Starbucks @ Gateway

I seem to be frequenting Gateway at the Araneta Center in Cubao lately.  I was there two weeks ago when I had to join my cousin Max Goldsborough and his family.  They were here for a brief visit from New Jersey. Max really wanted to have a hot Starbucks Espresso. And so Tish orfered one for Uncle Max, ha ha!

Then I was in the same coffee shoppe last night with Tish.  We had to wait an hour and a half for Jean.  Tish ordered a Java latte. The ambiance was good. The music was a little jazzy for my taste but I had a sudoku puzzle to preoccupy myself.  Tish asked if she could have a Belgian waffle or a Cinnamon Shrink but I had to say no.  She had added a few unwanted pounds…

I guess Starbucks is a place to while away stress.  People go there to sit, sip and chat, whether with a friend or a laptop. I am not for wasting time sitting in ultra social sites but I had a good time.

In My Diary 27 May 2010

It rained today, around 4:30 in the morning.

A host of sampaguitas greeted me this morning, too.  The fragrance still smells in my closet.

Tish is deciphering Grieg right now, as she did most of the day.  Aside from eating and napping, of course.

I watched the Korean telenovelas again. 🙂

The Aquino Phoenix

Remember Kennedy’s Camelot?  Well, I think I have a penchant for such novelty.  After all, what is life without real life characters living it out for us. So we see these publicly devoured people glare in our television screens as well as frozen in our daily tabloids.  Their stories are our everyday talk, whether in formal convention conversations, ornery family dinners,  beauty salons, or even in a remote vulcanizing shop.   Jacqueline Kennedy,  widowed and bereaved, became a persona of strength and classiness.  Princess Diana, stripped of her HRH, instantly became the Queen of Hearts.  We also love the families these women married themselves to, erring or not. Mostly erring but we are forgiving.

Here in our own bailiwick, many families had tried to capture that royal stamp. But alas, none had that enough charm and character for the people to consider royal and regal in every way.  Till Benigno Aquino, Jr. laid down his life for a people massacred heart and soul in the grim years of Martial Law.

Ninoy Aquino was a young, outspoken senator whose gift of gab and youth made him the toast of the august senate before the dictator Marcos declared military rule. He was arrested and incarcerated in a  barbed-wired cell in a God-forsaken field. He could have been forgotten, for all the new generation care, till he ran for an electoral seat in the Batasang Pambansa in 1978.

All of a sudden, the youth, including yours truly, was asking who was this bespectacled thin man in black, talking clearly with the speed of light, and jolting every fibers in our body with every statement he delivers about truth, justice and human rights? And who is this 7 year old girl with the Chinese complexion, shedding tears on her already rain-soaked cheeks, pleading us to cast a vote on her dad so he could get out of his chicken house cell?

My own dad, when queried, was mum about the prisoner called Ninoy.  The walls have ears, he said, and the torture one might receive is far beyond what a decent human mind can conceive. So we voted for him.  And he lost.

Three years later, deux ex machina came into play.  Ninoy’s health deteriorated and he had to undergo surgery.  But he doesn’t trust the surgeons being offered by the government.  With the international media focused on his plight, the dictator allowed him to leave for Boston with his family.

And in Boston, Ninoy recovered.  And he had the three most wonderful years of his life being a husband to Cory and a father to his brood – Ballsy, Noynoy, Pinky, Viel and Kris, the rain-soaked lassie.

But there is something in the mind of a genius and the heart of a hero that cannot remain stagnant in the sidelights.  Before anybody could stop him, Ninoy was on board the China Airllines homeward bound.  His plane ticket identified him as Marcial Bonifacio, an alias everybody would immediately realize has reference to Martial Law and  Andres Bonifacio, the brave revolutionary hero.

As history would have probably written it, Ninoy was assassinated with a gunshot on the head, even before he descended his plane, on a noonday of August 21, 1983.  His body was seen sprawled on the tarmac.  His white suit was draped red.  He was killed in cold blood on a bright shiny day.

The Phoenix dies in the ashes, only to be reborn.

Ninoy had died but his death brought a new verve on the people.  The once voiceless masa accompanied Ninoy to his grave.  It was the longest funeral procession ever recorded in history.  Was it close to two million people?  And the government controlled Manila Bulletin nary said a word about it.  The headline read – One killed by lightning.

That was not good enough for a people long held in bondage.  The blood had been shed.  Therefore the dice had been cast.  Blood it shall be.  The people was repressed no more.

Slowly, gradually, the dictator lost his grip.  In 1985 he was finally forced to call on a snap election. Cory, Ninoy’s widow, courageously accepted the challenge. And the country turned yellow with ribbons….an allusion to Ninoy’s Tie a yellow ribbon on the old oak tree… and with confettis and balloons, t-shirts and banderitas.  It was as if the yellow fever had finally become an epidemic.

By poll tally time the following year, the controlled Commission on Election declared the dictator the winner. And Cory, the housewife turned national leader, launched her civil disobedience campaign. This led to the unprecedented and phenomenal 4 day bloodless revolution that catapulted the dictator from power.  This one shining moment that brought the pride in the Filipino was  the legacy of that martyr who could have lived a good life till old age in an alien land. Instead he chose to come back and lay down his life to free his people of tyranny.

Cory governed for six years.  Her administration was bombarded with coup de tats led by disgruntled soldiers from martial rule.  Yet she made it to the US Congress, the very first Filipino given the privilege to speak before the joint session of the House of Representatives. Before her speech was over, every one in attendance knew it was their privilege to listen to this unassuming housewife called Cory.

Cory turned over the presidency to her successor in 1992.  Then she went back to her home, taking care of her family, especially the grandchildren who knew her only as Lola.

But the reign of greed seems difficult to delete.  The political animals had taken advantage of their positions in government or the legislation to benefit their well beings only.  The Filipinos had become poorer. By the time Cory was ailing with cancer in 2008, many anomalous deals had been divulged. Cory would come to the scene every now and then, holding her rosary, praying, praying, urging everyone to do the same, so that the righteous will prevail. Yet the cancer caught up with her. And the people waited as she gave a good fight.  Eventually, she had to say good-bye and yield to the call of the Almighty.

In no time, Time Magazine had declared Corazon C. Aquino as the saint of democracy.  And the people accompanied her to her final resting place, beside Ninoy, the man she loved.

And the Phoenix dies in the ashes, only to be reborn.

Noynoy was the only son of Ninoy and Cory.  Unmarried and tasked to take care of his four sisters, Noynoy was never in the limelight.  But he worked his way up from Congress to the Senate.  But all of a sudden, during the wake of his mother, the people saw his quiet image, genuinely grieving for the loss of his beloved mother.  And the cameras rolled.  The day after Cory was interred, the tarpaulins had sent the message from the people to the lone son – we want you to be our president.

Noynoy had no choice but to curtail his grief.  Like his father before him, and his mother, too, the Filipino people must be served.  Noynoy has a beautiful girlfriend called Shalani.  I am sure she wants to start with their own family right away.  But as it is, Noynoy has a job to do and she had taken the backseat.

A Malacanang Palace wedding would  totally be romantic  and absolutely be wonderful for the Filipinos.

But that could come later, when you so desire, young Phoenix.  In the meantime, fly high!

I like Shalani!

The president elect ‘s girlfriend had finally made her tv debut interview via The Buzz, Kris Aquino’s Sunday afternoon talk show.  And who interrogated the seemingly shy Shalani Soledad?  The erstwhile youngest sister Kris herself. And the talk revealed a romantic Noynoy, thoughtful and corny, very male but surprisingly cheesy.  All these shockers from the genuinely  candid and soft smiling Shalani.

Well, Shalani is the unexpected sweetheart.  She actually is the unlikely object of affection from a personage of international stature.  Noynoy, after all, had been on Time Mag’s cover and main article, son of a martyr and his devout wife, the saint of democracy.  And Shalani comes from a broken home whose mother is an OFW in the Middle East for two decades.  Broken but humble, as Shalani maintains the family integrity by serving her constituents as councilor in Valenzuela.  And her face could give littlest sister Kris a run for her money.  Shalani is beautiful.  Might be 20 years Noy’s junior but she would make a lovely first lady.

In My Diary 25 May 2010

After the long drought, the gentle wind is finally blowing this way.

Tish is tinkering the piano keys again.  BioChem had given her a summer thrill.

Jean is still working her 360 hour practicum at the PICC.  Reservations, Marketing, Events – at long last, she is listening to what I had been painstakingly advising her.  No job around these fields for her.  A little challenge and a lot more of life is more like Jean. Let’s see…

Max Goldsborough, Tita Cora’s 2nd child and my first cousin, had paid us a two day visit from New Jersey. He’s got his wife who hails from Sariaya, Quezon, and two children Josh and Jiggy here for a three week vacation.  We had a most enjoyable time with him – checked them in at Regalia Towers in Cubao with Ninang Bay, treated them to a sumptuous eat-all-u-can, not to mention KFC and Jollibee and Chowking, gave him a quick tour of Marikina, UP, UST, Intramuros, Luneta and MOA.  He said he’d come back.

Cousin Angel is engaged to be married to Bruce of New Zealand.

Cousin Erwin and family are in Japan for a fortnight.

Little Ardee is sad.  His mommy is packing things up for a scheduled C-section for his kid brother. Well, the sadness will pass….

The Son Rises

The national elections is over.  Eight hours after the beginning of the transition of the votes, Noynoy Aquino’s tally had apparently put him into the highest office in the land, the presidency of the Philippines.

Who is Noynoy?  What do we really know about him?  Except knowing that he is the lone son of Ninoy, the genius and the martyr, and Cory, the widow in yellow and the homemaker who became president, the other news worthy of putting him in the limelight is his disgust over youngest sister Kris’ scandalous affairs.

But the campaign had given us a glimpse of the man, 50 years old and single, a music lover, a rapper actually, and a heavy cigarette smoker.  He had been in politics for the longest time of his life, but his senatorial stint had more or less paled compared to the intensity his father had shown in the august chamber before the grim, dark years of Martial Law.

Noynoy  has definitely garnered a landslide mandate, and yet it seems the political arena wants him to commence his legitimacy as leader of the land by squeezing through the eye of a needle. Now he contends that he will swear his solemn oath, as sacred as laying down one’s life for a people, to the lowly baranggay captain in his hometown.  Why not?  That would not be regal at all, cosidering that showbiz sis Kris will definitely opt for every pomp and circumstance. But Noynoy is a man of few words.  He belongs to those who walk in the shadows instead of the runway.  He lines up for his own vote all sweaty and hot! And not a woe of complaint.

Who cares if he mutters his palabra de honor to someone manning the vicinity of his hometown in the name of peace.  That act will be the forebear of the kapit-bisig his parents launched. The son rises!

Election Blues

I am fearful of what may happen tomorrow. My sister just called up and related how the pcos machines delivered votes for Gibo, the administration bet.  The test had supporters of Bro. Eddie as respondents.  They were surprised when the test ballots came out and showed tallies for Gibo.  The first automation election is most likely rigged.  Six days ago, the flash cards were discovered faulty.  The computer Geeks had adjudged the situation difficult to trouble shoot with less than a week for thousands of memory cards. I can’t help but feel apprehensive!

And last night, my cousin sent me disturbing news that surveys had actually Gibo leading by a landslide.  Where did that come from?  The trending had built up consistently for Noynoy all throughout election campaign.  To say otherwise means the people are being fooled.

But I am going out tomorrow and cast my one vote. Like King David, I am praying that the enemies of the people be delivered to the pits.

Bosom Buddies

Jean and Tin were classmates in second grade at St. Scholastica’s Academy.  Jean stayed in the academy whilst Tin opted for the tough Philippine Science high school training.  Jean enrolled at the UP for college  but Tin chose the Jesuit-run Ateneo education. Jean had explored the domestic sites but Tin had scaled Europe’s scenic destinations.

The two friends had gone on different directions for education or life’s practical experiences. But whenever they meet, it would be to watch a movie and eat out.

Iron Man 2 was their date yesterday.  And like Ratcliffe in Harry Potter, Bloom in Lord of the Rings, Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, who was it in Star Wars?, the two went gaga over Downey and his techie gadgets over buckets of popcorn.

Jean and Tin had been bosom buddies.  Although they had made other friendships along life’s ways, whenever they see each other, it had been like life is so light and easy to live.

Trivial?  No they are not!  Probably the best in their chosen fields.  But Iron Man just caught the children in them. They never did let go of that.

Robert Downey, Jr. Mania

Move over Brad Pitt.  You, too, Tom Cruise.  It’s Robert Downey, Jr’s time!

The past year has proven that the so called diminishing return ain’t true at all.  If ever, the Robert Downey, Jr. mania flicks had only confirmed that good actors just don’t fade away.  Given a second chance, their stars shine even brighter.

Robert Downey does not look the dashing six-pack hero we would expect Iron Man to be.  But who is, anyway?  Boy-next-door Tobey McGuire as Spiderman is not as bemuscled either.  We could leave the abs flashing to Brad and Tom. Their roles almost always require the physique.  With Downey, the red metal suit can cover what is lacking in the body.  We need just the brains and the wit, the aptness of the movement and the facial expression.

And that is what we have in Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man.  Robert Downey immortalized these characters simply by being himself.  That is why every Jill, Jane, and Mary are going gaga overy Downey, even if he is as old as I am, I think.