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.

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