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Laong nila an taga Tago kuno para-away pero hanugay. Mamingawuni naman ganahani mandahap-dahap nan notisya. Naman ini na pabyon inhimo para kita na mga Tagon-on magkasinusihay, magka-binayluay nan mga gilaong, nan notisya, nan kaayuhan.
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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:34 pm 
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Libs,

I sure had a blast, and thanks to you! But that’s getting ahead of the story.

Honestly I was half-hearted at first because I wanted to go home to Tago, then I realized that watching Lea Salonga is an opportunity of a lifetime, something that’s too hard for me to pass up. But on top of that, there was you. And though we often swap texts at any time of the day, we haven’t met since your very hush-hush arrival from Windy City in October 2006.

I left Mangagoy early Saturday morning, but I made you believe I was still at the office surfing the net and not leaving until after lunch. Being from the boondocks I wanted to buy a few things in advance because I was sure we’d zip around Davao like mad. And I was right!

You had a class that day, but your texts dogged me like, well, a dog! And so it became a text travelogue: you asking me where I was, and me telling you places I wasn’t at. When I said I was still in Tagum and it was already six o’clock, you turned ballistic, especially when I added that I didn’t have any shoes with me because I intended to buy a new pair and that I might enter the Central Bank venue in slippers, lugging my things and convincing the guard to keep them for me until the concert’s duration!

Ha-ha!

In a UK jacket and jeans ensemble, I arrived ahead of you at the venue that already crawled with people. Then you arrived in printed long sleeves and jeans.

I brought no camera to the concert---ethics thing, you know.

Ours was a premium seat, just a few rows from the stage that was swathed in black with nothing but a huge screen at the center. I had a feeling of déjà vu because it was the same venue where I did a fashion show back in 1993 when I modeled for the creations of top designers of Davao (in correct stress, please).

The show began when Lea entered the stage in a glittering midnight blue gown. She did her spiel before breaking into a song that you remembered to be Barbra Streisand’s opening song in her “One Voice” concert in Malibu years back. That early it was clear that Lea would enthrall us with a voice that had me saying---“Whoa!”

As expected, she sang one enchanting song after another, and when she exited and one Mr. What’s-his-name-again? took over, we thought we could catch our breath. But then Mr. What’s-his-name-again? sang “This is the Moment” in a way that gave me goose bumps. Later we learned from Lea that Mr. What’s-his-name-again? was part of Miss Saigon-Germany. No wonder!

Lea came back and our hearts sank because she was still in her drab midnight blue gown. Oh c’mon, Lea, the show’s expensive and the least you could do is to change into something new, otherwise what was the point of your exit?

But then Lea and Mr. What’s-his-name-again? sang a duet from Jekyll and Hyde, and it was all we needed to forget that she’s such a cheapskate.

The repertoire was great as it included songs we considered as soundtrack of our lives. And when she sang “Someone to Watch Over Me” and Evita’s “You Must Love Me,” a hush fell and we could hear a pin drop!

Then she exited again, but not before introducing Jed Madela who, according to her, was not human for possessing a voice that could come only from an angel. And when Jed launched into “Impossible Dream” arranged in a way that showcased the scintillating voice that made him world champion, we simply had to agree with her.

After that hair-raising number, I closed my eyes in prayer: Lord, please let Lea change into something new because you sure don’t want us to die frustrated, do you, Lord?

And God answered my prayer: Lea burst onstage in a tangerine gown that emphasized her widening hips and with white rosettes here and there. Never mind if she looked like a teacher who was part of the Tuwadhangin Elementary School Choral Group, the point was: she changed her outfit!

By the time she and Jed broke into my favorite duet of all time, “Separate Lives,” the enchantment was irreversible and complete!

Lea ended the show with two encores from her upcoming New York play, Les Miz, leaving the crowd sated and overwhelmed!

We walked over to nearby Hotel Marco Polo for a night cap, but ended up having dinner instead. At the lounge, a singer was belting “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” in a voice that gave me nightmares. Waitress Joan, who immediately recognized you, came up to us. Later she would teach us how to pronounce correctly the word “seneytors,” and we’d laugh hard.

We eased down on the couch even as Joan wrote down our orders which took three eternities to arrive. But it didn’t matter because we played catch up and relived the past. Besides, the place felt like home.

We ate. Then you paid in plastic.

The next day, you, fresh from school, picked me up in a get up---white Lacoste trainers, cap, backpack, and all---that had me convinced you were indeed serious with your studies. Ahem!

We went to your boarding house, a well appointed home on a hill, so that you could change. Your room smelled of foreign brands and the walls carried tarpaulins of your wife and children. Books on Human Anatomy and others piled on the carpeted floor.

We had buffet lunch at Hotel Marco Polo where you ate like a true US immigrant. I skipped the salad and the soup and plodded on to the main course because I was famished having had no breakfast as I woke up late. And because it was Chinese New Year, the waitress gave us tokens that included a gold coin chocolate, which I ate.

Then you wanted us to go to a spa.

Ngeh!

Who needs a massage when I can have Joyna---my masseuse in Tago—to do it for me for just P20? Besides, all I wanted was to go to the mall and take part in the Chinese Dragon Dance.

So, I said No! You laughed and acquiesced. We raced to SM and went around. Because you've become a new feng shui believer, we bought a lot of charm crystals that according to the salesperson would bring---take your pick: good luck, good health, and a full head of hair.

Tired, we repaired to Bo’s Coffee. You had latte; I had cappuccino. Again, we took turns reliving the past, laughing, talking about our joys, hurts, fears, dreams, and life in general. Then we’d double up laughing when either of us had the opportunity to mouth what we now call as the “Melanie Marquez line.” No, not the “don’t judge my brother, he’s not a book” line, but the one she uttered when a writer interviewed her after she graduated cum laude recently.

Remember? The writer asked her: Ms. Melanie, how did you motivate yourself to finish your studies and earn cum laude honors?

Simple, Melanie said. I just told myself: Kung kaya nila, kaya ko rin!

Impressed, the writer said: In English, please.

Like a supermodel that she is, Melanie smiled and said: IF OTHERS CAN’T WHY, WHY CAN’T I?

Ha-ha!

Halfway into our coffee, Miguel Zubiri came along with his willowy wife, top model Audrey Tan.

Ignore them and just continue talking,, you said.

I did.

But then Miguel said: Hello, I’m Migz Zubiri.

Oh. Hello, we said and locked hands with him.

At five-thirty we took a cab and went to church where we met Myra Cuyos. Later we visited your godmother Luz Risma-Lozada who had a hip replacement at Davao Doc.

Then off to Krua Thai. But first I resisted. No adventurous eater, I wanted to eat at Kolasa’s, a Larsian-type eatery somewhere in Magsaysay because for one, I missed its world-famous chicken inasal, and second, I knew it would freak you out. And it did.

I made you prevail even if I hate Thai food, equating it with pig swill having had bad experience with it.

Krua Thai was small, but its parking area was dotted with luxury cars. Inside, all tables, except one, were taken. The woman on the wall winked at me before closing her wooden eyes eternally.

You wanted to sit on tatami but this time I prevailed because I was certain to get cramps that would cause a tingling feeling inside my feet, the kind that could only be tamed by drawing a cross on my feet using my saliva-coated index finger. And it wasn't coolest thing to do, right?

You ordered a feast that could feed a multitude, as usual. We experimented on all the food recommended by the cheogsam-clad waitress, the one who told us that “krua” means “kitchen” in Thailand. Except for the juice that tasted like varnish, the food turned out good. No, make that very good! In fact I was willing to stay the whole night just to munch everything, if only you didn’t have one last plan in mind.

We went back to your boarding house because there were “goodies” you wanted me to bring home. Stacked inside a big cellophane bag were magazines, a towel with green streaks, a Clinique Skin Supplies for Men, and yes----a gun metal gray Salvatore Ferragamo long sleeves, with matching pewter gray Versace tie!

Man, you could have knocked me down with a feather!

Your clock chimed; it was 12 midnight. I was willing to call it a day but you said no: we had to go to a spa!

Ngeh!

And so we went to K-1. You were in your slippers and shorts and me, in my Lacoste shirt, fancy belt (all courtesy of Sibuling) and shoes that could pass for a deadly weapon in their pointedness.

All rooms taken and we’re closing in a few minutes, the bored woman behind the counter said.

You insisted, and she finally relented.

You know what? I don’t like this, the ever baryotik me said.

Why?

Di ko kaya.

We looked at each other and felt the onset of a hearty laugh. Then, as if on cue, we said: IF OTHERS CAN’T WHY, WHY CAN’T I?

Ha-ha!

Thanks for everything, libs.


k_spy


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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:44 am 
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ay ay isab kibali sab libro inin ako pagabasa. k-spy enjoyi sa gayud kamo ad on.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:15 pm 
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saps,

i even edited a lot of details, including the one when we called abb. also, i haven't written that lea sang clearly that i could almost read the lyrics that floated around her like a halo.

it was really an experience, and all because of libs. :roll

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 9:14 pm 
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May class gayud K-Spy. We stayed at the Marco Polo in Davao last year and we enjoyed the dinner buffet. An pinya frescohi dili malalis. IF OTHERS CAN’T WHY, WHY CAN’T I? Sabta dakan.


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