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Conversations under a mango tree

Afternoons at home nowadays revolve on far ranging topics between my house guest Jing Ramos and me while swimming under the Indian Mango tree in my backyard. Being a media consultant in booming Cebu, Jing keeps me up to date with the latest sensational news from our Sri Visayan Empire which we have mapped out to include Panay, Negros Island, and Cebu.

Well, number one on the list is the triumphant solo number executed by Ambassador Menchu Salas’ nephew on the Rodriguez side, Anthony Huxley, in Sophia Coppola’s “New York City Ballet 2021 Spring Gala” that’s now available on YouTube.

Anthony Huxley, first Filipino principal dancer to the New York City Ballet; middle, Gomez as a young Flamenco dancer; right, daughter Mayen Gomez Lizares*

Born in tony Walnut Creek, California, he first started dance at San Francisco Ballet School and the Contra Costa Ballet School. Moving to New York, he began studying at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, in the summers of 2002 and 2003, enrolling as a full time student from 2003-2006. Anthony was then invited to become an apprentice with the NYCB in October 2006, joining finally the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in July 2007.

Some of the selected works by Gomez*
Gomez with his grandchildren Iñigo, Saulo, Inès Lizares*

Promoted to the rank of soloist in July 2011, Huxley became a principal dancer in June 2015. He was a recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise in 2006 and the recipient of the 2010-2011 of the Janice Levin Award. I do declare that to succeed in New York is already a feat, to be on the top list means you’re the best!

Speaking of dancers, I must mention about El Maestro Guillermo Gomez, who is the top Flamenco dancer of the Philippines since the 1950s. He married my Garcia cousin, Ana Marie Ordoñez, and sired two children, Guimo and Mayen – who married Paul Lizares. Besides being a renowned Philippine High Society maestro of flamenco, he was also a highly respected Spanish professor in several Manila universities. I remember him dancing the flamenco together with an Areggui girl in one of my parents’ parties at the house. Mamá had to build an improvised wooden platform for them to dance on so that their shoes could rhythmically synchronize with the music.

Gomez performing in Manila*

From being a DJ on the radio during his Iloilo days to polyglot/historian/dancer, El Maestro has reinvented himself this time to being “Prince of Ilonggo Poetry”. He was given the silver laurel leaf crown in 1978 from the International Association of Poet Laureates Inc. With 200 domestic and international poets attending the ceremony at the Manila Hotel, his mentor Delfin Gumban “King of Ilonggo Poetry” described Gomez’s style as traditional Visayan structure. With Hiligaynon having been marginalized by Tagalog, he would like to save the region’s cultural heritage with the publication of his poetry. Gomez-Rivera retorts, “Today even the Ilonggos do not seem to understand the nuances of their vernacular.” We hope that Guillermo Gomez will soon be proclaimed National Artist.

May comite de 300

ñga naghublag

ñga patyon sing

inanáy ang sobra sa

tuñgâ katawo sa Filipinas

kay mga pobre ini sila.

Magandam kita sa politico

ñga waay Dios.

(“Solusyon, Kunu”)

My prayer: Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” John 14:23, NIV*

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