I am now feeling the void of our boisterous laughter and supportive friendship
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – The FilAm magazine publisher and editor Cristina DC Pastor was able to fulfill a wild dream before she flies to Beijing this weekend – and that is, to sing quite like a singer in a concert. Cristina, an accomplished journalist and an active founding member and Vice President of the Fil-Am Press Club of New York, also wants to be a singer.
Because she was temporarily leaving us, NAFFAA New York’s Jan Andrada and I organized a despidida party at the Kabisera Restaurant on lower Manhattan on April 13, 2018. Dubbed as ‘My own version of a Saturday Night Massacre’, which Cristina herself coined as an afterthought of the wild fun stormy (literally) night, we were in the company of some members of the FilAm Press Club of NY and select friends.
What jazzed us all up? Perhaps it was the kamayan style of party, boodle fight, it is called – a military way of brisk eating with bare hands. Kabisera’s amazing owner-operator DJ Chinita excitedly prepared a spread of grilled shrimp and salmon, pork and chicken adobo, grilled eggplant for us. Oh my God, the smell of great food drove us nuts earlier on.
It was a joyous shared feast and certainly was one of the best dinners I ever had with my friends. I suggested to have the boodle fight, hopefully to make Cristina cry in melancholia when she is in a strange place called Beijing. (But why do I hear her laugh, saying, no I won’t cry when I remember you?)
With absolutely full stomachs, we began to sing and dance. Out came the sound system and the YouTube channel for karaoke version of songs. Cristina’s and my wildest dream had began – to sing in a (well, mini) concert. Starting from the sober You’ve Got a Friend, Cristina ambitiously moved to hard rock, belting Bohemian Rhapsody and Total Eclipse of the Heart with Ann Beck of the JCI Manhattan. This was after GMA consultant and Synergy CEO Grace Labaguis sang and cried, with her version of That’s What Friends Are For.
The best dancing sensation that night was Tess Abutanmo dela Cruz of the Philippine Nurses Association – NY who proved unbeatable with her choreography of New York, New York.
Oh my lord, photojournalist Boyet Loverita said, “Ang astig nyo!” While the ladies were wild, he was being his cheesy self when he serenaded wife Lindy Rosales of GMA with a Filipino classic ‘Ikaw.’
The party animals wounded up at 11 o’clock that night, and the rain won’t let up. Blame it on our mad singing, we thought.
And so I will miss Cristina. No matter how upbeat I tried writing this, somehow I dread New York without her friendship that makes me feel safe and proud of. The Filipino community shall not worry, the FilAm magazine shall continue to operate. In fact, it will add in more stories from the East.
It would be me who would feel the void of our boisterous jokes and laughter, in the midst of creative and supportive leadership. Cristina is a listening ear to my pain and a sweet critique to my weird ideas, and vice-versa.
She was one of the very few who knew immediately about the prognosis of my daughter Nikki’s health condition in December last year. And while she was out in a meeting at that time, she had cried with me in face of the dreadful truth.
I do not want China to take Cristina away from me or us here in New York. Until now my heart still wants to go amok. Huh, but she prefers to be with husband journalist Rene Pastor who is out on an editorial work. Okay then, one year only, Rene and Cristina! I am sure you will be able to establish yourself in a strange land with your wit and grit.
(Featured photo: Cristina belts out a song in her despidida party, a grand concert of sorts, a dream come true. Press club colleague Lambert Parong takes a photo of our momentous duet. Photo by Jan Andrada)