in Marginalia

Remembering Adrian Cristobal

From an October 9, 1993 Philippines Free Press article entitled Response by Adrian Cristobal, a speech read by the late Filipino writer immediately after Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. delivered the opening remarks for the launch of Pasquinades, Cristobal’s collection of columns. In his speech, which was also published in the same issue, Locsin said that Cristobal and him had a pact never to publish their columns because “these things are perishable stuff.” “If you didn’t catch Adrian’s light pieces in the Globe, you have yet another opportunity to skip them in this volume,” Locsin quipped.

DON’T go away.
Besides, you can’t. All the exits are closed.
This is my revenge.
But to be serious—for once.
thank you, Teddyboy, for words that penetrate right through the sacrum. There is a bare bodkin in my thorax.
I now regret that I didn’t ask you to write the introduction.
There will be a next time.
to be serious, it is a starless, dark night outside. The firmaments are one black hole.
The reason for this is that all the stars have come down from the heavens to gather here at the Champagne Salon.
I am tempted to retire in glory.
But first let me say that the book in your hands—they should be in your hands—was written without the thought of fortune or fame. As a matter of fact, they were written with absolutely no thought at all. That is why I am a columnist, or a potential Cabinet member.
Having reached this pinocchio of my success I feel entitled to give some advice to the writers present.
First, you must have a wife as a gravitational force to my chaotic universe, the radiant source of virtues of which my being is deprived, the lifeforce that breeds the six siblings that are the envy of Lear.
Second, you must have an editor of consummate altruism—that is, free of charge—and talent.
Third, a publisher like Anvil in the corporate manifestation of the compleat kulitatrix Karina Bolasco. Note: Kulitatrix is not a Latin word, it means makulit, but charmingly so.
Third, to make the launching the success that it is, you need friends, solicitors like Tony Baranda, Annie Ringor, Boy Togonon, Ernie Tolentino, Joe de Velezsky, Butch del Castillo, Maricel Lopez, Myther Bunyag, Alice Reyes, Raoul Victorino, Michael Tan, Cesar Sarino, Joe Velez (did I say that already?), Leslie Bocobo, Pinky Roque, Malou of Raul Contreras and Raul Contreras himself, Guillermo Picache, Maricel Lopez (did I say that already?).
But most of all, you who are gathered tonight whom I will remember in my will.
Your presence is not a tribute to my humble gifts, which are considerable, but to that friendship without which life would bot be worth the price of a book.
Talent is a matter of opinion. But friendship is a matter of fact.
I toast you all.


From the groupie dept. Fans of Adrian Cristobal can read two essays included in Pasquinades, the 1993 National Book Award winner for the essay category, by clicking here and here.

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  1. The pleasure is all mine. Actually preserved the copy of the said issue because the speeches of both Cristobal and Locsin were published side by side. Pity that the tributes written in remembrance of Cristobal barely made mention of his brilliant columns–the Breakfast Table in the Inquirer, Pasquinades in the Sunday Globe, and another one–whose name I fail to recall–for Graphic.