Maning & Beth: I will miss you both terribly
IN one day this week, two friends of mine had passed on. On Wednesday, Emmanuel “Maning” Borlaza died at 4:05 in the morning and, hours later, Elizabeth “Beth” Celis breathed her last. Heart failure for both.
As I keep saying, a part of us also dies whenever a friend of ours says goodbye for good.
I’ve known Maning for only barely a year, but it seemed like we’ve been friends for ages already.
Beth and I go a long way, having started our friendship in the Seventies yet.
To those not in the know—and I’m sure they are so few—Maning Borlaza was the famous film director, who had megged practically all the greatest movie stars, past and present.
This space could not accommodate the list of his numerous blockbuster films that starred the likes of Vilma Santos, Sharon Cuneta and Nora Aunor.
At the time of his passing, Maning, born in Liliw, Laguna, was the vice chair of the MTRCB (Movie Television Ratings and Classification Board) headed by the youthful Rachel Arenas (the former congressman of Pangasinan).
Was I glad I got aboard as an MTRCB board member last year, allowing me the luxury of meeting—and becoming friends with— Maning, an absolute giant in the Philippine movie industry.
Even at age 81, he remained a tremendous worker—a workaholic you might say.
He would have turned 82 on November 5; I was planning to surprise him with a birthday gift: a necklace having a huge pendant (pen-
THE quarterly meeting of the ASSEAN JCI Senators was held in the old town of MEDAN (1590), the capital city of Sumatra, Indonesia. Much like the rest of Indonesia, it has a fantastic diversity of ethnicities and cultures. Most of the ethnic groups have comparably-sized populations, so there is no single ethnic group forming the majority. Although MEDAN is not known as a tourist destination, there are quite a few interesting sights to see.
A most fascinating monument you’ve ever seen before might be the MARIAN SHRINE of ANNAI VELANGKANNI. It is a Catholic church but with Indian and Tamil-Hindu influences. The shrine itself is no architectural beauty, but if you like ‘different’ – this is a must-see sight. There are neon lights, random color schemes and a sprinkling of kitsch religious ornaments. The best thing about this place is that people of all religions come here, regardless of creed and nationality. We passed ASAM KUMBANG CROCODILE FARM - the largest crocodile breeding park in Indonesia which has over 2,000 crocs. I walked in and found several concrete pens with too many crocodiles packed in them and the pond nearby is overlaid by algae so there is not much visibility of the pond dwellers. The park needs maintenance and enclosures upgraded.
Built in 1886, the MAIMOON PALACE is one of the most beautiful palaces in Southeast Asia – you’ll find a mixture of Malay, Islam, Spanish, Indian, and Italian style elements blended into the exterior and interior of the palace. Even though it looked grand from the outside, only the main hall is opened to the public. People mostly just go there to take some photos with traditional garb which can be rented. Near the Palace grounds is MASJID RAYA (Grand Mosque), an architectural beauty topped with an impressive dark dome and with an interesting history. I was provided with a scarf and allowed to walk the grounds and walkways.
TJONG A FIE’S MANSION was built by Tjong a Fie, a Hakka merchant who owns most of the land in MEDAN through his plantation. A quick guided tour of this Chinese-European Art Deco style mansion provided insights into the 19th-c history of people from China and how they built an ethnic group in MEDAN. While a lot of the furnishings are gone, the building and the photos are a real treat.
Some ornaments and materials of MASJID RAYA were brought from Italy, France, and Spain.
Indonesian hosts treat the delegates to a Durian-eating feast.
The author listens to sounds emanating from a stump cannon located on the grounds of MAIMOON PALACE.
MAIMOON PALACE has become a tourist destination because of its unique interior design, mixing elements of Malay, Indian, Spanish, and Italian Style.
The MARIAN SHRINE of ANNAI VELANGKANNI was built by an Indian Catholic priest, hence, the ‘Indian Architecture’ touch.