Bye, Cool Friend!

He was the COOLEST GUY around.

My best recollections of him and his bosom buddy Willy Villareal were afternoons at the shop of Boy Villegas at the LaO’ Center.  There, he was presented with the best and the rarest of Filipino artifacts, all of which he purchased — not for scholarly acquisition, not for the prestige it conferred — but merely for the sheer enjoyment of it all.

He liked to call me “Cousin!” with affection and amusement, even if we were not [ his being the maternal half-brother of my Gonzalez second cousin Ging did not make us cousins  😛 ].  He had the highest regard for his stepfather, Tito Gonzalo.

Bye, Bu.  You were a lot of fun!!!   🙂   🙂   🙂

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Coron breather

In the midst of all the ongoing Holidays 2009 action, my balikbayan cousins and I hopped to idyllic Coron, Palawan for a breather.

It was still as breathtakingly beautiful as ever…

I’m happy to say that there is a good cleanup effort going on.  The disheartening, dreadful sight of numerous, floating empty mineral water bottles littering the entrance cove to the Twin Lagoon, the entrance cove to Barracuda Lake, and the entrance cove to Kayangan Lake [ Garbage ala Boracay!!! ] which we saw last March 2009 have already been removed.  The local government must muster more political will and make the admirable, voluntary, conscientious cleanup and maintenance of Bohol island a model.

Also, there is some informed taste involved in the developments in the increasingly popular and rapidly developing tourist destination.  The Coron town pier now has a boardwalk of sorts in surprisingly decent taste without the characteristic gewgaws and predictable bad taste of the usual local government projects [ multicolor painted cement swans, Snow Whites, dwarves, etc. ].  Let’s hope they keep it that way.

I hope Coron does not turn out to be another highly-commercialized Boracay.  That would be dreadful.

In terms of sheer natural beauty, Coron, Palawan is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  It can definitely bring in the much-needed USD $$$ and EE multimillions to the coffers of the country but it must be developed carefully and conscientiously to avoid the pitfalls of overcommercialization which can degrade and eventually destroy it.

Please, let us not have an overcommercialized, overloaded, and haphazardly developed Palawan, be it Coron, Busuanga, El Nido, Puerto Princesa, or anywhere else.  The whole region abounds with so much natural beauty that it deserves the greatest respect.  Let us improve vastly on the rather regrettable Boracay development experience.  We’ve lost once-gorgeous Boracay island to uninformed, irresponsible, and greedy development and we’re not going to get it back anymore.

All There

I have just come back from a GIBO fundraiser evening…

It seemed that practically All of Manila had turned out to show support to the presidential aspirant seen by many as the most capable and the most qualified of the several presidentiables.

I found the onstage Gibo Teodoro highly intelligent, articulate, magnetic [ another word for charismatic? ], inspiring, and commanding with an uncanny ability to silence the madding crowd, make them listen, and want even more.

What I liked was that, unlike the other presidentiable aspirants, he did not speak a single word against his fellow contenders [ however godawful some of them are, in my opinion ].  True gentleman, I thought.

After a short speech, Gibo Teodoro left for two hours of meetings and then returned to the gathering…

I found the offstage Gibo Teodoro highly intelligent, articulate, incisive, tactful, an interested listener, unexpectedly warm [ given all those accomplishments ], charming and disarming, and fortunately gifted with the ability to connect and empathize with the various people he encounters.  There is a lot to like in the man.

Not surprisingly, I found his wife Nikki Prieto-Teodoro very beautiful in person.  If, as First Lady, she follows the egalitarian and populist but elegant styles of Sofia of Spain, Rania of Jordan, and the late Diana and negate that of Imelda Marcos & Co., she will be most memorable at Malacanang:  A young, beautiful, sophisticated, and completely contemporary First Lady.  Perhaps the Filipina equivalent of Jackie Kennedy.

On the lighter side, Gibo Teodoro is as tall and imposing as Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is short and dumpy.  Nikki Prieto-Teodoro is as beautiful and effortlessly elegant as Mike Arroyo is big and slow.  That’s a good change.  As I always say, and as Diana Vreeland always said, never underestimate the power of appearances.

All There.  No need to look for anything else.

Travel memories: Beijing, 2003

One of our co-travelers, Mrs. Sy, had a niece who was married to a Beijing native.  They were a wonderful couple who regaled us with all sorts of stories that we couldn’t understand.  Nevertheless, we all kept on bowing, smiling, and laughing.  They asked the entire group out to lunch.

They brought us to a nice restaurant with several private rooms which seemed to be the neighborhood favorite.  The Chinese food was of the best quality and absolutely wonderful!!!  It was my first great Chinese meal outside Hong Kong.

Expectedly, as I ate too much, I needed to go to the bathroom…

On the way to the bathrooms, which were adjacent to the kitchens, the red carpet expectedly got greasier and muddier.  A waitress hurried out of the kitchen with a tray full of lacquered chopsticks, big silverplated spoons, and porcelain soup spoons and slipped in the corridor, spilling all the  tableware on to the dirty, nay filthy, carpet.  The waitress promptly picked them all up quickly and proceeded to a nearby round table which was being prepared for another round of guests.  As if nothing had happened, she set the table with the soiled tableware!!!

EEEKKK…

OMG.  My stomach almost turned.

Oh well, I consoled myself with the fact that it was all “organic”… bacteria, viruses, SARS [ H1N1 wasn’t identified yet ], etc. notwithstanding.

Hahahah…   😛   😛   😛