Last Saturday I got a call from a family friend who reminded me that it had been 77 days since the world changed. Obviously he was referring to the community quarantine that stopped activities and even altered his hectic routine as we knew. His voice was a mix of concern and assurance. You could say that the two and a half months that passed had some good impact on him.
The call was from Boy Abunda, one of Philippine television’s most recognized personalities and a highly respected figure on the entertainment scene. He was actually responding to my question which Beatles song would he pick over others for whatever reason that matters to him. I did mention here last week I am working on something of a tribute to the Fab Four.
He informed he’d rather name a song composed and sung by a former Beatle. The one in his mind was “Imagine,” John Lennon’s signature hit released a year after The Beatles officially broke up.
“I believe in ‘Imagine,’ the power to imagine a better world and better people. I realized that this crisis made us feel we are all one,” expressed Tito Boy, as the public endearingly calls him.
In my encounters with the beloved TV host and talent manager, he always has something good to say. And when he says it, I’d believe him.
Some years back my wife wrote a lengthy magazine feature about him under her byline Kaye Villagomez. She told me of her adventure that had her hop from house to house and one quotable quote to another. Tito Boy had so much stories to tell and he truly acknowledged his interaction and conversations with her. From then on, he’d occasionally call us to say hello.
Eventually, I had the chance to interview and get to know him myself and as expected I always go home with a treasure trove of life lessons.
Tito Boy further shared thoughts about the current situation: “You know what? What’s happening should make us reexamine ourselves. We should stop killing each and other and instead look for each other.”
He said that the fact everyone’s affected, whether you are from Italy or from Samar, his hometown, made a big impression upon him. While the global effect scared people, it should make us feel that at the end of the day we’re all together in this even if we have different experiences coping up with the pandemic. He touchingly uttered, “Pantay-pantay tayong lahat.”
Safely staying at his resthouse, local showbiz’s golden Boy chose to see the good the lockdown brought him. “Ngayon mas nakikita ko ang sarili ko kasi before I was too busy. I get to clean the house really. Let’s all stay safe.”
May I say that one phonecall made me feel good and listen to “Imagine” in a heartfelt way attuned to the times. I could picture Tito Boy being the dreamer in that piano-driven song. What’s even better, he’s not the only one.
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