Saturday, June 6, 2009

Back to where it all began

The air was surprisingly cool at the Makati Park that afternoon. By sunset we were all there: While Yoshi and I were going through the notes of a Beatles song; Roman was running back and forth between the reception hall and the open area by the fountain supervising the caterers setting up the tables, the lights and sound people trying to make do with what they had; Delo had the toolbox wide open looking for an extra bulb socket he needed to light up the red carpet that ran from the back of the fountain to what served as the altar; Arkhe have started putting sand in the cute orange paper bags that Rose made that will serve as lanterns that will light up the whole area; Jojo was there to lend a hand to everyone.

At around 6 I drove back to Zari's house a few blocks away from the park, that's where the staging area was, where everyone took a shower and freshened up after the long 6-hour drive from Baguio. When I got there everyone was ready to go - the little girls were already dolled up (Kyra and Gabriela were going to be the evening's flower girls) and Aeneas looked sharp with his mohawk while wearing a Barong Tagalog. RL, Zari, Eunice and Rose had to prep themselves up in 15 minutes since the little girls' hair took forever to fix up.

It was already dark when we got back to the park, and everything was almost ready - the lanterns worked perfectly well, so did that extra par 38 spotlight that Delo nailed to a palm tree. The groom nervously asked for a cigarette while I was briefing the bride's brother, Earl, who was going to be the evening's emcee. We were all just waiting for the bride.

Earlier that day, the bride, Syrel, sent me a text message that something like, " I am just so glad to belong to the OSP family, thank you all so much for being there for me..." OSP is Open Space Productions, a Baguio-based theater group.

I looked at the street beyond and saw a white car with the blinkers on, that has got to be her already. One last "company call": Tolits will be manning the entourage's entrance, Eu will usher them to their respective seats, Zari, Rose and RL were part of the entourage, the OSP kids were already in line. I walked over to where the car was and there she was:

Two minutes, Kuya, she said, I just need to put on contacts. I opened the door for her two minutes later and escorted her to where she was supposed to wait before she makes her entrance. Roman stayed with her while she waited, and I gave the cue to start the ceremony.

RL and I, Godparents to Syrel and JP, walked down the aisle first. I escorted her to her seat and proceeded to where the keyboard was. "Piano/String", key of G, "All You Need is Love" by the Beatles and as Yoshi sang the first lines of the song, the procession began.

The bride's entrance was wonderful... the trees, the lighting, the paper bag candles, the wind, I just hoped the ABS-CBN crew who came to document the event on video caught not only what was happening on their camera, but how the scene of the veiled Syrel walking down the aisle felt. From all corners of the park, Jojo, Arkhe and Delo were clicking away, capturing the moment from different angles.

At the end of the long ceremony,during the photo ops, after the Bride's family and the Groom's family, the "OSP family" was called for a photo with the bride and the groom. At the reception, Roman has set-up his laptop and the LCD projector for the videos he and I made for the couple. Arkhe sang the Bride's requested song, Iris. Eunice sang "The Rose" during the cutting of the cake and the releasing of doves part.

And after a long trip from Baguio to Proj. 6 to Makati, a couple of hours' set-up, an unexpectedly long ceremony (the Judge who officiated the wedding got carried away), a couple of hours at the reception, Zari requested for a nightcap at Penguin Cafe. The women changed from high-heeled shoes to sandals, the Barongs were taken off, the kids back to their sandos and tsinelas, off to Malate we went.

Pinikpikan was playing that night, and there was a 150-peso cover charge, everyone agreed it wasn't worth it so we had our nightcap instead at the Oarhouse. Wilson the bartender was already lying down on the couch when we got there, I woke him up and ordered our coffees and beers. After a quick sip of our coffees and beers and a recap of what just happened, I brought everyone to the Remedios circle.

In the summer 1995, on an evening just like that one, I put up JC Live! right there in Remedios Circle. They've altered the circle's look since then, gone was the stage where Waling-waling, the Manila Youth Symphony Orchestra, Lolita Carbon, Raul Mitra, Jet Melencio, Julien Mendoza, MArgarita Gomez, etc., performed songs from the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" to raise funds for a shelter for streetchildren. Also gone now was RJ Leyran, my partner in putting that concert together. There are no videos nor photos of the first production, and with RJ gone, also not even someone to share the memory of that evening with.

I don't even recall the exact date of the concert, but as we, the OSP family, posed for a photo right in the middle of the circle, it felt like it happened on that evening, 13 years ago.

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