Wednesday, June 17, 2009

RIO ALMA WRITES ON (March 09, 2009)

Today Virgilio Senadren Almario, National Artist for Literature, turns 65.

Rio Alma is stepping down as University of the Philippines-Diliman's College of Arts and Letters (CAL)!

Last Thursday, CAL paid tribute to the said poet/critic/editor/translator as though paving the way -- to his ancestral home in San Miguel, Bulacan – hopefully to be converted into a museum called Bahay Bulawan by Fundacion Almario.

Festivities began when Ambagan: Kumperensiya sa Paglikom ng Salita mula sa Iba't Ibang Wika sa Pilipinas opened with University of the Philippines Diliman Chancellor, Sergio Cao, Sentro ng Wikang Filipino director Jovy Peregrino, conference chair Galileo Zafra, and him giving his keynote speech hailing Felipe Jose, Wenceslao Vinzons, Tomas Confesor, Hermenegildo Villanueva, Norberto Romualdez, and Jaime de Veyra as Mga Unang Bayani ng Wikang Pambansa.

Abdon Balde Jr., Teresita Maceda, Dialicia Caup, Ma. Crisanta Nelmida-Flores, Roberto Anonuevo, Minang Dirampatan-Sharief, Albina Fernandez, Jerry Gracio, Alex de los Santos, John Barrios, Purificacion Delima, Manuel Dulawan, and Carmen Abubakar were the presentors.
Before the Rio Alma exhibit opening, we found ourselves in between the publisher, Karina Bolasco of Anvil Publishing Inc., and him, the author of the revised edition of Filipino ng mga Filipino: mga Problema sa Ispeling, Retorika, at Pagpapayaman ng Wikang Pambansa.

A product of debates and discussions, it updates certain rules in using the Filipino language via his added articles to cover the latest problems and issues caused by the modernization of the national language.

Our role remains the same as in 1993 when it was first published, we played Gary “Vim”, parodizing Mr. Pure Energy's Di Na Natuto to pick on how crazy it is for us in never feeling guiltier in commiting mistakes in Filipino than in English.

However, since upon reading his re-vision, we saw a lot of points and counterpoints to ponder, so to speak, so we ended up delivering the “Dean Virgilio Senadren Almario Professorial Chair lecture.”

So provoking, for our thoughts and all, was that collection of 84 columns divided into four chapters: ANG HIRAP SA ATING MGA EDUKADO, SA DAIGDIG NG HIRAMAN, BULAKLAK NG KATUTUBONG DILA, and SA LIKOD NG PAKITANG-TAO.

He did not stop on p.228, but he went on with ULAT HINGGIL SA MGA FORUM SA ISPELING with a portion on the proper name for our country, that instead of the Tagalized Pilipinas, it ought to be Filipinas!

Perhaps, it is high time for U.P., for instance, after 100 years, to call itself U.F. or U. Fi?

Nevertheless, on the Faculty Center side of the University, all roads were leading to Hardin ng mga Diwata for Rio Alma's Hat Party.

Yes, hat not hot, since he had been wearing his now familiar black hat after he arrived from the United States, as if into a Balagtasan with Teo Antonio's fashion statement!

Of course, after Robin Rivera's band singing Rio Alma's favorite as a Beatlemaniac (and before the much-awaited Twist and Shout video with his apo from his panganay Asa Victoria) -- there was poetry reading, led by Armand Sta. Ana's Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation Inc. as well as Dr. Belen Calingacion with Dr. Flores, Prof. Vina Paz, Dr. Amparo Adelina Umali, Dr. Ruby Gamboa Alcantara, and U.P. Speca.

National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera and Dr. Luna Sicat Cleto reminisced as Rio Alma's former teacher and student, respectively.

And, upon the request of Dr. Wendell Capili and Prof. Regina Gochuico, we did a duet – right before the world-renowned U.P. Singing Ambassadors -- with his co-Associate Dean, Dr. Maricar Castro, with our adaptation of the Lennon-McCartney's In My Life with a slideshow of Rio Alma's photos, including some stolen shots of his cross-dressing days for the first Faculty Follies entitled Hagikhikan 2008 last December 18.

During what we would call “Euro Rio,” – we re-discovered Rio Alma after listening to the surprise number of Dr. Wystan de la Pena, our pianist, when almost their entire department read poems in different European languages while they projected the text with pictures on screen like a “poeMTV.”

Everyone was upstaged by the ever-elegant Gilda Cordero Fernando who performed a la Mother Lily when she presented her basketful of gifts (that even required the assistance of Anvil's Gwen Galvez) filled with all the Oriental fertility secrets from her Chinese suki in Cubao!
Not only for Rio Alma but for his wife, Emelina.

We were more concerned, though, with their bunso (long before Agno Virgilio), Ani Rosa, who is expecting her own baby after tying the knot with her Raya School's co-founder, C.P., son of Prof. Randy David and Karina Constantino.

Imagine the Mary-like pressure on her bearing -- the apo -- of the Apo Lakays in Philippine arts and sciences!

Her conception, not that immaculate though, could be the centerpiece for Rio Alma's autobiography Bunga ng Pangangailangan.

After Filipino ng mga Filipino, he is supposed to give birth to his own series' panganay -- Unang Siglo ng Nobela -- before his parallel research on Philippine theater, children's literature, and translation.

Rio Almanians are looking forward to his masterpiece Muling Pag-akda ng Bansa.

Anytime this year, he will launch his version of Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala as well as his second edition of UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino (whose database is created by the SWF and the U.P. Computer Science Department).

Whew, he did everything while serving as CAL dean responsible for, say, the construction or completion of buildings, faculty development programs, awards and recognitions, and such landmark projects as Komedya Festival 2008 and Sarsuwela Festival 2009.

To think, while editing BUL-OL: Bulawan Online he still finds time to teach Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA) fellows who inducted its new officers: Phillip Kimpo Jr.(President); Francisco Monteseña (Vice-President ); Vivian Limpin (Secretary); Enrique Villasis (Treasurer); and Ynna Abuan (Public Relations Officer).
Madam Aurelia Carandang, what is your signature campaign for?

Last Saturday, during the wedding of Ramon and Rosa Jocson, as ninong he is sporting Atty. Redemberto Villanueva's birthday gift -- a brand-new brown hat!

On their 50th anniversary, the wife confessed that she cheated on him thrice.
The husband was saddened but still wanted to know when.
WIFE: “First, I slept with the Bank President to give you business loan. Second, I slept with Dr. James to operate on your heart.”HUSBAND: You did those to help me start up my business and save my life? How kind of
you. And the third time?
WIFE Remember when you wanted to be President of the golf club, but you were
35 votes short?
It is sad for a woman to reach an age where men consider her CHARMLESS,
But it is worst for a man to reach an age where women consider him HARMLESS.

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