On Monday, May 28, 2007, we finally met up: Manuel Faelnar of SOLFED, Edwin Camaya of DILA and SOLFED, and I, representing Nakem Conferences.
This meeting up is historical, I thought, and I needed to blog it so I would remember it, more for me, for easy recall, for a commitment with memory. I am meeting up with Filipinos with a mind of their own, and with their own sense of what is right and wrong with respect to the homeland, to language, and to culture--no, to all the languages and cultures of this homeland that has been blessed with diversity, and truth and meaning in this diversity.
I got to the monstrous--huge, they say in the United States--Megamall, the megamall of capital and commerce and colonial life at a few minutes before the appointed time.
We asked around, the wife and I and we were told of the Starbucks on the 4th Floor of the bridgeway, and so there we went. I looked around and I did not see any attorney-looking/SOLFED-oriented man. I did not ask how I would get to recognize him, but earlier, I told him I would go on my workman's maong, my blue aloha shirt, and brown shoes.
I thought that I gave a giveaway--Manny would know, Edwin would know me--but I would never know them. If this way a mistake, I never regretted it. I though that I could intuit, and intuit with grace and guidance from the anitos.
And I was not mistaken, although I made a mistake going to the 4th Floor instead of going to the Starbucks on the 1st Floor. By 2:30 PM, and after the frenzied wrist-watch glancing while finishing up my cup of mocha, and after divining from the clear skies I could watch from my seat whether the SOLFED and DILA stalwarts would show up or not, I realized that I needed to figure out whether there are other Starbucks cafes around, and to my surprise, there was another one below.
I did not want to appear the 'indianero' of meetings and to the first floor I rushed. There, in the full and clear light of an afternoon Metro Manila in the heat of summer, there, I saw Manny, in welcoming smiles. I knew beforehand he was Manny as soon as I got past the door.
He was to wait for Edwin in that cafe as well. So he drew his card from his wallet and gave to the guard and instructed him to please give it to Edwin if he comes around to look and ask and find out where we would go.
So we went back to the 4th Floor to view that panorama of an afternoon sun, and feel the refreshing cold of an air-conditioned mall the rich and poor go to, but nonetheless, to my mind, a tropy of commerce men and capital and the colonial way of doing things, with the mall the masked condition of the poor who can only gawk at the wares for the rich, with their prices as priceless as the redemption one wishes in heaven.
We talked a lot, some mouthful, about our struggles, about what we want to do, and our concerns. And then Edwin came, and the talks got to be more animated, always hopeful, always revolutionary. So this is how a linguistic and cultural revolution is fought, in Starbucks cafes?
We strategized, careful not to telegraph our aces, but suggesting to our co-warriors what we should and can do, with Manny texting the people who can rally behind us, or to legislators who can pull some strings so some legislation process could begin.
There is more to this, and I will blog them here. But the linguistic and cultural revolution has begun. At last.
A Solver Agcaoili