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Rizal Day Preparations 2011 at NHCP and Ultimo Adios in FSL

November 18, 2011

For the first time in my life, I have joined a meeting, and at the end of it, became part of a group tasked to prepare for the Dec 30 Rizal Day preparations. Happening on the 150th year of Rizal is quite memorable! Being at gathering like that must have been brother Gani’s ordinary group setting. I went there not knowing what the agenda was except that it was going to be about Rizal Day. I didn’t expect the meeting to be that big. When I was advised by Atty. Ramoncita Reyes, a Rizal descendant to attend the meeting, I thought of a group consisting of not more than 15 people. It turned out to be a meeting consisting of different government agencies. I do not belong to any group.

I was surprised but very happy to meet Dr. Bernardita Churchill, a close friend and colleague of my brother Gani; she is the Philippine National Historical Society and Manila Studies Association President. She was as surprised as I was when we met because it was the most unlikely place for me to be–the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. She told me that she had been looking for me because she had a book launched.

I presented Ultimo Adios in Filipino Sign Language [FSL] although the place was not ideal for screening films — the room was well lighted; and the sound was bad. The room is meant for meetings and conferences. Anyhow, Ultimo was shown. I then proposed that it be shown on December 30 for people to watch the film. I want as many people to watch it to be exposed to the beauty of Filipino Sign Language, and as I told them for the Department of Education to see that there is FSL that needs recognition. The committee headed by Exec. Director Badoy agreed. Maybe because Atty. Reyes was all out to support its showing. Afterall, it was her idea for me to attend it, something I really had no idea about until I entered the room. I was asked from what agency I belonged, and I replied: “None.” Then I was asked if I am a Rakista. Again, I was surprised but amused. “Mukha ho ba akong rakista?” Anyway, I signed the attendance sheet, and was given the meeting agenda.  When Arch. Veronica Dado [the person referred to me by Atty. Minney] told me on the phone that I shall be accommodated, I thought it would literally be just accommodating me – sort of a sit-in- because I am an outsider. So when I read the agenda, I was quite astonished to see my name under “OTHER MATTERS”.

But it had a fruitful outcome. They accepted my proposal to show the film, and to sell Ultimo at the Rizal Shrine — to  help me raise the additional funds to finish the rest of the film [versions in English, Spanish and Filipino that will serve the interests of the Blind and regular students of Rizal Course], and for the showing that I intend to hold next year at the UP Film Center. They even want to request big cinema houses to show the film on December 30. Good idea! Until we later talked and thought about the fact that control of copies is not possible. Piracy is quite easy. I couldn’t guard their showings, and be there all the time with the film. I was advised by Atty. Minney to have the film copyrighted by the way.

For unexpected blessings such as this one where never in my life I imagined myself to be, I thank no one but God. As I have always believed since my “conversion,” I am led to the right people and places, and leading me to be doing work that He knows I can contribute something to, no matter how small that contribution may be.

After that meeting, I went to CSB SDEAS to show my docu on Deaf Filipinos, Silent O to new Deaf students. Then went to the Dance Room where Myra and the Silent Steps were practicing. They were going to have live performances of two poems from the omnibus film, now entitled A mi Patria.

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