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 (pendants were his fetish). I could never forget that day last year when Maning gave me bunches of garlic as pasalubong upon his return from a working MTRCB trip in Vigan. I was floored, as we had barely known each other then.
On Thursday morning, a brown butterfly had suddenly winged its way into the MTRCB, flapping its wings energetically at the stairs. We love you, too, Direk Maning. As to Beth, 73, what can I say? She broke barriers, becoming the first female to be embraced as a legitimate sportswriter by the male-dominated sportswriting world.
To prove that she was worthy of the badge, she became the founding president of the SCOOP (Sports Columnists Organization of the Philippines) in 1981. I became her successor, Beth saying, “I will only leave office if Al becomes my successor.”
What an honor. Thank you, Beth. Enjoy your vacation.