When Louie turned A’ty

Published July 15, 2018, 10:00 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By José Abeto Zaide

 José Abeto Zaide
José Abeto Zaide

One Sunday morning we drove down memory lane to the Amelia hideaway at Al­fonso, Laguna, following the cast of once-upon-a-time teeny bobby soxers to rock and roll because Louie Ablaza turned 80.

Louie’s better half, the celeb Mellie Ablaza, and their son Jun-Jun con­spired to make sure that this anniver­sary breaks all records and that it will be long remembered for its umph and elan – even by Louie’s contemporaries with their fading memory.

FLASHBACK: The 3-D invitation was a jukebox, which played Paul Anka’s “Diana.” (Remember the lyrics, “I’m so young and you’re so old/This my darling I’ve been told…”). If you drop a coin, you may probably even draw other top hits from yesteryears on the other 45 rpm records on the jukebox invite.

The affair began with a 10 a.m. Mass at the family chapel celebrated by Fr. Jose Syquia, known to cast out unwelcome spirits and other interlop­ers. The good father reminded all and sundry to thank their namesake saints for the blessings that have come our way and to pray especially for birthday boy Louie.

After the mass, the congregation broke the fast by the mobile diner be­fore proceeding to the main aula where we were welcomed by an Elvis im­personator aka Dr. George Sarakinis, who sashayed to “It’s Now or Never,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Teddy Bear,” and other nostalgic top tunes. He kept our adrenalin pumping until his stamina drained and the emcee announced the next number. This time for Act 2: The real crowned Pinoy Elvis Presley, Nonie Yambao, who was dressed to the nines in bell bottom flares and a bejeweled cape in the fashion of the real King of Rock.

The walls of the hall were decked with (presumably) rock ‘n roll records (since none of the guests had 20-20 vi­sion to read the titles on the LPs).

Someone complained about the lop­sided division in favor of women. (There was a 3:1 ratio in favor of male DI’s for the ladies against female DI’s for the gents.) But an insider explained the arithmetic – that in this day and age, men do not have the same stamina to trip the light fantastic as women do.)

DFA Chief of Protocol Jerryl San­tos also came in dungarees, as did the foreign ambassadors and their ladies. Those who appeared uncomfortable in blue denims and Converse sneak­ers they must have borrowed from their sons and daughters. There was, natcherlly, also the strong presence of our honorary Consular Corps, who are the principal reason why a foreign posting in Manila is such a delightful experience. (Louie is honorary consul of Zambia; and Mellie is honorary con­sul of Guatemala.)

It was left to the birthday boy Louie to explain why we are rocking while we are ticking. He invited everyone to the joie de vivre, grateful for our generation which has spanned from Bill Haley’d Rock Around the Clock to Little Rich­ard, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Buddy Holly, The Platters, etcetera, and extending to the Beatles and beyond.

We left with the Ohrwurm still ring­ing – like the gourmet’s advice about partaking of the victuals and leaving the table with an appetite… but resist­ing the temptation for another bite.

Can’t wait for Louie to turn another ‘ty moment. Oh, sincerely. Was it James Dean and Terry Moore or Zaldy Zshor­nack and Shirley Gorospe? Those were our Lo-Waist gang days. To each his own time and place and the joy of best remembering.

* * *

WANNABES ON SHORT LIST. It’s still early days, but when Pulse Asia took a poll the same familiar names made the list for the Senate. Grace Poe was No. 1 – light years ahead of the pack. Oh, two newbies broke into the magic slate of the First 12 – Davao Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio (4) and former PNP chief and now Bureau of Prisons chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa (7). Knocking at the door were Bam Aquino (13) and Imee Marcos (14).

In this day and age of Internet and name recall, making it to national Sen­ate is a challenge for newbies. Either you are born with a famous surname or you must have pop star quality. Crash­ing into the Big League is a challenge to those who do not have name recall.

A wannabe who dreams of moving up from the Lower House to the Upper House is Fredenil “Fred” Castro. This poor boy who made good will end his second term in Congress represent­ing Capiz; he now serves as deputy speaker. Castro shot to national promi­nence during the House inquiry on the alleged drug trade inside Muntinlupa. He interrogated Ronnie Dayan, driver and security of then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Unlike others who bring interrogation to the gutter, he had a way with words. Sample: “Ang iyo bang pag-ibig kay Senator De Lima ay wagas, dalisay, at matatag?” This San Beda Red Lion lawyer came into prominence like a shooting star!

The wonder is that this wordsmith is a native Visayan, yet he has mastered the language of Balagtas (Pilipino, which is essentially Tagalog). It’s been a long time since we have heard the likes of Claro M. Recto and the oratory that we remember of our senators. Once in the Senate, even a pugilist like our icon Manny Pacquiao learns to measure his language. An upgrading of the quality of debates in the Senate by a Castro and his kind should be espe­cially welcomed and exemplary for a populace which is short-changed with pedestrian and occasionally unbecom­ing language.

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