FVR XYJ Files; Sentimientos Soirees in Intramouros

FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa

Although I had a busy schedule last Wednesday, there was no way I would miss the launch of former President Ramos’ book launch. The book is entitled “FVR XYZ Files.” It is different from other books he has published, more a collection of impressions and opinions of those who had worked with him. So it was also a kind of reunion Ramos’ men and women.

Although like many Filipinos I looked at him as a savior after the disastrous presidency of Corazon Aquino I had not worked for him so I was a bystander to this book.

I like its new format of short essays and illustrations by many authors, photographers and cartoonists which was put together by Melandrew Velasco. I do not know Velasco probably because of my long exile in London and maybe because I do not read much on authors I don’t know. This book, an anthology of controversies and issues will be a good resource book for future writers who can tell stories more interestingly. Like many readers, I like stories – it must have a beginning, a middle and an ending with a plot and characters.

The beginning of the book is entitled “Trivia” which I think is a misnomer. The beginning sets the tone of every story. To me it would be the most important part and must immediately arrest the interest of the reader.

The articles that were included in Trivia were “Eddie and English Poet,” “The Story Behind the Scar, Scholastic Background,  Engineering in his mind, The Civil Engineer and WWII, The Avid Golfer, Master Scuba Diver and “Eddie and Endy a Tale of Two Presidents.” I find it interesting that in this chapter, it writes of the relation between Ramos and Marcos but different political beliefs.

“Ramos goes on to say that there is no Ramos-Marcos dynasty. He was in EDSA because “The armed forces of the Philippines has ceased to be the defender of public safety and enforcer of the law, What was developed is an elite armed forces with the AFP that no longer represents the rank and file nor the officer corps of the Armed Forces.”

I would have woven into the article the story of the rivalry between him and General Ver who was favored by Marcos as his henchman.

But the more interesting portion that I would have played up if it was written as a story is the chapter on “Courtship and Marriage.” Ming Ramos has a personality of her own and should not be seen merely as an appendage to the man who became President. Above all, she knew how to comport herself in power while remaining a devoted mother and housewife. That certainly takes as much guts as another former First Lady who became a rival to her husband in power. The story of their marriage and courtship says it was not a love at first sight story. “Although Eddie and I saw each other a few times in the US, we had never dated.”

MISCELLANY: I have just received a post from Bel Cunanan my “partner in crime” in exposing “The Clincher,” a story on Ninoy’s concern about the mental sickness of his son. She has now become an impresario for music.

At present the apple of her eye is to promote the musical career of violinist Chino Gutierrez. Mark your calendars on Feb. 25 for what she promises “would be an exciting afternoon of Spanish and Filipino romantic pieces. There will also be Filipino kundimans and folk songs. He will be accompanied by the renowned pianist Mary Anne Espina.

She calls it “Sentimientos Soiree.”

Since the soireé is at late afternoon, guests are encouraged to come half an hour before curtain time, to take in the breath-taking Manila Bay sunset (weather-permitting) at the boutique hotel's Roof-Deck, as well as a gorgeous view of the immense eastern ramparts of Intramuros, mercifully undamaged by WWII; the Chinatown colors of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada's City Hall Clock Tower, which natives have nicknamed the “Small Ben,” and the illuminated dome of the Manila Cathedral in the north.”

A choice of Spanish dishes will await guests at the end of the soireé (at their own expense) at the Roof Deck.

I hope you fine music advocates are already properly enthused about the Old World charm of this splendid ambiance of the “9 Spoons” events place of “The Bay Leaf” – a small exquisite hotel refurbished from an old building in the ancient walled city of the Spanish conquistadors, right beside Lyceum University.

Chino Gutierrez has prepared a scintillating repertoire to last all of one hour, that includes very challenging pieces from the late Romantic-era (from mid-19th to the mid-20th century) by Ernesto Granados, Isaac Albeniz, Manuel de Falla, Pablo de Sarasate and other Spanish masters, whose music reflected the nationalist temper of their time; our own Nicanor Abelardo’s haunting “Mutya ng Pasig” and “Cavatina” as well as “Paru-Parong Bukid” as arranged by Filipino violinist Gilopez Kabayao.

In the spirit of an Old World musicale, soireé guests will be treated to Spanish wine, cheese/crackers and hors d’oevres on tables for four or eight persons.

For your reservations call Lambert at tel. 2181864 or cell 0915-1892998 or yours truly at 0917-7928810. Since the events place can only sit a maximum of 80 people comfortably, early reservation is necessary, Enjoy Old World ambiance and repertoire, all you lovers of music. Soireé guests’ contribution at a minimum of P2,500 per person will help fund the young violinist's further studies in Europe.


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