I MADE another trip to the city on Oct. 22.
I saw my dentist, Dr. Laila Lorca Dato-on at Medicus.
She was happy to report that my oral health is improving.
No big issues at this time so she just cleaned my teeth.
I discovered Dr. Dato-on only last year, upon the insistence of my friends who literally drove me to her.
By 9 p.m. of Oct. 22, I was on Facebook live via Dumangas Live News Philippines of my friend Jimlyn Dellones aka DJ James Sky.
I talked about the short history of filmmaking in Dumangas, and the Writers, Artists, Filmmakers, and Artisans Convention event of the 2019 Haw-as Festival.
Oct. 23 — I hitched a ride with artist Rock Drilon from Dumangas to Iloilo City.
It was a short catching up chat.
(We were frequent coffee buddies last year at Vacion’s in Dumangas.)
But you can see how busy my October was.
And Rock was also busy with either his own art, and his community organizing.
Rock invited me to the unveiling of the Sambag mural, and some other art events in Iloilo City on Oct. 24, which, of course, I attended.
But before going to Sambag, I visited my friend Daniella Caro at the FDCP Cinematheque Iloilo.
I arrived just after lunch, and she invited me to stay for the organizational meeting of Hubon Ilonggo, the Visual Arts Collective of Iloilo.
I stayed because I liked the acronym it makes, HI, VACOI.
I ended up registering myself, and attending their election of new officers.
Tyrone Espinosa was elected president. Shiela Molato, vice president; Margaux Blas, secretary; Jirah Labanza, treasurer; Joebert Gayomali, auditor.
I’m not sure of the proper order, but previous leaders include Arel Zambarrano, Allain Hablo, and Kristoffer George Brasileño.
I performed my mental stress relief standup comedy show at the Dumangas District Jail on Oct. 25.
But more than just bringing joy and laughter, I brought some goodies (coffee, toiletries, bread, hot soup) to the inmates.
I posted an announcement on Facebook, and people responded with kindness and generosity.
Cash donations (converted to coffee and toiletries) came from Sharon and Sheila Dormitorio from California.
Gamers Bakeshop (formerly Dumangas Bakery) donated pan de sal.
Josie and Jovan Deocampo donated more goodies.
And so did Duvi Divinagracia-Luján, and Zyra Mae Doronila.
Josie, Duvi, and Zyra are, of course, SNB family.
Oct. 26 — more furniture were delivered to my Casa Dom Pedro in the early morning.
As I walked my way home to PRIMA City building, I saw the long and colorful motorcade which was part of the opening of the Haw-as Festival.
And before I could shower (I usually shower after my morning run/walk), I chanced upon Rock Drilon who invited me to the opening of the Haw-as painting exhibit.
Before noon, I got pledges for my jail project initiatives (the inmates wanted a lechon for their NaCoCo Week, and some monoblock chairs for their visitors).
Vice Mayor Almar Marfito and Jenelyn Divinagracia Rufin gave cash for the monoblock chairs; Zaq Derequito of Lechon Republic, and Mylene Delosata from the UK gave the lechon.
Marika Constantino and Che del Rosario, our guests from Roxas City were joined by pianist Clem Acevedo, and Daniella Caro of the Cinematheque Iloilo, and we had lunch at a coastal road restaurant.
I met Marika in New York through Daniella in February.
And Marika introduced Che as the director of Ang Panublion Museum in Roxas.
Our common bond is my love for Jovita Fuentes.
I performed the poem, Ang Pagbagting, which I wrote the day before, for the formal opening program of the Haw-as Festival.
The organizers had this idea of me climbing up the belfry and performing from there.
The position was a scene stealer, so I went along with the plan.
Needless to say, it was a dramatic performance.
I mean, I am a greatest showman, ain’t I?
The Oct. 27 WAFACon wasn’t as crowded as I had imagined.
A lot of people bailed out for one reason, or another.
But it went according to schedule, and was most meaningful to those who came.
I don’t know what happened to the Dumangas audience, but I got participants coming all the way from Passi City, Calinog, Lambunao, Barotac Nuevo, Jaro, Capiz, and Iloilo City.
Some of my speakers came from Tacloban, Antique, and Tigbauan.
I am not jumping over the moon about the attendance to the WAFACon.
To be honest, I am a little disheartened.
But the participants assured me they were very happy with what they learned from the workshops.
And the speakers were very glad they came (because of the enthusiastic participants).
Books were sold, autographs were signed, pictures were taken, admired authors met their fans.
That’s WAFACon enough for me.
And it just got better and better.
Up to The Peter Solis Nery Foundation International Film Festival.
More than just the WAFACon participants, and the townspeople trapped in the plaza (it rained that night), Mayor Ronaldo Golez and artist Rock Drilon actually sat through all the screening.
Mayor Golez was the keynote speaker at the Peter’s Prize awards ceremony, and he gave a commitment to support the literary and artistic initiatives of my foundation; vowing to make Dumangas a center of arts and culture.
Oct. 28 — In a solemn church ritual, Father Jesus Glofel Mana-ay blessed Casa Dom Pedro.
The Casa didn’t get electricity until the night of Oct. 26 so I decided to cancel the inauguration/house warming and party scheduled for Oct. 27.
But I knew I wanted a Roman Catholic blessing so I begged the good padre in the morning for a house blessing ceremony — just him and me and God, I told him.
So we did it in less than 30 minutes.
I visited my dad’s grave (his 10th death anniversary is on Nov. 5) at 8 a.m.
I lighted 10 candles from the pack of 20 I bought.
I lighted the remaining 10 at the Casa blessing at 9:30 a.m.
By 6 p.m., I was at the Iloilo Airport on my way back to the US. ([email protected]/PN)