Saturday, February 12, 2011

Celdran's Living La Vida Imelda

Last January 23, I posted my mischievous lakwatsa experience on San Agustin Museum. I never thought that I have a skill in becoming an escape artist - I made an escape on Carlos Celdran's Intramuros tour. To my great surprise, Carlos himself posted a comment on that blog post and he liked it, he found it "cute and charming" daw. At first, I really don't know how to react on this, he shared that blog post on Facebook, he even twitted it. In just a few hours, the number of my readers sky-rocketed. I received a lot of complements because of it. I was the man of the hour (asumero). But really, it felt good. The best part was that Celdran gave me 2 free tickets for his Imelda tour (oh yeah). An Imelda tour would cost 900 pesos for adults and 450 pesos for students.

I decided to join his Imelda tour on Feb. 12 at 2 PM. I won't attend my Calculus and Bio-ethics classes on that day. It would be my first absent in the entire semester and it won't hurt I guess. Sometimes sacrifices are needed to survive in this world. I invited my friend to come along, since I have 2 free tickets.

Feb. 12 - I woke up, excited and ready for my free Imelda tour. There's a bit "kaba" in me. I prepared everything I need, brought cash with me (just in case Celdran was just joking about the free tickets).

My friend and I arrived at the CCP complex a bit early, 1:03 PM to be exact. The gift shop was still close so we decided to just have a little photoshoot at the CCP grounds.

At around 1:45 PM, we entered the gift shop lobby, the lady guard asked me to leave my camera, it is prohibited to take pictures inside the CCP.

We waited at the gift shop lobby for Carlos Celdran along with fellow tourists, mostly foreigners. While waiting, I was practicing how I will introduce my self to him:
"Hi sir, I'm Ivan, the blogger."
"Hello po, ako po yung nagtago sa banyo noon, do you remember?"
"Hi sir Carlos, I'm the batang lakwatsero"

When Celdran finally arrived at 2:15 PM, I forgot about my introductory speech. He started his tour right away with our National Anthem then we set our full attention to his stories of the little provinciana Imelda. I will not go into details of his stories, basta every story he told us was funny and intriguing.

We entered different rooms, walked along the corridors while listening to his 70's music. We even entered CCP's main theater at the boxes where the Marcoses used to watch. I learned a lot of new things regarding Imelda, whether they were true or not, the stories and gossips are simply funny. One story that I could not forget was when Imelda entered the Buckingham Palace, and was halted by a guard because she's wearing a tiara, (it is said that only the true royal bloods are allowed to wear a tiara inside the palace) she took the tiara off and placed it at her neck (transforming the tiara into a choker). Another funny part was whenever Celdran impersonates Imelda, he will cover his face with a picture of Imelda, changes the tone of his voice, and bring a handkerchief at his right hand. This man is a talented impersonator.

We had a five minute break when we're back at the gift shop lobby, he told us to claim already our cameras at the entrance. I thought this was my chance to tell Celdran who I am but I was too shy to approach him.

He then led us out of the theater into the Philippine International Convention Center. Celdran told us that this convention center was the first in Asia, hosting the 1976 IMF-World Bank Meeting. Sitting in front of the PICC, the Coconut Palace and the Folk Arts Theater were at sight.

PICC's lobby was astonishing, the chandeliers and the stairs were simply pang-mayaman. It was here in the building where he told stories about Martial Law, both good and dark side. I saw men in barong escorting our tour group. I don't want to tell everything about the tour, about the stories he told us. Basta all his stories were intriguing, funny and nakaka-lol.

He ended the tour with a bow at the plenary hall and charged everyone at the PICC lobby.

*Nang umalis na ang karamihan at nakapag-bayad na, nilapitan ko si Celdran upang makipag kilala at magpaabot ng pasasalamat sa free tour:

"Hi sir, I'm Ivan the blogger," pagppapakilala ko sa kanya.

"Ok," sabi niya, sabay lingon sa kasama at sinabing, "sa wakas natapos na naman ... blah blah blah"

Natahimik ako, natulala, walang salitang lumabas sa aking bibig nang ilang segundo, para akong binuhusan ng malamig na tubig. Nag-titigan lang kami ng kasama ko. Sabi ko sa aking sarili, "nakakahiya naman yun, inisnob lang ako."

"Tara na nga, umalis na lang tayo," sabi ko sa kasama ko. At humayo na nga kami, dala ang kahihiyan ng pag-isnob ni Carlos sa akin.

Sa tingin ko iyon na ang huling pagkikita ko kay Carlos, kasabay ng pag-isnob niya sa akin ay gumuho nabawasan ang aking pag-hanga sa kanya. May be I was just expecting a little too much. He's not a very approachable person, at least for a middle class like me. Oh well, at least I had a free tour with my friend, and I thank him for that. He's still the best tour guide I met so far.

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