Saturday, October 02, 2004

to introduce the introductor of the one introducing...

I must remember that going to the Philippine Consul you are instantly transported to the Philippines. The land of balagtasan loves to give speeches. Part of me KNEW this was going to happen, but the pull of hanging out with those in-no-ba-tib pinays and pinoys, like Marianne Villanueva, Oscar Peneranda, Tony Robles, was just too much. So just had to suck it up. Even the enticement of Filipino merienda didn't do it.

First hour enjoyed browsing through the works of Mel Vera Cruz(oh, the lemons!), Vic Magsaysay (a wonderful photo of Vigan in the morning, and a loan fisherman in the middle of sunset), and Melissa Nolledo-Christoffels. Spent the 2nd hour thinking, "why did I come here again?" Was thoroughly amused at how the Philippine Consulate choir could sing the Philippine national anthem by heart, but needed cheat sheet notes to sing the American national anthem. I wondered if during interviews for jobs there whether or not they asked if they could use Excel and sing alto?

I had forgotten how tedious these kinds of things are. The Dept of Tourism guy gave a speech about how everyone else is unified except for Filipinos. I'm so tired of this argument. Because the reality is that EVERYONE is divided into hundreds of little organizations and groups.

But let me not disparage, let me go through some golden moments.

1. Finally getting the low down on Oscar Peneranda's so-called misdemeanors at the FAHNS conference in St. Louis. Hilarious! Mang Oscar always has a good story.

2. me: hey Leny, where's Cal?; leny: he dropped me off and said he'd be back at 8 (2 hours later); me: Cal is a very smart man.

3. Apparently Filipinos can sleep and listen at the same time. No less than 6 people taking naps at any one time.

4. Ninotchka discussing the advise from Ding Nolledo about being an "ethnic writer" in America and telling the Consulate, "I come from a people with small eyes." in the sweetest high pitched voice. Yes, Filipino includes a bit of Chinese, Korean, Spanish, etc.

5. Meeting Oscar's younger sister, who paid for Nolledo's book with a copy of her brother's book by telling Oscar to give Melissa one of your books. He had this slightly stunned look, like "okay," then realized he wasn't getting anything out of this deal when he signed it. He's like, why am I paying for her book? Because your kuya, Oscar, you're kuya.

6. Lots of books and artwork going home with people not the artist. Partially encouraged by Eileen's challenging statements. I didn't like the DOT guy's speech, BUT he bought 4 books and he was actually naturally thrilled to be buying them. That's more than I've seen most of these government officials do.

7. William Morin, the very cute non-Filipino guy singing Filipino love songs on a string guitar.

8. Mel's mini-speech (we were all asked to talk), that had just enough politeness and just enough edgy snarkiness to both appease yet prod the audience with a lovely tribute to Santi, heartfelt critique of the consumerist madness that is America, and a real freedom that only comes from within.

9. Vic spoke about the connection of the Sex, Heart, and throat chakras, which didn't come off too well in either English or Tagalog. I believe the audience nervously laughed as he mentioned the sex chakra which drives us to create that leads to the throat chakra, but that in the end you have no real voice, unless you have compassion in your heart. I think, that's what he was getting at.

10. Finding parking and having tapas and sangria at La Bodega with a short flamenco show (more on that later).

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