Got off the plane in Melbourne from Manila for an hour’s stop before proceeding to Sydney yesterday at 8:30 AM. When I turned on my cellphone, I saw a text from Krip Yuson asking if I was alright since he heard on DZMM that the house of Chinchin Gutierrez, (friend, actress and my next door neighbor) was burned to the ground.
I immediately called Manila and discovered that all my neighbors were out in the street watching the firemen douse the fire and assisting in the rescue of the Gutierezes. I also learned much to my relief that our house was spared and that everyone from our house and Chinchin’s was safe even if Chinchin and her mom had to be rushed to the hospital. The only casualties were 5 dogs that were left in the cage.
It’s so shocking how the fortunes of men can just so easily change in a matter of minutes. Gone is the house that had always been there. The realization of the temporal nature of everything was delivered so brutally and with such finality. I was so rudely reminded that everything we think we own is actually just borrowed and that includes our own lives. Ramana Maharshi, one of my favorite gurus says that only that which has no beginning and no end, and does not change is real. While that may be true, as humans we are attached to people, houses, memories and all these things that cause is to be sentimental and it is hard to let all of that go, And it is especially heart-rending to have to give up all that in one single blow.
Chinchin, her mother and two maids lost everything they owned. Knowing Chinchin, she may not be comfortable about my announcing this but since I heard her manager say the same thing on TFC, I will say it here. They are in dire need of financial help. If you want to help make their Christmas a fresh start, please feel free to send anything their way. Write to me at email@example.com for details.
It’s over. Pinoy Dream Academy, the reality show I did for 4 months is finally finished. We did our final hurrah last Dec. 16 and what a farewell it was. It delivered on every expectation that people had. I am so proud to have been part of the show and so humbled to have witnessed the scholars whom we taught and nurtured for 4 months, deliver a punching, heart-stopping presentation.
Yeng, Panky, Ronnie, Irish, JR, Chad did not disappoint.They wowed everyone including themselves. They truly deserved to be in the Final Six. I am quite happy that it was the audience that decided who would win since it was getting increasingly hard for us teachers to decide on the fate of the scholars. We would have been happy whoever placed since we felt they all had reached a development stage where they could really perfornm already.
It was a four month exericise wherein we continiously surprised our audience and even ouselves. Television as we know it in this country has many givens. Nevertheless, we taught the scholars’ stuff which we worried would bore the audience, etc. but the audience as it turned out loved it. I have so many great memories of PDA and am glad to have been instrumental in the scholars’ training and part of their narratives of personal redemption.
As an older artist to these young, and green wannabes, I feel rejuvenated and have learned much from watching them embrace the lessons and excercises fearlessly. I must thank them, and the staff, and the station and all of you who watched, texted, wrote and invested time watching it. If you want to see more pictures, click here.
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It has been quite a year for me. During the past twelve months, I had migrated with my family to Aus, lived in two houses there, established a life in this foreign land that is slowly turning into a real home. I have also seen a revival of APO’s music on a scale that continues to amaze us. It’s still hard to believe it but once again, we have teens who are watching our concerts, asking for our autographs, pictures, singing our songs and buying our music in the form of CDs and ringtones. It’s a crazy world and I love it.
I have also become a regular columnist for Philippine Star. Frankly, I am quite surprised at the number of letters I recieve regarding what I write.
Also, I have had the unexpected pleasure of suddenly gaining a new nickname–that of ‘Headmaster’, thanks to the power of televison. Pinoy Dream Academy, a show I originallly turned down because it was just a ‘reality show’, had reignited my belief that TV does not have to always be patronizing and dumb. In some way, we provided content that amazed, excited and inspired our audience. And in the process, I really enjoyed myself.
Lastly, I wish to end this piece by greeting you all with all the beautiful, inspiring thoughts and feelings that Christmas can convey to the weary heart. May we all be like children awake to the wonders of life. May we experience the delight of Christmas the way Charles Dickens described tiny kids anticipating Chrsitmas night with ‘visions of sugarplum dancing in their heads.’ Lastly, may the peace that a Wonder Child brought to this world find its way into you and may it affect all your dealings with everyone.
As a bonus, here’s a unique Christmas picture.
Merry Christmas everyone!