Before I follow the lead of our fourth Miss Universe, Catriona Gray, on her desire for all of us to be grateful, allow me to address first the nagging bash about Gray’s supposedly “romanticizing poverty” in her silver-lining laced reply to the final question; “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned and how will you apply it to your time as Miss Universe?”
Catriona’s answer to the question started with the most apt situationer, which was, “the slums of Tondo, Manila” and “life there is poor and very sad.”
The “beauty” that she saw in all the filth and squalor, were the people, most especially the kids, their parents, guardians and kin, despite the impoverished they are in, are always cheerful, they know that each day brings new hope and dreams can and may be realized. They are not only fighters, they are survivors. They are with what they have and they make the most out of it, and most of all, their “beauty” comes from the fact that yes, they do complain and grumble, but their faith is strong and their communal spirit and community, even stronger.
The judges knew that this was the beauty that Catriona saw, her answer was not lip service, the words that came from her were not motherhood, if not vague statements. Catriona spoke from the heart, she was in Tondo, she did not just intermingle, she bonded and made a connection with the people, that was how she saw the “beauty “ of it all.
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Christmas is just a few days away that is why I am sharing these moments and some very important people in my life who made this 2018 a delight.
Rex Tiri of T-Rex Entertainment, the relatively new film production outfit that give us cinematic gems like Deadma Walking, Bakwit Boys and Class of 2018, to mention a few.
He feted a birthday dinner for me with my closest showbiz writer friends in attendance. One picture of FG Tiri, showed him beam with so much happiness as he was a few inches away, looked at me while I blowed the candle on the birthday cake. When I teased him about the photo, he said, "Kasi gusto ko on your birthday, masaya ka."
Al Gatmaitan, tenor and actor was recently elevated as an ALIW Awardee Hall of Famer. He made me feel ecstatic with his “Despacito” serenade that happened during his In My Heart concert. He also made me part of his spiels.
When he sang the full Spanish version of “Despacito,” he went to where I was seated, oblivious of the stares and puzzlement of the other viewers with his public flirtation. At that moment, Al made me feel wanted. From that day on, Despacito became our special friendship song.
The tighter than tight embrace from Ken Chan during the GMA 7 Christmas party. After his drawing the names of winners assignment, I approached him to say hi and greet the My Special Tatay star a happy Christmas. When Chan saw my image, in an instant, the embrace happened with him shouting, "Ms. Alwin miss na kita!"
His kilig to the bones gesture, was so familiar with the tighter than embrace that Ivan Dorschner gave a year ago. How I miss Ivan.
Speaking of embraces and the semblance that yes, maybe we can be good friends given the time and opportunity, Paulo Avelino was generous enough to make me feel that somehow, we can connect on a bromosexual relationship level. We had three great, far and in between meetings this year, most notable of course, were the Kasal after party and the grand press conference of Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral.
What I admire most in Avelino, is his manner of not caring of what others might think. We three press encounters this year and every time he sees me, he made it a point to give a moment of him only for me. Such a sweet gentleman and one of my favorite dramatic actors as well.
After the Binondo the Musical last show, patiently waited for one of its leads, Floyd Tena. Yes, my patience bore golden fruit. Not only did we have a picture together, I met his mom and son, JD. No, we did not have a "family" picture. I don't want to be accused of being presumptuous.
And last but not the least, in another musical play, the Gee-gee and Waterina world premiere, meeting my friend, J. Dennis Teodosio, with my company, my dearest fag hag friend, Alice Borbe. My friendship with Dennis started when I watched the original Geegee shown during the first Virgin LabFest. Since then, he became the playwright of most of Gantimpala Theater's children's musical. He is Myanmar based now and his name and body of work, you may read in the newly minted CCP Encyclopedias for the Seven Arts.
There are still other friends and moments in my life this year that filled my heart with so much love. You know who you guys and gals are, happy holidays to you, I love you all, and thank you for all the love.
To my Beautiful Ones, readers of ARIAS here in Manila Standard, Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
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