhibit when APO performs on May 7 at Knotts Berry Farm. Can’t wait!