Saturday, June 24, 2006

writers' night

A couple of nights ago, we braved the wilds of Manila to celebrate Mom Tiempo's award. Along the way, we couldn't help but marvel at the neon signs along the narrow roads of Malate, a stunning variety of clubs, restos, bars and places that promised a good time (actually, I was on Strumpet Watch, and I gleefully pointed out the ones I presumed were practioners of the world's oldest profession).

We arrived at Penguin Cafe and linked up with fellows there - Tara, Abby, Doug, Andrea, Patricia, Noel - and happily sat down on mats and pillows. Krip arrived and shared a smoker's secret with us. We could smoke inside the airconditioned resto! joy beyond compare for four smokers - Vin, Andrew, Nikki and myself. A sudden surge of excitement herald Mom's arrival and I helped escort her to her area, and soon more and more people arrived, old friends and new: Susan, Marge, DM, Jimmy, Gabby, Ginny, Vince, Butch, Alma. Sevreal Dumaguete batches were represented, including the Orphan Batch of 2001 (Mom went to Iowa and so they were Tiempoless). In the midst of things, I tried calling Ian to tell him how we missed his presence (but you never answered, Ian!).

I was particularly pleased to see Tim Montes, whom I had wanted to speak to for the longest time. Tim and I were fellows in 1992, and had lost touch since then. "Mr Alfar!" he greeted me and I immediatel asked him for a story for the antho - so much for small talk. He told me he had his PhD to complete but would take up the challenge anyway - huzzah.

I also got to finally meet Janet and her husband The Coach and we got talking about spelling bees and children and writing. I was happy to see Alvin again and will definitely watch his play at the CCP. I spoke to Ginny about her surreal fiction, Doug about condom use, set a date with Patricia, made arrangements with Tara for our secret thingie, speculated with Abby and Susan over the gender of the bartender, and watched the exhausted Marge just rest for a while (you try teaching for hours on end and see if that doesn't tire you out).

DM Reyes told me that Ateneo had announced that I'd be teaching writing and that students were disappointed when I ultimately declined. I do want to teach, but my work schedule prevents me from going full-time, since I cannot predict when I'll need to meet with clients. But I told DM that I'd happily teach from time to time, by invitation.

Vin and I fell head over heels in love with Penguin Cafe's Rumaki (liver wrapped in bacon) and between us ordered three plates of it (as creatures of appetite, writers are hard to beat: we need to devour to create, so smoke, food, alcohol are all fair game).

It's amazing to see how many writers Doc and Mom Tiempo influenced, inspired and encouraged over the years.

Some pictures:

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Alvin, Janet and The Coach

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Me and Tim Montes

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Ginny, someone's back, and Grizzly krip

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Patricia crowning Ino (the city of Manila gave all the awardees sampaguita-festooned crowns)

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Vince and DM

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Susan in mid-sentence (sorry Sue!)