Reflections of a lifelong learner
By Blesilda (Bles) Carmona ©2015
A QUADRIFECTA OF DELIGHTFUL EXPERIENCES
Quadri-one: Last Oct. 10, Saturday evening, my sister E, J (her S.O.), and I watched “The Martian” (directed by Ridley Scott) at Century Hayward. Hot daymn! Damon is hot in this one, and one of the ways I define “hot” is if someone is scientifically inclined, like MacGyver perhaps, or here in this film, botanist/engineer Mark Watney. Libra native Damon is a delight to behold onscreen, oozing with self-confidence, charisma, and smarts. Actually he had me at “Good Will Hunting (1997),” this precious precocious screenwriter/filmmaker/actor. I don’t want to spoil it for those who have not seen the film yet, and I don’t recommend movies lightly, but you should definitely see the “The Martian.” Winner line from Damon’s character: “I’m going to have to science the s**t out of this.”
For those of you on a budget, I propose a system on how to determine what is worth watching on the big screen. So for example, there you are in the cinema, watching the “revista” or trailers of films to come. You see the trailer of something called, let’s say, “Easter Lilies,” which is a rom-com, “Daisy Fades,” which is a tearjerker, and “Black Jasmine Patrol,” an action movie. Of course, first determine which of these three you like most. Supposing you love them all, the next step is to ask yourself which one has the most “cinematic” features. Which film lends itself to the big-screen experience? If you like the explosions, fight scenes, wide shots of dystopian landscapes, and other characteristics best visualized on the big screen – then the choice is easy, right? You can always catch the other films you missed on DVD, Netflix, and other more intimate streaming media when they become available later.
Quadri-two: Still, that did not stop me and my friends from watching the Filipino film called “Etiquette for Mistresses” the following week, on Oct. 15 (Thu) at Century Union City. This is based on the book with the same title which was written by social commentator Jullie Yap Daza in 1992. Honestly, I thought I was going to be bored by the film, but I was pleasantly surprised at how the narrative engaged me. Mr. Armando Dela Cruz, a respected film critic in the Philippines (filmpolicereviews.com) put his finger on the one scene that I marveled at and told my friend Yvonne about: “While the film is technically sound—a confrontation scene between Georgina (Kris Aquino) and Chloe (Claudine Barretto), surely the film’s highlight, makes for a compelling moment what with its single-shot chiaroscuro beauty…” Reading that, I felt my own observation vetted by expert opinion, which tells me that my eyes were not playing tricks on me. It was a single-camera, one-continuous-shot “eksena.” Director Chito Roño really knew his stuff on that one. Other co-stars are Iza Calzado, Cheena Crab, and Kim Chiu.
Here are some of the rules that mistresses (and mistresses-in-training, ref: see film) must observe:
1. You’re a mistress, not the wife. Know your place!
2. Mistresses don’t complain. It is the wife’s role.
3. Even if he tells you he loves you more than his wife, don’t let that get into your head.
4. Mistresses should not call the man first; wait for him to call.
5. Mistresses should avoid the wife as much as possible.
6. Mistresses should be able to give up Valentine’s Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Holy Week, and his birthday.
7. As much as possible don’t patronize the wife’s beauty parlor, jewelry shop, dress shop, or father confessor.
8. Wives have their own network of spies and amigas. It is helpful for the mistress to have her own.
9. Perish all thought that someday you’ll be number one.
10. When all fails, leave him.
And the moral of the story is —? Far be it from me to impose morals. I guess that if you’re interested enough, you can always catch “Etiquette…” when it’s out on other media and then decide for yourselves.
Quadri-three: Last Oct. 24 (Sat), the Bataan Legacy Historical Society (BLHS) held its conference at the Koret Auditorium of the Main branch of the San Francisco Public Library. BLHS is a non-profit 501c (3) organization. Its mission is to educate the public on the historical significance of the Bataan Death March and World War II in the Philippines by presenting the war from different perspectives – Filipinos, Americans, soldiers, and civilians. During the conference, we heard from various sectors affected by the Second World War: civilian prisoners of war, infantrymen, military officers and other veterans. Notable personages also spoke, among them State Superintendent of Education Tom Torlakson, Philippine Consul General (“ConGen”) Henry Bensurto, Jr., David Chiu of the California State Assembly, and Congressman Mike Honda. Of course, we also heard from BLHS Executive Director & Founder, Ms. Cecilia I. Gaerlan, and Ms. Consuelo Hall-McHugh, Founding Member of Memorare Manila 1945. There were many an instance during the panelists’ “testimony” that I had to hold back my tears. A part of me is saying, “Why bother listening to these hurtful, cruel war memories?” but then another part of me says, “As long as your gut and tear ducts are affected by war, then you know deep inside that war in any form is wrong and should not be allowed to continue.”
Another good thing that happened in this conference was that I was able to connect with a long-lost relative. She was one of the panelists in the Battle for Manila forum: Mrs. Marietta Carmona-Flores. After the program, several people approached Tita Marietta, wanting to set up appointments so that they could hear more of her experiences as a young girl in the midst of war. The common feedback was that Tita M’s emotional delivery of her statements made it appear like it was a “declamation,” and this moved a lot of people in the audience, aside from the atrocities and horrors that she was recounting. In conclusion, Cong. Mike Honda said that lobbying for the benefits and salary of war veterans should be a community affair, not just the job of the Representative.
Quadri-four: Oct. 31(Sat), my sister E and I went to the “Everyday Mystic Halloween Fair” hosted by Cinthia Varkevisser at the Angel Light Bookstore in Berkeley, owned and managed by Ms. Valencia Chan. Cinthia is a channel, energy reader, graphologist, and coach (www.everydaymystic.com). On this day, a handful of her students were giving 10-minute readings for $10 as part of their practicum. Ms. Cinthia herself was available for readings, and she made me realize things about myself, even going as far as to suggest a “brand” for my astrology and tarot readings to help me along. I also got a reading from Ms. Nancy Leung, a certified massage practitioner who combines Swedish, Shiatsu, Trigger Point, and Deep Tissue Massage with energy reading and interpretation. Needless to say, my sister and I (with J as our chaperone), both having the Life Path number of 7 (the number of the loner, the seeker) are truly into these mystical things and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Every now and then it’s good to get the perspective of someone who can be totally objective with you since she does not know you except for the energy and vibes you give out. It may sound “woo-woo” to some of you and rightly so because metaphysical issues are not really your cup of tea (or tea leaves). It’s all right. Really. Each of us is on a personal journey which you and I know is never the same for any two individuals. At the end of the day, what remains is a live-and-let-live sensibility that does not coerce and force, but loves and respects.
We will always be drawn to the things, people, and phenomena that interest us and capture our imagination. My hope is that, to paraphrase Jalaluddin Rumi, we can still meet in that field beyond all these conflicting ideas.
Maybe someday, huh?