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Monday, May 27, 2024

A shoutout to the years that were

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“Nasaan ang column mo?” came the message from dear friend-editor Nickie Wang one Monday morning two years ago. 

I remember being confused after reading his message for a few seconds until it dawned on me what he meant.

Rewind to a few days before the message: Nickie, Joba Botana (the author behind the Job Well Done column) and I escaped from the conundrum of the pandemic situation and traveled to our fave stomping ground up north. 

While enjoying bottles of beer after playing with the waves, Nickie opened the possibility of writing a column for the Lifestyle section of Manila Standard. He said I could write about arts and culture, while Joba could write about wellness and beauty. My would-be column would come out every Wednesday, while Joba’s would be every Thursday. 

“Are we qualified to be columnists?” I remember Joba throwing that question while we chugged beer. We had misgivings about the idea. The three of us discussed it for some time about our so-called merits, as well as the whys – why we are qualified to do it, why we should do it, and in some part, why he chose us. 

Eventually, we said yes. Nickie named our would-be columns. He does really have a knack and talent for creating witty titles and names. 

Back to that last Monday of November 2021, I replied: “Seryoso ka nga na kunin akong columnist?”

Nickie was quite adamant about it that all I could say was “When is the deadline?,” to which he replied, “Today.”

Still reluctant, but I started writing about the re-opening of the Cultural Center of the Philippines a year after the pandemic hit the country. The article was about the first live performance, Tuloy Ang Pasko. 

That was my first column, and two years later, Glazing Life is still here.

Having a weekly column is a commitment. In spite of my busy schedule (yes, I’m busy despite some people thinking I’m not doing anything), I always find time to make sure I have a column every Wednesday. 

Of course, there were some weeks I had to beg off and tell my editor that I didn’t have anything to send. Or when the editor himself would tell me to skip because of certain circumstances, like when death claimed a loved one. 

Truth is, I hate it when I have to skip a week for some reason. I felt bad whenever I had to copy and paste press releases because I couldn’t write and I did not want to skip another week.

Being a columnist, just like being a regular journalist, comes with responsibilities. There is always a deadline to think of. Even if it is a column, the content has to be factual. 

I’m not a very political writer. But every now and then, I’d take a jab. I’m not a humorous writer. I don’t have the comedic timing to throw a joke. 

Personally, I want my column to be informative. I want to tell stories of people through my column, hoping the readers would learn something and be inspired. 

I still occasionally suffer from Imposter Syndrome. I’m still not sure if people outside my circle read it. I still have doubts whether I’m qualified to be a columnist or if I’m writing the right thing. 

But all I know is that when I said yes to writing a column over bottles of beer while lounging on the beach in Elyu two years ago, it wasn’t just the alcohol talking. 

That day when I sent more than my first column to Nickie, I didn’t just send an article. I signed a commitment. 

Joba and I (sometimes with columnist Kate Adajar) often joke that we are doing this for the love of our butihing editor. 

It is partially true. But more than that, what keeps me going is my love for the craft. My column has now become a personal homage to the media industry that first embraced a pledging writer who was just starting her career and a love letter for the arts and culture industry I am now in.

Now that I have some moments to ponder, Glazing Life is a celebration of a great friendship among three friends who share a deep level of understanding and trust, as well as have a strong belief in each other’s abilities. 

A friendship that accepts who and what we are, with genuine interest in what we have to say and how we think and feel. I believe that is what Glazing Life is and will be. 

So, here’s to more years of writing. Happy Glazing Life!

Speaking of celebration, Filipino group Brass Pas Pas Pas celebrated their 11th anniversary recently with 11.11 anniversary gig at Mandala Park in Mandaluyong. 

Established in 2012, the group is composed of drummer Wendell Garcia, guitarist Kakoy Legaspi, bass ace Francis De Veyra, keyboardist Juni Sitaca, vocalist Mike Luis, and the brass squad of baritone saxophonist Ganza Panganiban, alto saxman Joseph Cabanero, tenor sax dude Kaynne Castillo, trumpeters EJ Celestial, Marc Nicolas, and David Jorvina, and trombonist Isla Antinero.

The group was formed through a shared interest in hip-shaking, head-swaying, booty-bumping music of old and of late. The group was named after a sound that emanated from Pinoy reggae band Junior Kilat.

Eleven years seems like a short time when you are having fun. Reminiscing the individual anecdotes and experiences made the group realize how long they have been in business. 

“We feel like we would keep on being together for more years to come—and we’re very excited for what lies ahead for us, musically and as bandmates,” said singer Mike Luis. 

For their anniversary concert, Brass Pas Pas Pas had a full-length shindig featuring the band’s extensive repertoire of originals — tunes that are a delightful amalgamation of jazz, swing, blues, soul disco-funk, and contemporary grooving – with a 20-piece ensemble band. 

Celebrating with them as guest performers were Unique Salonga, Leanne & Naara, Kat Agarrado, Ebe Dancel, Jensen Gomez, and Sammy Valenia, with Zsaris and her live looper as the front act. 

With the holiday season approaching, it is truly a time for celebration!


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