Monday, June 11, 2007
I don't have a lot of close friends. I never have. I'm one of those extroverts that get tired when I'm with a lot of people. Introverts are recharged when they're with people. I'm the opposite, I give out energy, so after any social event, I feel depleted.
I don't look like a loner because when I'm with people I'm gregarious, too talkative in fact. And I do enjoy being with other people; it just wears me out. I can be just as happy being by myself, reading a book, writing, gardening, doing one of my many, many projects It's amazing how quickly the day passes.
But I have a few really good friends.
One of them is Marily Ysip Orosa, whose blog site I just visited - Marily's Journey of Faith. She's been blogging the journey she and her husband Joe are going through. Joe is battling cancer and Marily's blog records all of this. Marily is a Christian and her reports are upbeat and cheerful, even if frank. She doesn't flinch about writing about colostomy bags, and platelets, and the audacity of hope, and faith, and love.
Let me reminisce here and recall when Marily and I first became friends, and that was when we were at Maryknoll College, Quezon City. We were both Communication Arts majors. For high school she had attended St. Theresa's College, Quezon City; I had attended St. Theresa's College, San Marcelino. We were educated by the same Belgian nuns in High School, and American nuns in College.
Marily and I were not the studious types that hung around the library, which did not mean we were not good students, because we always managed to get decent grades. I was even a Dean's Lister. But there were too many other things to do aside from studying! We partied; we had a singing group and actually performed in a couple of Television shows. We called ourselves The Rainmakers. We had endless talks in the famous "lanai" of Maryknoll College. Once we rebelled and started wearing "civilian clothes" instead of our green and white uniform; and we were promptly reprimanded by the nuns.
Marily and I took a class together - it was a 2-unit class called "Rizal" about the Philippine National Hero. It was a Saturday morning class - a real bummer. On the very first day, the professor announced that we didn't have to attend class, that we could do all our other work and that would be fine. Marily and I took one look at each other and didn't show up in that class until finals. We were shocked and incensed that we got C's; we thought we deserved As.
I mention this incident because Marily went on to publish an award winning coffee table book about Jose Rizal, titled In Excelsis, published by Studio 5, Marily's publishing house. It is an absolutely handsome and intelligent book. Marily is a publisher of coffee table books, aside from doing public relations work. The irony of this didn't escape us and we both had some laughs when In Excelsis won several Philippine National Book Awards.
Marily is one person who has always supported me, especially in the Philippines. Our other friend, Brenda Arroyo, calls her the opposite of a Fair Weather Friend, because when things are okay in your life, she doesn't bother calling etc. as she is busy herself. But when you need help, she will drop everything and run to your side. That's a good friend
I have some other dear friends, and I'll remember them some other time, but tonight I want to remember Marily and Joe and wish them the very best in this journey they're in.
Photo 1-top -l-r: Marily, Cecilia, Lauren.
Photo 2 - Taken at the book launch of Behind the Walls which Marily and I co-edited. Our college heroine, Gemma Cruz, who won Miss Universe in 1964, is in the picture; she's second from the right.
Photo 3 - Taken at the book launch, guest, Marily, and Cecilia
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is the award-winning author of 9 books, including When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, Magdalena, Vigan and Other Stories, and Out of Cebu: Essays and Personal Prose. She edited four books, co-edited six books, and co-authored a novel, Angelica's Daughters. Her work has been translated into Finnish and Turkish; and many of her stories and articles have been widely anthologized. Cecilia has received many awards, including a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction, a Brody Arts Fund Award, a Special Recognition Award for her work dealing with Asian American youths, as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate, 21st District, and the Outstanding Individual Award from her birth city, Cebu, Philippines. She has received several travel grants from the USIS. She has lectured and performed at UCLA, USC, University of Connecticut, University of the Philippines, PEN, Shakespeare & Company in Paris, and many others. She teaches creative writing at the Writers Program at UCLA-Extension.