Just the two of us

my sister took this photo of marlon and me in puerto galera about two years back. i don’t think i’ve ever posted it here because i thought it looked lopsided, but i think it’s perfect for what we have now.

which is just him and me. together.

and an ocean of possibility, of our whole lives, stretching out before us.

All I need to know

up until last night, i knew a million things about my wedding.

i could have told you the name of the church and why we chose it, how much we had paid to reserve it and the supreme hassle of confirming the overseas bank transfer to singapore. i could have told you the exact date and time of the wedding, and a funny story about how my sister asked me to please get married in 2007 instead of 2008. i could have told you all the things marlon and i considered — getting overseas friends and family home in time, where to put them up, and how to tell them. i could even post the save-the-date card that i made myself using photoshop.

i knew figures — budgets and buffers and guest lists and contingencies. i knew where marlon and i could pull out extra money and where we could save.

i knew exactly what the colors would be, since i had spent a large chunk of one workday afternoon ripping out pantone chips from a book we have at the office. i could also tell you how all four designers i consulted about the wedding outfits absolutely loved the colors, and how i basked in the glow of being the ultimate “different” bride, blazing brilliantly past the trap of trends, consciously eschewing some version of last year’s pink and chocolate brown or tiffany blue. i could have posted my color boards and described in detail the process that left me with the perfect color combination.

i could have named everyone on the entourage list and told you what they meant to me and marlon. i could have posted the carefully selected and compiled attire pegs that would give you an idea of what they would look like on the big day.

i could rattle off the names, services, rates, availabilities, pros, cons and general reputations of everyone from the venue rental to the caterer to the priest to the hair and makeup artist by heart. i could say the same of everyone on my shortlist, and why i hadn’t yet decided. i knew marlon and i would serve hot chocolate and batangas coffee before dinner, and that my music was not going to come from some cheesy string quartet.

i could show you a flamenco guitarist’s email address i had saved in my cell phone, and tell you why brazilian jazz bands are just way too expensive. i could tell you what ceremony songs i had wanted since i was a college freshman, what i would make my friends sing, and even where they would practice and how early in advance.

i knew exactly what i wanted to happen, from the passport-inspired invitation to the gallery of travel photos i would set up with the help of a professional event stylist i had hit it off with. i even knew what people would say, or what i wanted them to say about the wedding: that it was fun, personal, intimate, laid-back, so full of details, so romantic. i knew what all of that would say about me, about marlon and i as a couple, about the fantastic and wonderful life we were sure to lead after the wedding was over.

i knew. i use the past tense because i don’t know any of these things anymore for sure.

none of that matters, because now i know the most important thing of all.

i know that marlon loves me, and that i love him.

and that we’re starting over. and that our life together doesn’t have to be anything that we previously thought it would be.

and really, that’s all i need to know.

Singapore silliness

… and for once it’s not with my boyfriend fiance.

yes this is what acs does in such an esteemed venue as the esplanade – choose the most unphotogenic corner (in this case, a backstage emergency exit), huddle together and let ‘er rip. or at least the soprano 1s did. from left: perpetually sleeping jett, round and giggly liz, plain old me, boobic beauty elaine and hyperactive nutcase stalee.

but here’s the token boyf photo anyway. elaine took it on the bus to the airport monday night, right after our concert.

marlon has become such a tour fixture that mimi gave him his own official acs count-off number in lah-lah land (# 35). see, i finally got him to wear pink (also got him to wear subtle embossed florals); i think he kind of likes it now. and he looks cuter than me here. hmpf.

Pockets of comfort

my mind is still buzzing with thoughts about getting married and moving to singapore, which i touched on a couple of hours ago, and which i feel rather anxious about at this point.

but i was lucky to find little pockets of comfort while surfing the net at work:

- when i was nine, i saw a bed like this in an old issue of architectural digest. i decided then and there that i would have one just like it someday. they have it over at ikea singapore. oh, and this one is lovely too.

- in an old post (and column), jim offers wonderfully reassuring insights on marriage.

- and the dresses at pronovias are absolutely beautiful. (still got a little bit of a spain hangover there.)

Reality check

this post marks my return to philippine time and to normalcy after a three-week, europe-sotted, abhorrently unproductive haze. i slept before midnight last night, woke up at 8am for work, and started actual scriptwriting at 2pm (it’s a slow day). i am happy to finally attribute whatever sluggishness i feel at the moment to a lack of exercise, and not to a seriously screwed-up body clock.

i flew to singapore with acs over the weekend to perform at the esplanade with japan’s gaia philharmonic choir and singapore’s syc ensemble singers (more on which later). ironically, it was in lah-lah land where reality finally caught up with me. and i actually expected that to happen.

mostly it was because of marlon. “whenever i see him, life just begins all over again,” i once wrote of him in my journal, over a year ago. i told him that a few hours after i arrived (at the ungodly hour of 1:30am — cebu pacific’s “new filipino time” is disturbingly similar to the old filipino time). i also told him, “this time, i really need it to begin all over again,” as i shed tears that surprised even me. it was only then that i realized how physically and emotionally exhausting drifting in my post-europe limbo had been for me the past three weeks.

i have something real that’s waiting for me,” i also wrote of marlon, more recently in my little tour notebook. so reality didn’t so much hit as it did embrace me. it was a gentle, warm, reassuring reunion.

over the past three-and-a-half years, i have made for myself a play-and-pause pseudo-life in singapore. i have routines and favorites, peeves and preferences, memories and secrets there, and a person who is like home to me. but my pseudo-life in singapore will actually become an actual life in singapore very soon. that was another reality i came face to face with this weekend, and it wasn’t so bad.

i left all the sightseeing to my friends and just spent time doing my typical singapore weekend things: spending a couple of hours on marlon’s ps2 (final fantasy 12 is gorgeous), waking up late, stepping out of the house well after lunchtime, walking around bishan and orchard, enjoying a massage, jumbo dinner, and a movie (marry me daniel craig!).

i didn’t feel in a rush to do anything. mostly because it occurred to me that next year, i will have all the time in the world to do whatever i want to do in singapore. okay, maybe not all the time in the world; the deal marlon and i struck is a year to a year and a half in singapore, tops.

that’s a lot of time in lah-lah land, time that i didn’t count on spending there, and pretty soon i’ll have to figure out how to fill it. part of me is actually looking forward to that — the part of me which was fearless and kebs and used to make life lampaso on a regular basis. she’s been buried under a lot of things the past couple of years, and it’s time to trot her out again. this should be interesting.

resurfacing to my reality is like watching a flat piece of paper slowly morph into a three-dimensional object (or at least what i imagine that would be like). there isn’t just one thing to consider anymore; i had been staring so long at photos on a monitor and stamps on a passport, that i had almost forgotten that life is so multifaceted and deeply layered.

i’m back. hurray.

(don’t worry, i still plan to blog about europe.)

Waaah take me back

i’m not depressed.

i’m not depressed.

i’m not depressed.

i just really miss greeting people with a cheery “hola!” i’ve started emailing photos to friends i made in spain (two puerto rican choristers, gabi and rafy, and one spaniard, maria angeles). in the past hour i’ve gotten three responses all starting off with hola. it’s precisely those three holas that have triggered this rant.
gabi of coralia, and maria angeles from borja (no solo pics of rafy)

i miss the language and how it changed around when we moved to different parts of spain, from fast and clipped to lazy and sibilant (a.k.a. ma-laway). i miss the mental quiet that came from not understanding the language buzzing around you — you could just tune people out and have your mind blessedly all to yourself.
i miss the challenge of choosing to focus on that language and decipher it. i miss the succession of mini-triumphs in succeeding, word by word, whether it was during a trashy afternoon talk show (“oliver quiere WHAT con dana?”), dubbed episodes of lost (“perdidos”) or an opera with subtitles flashing in catalan (guess-translating catalan into spanish and then into english — or sometimes even tagalog = major migraine).

at the liceu in barcelona, where i saw my first opera (deserves a separate post)

i just really miss the physical activity. croaking to an unexpected sedentary death in this office cubicle is a reformed sloth. we were walking all the freaking time in europe. when i wanted to save money (which was often), i would walk. even when i wanted to take any form of transportation, i had to walk a considerable distance to find it. just going for dinner in tolosa would entail five flights of stairs.
all this physical activity reached a turbocharged peak during my six-day adventure with pia and jeline (las otras chicas), when we were changing cities, rushing to buses and flights, and hauling close to 30 kilos of luggage apiece up various stairs and cobblestoned slopes on an almost-daily basis.

we nearly cried when we saw the stairs at our hostel in sevilla

in barcelona, fate threw miikka, a certified walking junkie, at me, and at his behest (unspoken, of course) i walked for nearly five hours straight on my last saturday in europe. reviewing my map that evening, i was shocked to see how much of the city we had covered on foot, and even more shocked that my feet and legs felt perfectly fine. in hindsight, i’m happy i had done things his way and not zipped around from tourist spot to tourist spot, like i would have on my own. five years ago, i never would’ve thought we’d be pounding barcelona pavement together

i only took public transportation twice that weekend, up to parc guell and back, and only because parc guell was on top of a mountain.
at parc guell, overlooking barcelona, montjuic and the mediterranean

and now here i am, chained to my desk, spending at least eight unhealthy hours a day sitting on my fat ass. i do intend to start boxing again next week, but there’s something different about physical activity just naturally being part of your day. the unfortunate reality that manila is a pedestrian nightmare has never hit me so hard.
gosh. i miss walking so much i almost want to weep. i’m actually excited about going to singapore this weekend with acs just so i can walk. where has the old deepa gone?

i just really miss having hermetically sealed pores and great hair days, every day. marlon told me in paris that he had never seen my complexion so good before. and never before did tweezing my eyebrows cause so much pain, or the hair on my legs take so long to grow back after shaving(overshare?!). i could slather on my extra-heavy olay moisturizer plus mix it with my foundation without going all minola a few hours later.

behold my poreless beauty

and my hair! it mysteriously turned a deep red while i was in france, and it was frizz-free and had just the right amount of wave… it was just perfect, absolutely perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *wails*

i just really miss all the wine. every single meal we had in spain (with the exception of breakfast) was washed down by copious amounts of free-flowing tinto, or red wine. okay, red table wine, but at 11-14% per volume and for absolutely free, you couldn’t complain. especially if you know at least two people per meal are going to get plastered — soooo much fun. besides, we did have a couple of meals with real red wine, after which all the table wine began to taste like vinegar. but hell, we drank it anyway.

“i want to be drunk forever!” shouted mark, our first-time drunk, in urretxu

i was quite surprised at myself; i did not even get so much as tipsy throughout the entire trip. i resolved to drink after our very last concert, in borja, and what happened after was, to say the least, not my idea of fun. (sir jojo mentions it here.) but it was just good to know that the wine was there if you wanted it. and now i find myself missing all the wine i didn’t drink. i miss describing drunk friends as borracho or borracha.

let’s drink to that

i miss a lot of things about europe (mostly about spain), and about being on tour. reality is wrenching things away from me at an alarming rate, and i find myself putting up a fight to keep them a little while longer.
but i’m not depressed. i’m not.
just let me wallow a bit. and i’ll be fine before you know it.

The morning after

on my first morning as an engaged woman, i had four really wonderful things.

the wonderful experience of getting lost in paris. i’m not sarcastic when i say it was wonderful. marlon and i began our morning ramble as a search for breakfast, with no particular plan for after breakfast, and we continued to ramble as we had difficulty finding something that was open on sunday morning… EXCEPT

the most divine lemon tart ever created. okay, i’m getting ahead of myself. the tart wasn’t what we found open, but a bakery with a sign in front of it. on this sign was printed an unintelligible rush of french with only one word i recognized from my visits to market manila and dessert comes first: artisane. “marketman and lori seem to regularly rhapsodize about artisanal this and that,” i thought to myself. “there must be good reason.” so i dragged marlon inside, and soon we were aswirl in choices upon choices of delicious-looking breakfast goodies. heck, even the pizzas-on-baguettes looked heavenly.

wonder if you can guess which one i went for

a blissful breakfast in a quiet park with my fiance. since we had found ourselves a rather astounding (if you know how much i hate walking) distance from everything else except the sacre coeur, we decided to head for a small park we had located on the map, near the cadet metro.

it was a nice neighborhood park: a small pocket of green-turning-yellow-orange with no tourists or monuments, just parents with their toddlers, and little kids biking and running around, and autumn leaves littering the ground. it was here that marlon and i plunked down on a bench, too pleased to mind the cold, and unwrapped our respective artisanal breakfasts. his was a salmon quiche, i think, and mine was the aforementioned divine tarte citron.

you sinful little tart you

it was love at first bite, and pure unadulterated lust when i sank my teeth into the slice of candied lemon on top. all throughout my stay in france, i sought to regain the bliss of the first bite of this particular lemon tart, but it never happened. ahh well. it was good while it lasted.

a gorgeous view of paris from the sacre coeur. we went to grab a coffee and a hot chocolate at a nearby cafe before heading on the metro to abbesses, where we would elbow our way through hordes of tourists and sunday-morning picnickers to reach the sacre coeur.

thus begins my “ring in ________” series

we plunked ourselves on a grassy slope to try and call our parents with our big news, which proved utterly impossible. so we just enjoyed the rest of the warm, sunny morning with each other, and lit a candle inside the church for us, and for each other.

then we had to rush literally across paris for my first official acs engagement, and i was totally late and got 10 euros docked from my pocket money, but that’s another story. just know that it was a blissful morning after. ;-)

(yes, i know, i said “gorgeous view”. i’ll update with more photos when i’ve got them all sorted out. which is soon. i hope.)

back to the present for a bit: slowly getting out of zombie mode at work, after almost crying myself to sleep at 6am yesterday. why was i almost crying? because it was 6am and i was still awake. if i’m still a creature of the night by the end of the week, i may just be desperate enough to try sleeping pills.

i had almost forgotten what late nights at the office were like. then again, i’d also forgotten that siopao during late nights in the office make them seem soooo much better.


it was my last night in europe. i was in a touristy tapas bar on las ramblas in barcelona having dinner at a characteristically spanish hour: midnight. over sangria, chorizo, sauteed mushrooms and albondigas with miikka, my misgivings (or were they anxieties? or just feelings?) about going home began to seep into our conversation.

miikka listened quite attentively (that’s one nice thing about people for whom talking is like pulling teeth) as “seeping in” turned into “mini tirade”. “but,” he ventured, “don’t you also want to go home so you can start putting the entire trip behind you?”

i stared at him for what felt like a very long moment. i may have been incredulous. put the trip behind me? why on earth would i want to do that?

thirty straight hours of traveling, two full workdays, one comfort meal of spanish-style century tuna and rice and one happy acs reunion-rehearsal later, i’m still in that frame of mind. it’s almost as if i’m in a permanent, private fog, and i don’t want it to clear just yet.

my first commute to work, a mere eight hours after landing on philippine soil, was a complete blur. around me was manila in all its smoky, noisy, dusty, insane glory, but i barely saw it; my mind was still walking the streets of barcelona.

my mind and body are joining forces to hold on to europe with all their might. i have never suffered from jetlag; now i’m up all night, putting in a token two to three hours of sleep before shuffling to the office so i can be groggy and sleepy at my desk the whole day. in the wee hours of the morning, i look at my tour photos and sort them into neat folders per stop; at the office, i turn up my speakers so that my newly acquired, endlessly looped finnish vocal music (club for five, whom we met at polyfollia, and two new rajaton albums) can envelop me all day and block out the rest of the world.

i’m not cranky or sad (i know the diff — i went through a really bad depression after my first tour in 2000). i feel i’m still me, just… displaced. i’m neither here nor there, which is okay with me — because it means i’m still kind of there.

besides, there’s no reason to be sad: coming home isn’t an ending, but a beginning. because now, the process of discovering what the trip has done to me, how it has changed me, how it has made me and my life better, truly begins.

My inner ditz, published

hola from barcelona! — where i am sitting in a rather nice hostal waiting to meet my friend miikka for dinner. while killing time surfing the net, i discovered that my very first fashion piece has been published — it’s in the philippine star‘s ystyle section.

i love clothes and i love writing, but somehow forcing them together in this article was one of the more daunting assignments i’ve taken on. again, i like clothes, and i’m not completely clueless about designers, but ask me about trends du jour and brands and collections… ehhhhh. some people are wired to thrive on this stuff (there’s a multimillion dollar industryful of these people) — after writing this article, i discovered i´m definitely not one of them.

but i enjoyed the writing exercise of trying to wrap my brain around this and at least sound coherent. and since it got printed, i´m assuming i did fairly well. and i’m proud to have done it without resorting to my pet peeve, that ubiquitous, not-applicable-in-the-philippines fashion writing clutchphrase — “this season”.

you can read the article online, but i don’t think the star keeps archives of its web stuff. so i’m posting it here anyway for everybody’s entertainment.

The big bag theory
By Deepa Paul
The Philippine STAR 11/17/2006

Wallet, iPod, Motorola Razr. Full-to-bursting kikay kit. A pair of shades. The prescription glasses you vow to wear more often, but don’t. Twelve-inch MacBook in its snug neoprene sleeve, its charger and a spare battery pack. Red Moleskine notebook, a couple of pens. A jacket, since your office is Siberia in Manila. A slinky black cami for after-dinner drinks with the girls. And since you simply can’t bear the thought of wearing your black work pumps with said cami, a pair of killer patent stilettos. A selection of cuffs and chains to accessorize. A book – just in case you get stuck in traffic. A change of underwear – just in case. The house keys. The kitchen sink. And then some.

This is your life, and you’d be nuts to try and stuff it all into a precious little satin clutch or a darling mini satchel (although you’ve tried more than once). Thankfully, now you don’t have to. The perpetually busy and style savvy can literally live large without having to resort to shapeless sacks, staid boxy suitcase-like contraptions, bulky backpacks, or (horror of horrors) very large paper bags – because in 2006, the big bag is back in a big way.

From Frumpy To Fashionable

Once considered the frumpy old maid aunt of the slim clutch and sleek handbag, the big bag has been refreshed and refurbished with style, enjoying a resurgence on fall runways. Fashion’s biggest names have eschewed flimsy miniatures in favor of more practical, large bags without sacrificing form for function. A number of designers have already invested in big bags, making them a key for look both the current and coming retail seasons – and making the lives of on-the-go urbanites easier and choicer well into 2007.

Inspired by the frenetic lifestyles of New York women, today’s big bags are built to hold everything one could ever need to dash off from work to after-hours pursuits, be it a dinner, yoga class or a evening out on the town. More importantly, these bags sport a stylish gloss that allows a whopper of a bag to transition flawlessly from day to night. So you can cart the kitchen sink to work and back if you so desire, and still look your chic and sexy best – because the big bag has gone from frumpy to fashionable.

Luxe Leathers, Soft Silhouettes

To catapult the big bag from dowdy to divine, designers from Anya Hindmarch to Zac Posen have dipped into an equally immense bag of tricks, which includes a variety of luxe materials, a plethora of details, and a bag hag’s candyland of shapes and silhouettes. But only one size – large, of course.

Luxe leathers figure prominently among the recent harvest of huge bags, with finishes that make the big bag whisper “touch me” rather than shout “I have a million and two things to do today, and damned if I’ll carry one of those silly armpit bags.” Distressed, pebbled, quilted – texture is the name of the game, as shown by the recent runway crop: outsized totes from Prada and Marc Jacobs in deerskin and quilted leather, respectively, as well as pebbled leather hobos from Burberry and rich buffalo leather shoulder bags from Valentino.

The belt isn’t the only accessory that’s going patent and huge as of late; the big bag is hot on its trail. Pick up a huge tote or bowling bag in black patent, resist the urge to match it with your wide patent belt (there’s always tomorrow), and you’ll be all set. Look to Jimmy Choo’s gold-buckled totes and to Anya Hindmarch’s roomy, luxe bowling bags for a little black patent inspiration.

And while we’re on the subject, bowling bags have found fashion favor once more. Bowling shapes abound on fall runways; Marni has released bowling bags in cream and dark brown, dressed up with chains and discs, while Chloe has beefed up its Paddington line with metallic bowling bags. Apart from bowling bags, the hottest big bags come in relaxed and rounded shapes, boasting soft edges, curved frames, and of course, lots of room.

Get The Look

For bag hags who are on the hunt for the new and improved big bag, hie off to SM for the latest textures and silhouettes – without the mind-blowing price tag. Load up on details and embellishments; fall’s harvest of bags are decidedly un-minimalist. Go nautical with stripes and braided (keep one eye peeled for braided handles), equestrian with straps and buckles.

Channel rocker chic with rings, studs, chains, medallions, chunky charms and enough metallic hardware to make any pierced rock icon a happy camper. Don’t be afraid of contrasting metallic embellishment – take your cue from Alexander McQueen’s tan leather-trimmed Novak tote, which features gold medallions, silver stitching and dark brass hardware all on one giant workhorse of a bag. Hot tip: take a cue from the fall fashion shows and carry your big bag of choice by its handles. Not only does it prevent you from bending to one side, helplessly overwhelmed by your own bag, but you’ll look as impossibly chic as the models who carted all of those giant totes down the fall runways.

So don’t be afraid to cart around everything you need to live your jam-packed, hectic and on-the-go life. In 2006, there’s no lack of large bags to help you look fab while doing it. Now if only one could look equally chic and effortless while rummaging for the house keys in that gorgeous but cavernous suede hobo.

End of the road

a quick post to mark what is officially the last day of the tour. the choir flies home to manila tomorrow via bilbao and paris (with much trepidation as regards overweight baggage charges), while pia, jeline and i embark on our sevilla-granada-barcelona adventure (with much trepidation as regards cash on hand. oh well we’ve heard tapas in granada come free).

i won’t get philosophical or sentimental at this point, but i’ve been fortunate to have had some much-needed epiphanies about several areas of my life; such is the clarity one finds on the road. some are for writing, some are for talking to friends about, and some are simply for keeping to myself. eventually i’ll sort out which falls into what category, and maybe some of those epiphanies will end up here.

i also want to blog about each of the stops on tour, and share some photos. but i have over 1.5GB of photos (hurray for digital photography!) in various friends’ computers and memory cards, and organizing them will take some time. putting things up on my blog when i get home will help me stay in touch with europe for just a little while longer.

In the words of friends

at the moment, i have laundry to do, luggage to repack, and a final basque sunset to enjoy. so let me leave you with the words of other people — excerpts from a press release written by jeline for the ateneo site (read the full article here), and from a letter posted by sir jojo to the acs bulletin egroup.

my own words will come later, when i am finally home.

first, a few words from jeline.

Ateneo Chamber Singers triumph in 38th Tolosa (Spain) Choral Contest

TOLOSA, Spain—The Philippines enjoys another victory in the world of competitive choral singing after the Ateneo Chamber Singers garnered the top prize in the polyphony category of the recently concluded 38 Certamen Coral de Tolosa (38th Choral Contest), in the Euskadi or Basque region.

Touted as one of the most prestigious international choral music competitions and begun in 1969, the Tolosa Choral Contest regularly draws the most accomplished amateur choral groups from all regions of the world. This year’s contest, held from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, was especially significant as it coincided with the 750th anniversary of the founding of the city of Tolosa; thus, only a select number of chorales—27 from Europe, Asia and North America—were invited to compete.

The ACS, led by renowned conductor Jonathan Velasco, emerged first in the polyphony category among their counterparts from France (Mikrokosmos), the United Kingdom (Voces Cantabiles), Germany, Spain, the United States, Indonesia and Puerto Rico.

The polyphony modality is considered the most challenging division in any major choral competition. Choirs are required to showcase their mastery of different choral styles by performing representative pieces from early, romantic, and 20th-century Western music, as well as music from their own countries.

and a few words from sir jojo.

Hi everyone!

Just got back from Borja. We are now in Ametzagana, and back to our old rooms. Our former guide Lore is here with us, and will be taking Onyl and others to San Sebastian.

We had a FANTASTIC time in Borja! Juskoday, hindi pala sinabi sa amin na MAJOR production pala yun! It was a FESTIVAL! As in, 26th Jornadas Internacional de Canto Coral Borja. And we were the closing concert! We arrived there in time to catch the performances of the Puerto Rican choir on our first night, and the El Leon de Oro from Asturias on the second night. And ang aking workshop/seminar, major performance din! As in, I gave a workshop on the second day that lasted from 9 in the morning till 8 in the evening! With breaks of course. But no, may session pa the next day lasting from 10 in the morning till 1pm. Imagine na lang how I was able to extend my two one-hour workshops in Polyfollia! hahahaha!!!

And the concert! Hay naku, it was the mother of all concerts. Fully packed, standing room only church with perfect acoustics, hindi masyadong basa, tamang tama lang. Warm audience. And we sang EXCELLENTLY! As in! We really felt good from beginning till end. On pitch (except for Mamayog which went down a half step). And then they gave us a plaque which weighs 5 kilos at least (again!) and the announcer (Maria… but of course!) announced something in an almost halting tone… jusko, umiiyak na pala!

And that was just the start. We sang No importa, and Onyl barely finished his solo, halos humagulgol na siya papunta sa dulo. Bakit kamo? E umiiyak (llorar) na kaya ang kalahati ng audience at that point, lalo na ang mga lolay! At ang MAYOR! Na nakaupo sa harap (at kamukha ni Jonathan Pryce), and the whole list of VIPS na nasa front row, nagpapahiran na ng luha ang mga lintyak! So, by the time we finished the song, instant standing ovation lahat. Suggest ko sanang kumanta pa ng How beautiful, but no, pula na ang mata ni Dada, and I don’t think we could finish the song, given that half the choir were also in tears at this point. Everybody was crying… the announcer, the guides, the organizers, the whole city council, the lolays and lolows… kalowka talaga. A perfect concert to end the festival, they said. And
a perfect concert to end the whole tour! The president of the Spanish Choral
Association was present, and he said that he thought it was the best concert of the
festival, and in fact he thinks that it is the best concert in the whole 26 YEARS OF THE FESTIVAL! And he said he truly meant it!

Then we went to this art gallery, where there was a HUGE feast of sandwiches and
hamon and cheese and salmon and everything, and wine wine wine all over the place! And the Borja wine was excellent! So as the evening wore on, palakas ng palakas ang boses ng mga ACS, at napakanta si announcer (Maria), at may video kami syempre, at nahulog nga pala ang loob nya kay Gary… hahahahaha!!!… tapos biglang kumanta din ang aming translator na si Elena, in a beautifully rich alto voice… but no…. kumanta din si MAYOR! hahahaha!!! Tapos kumanta din si Gary (iniibig kita a capella, with boys in the background), tapos kumanta ako ng old time religion… at sa bawat kanta, SALUD!! So you can just imagine kung anong hitsura namin nung pauwi na.

But no! Hindi pa tapos ang gabi. May nangyari kay Deepa, concerning her ability to feel spirits. Apparently maraming disturbing “elements” sa aming hostel, at dinidistorbo siya kasi feel nila ang kanyang “third eye”. Hayaan nyo na lang na iba ang magkwento nito, pero you should have heard her blood-curdling scream at 12 midnight. Ahahahay!

At may mga taong halos humiga na sa sahig at kailangan pang bitbitin… itago na
lang natin siya sa pangalang… Pris Cong. hahahahaha!!! Oh my… it was a very
fitting ending to Borja and to the tour.

K fine. Bilbao airport tomorrow. The adventure begins. hehehe…

Sir Juju