Man­ing & Beth: I will miss you both – ter­ri­bly

Sun.Star Davao - - TOP SPORTS - AL S. MEN­DOZA

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.

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