Multi- faceted Anna Sobrepeña, former editor of a glossy magazine, corporate wife to Chito Sobrepeña, president of the Metrobank Foundation, and mother of three archangels, Gabriel, Rafael, and Micaela Corazon, and mom-in law to Gen, wife of Gabriel and mother of her happiness pill Gallilee, describes herself as a “storyteller” more than a lifestyle writer and editor.
She is adept at storytelling both through her photographs (with her phone camera, no sophisticated multi-lens camera), colored and black and white, and her haiku or Japanese poems. In case our readers have forgotten a haiku uses only 17 syllables divided into three lines of five, seven, and five syllables per line. It is a very disciplined form of poetry.
When our perils are past shall our gratitude sleep? No! Here’s to the pilot that weather’d the storm!George Canning
We informed Anna that the late President Cory Aquino (after whom her daughter was named) was a “haiku” writer. She loved the discipline it entailed and putting across to readers her thoughts in its rigid form. Anna was happy to learn that Chito’s former boss when he was the secretary to the Aquino cabinet wrote and loved haiku.
Anna put together an impressive colorful exhibit of her photographs taken on a tour of Fukoshima, Japan in 2018 to go with her haiku and called it “Fukoshima on my Mind.” I t was shown at Rockwell two years ago, thanks to Japanese Ambassador Haneda and former Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manolo Lopez. It opened on Sept. 9 at Gallery Nine at SM Megamall, where it until the end of the month. Online, it will be available for viewing until Oct. 3.
Fukoshima suffered a severe earthquake some years ago, which resulted in a devastating tsunami. Many of its homes were destroyed and then its nuclear power plant had an accident and started leaking. This led to the closure of the plant.
The people, observed Anna on her visit there, did not blame anyone for the nuclear accident or the forces of nature destroying so many homes and wrecking villages. They were patient and resilient and began building what had to be brought back to life. Anna’s photographs capture the spirit and resolve of the people to begin anew and her haiku complete the mood in Fukushima.
Anna’s fascination with haiku started when she was in high school at St Theresa’s College. She finished college at UP and took post graduate studies at Ateneo. Her M.A., she says in jest, turned to MRS when she met Chito Sobrepeña and she dropped the Crisostomo after her name.
The haiku, Anna explains, is the brevity of words to convey a thought. It has more impact than many words. “There is a discipline imposed by haiku that demands harnessing the precision of words to convey an image, thought, or feeling following a very precise formula.” It is freeing, she adds, rather than confining because it goes to the heart of the matter.
The photos and haiku will be published by De La Salle University Publishing House under the title Haikus, Psalms, and Sighs. Bouquets, Anna!