Corazon Humilde Roxas was an award-winning scriptwriter and film director, former chairman of the Screenwriters’ Guild of the Philippines and a very religious person who financed the building of the magnificent chapel in their neighborhood.
It’s been almost a year since he had gone to the great beyond but his memories linger on.
I remember during the preparation for the Christmas party of SGP in 2003 when we were having problems with the funding. Direk Meek offered his unsolicited advice to us organizers, “Kung ano ang meron yun lang ang pagsaluhan natin. Wag tayong manghingi dahil ayokong magmukha tayong kawawa. Gutom ang showbiz, gutom din ang mga writers pero dapat buo ang dignity natin.” Despite the financial handicap, the party was a big success in terms of attendance of members, celebrity guests and the overflowing food donated by SGP members.
In one of the writing workshops where I came early, I invited Direk Meek for breakfast. Since the fast food branches were still closed, we found ourselves in a classy eatery along E. Rodriguez in QC. When I opened the door, Direk Meek was hesitant to enter, obviously minding the cost of food so I assured him that I would be the one to pick up the tab. He replied with his usual curt smile, “Yun nga ang inaalala ko eh, kaya ayoko sa mahal kasi ikaw ang magbabayad.”
Meek Roxas at left with Amor and Amor’s family. The picture was taken in a park in Seattle a few days before Meek succumbed to heart attack.
Below are some anecdotes sent in by Amor Roxas, the big brother residing in Seattle , USA . (Toto was the family’s pet name for Meek Roxas).
We drove up to Vancouver , British Columbia in Canada the second time since Toto came over because the whole family requested him to pray over them. One member of the family had arthritis on both legs and the oldest member, the grandma, was deaf in both ears. After the pray-over, everybody in the house were in tears because of the great relief that they felt, especially the one who had arthritis and the deaf grandma. When Toto saw everybody was crying, he quipped, “Bakit kayo nag-iiyakan? Libre naman yan.” That lightened the mood which made everybody started laughing.
Actually, Doris, the girl with arthritis on both knees, said that she felt something which she said was difficult to explain except for the warmth all over her body and lightness in her heart. The grandma, on the other hand, was able to hear in one ear right after the pray-over. Toto told her that he cannot seem to penetrate the other ear but he promised her that he will work on it distantly. This pray-over was on a Tuesday. Toto died two days later, Thursday.
And the deaf grandma? Well, we drove up to Vancouver only last month (around July, 2005) and we were told that she can now hear in both ears. The family was so grateful to Toto.
Toto came with us to Seattle from New York because the three of us were supposed to go home to the Philippines last January 1, 2005. We already had the round trip tickets and even assigned seats on the plane. He also was to go with us on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera. My wife and I were so happy to have him with us on these trips. But what we didn’t know was that he was not coming back with us to the States anymore.
Toto was working on/praying-over someone who was fired from his job. One evening, I asked him about the chances of the guy going back go work. His answer was, “H’wag kayong mag-alaala; sabihin ninyo sa kanila (the jobless couple) na makakabalik siya sa trabaho bago kayo bumalik sa States.” I did not give any thought to what he said until we got word (we were still in the Philippines for Toto’s burial) that the guy was back to work. So therefore, in his subconscious mind, Toto knew he was not coming back with us.
(Note: Amor Roxas is visiting the country in January of 2006. He wishes to meet people who were close to his brother especially the writers and directors.)
As a trademark of a dedicated writer, Direk Meek was a heavy smoker and an occasional drinker. But on his last visit to the US , he totally quit his vices as a Christmas gift to his beloved brother, Amor.
Meek Roxas had been a good friend to screenwriters especially to aspiring ones. He never ran out of inspiring words for beginning writers to continue to write down their ideas intended for the big screen. “Huwag munang isipin ang script, tutukan muna ang istorya. Pero ang pinakamahalaga ay ang pagsulat. Sulat lang nang sulat, kung saan madulas dun ang puntahang direksyon.”
Aside from the writers, Meek also cared for the lowly workers of the movie industry. He said that he always try to prepare something for Christmas because extras and bit players drop by his house for the occasion. “Hindi biro ang lusubin ka ng bisita, jeep-jeep ang datingan nila. Kaya nga kahit walang-wala ako, napipilitan akong bumunot dahil ayokong ma-disappoint ang mga tao (extras and bit players).”
It will be Meek’s second Christmas in heaven this coming yuletide season. May his good deeds serve as inspiration to the people in the movie industry. And here’s hoping that the Screenwriters’ Guild of the Philippines would be paying Meek Roxas a tribute in the coming Luna Awards 2006.
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