#RPintheRP: A Travelogue

Day 19: Despedida!!

This is it. The day I’ve been waiting for and fearing. The goodbye party. Goodbye Philippines.

***

The day started off innocuous enough. I bid goodbye to Six, with the promise that we would meet later at the despedida. I took a cab to UP to meet up with my old thesis adviser, Dr. Manalo. We had a nice chat over lunch at Cafe Via Mare, talking about art and poetry and the role of spoken word in the academe.

After lunch, I wanted to see another of my favorite professors, José Estrella, who is now the Artistic Director of UP Theatre. Unfortunately, she wasn’t at her office at the time. Thankfully, the new (and controversial) UPlift statue was nearby so I had a quick glance at her.

 

I was killing some time before I had to go to Art in Island in Cubao with my cousins. I decided to go back to the Magdangal statue to meditate. When I arrived there, in perfect contrast to the raging heat, it started to rain.

Here I was, lost, wet, smoking a cigarette by Magdangal’s feet, clutching an umbrella, waiting for inspiration, deliberating love — and there is no, no, no, no better metaphor for where I am right now in life. Thank you, UP. And fuck you.

I had to wait for a few minutes outside the CAL Library for the rain to pass. I decide to whittle the time by confirming guests for tonight’s party. A few were guaranteed but I wanted to have a good turnout. When the rain passed a little, I took an Uber to Cubao.

***

I’ve always been jealous of my friends’ pictures when they go to Art in Island. I mean, yes, it’s commercial as fuck, but it is rather well-made and I quite enjoy the themes they have. After having a quick lunch at the nearby restaurant, my cousins and I went in. Here are our best pictures:

 

That was fun.

And it’s time to get more fun, because it’s — you know it — party tiiiiime!

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 9.19.24 PM

***

Fast forwarding a day, Six would tell me afterwards how much he enjoyed the party. I talked about the odd feeling of nostalgia I got.

“Don’t feel too sad,” he would say. “All the people important to you were there. And everyone who cares for you was there.”

“Including you?” I asked.

“I was there, wasn’t I?”

***

I’m going to go into as much detail as I can. After Art in Island, I took a taxi back to my condo to freshen up. I messaged both Raffy and Martin to ask them to be there, kindly, on time. I knew people would be late and I was afraid of sitting by myself in a bar.

For some rather odd reason, a lot of people were actually on time! I ended up being a bit late (traffic at the QC Circle plus a quick dinner at Rodic’s Maginhawa) but Raffy, Martin, and Precious were already there. These three don’t actually know each other beforehand (Raffy and Precious only met through me a couple of weeks ago) and I love introducing friends to each other!

Corin followed not long after and soon the five of us were starting to drink upstairs. We pretty much had the entire second floor to ourselves (I only reserved for 10 people but pretty much the entire second floor was empty.)

The bar, Bebe’s, is known for having an open mic. There is a microphone where people can have speeches, do spoken word, sing, etc. Martin took point as host: he was very friendly and charming, invite everyone to sing — and sing did everyone do!

A little later, a lot more people came. First were Doumeki and Lucas, then Jules, Vyxz, then finally Nick. Vyxz brought with her a couple of friends from the Drunk Poetry Night and the Sunken Garden party, while Jules was able to convince Fitz and his girlfriend to come along.

Aside from the songs, the moments were punctuated by Martin “interviewing” the guests — asking, for instance, whether Raffy was straight or not (he is), the dynamics of Doumeki and Lucas’ relationship, etc.

I will never forget how Vyxz put on “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls and we all just rocked on the floor. Or how Precious got so upset (“Nakakairita ka, Martin!”) when Martin started flirting with Raffy. Or the duet between Doumeki and Lucas, punctuated by everyone yelling “Kiiiiiiiiss!” Or Precious doing yoga onstage. Or singing “Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang” with Jules. Or the multiple times we put on a song from a musical (seriously, Defying Gravity for the nth time?)

***

The highlight of the night, of course, was the arrival of Six. He has been trying to call me to get the address but I was so drunk at that point and my phone was with Precious. Martin, thankfully, gallant as always managed to fish it out and speak with Six to give him instructions on coming.

I remember how it went. I was outside, smoking, with Precious and Corin; while Martin was on the phone with Six. At this point, Precious started yelling at random passers-by (“Kuya, come join us!”) and he, inadvertently, spotted Six and asked him to come.

When I turned to see who he was talking to, I smiled, and said “Wait, it’s my, uhm…” and walked towards him. At this point, a shriek — I swear a shriek that only animals can produce — emanated from Precious’s lips, as he fell to the ground, yelling “Nakakaloka!”

It was an..awkward introduction. Precious quickly went upstairs to tell everyone my date was here so when we went up, all eyes were on us. At this point though, everyone was getting drunk and everyone did have relatively benevolent intentions. I mean, taking aside the whole “Riley, after Sunday, can he be mine?” comments.

It was nice to be part of a couple, to be at a party, holding hands, maybe occasionally kissing and still feel that we’re in a safe space. It was a lovely evening. I definitely thank everyone who came out and said goodbye.

 

***

After giving my “thank you” speech, some of the people had to go, but some still wanted an after-party. It took a long time to decide where (people were drunk), but a few of us managed to get into vehicles and go all the way to a bar in Cubao.

Unfortunately, when we got there, we realized that the vehicle ride made some of our drunken states way worse. Precious was too drunk and had to go home and, after a few minutes, I realized that so was I. Doumeki and Lucas, at this point, had sneakily left to…perhaps, party on their own?

This left the theatre folks, Nick, Jules, and Martin at the bar, while Six and I said our goodbyes to them.

Back at the condo, I was too drunk that I pretty much just passed out in Six’s embrace.

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