I'm recording this for the sake of posterity, and maybe next year we'll all probably be gathering as a group again at the first of September for Carl's birthday and another Palanca win by (hopefully) anyone from the group. Apologies in advance to anyone who might read this and not find their names. I most probably forgot or you were never introduced to me.
Last year, we all ended up at Molo's along Kamias because The Meatshop was closed. This year, as if everything was planned, we moved to Tribu because Xavier Grille was closed. ("Naputulan daw ng ilaw," Carl said, trying not to grin too widely.) We are blessed, in a way, because I don't think any of us ever thought that we'd have this experience again.
Anyway, Marvi and I arrived at Tribu after much procrastinating and a tall order to frappucinos at the nearest Starbucks. Already present were Carl, Adam David, Anna Sanchez, and Ken Ishikawa - all old Writers' Club members, all amazing writers and great people. There were already a couple of beer bottles on the table, and we were talking about coming up with assorted anthologies, after the success (?) of the release of the newest edition of the Literary Apprentice, edited by the Youth and Beauty Brigade. Anna and I ended up joking about releasing a pin-up calendar featuring "The Young Men of Philippine Literature" in a Sports Illustrated-inspired photo-shoot, much to Adam's chagrin.
People slowly trickled in: Marie La Vina and Mikael Co, Marie toting around her JVC digicam; Peachy Paderna, Javie Bengzon, and Wappy San Diego all made their appearances; Gelo Suarez also arrived in his usual grinning self; Karl de Mesa, who was introduced to me last Tuesday at Conspiracy was also there, and various other people whose name was never quite known to me but still occupied a space in the cavernous area. Paolo Manalo was picking on lambanog jello while regaling us with stories about UP - we were teasing him about our thesis deadlines and essay re-writes. Arkaye Kierulf was also there, a nice huggable pillow.
I was occupying a table with Javie, Peachy, and Wappy when the man of the hour arrived. Gandalf arrived, with Naya Valdellon, Egay Samar, and Mark Lopez in tow. Soon afterwards, Khavn de la Cruz and Lourd de Veyra also made an appearance, and the party was in full swing. Adam kept on taking pictures of everything, and Marie was filming snippets of the conversations and asking questions as she roamed around, and while I don't drink, the mood was enough to make me feel as if I *did* drink. O_o
Ended up in a conversation with Naya, Marie, and Peachy about boys (well, girls will be girls) and alternately hugging Gandalf, who was glowing with the light of someone who's had a very, VERY good evening. He told me about meeting another brilliant writer-friend of mine at the Palancas, Dean, as well as Nikki and it just felt so right that these two literary heavyweights should finally meet. Rayvi Sunico of Cacho also wanted to see a copy of his collection, and I'm crossing my fingers that it gets picked up for publication. Also alternated talking with Kael and Wappy about comics, giggling as they flung obscure Marvel trivia around in a half-drunk manner.
Everything sort of trickled down into a 3AM buzz, and Carl was fiddling with the music - someone had played Hale and there was a collective groan, which meant that we had to take a hand in the music - while Gandalf was settling the bill. Javie had offered to take me home, and so we trundled into the night, smelling of cigarette smoke and alcohol, our minds pleasantly blank. It was a good night.
These are the times I love belonging to such a group. ^_^