SOCIALIZE! This was the pressing text message I received from Cloyd Robinson few days ago. Socialize! He is absolutely right since I seldom really go out to join people in the business. I’d rather stay at home and do something else. I am basically a SHY person. But it was the birthday bash of Direk Maryo J. Delos Reyes and so go, I must. I have attended most of his birthday bashes unless the celebration will be done in far away Laguna where Direk Maryo have a house. The other birthday celebrations I opt not to miss are those of international fashion designer Oscar Peralta.
It was a Tuesday and the party was going to be held at the Café Carabana owned by Judy Anne Santos and managed by her amiable mommy Carol, a very nice and warm lady.
Before the evening struck seven as planned, I and PAPAY greeted Direk Maryo J. He was in the company of Mell Navarro and some people I did not know helping themselves with sumptuous food. I waved at Mell but he seemed not to recognize me. Direk Maryo ushered us to a line of food warmers arranged neatly on two long tables filled with mouth-watering food. I got hungry and how! My plate filled with savory food, I sat with Papay in the table by the door and started devouring the food. I noticed Luz Valdez seated with Jerry O’Hara, talked to her for a few seconds and returned to my table to finish the food. Manny Camacho, a part time movie writer and a friend of long ago, came to join us with his food. Later he went out of the room to join a few friends. I settled nicely at my place and watched people come and go the whole night.
Cloyd Robinson came in with Dr. Francis Ignacio, followed by Mel Turquez with his wife and daughter. Next Dante Gomez came alone and joined Cloyd after hugging direk Maryo happy birthday. After a few minutes, they partook of the food. The group of Cloyd occupied a cubicle looking room intended for small group at Café Carabana. In less than half an hour, people began to come and after the warm greetings to the celebrant, lined up at the food warmers. People come not singly but mostly in group.
In an hour, the place teemed with people of various sizes and of different social standing. Mostly young people who I assumed were showbiz hopefuls. Pilar Pilapil came in a black dress, still stunning and beautiful and ever smiling. I was a bit surprised when she waved and smiled at me. She sat with the group of scriptwriter Ricky Lee and Director Mel Chionglo and few others I did not know. Daria Ramirez followed and sat with a group of women in another table. Mark Gil came alone and joined the group where he sat with Pilar. I did not see these people taking food but just kept on talking to one another as if they haven’t seen each other for centuries. Alfie Loreenzo came in with his little Jun Jun and sat at the table next to us. Alfie never changed at all after some years of not seeing each. Still warm and cordial. Later Romano Vasquez joined Alfie. Mommy Carol brought a basket full of “castanas” and joined the group of Alfie. TV cameramen stalked continuously around the room while still photographers seemed to endlessly take pictures of the party. I and Papay posed with Direk Maryo earlier.
Lito Pimentel came alone and later joined the group of Alfie. Lloyd Samartino came in black shirt. I am not aware if he left the country and was away for some years because his friends gathered around him who seemed to be all interested to find out how he was. He received a warm hug from Mark Gil like they haven’t seen each other for years. Angge came in looking around, I waved at her but she looked away and left unnoticed.
Papay and I had several goblets of wine, (was it red wine?) that later he started complaining of being “lasing” but would ask for another goblet. He left much ahead of me for reason I did not know. Several bands entertained the guests with music I really cannot connect, most of them sporting long thick hair, shabby looking. In between, a group of gay performers sang and danced.
I joined the group of Manny Camacho after Papay left where I was introduced to Harold Montano from Iloilo. He appeared in Twilight Dancers of Mel Chonglo as the snake man. He danced naked in the film with only the big snake covering his private parts, he told me. I found the young man interesting, thoughtful and sincere. In my observation. I could feel he has a deep sense of acting and promised to put him in a film I might do later. He even gave me a prayer to the “infinite Spirit” through my cellphone I left home. Quiet a young man full of dreams and aspirations. As another form of entertainment, he later danced with the big snake but this time he was wearing a tattered maong pants and later told me he was not bearing his brief.
Gerald Madrid came in alone. I did not immediately recognize him as he grew a little heavier and seems to have lost his innocent looks. I saw him in Sana Pag-ibig Na with the late Nida Blanca and he was very good. I predicted he will become a sensitive fine actor in the future but he just fade away. Was it Alma Moreno who was rumored to be his lover? I lost track of it. That seemed to have ended his career. I had the chance to talk to him for a few minutes and confessed he could not take the pressure of being in the movies. I urged him to make a comeback as I believe he will have the chance to regain what was lost along the way. As I said, I think he is a very sensitive actor to throw him to waste. He said “ I am looking forward to some day doing a film with you” and hurriedly moved away.
Late in the evening, I saw Direk Joel Lamangan with Soxy Topacio and joined them for some seconds, after which I asked Lito Pimentel how he is related to the Pimentels in my home town. He looked away before he said “ maybe some relatives.” Then he left to join another group.
In showbiz gathering, I enjoy it better watching other people’s eccentricities. I’d rather sit calmly at one corner amused at their way of trying to please everybody. That I think is the standard way of being in the business. Force yourself into being nice and cordial with everybody just so you will be in, to have the feel of being known to the popular ones, for you to have the feeling of being a celebrity yourself. A fantasy indeed. To be the life of the party or at least a contributor. If you are a shy, timid person, the reserved type as I am, you will find it difficult to adjust to the demand of the showbiz syndrome. But as a writer, I feel I should keep myself behind the camera and leave the glitter of glamour and popularity to the stars and would be stars. I must not grab the attention and recognition from them.
But still I must, according to Cloyd Robinson, socialize. I do in a certain degree of simplicity and of being quiet and leave the tatter and rattle to the stars.
This is perhaps the kind of pressure Gerald Madrid was telling me. The demand of being popular and known is too heavy a burden that if you cannot manage to keep pace, you will be left behind and before you know it, you were forgotten and pushed to the world of the unknown. Such a painful realization if you cannot cope with it. You have to be what you are not in the presence of other celebrities and of the press. You have to laugh with them even if you feel excruciating pain within you. You have to be nice and gregarious even if you are bombarded with problems of the heart and of finances. You must not be seen shabbily dressed or without money for others will take you for granted, snob you at the most. I saw one very good character actor came late that night dressed shabbily, wearing white t-shirt he must have worn for days unwashed. Nobody took noticed of him and after looking around for a few minutes, left the party with bowed head and drooping shoulders. What a pity! In showbiz, you are as good as your last movie. If you do not take care of your finances and squander your earning in aimless abandon, you will wake up one day a pauper and nobody will pay you attention. Strike while the iron is hot (and save), an old saying which fits showbiz to a big T. Once you lose your glitter, no matter if you have a truckload of awards, you will no longer belong to the group of popular stars. Sympathy is perhaps not a part of showbiz lingo except perhaps to very few people who are hard to find.
I wish the few trying to join showbiz should realize these things early and be wary of their finances, for even if you are forgotten, you can still live in comfort. Keep saving for the rainy days