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Oct 26th
Home Sections Humor & Satire KOSCINC Is Sunk But It Is Now a Filipino Wit-and-Humor Memorial (Part III)
KOSCINC Is Sunk But It Is Now a Filipino Wit-and-Humor Memorial (Part III) PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Humor & Satire
Thursday, 14 June 2007 02:06

The Kalayaan of Southern California, Inc. (KOSCINC) "comedy of errors" at the Long Beach Convention Center last weekend is proof positive that even in adversity and difficult times, Filipinos can still crack jokes. Indeed the Filipino people are known for their wit and humor. Yes, while the KOSCINC has lost tons of money, its volunteers, especially its former officers, have not lost their wits and humor.

Many of the jokes—some corny and others really funny—were shared Tuesday night (June 12) at the New Otani Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles where the Philippine Consulate General held its annual Vin de Honor to mark Philippine Independence Day.

One Filipino-American publisher, Johnny P, said that he knew why Sen. Kiko Pangilinan did not wear a Barong Tagalog during the Kalayaan Grand Ball. He said that the senator’s Barong got crumpled in his suitcase and he could not iron it. Why? His wife, actress Sharon Cuneta, was not with him and she is the only one who has the iron at their home.

Too Many Alcaldes

Since the Hon. Tony Cartagena was present at the Vin de Honor, the seating of Carson Mayor Jim Dear at the presidential table (PT) became again the topic of conversation. Mayor Cartagena was reported to have said that even if he was asked to be at the PT, he would not leave his wife who was seated at the Walnut delegation’s table. (What chivalry, Knight of Rizal Sir Tony.) But then one wag said that the real reason the KOSCINC did not sit a Filipino-American mayor at the PT was that there were too many of them. Aside from Mayor Cartagena, present at the Grand Ball were Mayor Pro Tem Lito Santarina of Carson and the Philippine Town, Incorporated’s former Mayor Jay Valencia and now incumbent Mayor Fender Santos. And why seat only mayors when Filipino governors were in attendance? Former United Batangas Association Governors Johnny Pecayo and Willie Manacsa were there . . .

One wag said that he knew why the Bishop Oscar Solis was seated at the PT’s extreme left and KOSCINC Vice Chair Noel Omega was at its extreme right. The Most Reverend Solis was not asked to give the invocation but he was purposely seated first at the PT because he represented God. And the Almighty is the first always, having created everything. Therefore, the KOSCINC wanted the guests to know that the combination of Bishop Oscar and Noel represented the "Alpha and the Omega" of the Overseas-Filipino World (OFW).

Another pundit opined that perhaps Bishop Solis was seated at the PT because it was the equivalent of the Last Supper, oops, last dinner of the KOSCINC. But if the first Filipino-American bishop represented the Redeemer, who acted for and on behalf of Judas?

Still another pundit said that the presence of the Carson city mayor at the PT was really to personify the KOSCINC slogan for the night. The slogan? "Oh, Dear . . ."

Where’s the Beef?

And this writer was asked why he called the steak served at the Kalayaan Grand Ball as "Beef Barako?" The steak was probably imported by the Long Beach Convention Center’s caterer from Batangas. But then some of the leaders from Batangas asked about the KOSCINC finances and said, "Where’s the beef?"

Talking more of the main entrée, there were lots of beef at the Grand Ball dinner. Dr. Jose Baldonado, who resigned as an officer of the KOSCINC due to health reason, complained about the seating arrangement. He is the president of the Filipino-American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA), one of the oldest and biggest civic associations in Los Angeles. Dr. Baldonado’s beef was that when the FACLA officers reached their three tables, two of them were partially occupied by total strangers. It was good that at least seven of the FACLA officers and guests (out of the 30 tickets bought) failed to make it to the Grand Ball. Otherwise, there would have been the KOSCINC equivalent of the parlor game, "Trip to Jerusalem" . . .

I told my friends at one of the FACLA tables where my sweetheart of a wife, Ceny, and I were seated during the dinner about an Erap tale. (She is a FACLA director and secretary general. And I am the secretary to the secretary.) I said that President Erap was once served also with a lengua (cow’s tongue) that was equally tough as the "Beef Barako." As Erap tried to slice the lengua, the knife slipped and the slice of beef flew to another table where it hit the beautiful Barong of another guest. There was silence and everybody looked at the guest of honor. Well, President Erap said, "It’s OK. It is only a slip of the tongue."

Nothing Dentured, Nothing Gained?

Actually at the Grand Ball, people were cracking not only Erap jokes but also gags about community leaders. Like when somebody noticed that 2003 Kalayaan chair Carlos P. Manlapaz, a retired dentist, was nowhere to be found at the Grand Ball. He asked why Dr. Manlapaz was absent? Was the good doctor boycotting the event? The best answer given was, "Doc Manlapaz has a toothache."

And speaking of teeth, Ms. Trinity Foliente said that one of her molars got chipped when she chewed on the "Beef Barako" during the KOSCINC dinner. It was really that tough. Somebody said that perhaps Gov. Willie Manacsa, the leader of the Midnight Motion Band that performed at the Grand Ball, should have played the slow-dance ditty, "Bridge Over Troubled Molars," to soothe Ms. Trinity.

Another community leader who was MIA (Missing In Action) was Rey Landero, M.D., the considered father of Philippine Independence-Day celebrations. Dr. Landero could not attend the Grand Ball because he was said to be sick. (He was sick and tired of the KOSCINC?)

Then somebody commented that when he saw a rare copy of the KOSCINC souvenir booklet, he noticed that it did not contain many advertisements. It was not a thick booklet. He said that the KOSCINC should have invited President Ads Diaz of the Pangasinan Brotherhood to chair the committee. Why Mr. Diaz? Because he could deliver many ads, starting with himself.

And speaking of sinking vessels, the usually-irreverent Poet-pundit Fred Burce Bunao said in December 2006 that the 2007 Kalayaan organization started wrong from the very beginning. He said that its acronym, KOSCINC, is associated with maritime disasters and the venue was close to the Port of Long Beach. He suggested that the acronym, KOSCWIM, could have been better. Yes, it is better to be able to swim than to sink. The suggested acronym stands for "Kalayaan of Southern California’s Workers, Intellectuals and Morons." Yes, WIM would have been more all-inclusive, aside from being a Win-WIM scenario.

The Grand Ball had many unsung heroes. Some of them were the 14 directors and committee chairs who resigned. Even the 12 former members of the KOSCINC Board of Directors continued with their volunteer work for the Grand Ball. One wag called them the former "Bored members" of KOSCINC. They were really bored to death by the very-long program.

Filipino Equivalent of the Titanic

Then there was former Bored, oops, Board member Gilbert Rabuco, who continued to sell the raffle tickets during the Grand Ball. He was like the band leader at the SS Titanic who kept on leading his musicians to play while the vessel was KOSCINCking, oops, sinking. At the PCG’s Vin de Honor, Benjie Bautista, the Cavitenos of Southern California president and in-charge of the Kalayaan sportsfest committee, said that apparently only the bowling, tennis and golf tournaments and the raffle made money. President Bautista said that Mr. Rabuco sold $966 worth of raffle tickets – all cash. However, Serry Sabocor, who is reputed to be the number-one Oragon of the Bicolano-American community, said that Gilbert actually sold only $66 to others. Serry said that he (Rabuco) himself bought $900 worth of the tickets. But Mr. Rabuco was so unlucky that he did not win any of the round-trip plane tickets to the Philippines, as solicited by Tourism Director Annie Cuevas.

Some of the unsung heroes were the officers and staff members of the Philippine Consulate General. The consular people bought about 200 dinner tickets for themselves and their friends. But the KOSCINC seating-arrangement committee left them two tables short. What the consulate officers did was to give up 20 of their seats to their guests. Some of them said that it was good for their health to skip the steak dinner (and save their teeth in the process). They preferred to do the KOSCINC Diet, which really guarantees the loss of weight. The diet consists of skipping totally dinner, day in, day out.

Seen leaving during the dinner was Consul Ed Yulo, who is still recovering from a stroke he suffered recently. (This is why he uses a cane temporarily.) One wag asked if Consul Yulo’s departure was some kind of protest or mutiny against the KOSCINC leaders. I said that Consul Yulo told me that he wanted to rest early that night. But I told the kibitzer that if it were an act of defiance, then it could be called the "Cane Mutiny." (By the way, please continue to include Consul Yulo in your prayers, guys.)

Yes, the KOSCINC might have sunk but it has become like that battleship of a memorial in Pearl Harbor. It may be a wreck in the history of Long Beach and its harbor but it is now a living testament to the Filipino-American wit and humor.

(To be continued , , , if there is a popular request for the series to go on.)

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 18:27

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