Raq @ 18: Love Burns Brighter Than Sunshine

I fidget on the floor a little, balancing the laptop on my knees. It is displaying a virtual invitation. “Mom, can I attend Raq’s debut on Saturday?” I blurt out without much thought and with mentally crossed fingers. “Where? What time?” She shoots back. I give the necessary details, also the fact that we’re supposed to wear white (and I have no semi-formal white clothes).

She just says, “Just borrow a dress from me.”

Up to now, I’m still amazed as to how I got a yes (by inference) right there.

April 02, 2011

Note: Prior to this debut party, I haven’t attended any. Yes, I am serious. So that makes it the first, which means that I had the slightest idea of what should transpire in one.

With uncontainable happiness (by that I mean clutching-stomach-in-fits-of-intense-laughter), I managed to reach Farmtown Ihawan at Kamayan in Tomas Morato (transpo courtesy of Dad&Mom) with Hazel, Nicole, Chelsey, Julian, Lyndon, Jonna and Sherwin.

Farmtown

The venue was beautiful. It was just about the right space for the party it was going to hold.

And AOM*. My high school family. Once again they’ve proven that they can transcend the barriers of distance and time.

It never ends.

The first half hour or so was filled with the familiar blabbering of our tongues, almost tying themselves into knots because of so many stories that couldn’t be told fast enough.

Then the owner of the day arrived.

The Dashing Debutante.

Clad in a white tube cocktail dress, Raquel Verano (Korean Name: Lee SoJeong) just proved with her presence that the beautiful night was hers to keep, and that we were to partake in it.

The program was hosted by Jose and Rus. In other words, we were listening to The Betches. (After the program, I figured I would want to hire them for my debut too, except that it’s too faraway at the moment and a program is still in question.)

So the program began with MC’s prayer, which was very heartfelt. A very awesome rendition of Lady GaGa’s Born This Way was given by Gab. 18 Treasures. Food.

Food. Om nom nom nom.

And Photobooth! Everybody loves photobooths! Especially AOM. They’re crazy for it.

After the dinner, Janine sang a song with a Spanish chorus, if I identified it correctly. Then Alda swept the crowd with her awesome versions of Grenade and Stupid Love, which both needed audience participation. My stomach hurt with laughter and my throat ached with strangled “MORE!”s.

“Suddenly you’re mine, and it’s brighter than sunshine.”

Also, there was a song number from Raq herself: a cover of Terrified with her Johann Paulo, which was sweet by the way. And last but not the least, serenades from her man. “All I want is you, baby…” I’m not so sure if I remember the lyrics right, though.

Coming next were the 18 Candles, which I had no idea I was a part of. (We allegedly received a message on Facebook which I didn’t even notice.) I was the first to speak so, of course I stammered my way through in front.

Succeeding the 18 Candles were games: Happy Birthday in a different tune & Charace Pempengco (by Jose and Rus). Laughter all the way.

Lastly was the performance of The Barblers, an awesome rip off of Dalton’s Warblers in Glee. It is composed of Benedik, Lyndon, Jezy, Jose, Roi and Rus. They sang and danced to Hey, Soul Sister & Raise Your Glass, both of which are still stuck in my head right now.

The thing about that April 2, 2011 is that it’s the kind of night that lasts. If it were a fire, it wouldn’t be the flickering flame slowly eating the wick of a candle; it would be a forest fire: wide in scope, long-lasting and difficult to douse.

Right now, Raq’s beautiful debut is a forest fire devouring the jungles of my mind.

Despite months of being separated (we’re high school graduates for a year now, can you believe that?), we were together again like we’ve just parted a few hours ago. And that’s the best thing about us. We are never too old for each other, never faraway from each other.

_________________________________________________________________

*AOM /a-om/ is an acronym for Assumption of Mary, the fourth year high star section of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor College (OLOPSC); it is the name of our awesome family.

The title of this entry may be due to an Aqualung LSS; the only group of words I can think of for Raq&Paulo and for AOM, aside from this one-word: awesome.

Photobooth Pictures: LeeSoJeong @ 18 © Raquel Verano

Author’s Late Post Script:

Jorge Cariño, the journalist, graced the party with his presence. Cheers to Dik!

Journ Powers

gfdkwow par, improving! nagpaparty ka na! :))))

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