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Closing Night of the International Rizal Conference

June 25, 2011

The UP Singing Ambassadors with Aldrin in the middle, Febe and Myra on the extreme left-last row, me on the extreme right beside white-haired Dok Apo

Happy ending! And a memorable one for the Deaf, that I am sure. In the cultural night presentation directed by Dok Apo Chua, Aldrin Gabriel was included—and his part wasn’t just a bit role. He became a symbol, a living representation of Rizal. He was sort of “venerated” in the act; and yet he himself ended up in veneration of Dr. Jose Rizal. He offered to Rizal the roses individually handed to him by the members of the audience as he walked around the auditorium led by the bandoleros.

Rex Flores leads Aldrin Gabriel

Aldrin offers the red roses to Dr. Jose Rizal

In between choral and Banahaw group singing, Aldrin signed stanzas 1, 10, 13 and 14. Portions of Ultimo Adiós, the film—stanzas 11 and 12, were projected. Since stanzas 13 and 14 were not interpreted, I could hear students seated near me trying to make out what he was signing. They were “dubbing” while he was signing. And because it was never announced that Aldrin is Deaf, even though our trailer was earlier projected…some might have thought that it was just part of a play act.

The program was held at the GT Toyota Auditorium located near Asian Center inside the UP campus. We went home, wet and  drenched because of typhoon Falcon [with near zero visibility as we plied from UP to Philcoa] but we were all light and happy. Sad somehow because Aldrin’s father earlier told us that from Monumento they would have to walk down to Malabon, expecting from knee to waist deep waters welcoming them… I reached home before 9 pm and Aldrin texted to inform me at around 10:30 that they reached home safely. Thanks God!!!

The closing night was for the Deaf group, a small, yet historic and significant participation of the sector. Thanks to Dok Apo and the committee members of the Cultural Night presentation for recognizing the capability of a Deaf person!

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