The Second Visitation

As I sit here at home, broke and unemployed, I console myself with living in my memories of glamour, drama, and touching greatness. (cue: Norma Desmond scene, Sunset Blvd.)

My last Sunday in Manila, Carlos invited Megawati, me, Juan and Romeo to Pink Kitchen, a breast-cancer awareness fundraiser for I Can Serve at Rockwell Tent that one of his family members had organized. We figured, being sensitive folks in support of a great cause (and also a cause that involved copious amounts of delicious food) that we would go, and represent.

Lo and behold. Seated front and center was the Lady herself, yet again. Carlos, ever the irrepressible social butterfly, greeted her and made introductions (while delicately and hilariously fending off accusations and outings being made by Imelda’s daughter about Carlos’ Imelda Tour). A camera emerged, Carlos’ brother took the picture, and the rest is history.


Carlos, Mega, Imelda, Wofford (Thanks for the pic, Celdrans!)

And yes, she grabbed my hand for the photo opp.

Having had The Encounter, we settled down as best we could, and got to eating. The Pink Kitchen was essentially Rockwell Tent, filled with gourmet food booths where you would go and pick whatever delicious thing you wanted to eat, and pay with pre-purchased “money”. We got to gobbling, when, wouldn’t you know it, Mrs M decided to start making the rounds, sitting down one table away from us:


I couldn’t control myself. Romeo and I went back over to her, and asked if we could take a picture with her AGAIN. She graciously acquiesced, and that, ladies and germs, is how I got the photo below…


So, yeah. Since I’ve also gotten my photo taken with Phyllis Madonna (my other patron saint, of sorts), and got to eat bootleg Planter’s Cheezballs in Manila in copious amounts, this just about rounds out my life’s goals. I sent the pic out via email to a bunch of friends, and the 3 questions that kept coming up were:

1 . Is that a wax mannequin?

2. What’s up with the stains?

3. What shoes was she wearing?

And while I can confidently say that she was most assuredly NOT wax, I have no hard and fast answers for the other 2. And lay off the shoe questions, anyway. Is that all you people know about history, or what?

To be fair, the shoe story is the iconic example of the excesses of the Marcos era. And I, like most folks who care about the Philippines, have learned a thing or two about all associated history and controversy. In having my photo taken with her, I guess it comes down to something that came across really strongly in Imelda, the 2003 documentary by Ramona Diaz: you can despise the woman, you can adore the woman, but you can’t deny the almost supernatural charm and charisma she wields. She’s an icon, love her or hate her. I’ve got to say, having gotten to spend only a few minutes with her, she really does have it. I don’t know what it is, but it’s weirdly powerful.

Maybe the stains are her way of keeping it real these days.

I dunno.

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