Tuesday, June 20, 2017

THE PACKAGE



THE PACKAGE
Norma Sanchez– flight attendant, Filipina, newly hired
Roger Clark, American, veteran purser
Airline -  CX
Garrido – Chinese businessman from Hongkong
-----------------------------
The aircraft had just settled to a stop in their Manila airport tarmac when, after all the passengers had disembarked, the purser, Roger, spotted a small packaged wrapped in plastic in one of the business class seats.

“Miss Sanchez,” Roger calls out to Norma by the pilot’s area putting her things together in preparation to leave the aircraft. “I found this package in business class seat 301, kindly check it out and give it to the authorities when you leave.”

Norma, recently hired just less than a year ago after her training in Hongkong, was anxious to know too and thereby proceeded to get the package.  She did not open it.

Moments later, Norma disembarks with her usual carryall, overcoat, and hand carry to proceed to the immigration desk of the Manila Intl. Airport. She was toting the package still unopened when she reaches the desk for her turn to be checked.

Sir, we found this package in our flight CX 830 from Singapore. The purser asked me to submit this to authorities that are why I am giving them to you.

The seemingly tired but not rough Manila immigration officer took hold of the package asking her 

“did you check what it is, mam?”

“No sir”

Then the officer peeled off the tape and unraveled the package which contained a smaller bag that contained diamonds.  “These are diamonds.  Let me get your full name and flight number and where I can get in touch with you.:

To which Norma submits her full name and other details especially her cellphone number. Then he was let go for the line she was in had swelled a bit for other passengers anxious to get to their destinations.

At about 2:30 p.m. Norma got a call in her cell while she was at home with her parents with whom she has lived all her life. The fact is that she has not entertained the idea of having a family for she wants a career in being a Cathay Pacific flight attendant.

The voice sounded clear and authoritative. “May I speak with Miss Norma Sanchez?” asked the male voice.

“Speaking” answers Norma for she was expecting the call.

“This is Col. Alfonso Nebrida of the Philippine Immigration Department.  We have the package you found in your CX flight 830 from Singapore. We want you to come over right now to our offices in the Port Area of the Manila Harbor. I am on the second floor. “And without waiting for her reply, hung up.

So conscientious was Norma with her job and so aware that she must do a good job being new the position, she readily left and took a taxi towards the Immigration Office of Col. Nebrida.

Besides she did not want to jeopardize her job which she loved very much, so any possibility of a risk she wanted to eliminate.

Col. Nebrida, was every that military had to offer – crisp uniform with the attached medals, awards, etc. quite tall – 5’10’ for a Filipino. “Hello, Miss Sanchez,” he greeted the attendant and waved her to a chair well positioned to face the officer.

Who else knows about this package? “ asks the officer.

The pursuR sir, Mr. Roger Clark. Who was on duty in this flight.

“ No one else?” asks the officer.

“No sir.” Replies Norma. She was ill at ease seated there not knowing what was to come and her feeling of insecurity was mounting moment by moment.

“We think these are precious diamonds from Singapore, Ms. Sanchez, and we have submitted them to the gemology section of our office tasked with this kind of work. According to policy gems are taxable when they arrive in this country.  We expect their report momentarily. Meantime, would like some coffee? “ asks the officer.

Then the Colonel added, “Did anyone call for the package yet?

“No one sir.” Answers Norma.

At this point the colonel stood up from his desk, lighted a cigarette and motioned Norma to get up and follow him.  He then led her to the conference room nearby and within view through the glass pane from Col. Nebrida office. She seated her there where she could wait for the report, have coffee or just read magazines.

Meanwhile, she got a call in her cellphone from Purser Clark stating that the owner of the package, a Chinese businessman claimed it and was coming over to retrieve it.

Norma interrupted Roger and said that the package with the diamonds was being examined at the Gemology department and she was waiting for the report at the colonel’s office.
Roger hangs up and moments later call again.

“Mr. Garrido is waiting for our call when the package is released.” Roger says and then hangs up.

Tension in Norma’s heart was rising and was not sure what would become of her and her new position. She just could not let her parents down. She therefore begun to pray for help from the Lord.
Soon, Roger calls again tell Norma that Mr. Garrido mentioned a pistol inside the package. If we found it.

Norma froze. “I did not find any pistol Roger you know that.  Did you?”

Roger answers in the negative and hangs up.

According to Philippine law, smuggling of firearms brings with it a heavy penalty including jail time. Again, Norma was already having her cold sweat but continues praying.

Soon, Purser Roger arrives unannounced at the office of Col. Nebrida together with the Chinese businessman. Introductions were made all around and then when seated by the conference room, col. Nebrida said that the gemology officers have checked the stones and were coming over to join them.

In a few moments, an officer of the gemology department arrives with the package stating that they were not real diamonds but plastic ones only.

All looked at Mr. Garrido who admitted that the diamonds were plastic ones which he wanted to collect and had no commercial value.

When Roger asked the man about the pistol which was not in the package, Mr. Garrido sheepishly smiled and looked down on his shoes and muttered “Solly, I forgot to get the pistol from the safety deposit box in Singapore where I placed it for security reasons.”

Everyone looked at every around, with the colonel smiling  in a kind of embarrassed smile in behalf of the Chinese gentlemen and soon bade goodbye to Norma and Roger.

+++

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A loving tribute to her father, by Cristina, our second child

Dear Dad,

I do not need to wait for Sunday to express my wishes for you on Father's Day......

From the time I was born until this present time, I have always had positive thoughts of you.  I know you are not perfect but to me you can do no wrong.  That's because you generously gave your all in providing for the family when we were growing up. You were always loving and was never afraid to show your affection.  You were always hardworking too, at one point I remember you had three jobs just to make ends meet. So you see, in my eyes you are "almost" perfect.  Not every child has been blessed with a Dad like you.  I was always, and still am, very proud of you Dad.

So on this coming Father's Day, know that you deserve all the best wishes that are heading you way.  You are one of a kind and I am so blessed to have you as my Dad.

Smile! You are warmly thought of always - love you Daddy-O!

Hugs hugs hugs šŸ˜Š
Cristina

Monday, June 12, 2017

Rhoda is our niece, daughter of Zenaida M. Evans.

Dear Tito Tony,

I'm sorry to hear that Tita Chita's absence is bringing you discomfort.  I commend you for giving her the space to travel and to do what she loves.  It is very brave and selfless of you to do that.

I wake up every morning looking forward to your email.  I am uncertain where you find all the wise words that you share with us and I want to let you know that they make a difference -- in my life anyway.  I will be looking back at your emails for many years and may decide to send the same to my kids in the future.

You are a remarkable man and you continue to touch many with your words and sentiments.

Hang in there, Tito Tony.  Glad that you can see Tita Chita's adventures in Facebook.  

Hugs,
Rhoda

Conchita Razon is a childhood friend of the family

Milestones

The last time I was in Atlanta, my grand nephew was a junior at the University of Georgia, majoring in Broadcast Journalism. He graduated just before I returned. Next week he leaves for Denver on his first job assignment. He found an apartment, and is ready to move in, just like a grown up.
His dad will help him on the overnight drive from Atlanta and his mom will fly over just to see that he has not overlooked the essentials. That’s what moms and dads do.

I imagine they are again feeling the anxiety that attacks when a chick leaves the nest. At the same time as they burst with pride and can’t wait to tell all creation how their son is now on his own, there are tears that must remain unshed; except perhaps in the solitude of their now very quiet home.
As I watch them prepare for the big move, I wonder, what are the wise words one can say to a young man at this stage of his life? Are the things he learned at your knee still fresh in his mind? Did your counsel serve him well?

Are there any nuggets of wisdom that remain unspoken?
College is done. There is no more allowance from mom and dad. He will start “earning a living”. He will soon have to choose between the fun of a movie and burgers and the price of a full tank of gas. Will he have enough? The dad suggests a budget. .

Mom worries. Will he eat properly? Junk food is abundant and affordable. Will he miss home cooked meals? It is cold in Denver. Will he be warm enough? She packs another comforter. I am willing to bet she would move to Denver in a heartbeat.

And my sister quietly stashes more English pastilles in a goody-bag as she prays for her second grandson, now all of an adult at age 22.

The scenario is familiar. I feel the helplessness of the parents as they slowly realize that there is someone else now at the helm of this ship that is about to sail. They must turn over the wheel to a young man whose excitement spills over, whose confidence overwhelms, and whose hand is no longer theirs to hold.

I advise the parents not to fret. The seas are not as uncharted as they seem. This young man has sailed them every day, in his imagination. He may have to rough it. But it is his time to conquer the waves and make his dreams a reality.

And even while the scene unfolds, a grand niece, her husband and two-year old son have left Georgia to settle in Florida. And her mother wonders why and worries. She too would like to pack her bags and move along with them. But she knows she must watch them go, wish them well and bravely wave goodbye.

Someone once said: “It happens to everyone as they grow up. You find out who you are and what you want, and then you realize that people you’ve known forever don’t see things the way you do. So you keep the wonderful memories, but find yourself moving on”.
Truly all the older folks can do is whisper a prayer. Why beset them with phantoms of problems that may never even happen?

Weren’t we all, once upon a time, hell bent on the path we had chosen and certain that no one knew better than we did? Nothing and no one could dampen our spirits. Nothing and no one better not even try.

It has not changed. The drama continues. And the older generation has to step aside and watch as the young ones go and make their own way. It is difficult. Often painful. But there is really no choice.
And I remember reading from the Native American Code of Ethics. To the parents it says:
“Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life’s lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

And it instructs the children: “Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.”

Global warming

The other day I read about a chunk of ice, the size of the state of Delaware that is breaking away from Antartica and is ready to fall into the sea. Other details were quite disconcerting although I can’t even imagine what a “10 cm rise in global sea levels” would mean.

I must admit that all this about global warming and climate change is difficult to understand. The minute the subject comes up, something in my mind seems to shut off. My friend tells me that it is my “denial mechanism”. My nephew sincerely thinks it is a hoax. And yet, others are looking for a “safe place”. What is the real score?

The next day the headlines carried news about the U.S. breaking away from the Paris Climate Agreement. The arguments are never ending. Was it a mistake to pull out?
And then I hear that a lady we know who earns her keep giving lectures about climate change does not really believe it is happening.

I am more confused than ever.
And then I read someone’s post online.
It is an Old Cree Indian Proverb.
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we can’t eat money.”

God help us all.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

from GABY MANALAC







Hey hey Tony:

You are out of this world. Always have known that, of course, and this is not fake news. I can back it up with testimonial evidence from Fr. Reuter who will surely come back from wherever the angels have delivered him  if the evidence needs validation.

In any event, just for starters, how can anyone with all kinds of life-threatening ailments continue to keep travelling all over the world with all kinds of life sustaining machines like dialysis machines while sailing the Danube on a tourist vessel. and at the drop of a hat picking up your topcoat and taking off for fancied destinations anywhere and everywhere.  And more than that, you just flew all the way to Australia for a family reunion, a flying distance that most anyone our age may not survive. How can all that happen. And from the looks of it, there are still lots more coming.

But wouldn’t one know it. Of course there is a very simple answer to such an  impossible query - GOD, CHITA, AND FAMILY. But why were you the chosen one. Only they can answer that. All I can remember is that Tony Joaquin vintage “48 liked doing what he liked to do – music in any form or language. An indelible image in my memory is a gangly Tony crooning ala Sinatra while ever so smoothly flipping his legs around dancing the boogie Astaire style to the delight of st. scholasltica  closeted high schoolers.

Still more, equally incredible.  You have now gifted your friends with two renditions from an album you recorded last year – Nearness of You and Unforgettable (duet with daughter Lizza). Your rendition of Nearness is noticeably lovable, but Unforgettable  with Lizza is a reincarnation of Tony vintage “48. I daresay it is even better. Lizza has brought out something very professional in your rendition. Lizza’s youthful talent seems to have magically rubbed off on you. I couldn’t believe what I listened to. Your voice was vibrant, round, and your delivery perfect.  Hey, keep Lizza primed for more of those duets.
How truly blessed you are to have Chita and the kds, and vice versa of course.

If there is any downside to your performance, it is that it makes me envious of how you can so very much enjoy your musical talent at this stage of our lives. As far back as grade school at the the Ateneo in Intramuros, I looked forward so very much to very rehearsal. Mr. Tiongco (I think he might eventually sired the Tiongco brothers who mimicked the Four Aces, or the Lettermen, or was it one or the other of several of the popular quartets at the time) was our choir master and I (along with a guy I remember only as Palarca) was a soloist and had my first performance at the Padre Faura auditorium (big deal then) when I was in grade IV. I remember Mr.Tiongco had several more performances lined up for us but as fate would have it, September 8, 1941 happened.
During the II War years when I was in La Salle, I was ready to take daily piano lessons since my mom”s brother was a piano teacher and was in our home quite often that it made sense for him to spend time with me as a budding classical pianist. Again, as fate would have it, the Americans started their “I will return” bombing sorties.

Again, I got the chance to get back into the musical stream by joining the Ateneo high school choir which Fr. Candelaria would be geared to performing abroad (which I later found out was Guam and Wake island. I thought that was pretty weird. So when Fr. Candy started costed the expenses for his venture, it came up to a fantastic total of a hundred thousand or something around that figure. We all had a good laugh when it turned out that mathematics (even only multiplication) was not exactly his strong point.

So off again I was, this time to picking a ukele that my sister bought for me (our house burned down along with our piano during the liberation of Manila). But that never really got me into full time piano studies, although I was beginning to enjoy learning how play the Uke but never really got serious about even that although I thought it was truly a lovable instrument. For your enjoyment, I printing the Utube address of Kris Fuchigami - "Can't Take My Eyes Off You"- Ukulele Instrumental. I am certain you will enjoy it. His utube address also opens up a few other incredible ukele performances.

To sum it all up, my ill-fated musical career was doomed when I got a journalism scholarship, along with Tony Manuud, to Marquette University.   I contented myself with harmonizing  old American favorites  with Tony who just loved singing these oldies particularly:

Heart Of My Heart", I love that melody
"Heart Of My Heart" brings back a memory
When we were kids on the corner of the street
We were rough and ready guys
But Oh! How we could harmonize
"Heart Of My Heart"
Meant friends were dearer then
Too bad we had to part
I know a tear would glisten if once more I could listen
To that gang that sang "Heart Of My Heart"


https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif













Wednesday, May 3, 2017

ALFREDO DING ROCES' 85TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION IN SYDNEY




*****My 85th–A Celebration*****
Just made it to another milestone, the big 85. My three living brothers will say that is just a minor hurdle. The eldest living among us siblings is Peping, who is 97! He spots me 12 years. Next  on the rung to him is Pipo ,who has a 10-year lead over me. At least Marquitos is within breathing distance at 87. All I can try to do is keep up with these magnificent guys. Wish they would reveal to me their secret for long life.
But the here and now is what we should be happy about; and to celebrate the occasion, daughter Grace and son-in-law Howard, have offered to host our celebration at home with their traditional grand feast. This, despite the fact that their reliable assistants, Damien and Natasha, were on holidays. The brave couple had to carry the brunt of chef, kitchen-hand and waiter, all by their lonesome. How they managed it all was quite an amazing feat.

What a superb feast! And with such wonderful company! Howard and Grace printed out the menu some days before and the guests made their choice on line. Then the gourmet dishes just kept coming in.
It was an awesome repast all thanks to Howard's and Grace's great hard work and kitchen magic.
The gathering of the usual suspects. Clockwise starting at 12 o'clock with yours truly, —Grace ready to pour the wine, Lene Aldeguer, Betchay Reyes, Luis Reyes, Ritsuko Crowley, Irene, Will Sun, Evol Carrington, Cal Nelson and Uko Legarda Nelson.
Irene's table setting. Would you believe the pencil and brush decor were from  a table-setting for my 60th in 1992 at the gracious home of Eddie and Merle Pineda in DasmariƱas, Makati?
A lot of hard work from the team of Howard and Grace: beginning with the couple lugging half their kitchen all the way from Woranora Heights to our home in Davidson. Here's how the chef's working space looked.


Finger lime. Frankly never saw these before.They were delicious.
anchovies for the sauce

Behind the scene work by the chef-couple

Home made pumpkin ravioli

With much of the chaotic, messy work over,  Chef Howard can now exercise his gourmet magic in his formal working gear.

The Awesome Menu

Let's see now, do I remember what I had ordered?


Seared scallops in an anchovy butter sauce
Garlic buttered prawns

Lene, Betchay, Luis, Ritsuko and Irene



Now for the main course...

Quite a few favored rhe duck, now ready for roasting.
Roasting and smoking the duck outdoors so the smoke will not get inside the house




Baked Atlantic salmon

Prawns in a zesty ginger and lime tomato sauce on ribboned zucchini
Tea-smoked duck breast with roasted beetroot  in a balsamic syrup and roasted vegetables

Milopita (Greek apple cake) with brandy yoghurt

Trio of homemade ice cream

Grand Dessert
My experiments with low-firing ceramic paint on tile were my parting gifts to the guests

Guest drew lots for the wrapped individual souvenir art-work, so I don't know who got which.

ALL THANKS AGAIN TO GRACE AND HOWARD FOR A FABULOUS FEAST. WE ALL LOVED IT.

*****My 85th–A Celebration*****
2

View comments

  1. All the best to Tito Ding, Tita Irene and the whole family. God bless!
    Reply
  2. Happy birthday Tito Ding! Thanks for posting photos and descriptions of your wonderful birthday experience. I will have to show my dad. Love from Icasiano family.
    Reply
  1. *****My 85th–A Celebration*****
    Just made it to another milestone, the big 85. My three living brothers will say that is just a minor hurdle. The eldest living among us siblings is Peping, who is 97! He spots me 12 years. Next  on the rung to him is Pipo ,who has a 10-year lead over me. At least Marquitos is within breathing distance at 87. All I can try to do is keep up with these magnificent guys. Wish they would reveal to me their secret for long life.
    But the here and now is what we should be happy about; and to celebrate the occasion, daughter Grace and son-in-law Howard, have offered to host our celebration at home with their traditional grand feast. This, despite the fact that their reliable assistants, Damien and Natasha, were on holidays. The brave couple had to carry the brunt of chef, kitchen-hand and waiter, all by their lonesome. How they managed it all was quite an amazing feat.

    What a superb feast! And with such wonderful company! Howard and Grace printed out the menu some days before and the guests made their choice on line. Then the gourmet dishes just kept coming in.
    It was an awesome repast all thanks to Howard's and Grace's great hard work and kitchen magic.
    The gathering of the usual suspects. Clockwise starting at 12 o'clock with yours truly, —Grace ready to pour the wine, Lene Aldeguer, Betchay Reyes, Luis Reyes, Ritsuko Crowley, Irene, Will Sun, Evol Carrington, Cal Nelson and Uko Legarda Nelson.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

BOOK LAUNCH OF NICK JOAQUIN'S WORKS

You are invited to the San Francisco launch of Penguin Classic’s
The Woman Who Had Two Navels and Tales of the Tropical Gothic
By Nick Joaquin

Foreword by Gina Apostol
Introduction by Vicente L. Rafael

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
6:30 P.M. (Doors open at 5:45 P.M.)
@
The Philippine Center
Social Hall, 5th Floor
447 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA