By By Pablo A. Tariman
posted 10-Sep-2019  ·  
1,259 views  ·   0 comments  ·  
The author delivering his farewell notice to a con-cert crowd at the Nelly Garden in Iloilo.

There is something foreboding when you reach 70 and still trying to look 50.

“You don’t look 70,” said the cello prodigy on our way back to the airport back to Manila.

“Do you dye,” he added. “Of course I do,” I answered. “I am not ready to age gracefully like Pen Medina (the actor) and Randy David (the writer and educator). If I don’t dye, I’d look like Methuselah who lived for 969 years.”

But the prodigy and his mother probably thought I was invincible doing a one-man job from promoting a concert, begging for funds, finishing the souvenir program, booking air tickets, attending to invitations and car passes and supervising rehearsals and then overseeing ushers and usherettes, video man and photographer on the night of the concert.

What he didn’t know was that I had a hard time coping with hotel temperature, I get momentary dementia not knowing which knob to turn for hot water and begging the piano tuner to assist me.

Many times, I would lose my balance and nearly ended up on shower room tiles -- helpless like a baby.

Now it dawned on me that you can’t push too much and pretend you are still 16 going on 17.

And so on the night I thanked my Iloilo sponsors, I also added the coming December 7 concert at the Nelly Garden in Iloilo is going to be my last.

As far as your body is concerned, you are still productive as you beat weekly deadlines for national, provincial and online publications.

You still experience great delight seeing your byline and down below in the internet version of your story, you see good feedbacks which meant you connected very well with your readers.

Never mind that writing (for all that it signifies) is a virtual vow of poverty because doing PR is not exactly your cup of tea and you can’t write good speeches. But sometimes you give in because you are dealing with your favorite artists who share your vow – that money isn’t everything.

To be sure, turning 70 is a good time as any to start writing your memoir and collecting some of your passable outputs into a book.

You get this reminder from your readers, from your editors, from FB friends and some well-meaning acquaintances. But you don’t take them seriously as you are too busy doing weekly deadlines and making ends meet.

As for taking book writing seriously, you recoil when a much-seasoned book writer tells you how much she earned in copyrights and how even rich relatives hate buying books.

I once volunteered to collect for a great mother who wrote about her great daughter and when I saw the computations, you tell yourself book-writing will be another invitation to poverty.

But then who knows.

When I am ready to face all these, I will consider writing a book even if it meant another chapter of a lifelong vow of poverty.

To be sure, this is the age when people think of leaving a legacy, of thinking how he or she wants to be remembered and to restate that cliché, how to make a difference.

Honestly, I don’t know what legacy means.

Legacy is something you connect with, something you have lived with and something you want to carry all your life. It is not anything you keep restating in your biodata as you contemplate being nominated for this and that award.

I love this artist because she lived for her art as she honestly lived her life and acquired world-wide following without having to pay publicists who will sing endless alleluias about her/his world-class status. She doesn’t lose sleep over awards nominations. Because in my book, you earn what you deserve and not by keeping a stable of publicists whose pronouncements are utterly predictable.

What I am saying is that you can still live a simple life at 70 and above without losing sleep over re-imagined legacy or its equivalent.

Legacy is something your followers will live on to remind them of the person as artist and human being. It is not something mouthed by people who introduce you as a guest speaker for something or the other. Legacy is memory of a good concert or a good book or an unforgettable film that elevated you beyond your mortal self.

A life simply lived will resonate in what you write and not how you are expected to behave during your lifetime. You had your good moments and bad ones, even tragic, ones, too.

But one day, one would like to really figure in an honest-to-goodness book-launching where I can tell my imaginary fans that those chapters were part and parcels of a life. It’s mine and no one else’s.

When my musical life ends at Nelly Garden in Iloilo on December 7, I’d like to run on its grass the way the 12-year old cello prodigy did, filled with wonder and awe for the great venue he finally conquered with his music.

When that time comes, I can do a Shirley Bassey and sing “This Is My Life” – hopefully with conviction.

(The author’s farewell concert at the Nelly Garden in Iloilo on Dec. 7, 2019 features tenor Nomher Nival, soprano Jasmin Salvo, clarinetist Andrew Constantino and pianist Gabriel Paguirigan. For inquiries, text 09065104270 or

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