I have to confess I am one of many who didn’t give Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas a chance, at least initially. My excuse is that his namesake is my childhood idol. Isiah Lord Thomas III of the Detroit Pistons was a back-to-back champion, twelve time all-star and hall of famer who was also known as the Smiling Assassin. ‘Lord’ is also considered one of the 50 Greatest NBA Players of all time easily the best Detroit Piston ever.
No matter how unfair or even illogical the comparison, there was this feeling that the current Isaiah more popularly known as I.T. would never be as good as the ‘original’. While ‘Lord’ was already considered small at 6’1”, I.T. is even smaller at 5’9”. In a league where NBA guards are 6’4” and even more athletically gifted and fast – John Wall or super shooters like Steph Curry there’s not a lot of fans or pundits who could expect him to excel.
(Unilever Phil tapped Steph Curry to endorse Rexona in basketball crazy Philippines)
But that’s exactly what he did. These days especially with the dramatic Boston win over the Washington Wizards in Game 7 and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, I.T. is finally getting the attention and respect he deserves.
He averaged 29 points per game this season, but what’s even more impressive is when he scores. He averages 10.1 pts in the 4th quarter. From boston.com: Thomas is averaging more points in the fourth quarter than any NBA player in at least 20 years.
If he continues his 4thQ excellence he could be the most clutch point guard to ever play the game. This season he also made ALL NBA second team displacing the likes of Chris Paul and Damien Lillard. ALL NBA first team guards were MVP rivals Russell Westbrook who averaged a triple double and James Harden. (courtesy of the STARTERS)
I.T’s father James Thomas, was a long time L.A. native and Laker fan, moved to Tacoma, Washington. He made a bet with a friend with his son’s name on the line, sure that the Lakers would beat the Pistons in the finals (1989). But the birth came several months earlier than the finals and by then decided to go with it. His mother, Tina Baldtrip, insisted on the biblical spelling and adding an ‘a’, from the Pistons’ Hall of Famer’s version. Thus he was born Isaiah Jamar Thomas. He also adopted the same nickname Zeke apart from ‘Big Head’.
He took Lord’s number 11 which he used for his high school stint. His mom Tina arranged for IT to meet Isiah Thomas when he was scouting for the Knicks in University of Washington. After the Piston Great gave him an inspiring talk, the two became text mates.
One of the big influences in his game is Allen Iverson. You can see this when he uses his quickness and crossovers. They met for the first time before the start of this season. A.I. pointing at IT, “This is what makes me happy to be me. Little killers grow up to be real killers. This is it right here, this is the future”, quoted from the preseason docu BOOK OF ISAIAH.
I.T. had a stellar collegiate career in University of Washington earning the PAC-10 Freshman of the Year and ALL PAC 10 in his sophomore and junior years. In spite of this the Sacramento Kings picked him in the second round, 60th overall.
Best Record in the East
Since 2016 after being traded from Phoenix to Boston, I.T. was putting up the numbers worthy of a ‘star’ or at least enough to be the Celtics’ leader. THIS was also a break out season for I.T. making his second ALL-STAR appearance. More importantly, the Celtics were winning. Still no one actually believed they could steal the number one record in the East from the mighty Cavs. And yet they manage to do so down the wire. It came down to the last 5 games or so of the season but the Celts manage to get a 53-20 record bettering the Cavs’ 51-31.
Celtics vs Bulls and sister Chyna’s Death
Since Boston was able to garner the best regular season record in the East, most people thought they’d easily win the first round series against the Bulls. Chicago had been in disarray; Rajon Rondo had difficulty adjusting to his new team, Dwyane Wade was also not as dominant as he used to be. But then on April 15, the night before Game 1 of the series, there was tragic news for I.T. Chyna Thomas his half sister (shared the same dad James Thomas), died in a car accident near their hometown of Tacoma, Washington.
In Game 1, I.T. came out to a rousing ovation from Boston fans who appreciated their star point guard suiting up in spite of his personal loss. Dwyane Wade however, overcame the effects of father time by scoring 26 points, 11 Rebounds and 8 assists to lead the Bulls to a 106-102 win. In Game 2 Jimmy Butler and Wade both had 22pts while Rondo came alive with 14 assists for the Bulls domination: 111-97 of the Celtics. At that point fans and sports analysts started writing them off, saying they were better in the regular season than post.
I.T. by then had flown to Tacoma for his sister’s funeral and was joined by teammates. Most notably Avery Bradley who was his friend since high school. Rondo also injured his hand in Game 2. In Chicago, the Celtics seemed to get things together. Al Horford had a monster game 18 points 8 rebounds. I.T. had a strong second half with a total of 18 pts 9 assists for a Boston win 104-87 in Game 3. Celtics never looked back since then closing out the series 4-2 in Game 6.
Second Round Underdogs
Although Boston had a deeper bench, almost everyone picked the Wizards in this series. The firepower of what may be the best backcourt in the Eastern conference of John Wall and Bradley Beal would be just too much to handle for any team. And even when the series was tied at 3 a piece with each home team winning- game 7 at the TD Garden, Boston was still the underdogs. Stephen A. Smith (of ESPN) and even former Celtic guard Eddie House still chose the Wizards during a guesting at radio show The Herd.
The odds were certainly stacked against Boston even if they had home court advantage. In my mind became one of the most dramatic Playoffs Series in recent years. Yes, even more dramatic than the Cavs overcoming Warriors’ 3-1 lead in the finals last year.
It’s WAR not the Playoffs
The Boston vs Washington series was tough, physical and old school. This isn’t a competition, its war. People were getting hurt. This harkens to before the hand check rule and flagrant fouls. Although Boston won Game 1 (123-111), I.T. got an inadvertent elbow from Otto Porter knocking one front tooth out cleanly. Two more were damaged but still had to be pulled out. In spite of losing the tooth, he still managed to score 33 points. He had to endure 10 hours of dental surgery in between games.
Game 2 Miracle
Game 2 was one of those nights of destiny, where adversity becomes the fuel for an extraordinary performance. As IF the physical challenges weren’t enough Game 2 was on the birthday of Chyna Thomas, May 2. If she didn’t pass away, 2 weeks before she’d be 23 years old. This was one of those games that would be talked about long after. John Wall was unstoppable scoring 40 points and 13 assists.
The TD Garden fell to a hush when I.T. slammed his face on the hard court knowing his teeth had been knocked out the previous game. But the custom mouth guard did its job protecting his teeth although he was still experiencing some pain. But I.T. showed how clutch he really is exploding for 19 points in the 4th Q. He added another crucial 10 points in overtime for 53 points total. It was a magical Celtics win 129-119. I.T. dedicated the game to his sister but also shared in the interview that he was better able to deal with her loss in the arena with his friends and teammates than outside, realizing she was gone.
In Game 3 the series would move to Washington’s Verizon Center where they got a boost from their fans. The increasing physicality though would come to a head with Wizards Kelly Oubre’s takedown of Celts Kelly Olynyk after 2 tough screens. Olynyk on the slomos looked like he gave a body check, knocking Oubre down twice. They still appeared to be a legal pick and roll. But by the second time he did it, Oubre had enough and shoved Olynyk to the floor and also hitting the ref in the process. Oubre was immediately ejected from the game but the Wizards still won 116-89.
Wall & Beal show
The team with the home court would win: Game 4 Wizards (121-102), Game 5 Boston (123-101). Game 6 was a show of strength from the Wizards’ backcourt.
Bradley Beal topped all scorers with 33 points. But it was John Wall’s clutch 3 pointer with 3.5 seconds to go that sealed the 92-91 win. After making the last second basket Wall leapt to the scorer’s table screaming, “Not in my house, not in my house!” Thumping his chest as fans went crazy. He finished with 26 points and 8 assists.
Unlikely Heroes in Game 7
Throughout the first half it was an epic battle between John Wall, Bradley Beal and Isaiah Thomas. Each were answering jumpers, treys and lay ups until the 4th quarter when an unlikely hero emerged in Kelly Olynyk. As the defense grew tighter around I.T sometimes triple teaming him, especially on the inside, he had to pass off. He was finding a completely open Olynyk who buried trey after trey. As his confidence grew he would beat Gortat off the dribble for a lay-up. In the end he scored 16 of his 29 points in the 4th quarter as Boston wins the series 115-105.
After the game I.T. was asked about their chances against defending champs Cleveland Cavaliers. He answered, “They didn’t give us a chance in this series. They didn’t give us a chance when we were down 2-0 in the Chicago series. We got the number one seed they didn’t give us a chance. They don’t ever give us a chance and we just keep going. We don’t care what others say.”
Detroit Bad Boys
While I.T. is inevitably compared to the Detroit Pistons great Isiah Thomas, Olynyk also draws comparison to another ‘Bad Boy’- Bill Laimbeer. He too is a 7 foot white guy who has the ability to shoot a 3ptr. Laimbeer was once called the most hated player in the NBA, because of his flopping and knew how to use the rules to his advantage. Although Olynyk has not gotten as tough a reputation, he also had a dangerous play with Kevin Love, both grabbing a loose ball. The Cavs attributed Kevin’s shoulder being dislocated to Olynyk’s rough play.
But just like the Detroit Bad Boys, this Celtic team is gritty, tough and physical with a lot of unlikely heroes. Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, are both great at defense and offense. Avery Bradley’s consistent outside shooting complements I.T.’s game. Al Horford’s scoring can only improve with more experience in the post season. Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier are good young players they can bank on in the coming years. Maybe they’ll win a championship or two just like the Detroit Bad Boys.
Conclusion-Future Looks Green
Whether or not the Boston Celtics win the series against the Lebron led Cavaliers is almost immaterial. Losing the series to the defending champs does not diminish their accomplishments. This has been an incredible year, where they have definitely overachieved. People will look back on this Playoff run and see this is when they made the world take notice.
What we’ve seen from Isaiah is that he has proven he is among the elite. He has helped make the Boston Celtics one of the top four teams in the league. GM Danny Ainge has a lot to smile about too when they drew the top pick in the upcoming draft.
Written and photographed
by Jude Bautista
These are four talented, skillful individuals who won in the 9th Gawad Buhay Awards Night last May 10, 2017 at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, Cultural Center of the Philippines:
Jef Flores-Male Lead Performance in a Musical
(TICK, TICK…BOOM from 9 Works Theatrical),
Menchu Lauchengco Yulo-Female Featured Performance in a Musical
(ANNIE- Resort’s World Manila/Full House Theater Company),
Myke Salomon-Outstanding Musical Direction
(3 Stars and a Sun from PETA) and
John Batalla-Outstanding Lighting Design
(ALMOST, MAINE from Repertory Philippines).
Fortunately for the public the amazing work by these four awardees can be seen in one currently running musical in GODSPELL. Children and fathers who want to make Mom happy can bring her to the show this Mother’s Day. GODSPELL has 8PM shows on May 6, 12, 13, 19 & 20. And there are 3PM shows on May 7, 14 & 21, all at the Carlos P Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza.
This is a very entertaining musical, which poses the question: is Christ’s work and deeds relevant in a chaotic modern world? Don’t let the subject matter intimidate it actually helps audiences understand the gospel and puts it into music that moves the very soul. Even kids are encouraged to watch.
Jef Flores is in the lead role as Jesus. Myke Salomon is both John the Baptist and Judas while winning an award as a Musical Director. Menchu Lauchengco Yulo shows her vocal range while being the Artistic Director in Resorts World Manila. The only non-actor among them is Lighting Director John Batalla whose work is literally seen throughout GODSPELL.
One might wonder how, the awards slipped past such a star-studded show, especially since this is the second run since last year. This is because the Gawad Buhay award is only given to productions of organizations that are members of PHILSTAGE. Perhaps this will help motivate MUSIC ARTES, the producers of GODSPELL to join PHILSTAGE in the future, soon hopefully. As anyone can see that this version is definitely worthy of a few awards.
PHILSTAGE members include:
9 Works Theatrical, Actor’s Actors Inc., Ballet Manila, Ballet Philippines, Culturtrain Musical Productions Inc., Gantimpala Theater Foundation, Full House Theater Company, Philippine Educational Theater Association, Philippine Ballet Theatre, Philippine Opera Company, Repertory Philippines, Red Turnip Theater, Stages, Tanghalang Pilipino, Trumpets
Paola Barrientos (Monica) storms into her husband’s car wash and finds him playing FIFA, a football game on Playstation. She drags him out to the street, “I got this credit card bill from the mail. Didn’t I tell you not to apply for a card? The other week we couldn’t pay the bill for the water and electricity. We are drowning in debt. We have two daughters Russo. And I catch you playing video games here?” Pablo Rago (Russo) tries to placate his wife without success. Thankfully she walks home by herself.
The next day Russo finds two of his employees in a heated argument. One of them complains that the player they created on Playstation has been edited to gain size and weight making him a horrible striker / scorer. That’s when Russo gets his eureka moment. What if we turn our real life pro footballer Pittilanga “The Donkey” into a defender? Would it make him a better player?
You can watch PAPELES EN EL VIENTO (Papers in the Wind) for free. It is one of many movies in the Argentinian Film Festival running from May 11 to 14, 2017 at the Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall. There’s animation film METEGOL (Underdogs) from Oscar winner Juan José Campanella and MUJERES CON PELOTAS (Women With Balls) a documentary on the struggles of women’s football in Argentina and a documentary on football legend Diego Maradona: AMANDO A MARADONA (Loving Maradona) and many more inspiring movies.
Argentinian Ambassador Roberto Bosch said that the fest has a football theme in order to help promote the sport in the Philippines. Filipinos have shown a strong talent in football with the likes of Phil and James Younghusband and many more. In 2014, Unilever brought in Andy Cole and Paul Scholes of Manchester United to give the sport a boost in popularity.
PAPELES EN EL VIENTO is more than just a football themed film. The story illustrates how the game is revered, elevated into the status of no less than a religion in Argentina. Based on the best selling novel by Eduardo Sacheri, the film has also had similar box office success. In a country that has produced the most recognizable names in football like Diego Maradona and today’s superstar Lionel Messi, we see the sport pervading every facet of Argentinian life.
3 friends attend the funeral of their lost comrade Mono played by Diego Torres. Mono was terminally ill and divorced. The three find out that he was not able to save anything in his bank account and may leave his daughter without any inheritance. While rifling through his things they find a contract and documents owning the rights in representing an unknown football player named Pittilanga. Mono paid a total of $300,000 for the contract.
They drive off to the boondocks to the minor league in order to watch him. Because of the hefty contract they had high expectations. While the game was well attended, Pittilanga turned out to be a bust. He had several attempts and chances to score and yet came out empty. One time he was wide open near the goal and still managed to miss. Pitilanga’s team loses horribly in the game. The three of them go home in despair not knowing how they could sell the contract to a player who had no hope of going to the major leagues. The film shows their struggle in salvaging whatever they can from this seemingly ill-fated contract.
The friends: Fernando, Mauricio, Russo and Mono all grew up in the same neighborhood in the city of Avellaneda whose home team is INDEPENDIENTE. The one thing Mono asked his brother Fernando is to make sure his daughter Guada becomes an Independiente fan, more than anything else.
Featured prominently in the film is Bochini Street named after iconic player Ricardo Bochini who played for Independiente in the 1970s. The street is the thoroughfare that leads to the stadium. Diego Maradona has confessed that Bochini was his own childhood idol and has influenced much of his game.
The colors of the team are red and white, which are also similar to a team in the Philippine Basketball Association: Barangay Ginebra. Although a different sport, Barangay (meaning village) Ginebra enjoys a similar obsession and devotion from Filipino fans. Perhaps a Jaworski street may be named in the future leading to Araneta Coliseum?
The brooding Diego Peretti plays Fernando. Among the friends he has more at stake being the older brother to Mono and uncle to 9-year-old Guadalupe. Being a high school teacher by profession he was nearly laughed out of a meeting by a top sports agent. Peretti will also be starring in MAMÁ SE FUE DE VIAJE and CASI LEYENDAS set for release this year.
Pablo Echarri is the successful but conniving Mauricio. Between the friends he has the resources, as he is a lawyer in a huge firm. The problem is that his loyalty turns when a pro team asks him to intervene in his friends’ negotiations for Pittilanga without them knowing it.
Daniel Rabinovich plays one of the controversial characters. He portrays a corrupt sports radio commentator who asks for huge sums of money from the 3 friends to promote their player. To be CLEAR the naming of the role is just by coincidence. The character’s name is Prieto, same as the prominent Prieto clan in the Philippines who happens to own the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Radyo Inquirer DZIQ 990AM.
Pablo Rago is the scruffy, bearded, tough Russo. His addiction to FIFA in the SONY Playstation platform proves enlightening. The video game has evolved through the years allowing users to be in the role of general manager (acquiring players, hiring coach and other staff), as well as controlling players on the field.
One of the features also allows the creation of one football superstar from scratch, assigning body type, special skills even hairstyle, complexion and tattoos. Through gameplay, Russo realizes that they were looking at Pittilanga all wrong. They called him a Donkey because he kicks the ball strong but almost aimlessly missing the goal, making him an awful striker. But will the same strength translate to a better defender?
Vitus (Fabrizio Borsani) at age 6 resented having a babysitter. Isabelle (Kristina Lykowa) was barely just a child at 12. His mom Helen (Julika Jenkins) told her to let him practice the piano by himself. Seeing her he just passes his hand through the keys and ignores her on his way to his room to read. Isabelle follows him to his bedroom. “Did you know I made this bat for you when you were just a baby?” then pointing to his favorite toy. “Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?” Vitus shakes his head and says ‘No’ with a beaming smile she says, “I want to be a rock singer!”
Next thing you know, Vitus is playing the piano while Isabelle is lip syncing to a song blaring on the radio. When parents Leo (Urs Jucker) and Helen come home, they see them asleep in each other’s arms on the sofa. The next day Vitus tells his grandfather (Bruno Ganz), “I know who I’m going to marry.”
VITUS is only one of several movies that will be shown in the Swiss Family Film Festival at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall for free on a first come first served basis. The fest will be held on the weekends of April 28-30 and May 5-7, 2017. The festival is part of the 60th Anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Switzerland and the Philippines.
It has won Best Feature from the Chicago international Film Festival and Best Picture in the Swiss Film Prize for Writer Director Fredi M. Muhrer.
Vitus is a child prodigy with an IQ of 180 and being able to play Bach as a toddler. He was bored in school, often too advanced for the curriculum. Even when he was accelerated joining college at 14, he was reading a newspaper in the middle of class. His professor asked him to solve a math problem, computing bank interest earnings. Vitus solved it twice as fast as his classmates who used calculators.
The problem wasn’t his intelligence but rather his emotional quotient. People around him like classmates, older students tend to hate and bully him. Although he did love music and the piano there was this growing pressure to live up to his potential. There was this need in him to be a normal everyday kid who just wants to play and be with others his own age. Little do they know, Vitus’ talents and abilities go much farther and wider than just being a piano prodigy.
All children can relate with Vitus, while education and developing his talent is important, love, affection and understanding can be more uplifting. This is where his grandfather played by Bruno Ganz, has had a tremendous influence on him. He is the one who nurtures a sense of adventure and the creative side in the child.
A cabinetmaker by profession, he never fails to bring flowers to Vitus’ pretty mom Helen. He loves to play chess with his grandson and has shared his obsession with planes and becoming a pilot. In fact he wrote love letters to his late wife by tying them to a balloon and has Vitus release them to the sky. “I used to write love letters to Anne Marie, now I write to the beautiful woman who sits across from me in the train, the glistening lake, the peach tree that gives me shade and the lovely figure skater on TV.”
Bruno Ganz is one of the most established Swiss actors, having starred in countless roles from UNKNOWN with Liam Neeson in 2011 to playing Adolf Hitler in DOWNFALL (2005). One of Ganz’ most recent hit (also as the grandfather) is HEIDI (2015) which is part of the Swiss Family Film Festival. This live action film from the classic Swiss novel written by Johanna Spyri is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Playing the 12-year-old Vitus is real life piano prodigy Teo Gheorghiu. For his performance he won Best Male Debut from the Undine Awards in Austria. Gheorghiu, looks like a young Christian Bale in the film EMPIRE OF THE SUN. These days he has concentrated more on his music than his acting career.
Since starring in the film Gheorghiu has truly become an international classical artist. He has played in ‘London (Queen Elisabeth Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Centre, Royal Albert Hall), New York, Paris, Tokyo, Zurich, St Petersburg, Madrid and Prague. He has performed with orchestras including Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Bern Symphonie Orchester, Sinfonica de Bilbao, Orquestra Filamonica de Minas Gerais, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Müncher Symphoniker.’ From official website.
One of the elements that make this film great is its ability to open classical music to a wider audience. When you see a brilliant 12 year old execute Mozart’s ‘Rondo a-Moll KV 511’ or Franz Liszt’s ‘Ungarische Rhapsodie Nr. 6’. There’s no denying the power and emotion of the music especially when he’s playing it with passion and love, which he had to journey so he could discover it himself.
Those who are already fans of classical music will enjoy them even more: ‘Der wilde Reiter’ by Robert Schumann, ‘Alborada del gracioso’ by Maurice Ravel, ‘Goldberg Variationen (29, 30, Aria)’ by Bach and the list goes on. Incidentally, the rock song Isabelle lip-synced from the radio that made Vitus fall in love with her is a Tina Turner original entitled ‘Nutbush City Limits’.
In a way Gheorghiu has fulfilled his film character’s ambition in real life by becoming the international classical artist that he is today. VITUS should be viewed by anyone at any age, so you can be inspired to pursue your dreams in your own way.
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
My nephew Jay Bautista and his lovely wife Linnel’s wedding last March here in the Philippines was an opportunity for family and friends to come from all over the world to join in the celebration. This is especially true of the bride’s family as well, Linnel’s brother Nathan and sisters (Debbie, Angela and Lilet) came from the U.S.. A great number of their family and friends have come from abroad.
My own brother Donald who is now based in Roswell, New Mexico for the past year has come back home with us. And two of my other brothers George and Noel have come from the cities of Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand.
Mother of the groom, Joy has a number of family who arrived: JC Mallonga with wife Bonnie Lou and children, John T Mallonga. John T has been in New York for the past 7 years without coming back until now.
Many other relatives have come from different parts of the world to share this momentous occasion. Since there were several dates of celebration and in between many more dinners and get togethers, a large amount of photos have accumulated.
Thank God for facebook, wordpress and even flickr I am able to post photos and share them with the people who have been kind enough to attend the celebrations. Special mention to our friends and schoolmates from St Peter the Apostle School who welcomed George almost on a yearly basis or as frequent as he is able to come back. We never take any of that for granted, as both George and I are alumni of SPAS.
My brother Timmy, the father of the groom also has a long list of people who helped organize the Conrad’s Reception and make it a resounding success. This post, the photos here are our own small way of thanking them and all of you.
These days we may find that distance and time may separate us from the people who matter to us. There are fewer and fewer opportunities to say ‘thank you’ and even ‘I love you’. We never get to express it enough, not even to each other in the family. So in these smiles we hope that you do see our gratitude and love for all of you.
My Warmth, Happy Birthday
A poem by
Each year that passes
My body changes, slows down
Eyes see less and reading gets harder
Each year that passes
I grow tired easily the less I want to
eat, drink, think and achieve
Each year that passes
I get buried in debt in what
I haven’t done and lost potential
Each year that passes
Life is not about what I do
but rather who I share it with
Each year that passes
The more I know you, the more
I argue with you, the more I
can’t live without you
Each year that passes
Could be a day, an hour, a minute
In my mind I’ve shared many lifetimes
with you. The only thing that matters is
every moment I’ve had with you
Time becomes a river that was
once calm and now rages
washing everything and
You are my anchor that I hold on to
in these torrents
Without you I would have willingly
faded into insignificance
Pat Dy with Henry Vergara and Videographer Dan Mendiola were the official photographers at Jay and Linnel’s wedding, March 2nd, 2017. Although I (Jude Bautista) am a photojournalist I was more of a pesky uncle just trying to capture some memories for the family and THIS blog. I took photos trying not to be too intrusive to Pat Dy and his team. I took some snapshots as Pat, Henry and Dan art directed the portraitures of the couple and the entourage while some of the coverage during the wedding was my own. I insisted on shooting the photos you see here no matter how unsolicited. This is my own gift for their celebration of love.
And apart from writing a short backgrounder I discovered there were a lot of touching speeches from the bride’s parents Nelson and Lilibeth De Villa and the groom’s parents Timothy and Joy Bautista and other family members. Their speeches are included below in full.
Jose Yldefonso Bautista and Leticia Linnel De Villa were made for each other. They met through their JS Prom attended by students from Poveda and Xavier (their high schools).
Both of them were successful and highly competitive in sports. Linnel was already a Junior golfer who competed internationally when they met. Golf was a passion she shared with her sisters Lilet, Debbie & Angel who also competed abroad and even trained in the U.S. Jay on the other hand was a bemedalled swimmer since his toddler years through to college.
Their love grew as they pursued studies abroad. Linnel attended California State University San Marcos while Jay went to Fordham. Although in different coasts they kept up their romance, with shared summer and Christmas vacations with each other’s families. Both of them now live and work in New York.
This year would be their 12th year as a couple. The first wedding ceremony was on September 9, 2016 in New York City Hall. The date also happens to be Linnel’s birthday. Then a beach wedding followed in Balesin Island, Philippines March 2nd, 2017. Finally a reception for family and friends here in Manila was held at Conrad’s March 5th, 2017.
The messages below were delivered on March 5th, 2017 during the Conrad’s reception.
Nelson De Villa (Father of the Bride)
Jay and Linnel’s love story is one for the books. They’ve been boyfriend girlfriend for 12 years since their high school days, almost 12 years. I remember Timmy and Joy invited us for lunch. And we were kind of surprised to have photographers. Its kind of family pictures and they weren’t engaged yet at the time. So I was thinking what if they split up? We already have this pre nup arrangement.
After that get together even the parents felt they would get married. So this is a series of celebrations. First was in New York, where they were civilly married. We waited in a long line, more than the ceremony itself. Probably the ceremony lasted for just ten minutes. We didn’t have time to cry at the time.
Unlike in Balesin you will see in the video you will see me crying. Now in Conrad’s this is a bigger celebration. And after this is the best part, waiting for the apo. I wish Jay and Linnel many kids. I thank everyone for coming, new friends. This is indeed a very good celebration.
Lilibeth De Villa (Mother of the Bride)
For JY and Linnel I would just keep on repeating what I’ve been saying, the advice that was given to me by my mom when I got married: To love respect your in laws as your very own. That’s the same for JY as for all the lovable family. We would like to thank Tim and Joy for this celebration.
Actually I was kind of sad, I was thinking that this will be the last time after a series. We’re so happy we’ve met you family, friends and relatives of JY. When JY asked permission from us it wasn’t that difficult for me to say ‘yes’ because I know Linnel is so well loved by the Bautistas. JY is so well loved by our family too. He is and will forever be our favorite son in law. We have four girls and one boy. He will always be the first son in law. We love you JY!
Nathan De Villa (Bride’s Only Brother)
Good evening everyone I am Nathan De Villa. I am the youngest and only brother of Ate Linnel. I am here to not only give my first speech at a wedding but also my first ever brother of the bride speech. I can tell you right now it is a weird, new but electrifying feeling. Let me start off by congratulating the newlyweds who finally tied the knot. So please give them a round of applause.
From Poveda, Xavier, San Diego and New York, getting married in New York, getting married in Balesin, finally we’re here at Conrad’s. On behalf of the Bautista and De Villa family I would like to sincerely thank everyone who came here who shared this memorable life event with us. Most especially thank you to the Titos and Titas, Ninongs and Ninangs and the rest of the relatives who flew all the way from around the world just for ate Linnel and JY.
Ate Linnel, growing up you know we were never really physically close to each other. when we both lived in the Philippines we studied in different schools. When I moved to the States, you moved from California to New York. I was in California so obviously we weren’t together. We never really grew up with each other. I felt like we were just side-by-side.
Over the years I realized how truly caring and loving you are as a person. For instance whenever ates and I, mom and dad, JY are trying to help you with a hectic problem in New York or just a simple chore at home, I notice how you always ask how we are doing first.
Building up to this wedding I know you were going through so much stressful things at work, New York, China or I don’t even know. Sometimes I can’t keep up with it any more. The point is whatever problem you’re dealing with you always message, snapchat and face time us, its like we’re the ones who have a problem.
All your life you’ve always been a selfless and loving person. That’s something you’re going to carry forward even more I guarantee it.
JY all my life whenever people ask me ‘how many siblings do you have?’. I have four older sisters, which makes me the youngest and only boy. But tonight finally that’s going to change. I’ve always wondered what it was like to have an older bro. You know with ate Linnel now God bless me would not just be an older bro but a confident, witty, hilarious and strangely amusing Kuya JY. I’d also want to give a shout out to Alfonso Bautista, where are you?
Set aside the times when you were overly competitive in FIFA and basketball. I am 99.9999 percent sure that you are the best man on this earth to best take care of my beautiful, loving, caring, selfless Ate Linnel. So I really do appreciate you JY. And I am so happy to be part of your humble and adoring family. Once again I love you Ate Linnel, JY another big congratulations.
Tim Bautista (Father of the Groom)
Before anything else, please allow me to make a clarification. There is no truth to the rumor that Mr. Jaime ‘Jimmy’ Bautista, President of Philippine Airlines is my relative. Fortunately through Nelson and Lilibeth, Jimmy is now Godparent to JY and Linnel and my kumpadre! Let’s please give a warm round of applause for Mr. Jimmy Bautista.
Good evening everyone and welcome to the post wedding celebration of Linnel and JY. Your presence tonight deeply warms our hearts and makes our families very, very happy.
Thank you so much to the relatives and friends of the De Villas you are now all of our friends too! Bigyan po natin ng isang masigabong palakpakan ang mga De Villas and their guests. Maraming, maraming salamat po to our guests sa Bautista side.
To all principal sponsors of JY and Linnel, to our dear relatives and friends who are based both here and abroad, To my bosses and colleagues at Cable Boss and OMI,
To all our friends in the Philippine Cable TV Association and program providers from HBO, Fox Network Group, Turner International, Vision Plus, MCI Outdoor, ViaCom, NBC Universal, A and E, I-Concerts, Thema, Sony and Cinemaworld
To our Mary the Queen parish Community, To our Jesuit Friends from the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, To our friends from the Christian Life Community and CBCP, To Joy’s batchmates from St. Paul’s College , To my batchmates from De La Salle University and St. Jude Catholic School
To Clara Roura, Che Carasig, Sig Aromin, the fantastic musicians, the management and staff of Conrad Hotel and all those who have helped us make this occasion enjoyable and memorable. And of course more importantly to the friends of JY and Linnel
To all of you our sincerest gratitude for sharing with us this beautiful day!
Joy is a very loving wife! She is an even more devoted and hands on mother to our only child JY. After spending over twelve years at Xavier School in Manila it was time for JY to enter university at Fordham in New York. Joy as expected, assiduously made sure everything was in order and accompanied JY to New York for the first two weeks of his studies. When Joy eventually returned to Manila, all her attention was now focused on me. (laughter)
I had to think of a solution, fast! So even if I did not like dogs I got her a cute and frisky Jack Russell Terrier. I soon loved that dog! I loved that dog so much I got Joy two more.
Let’s flashback to the day JY was born. It was around 4am when Joy’s water broke. After I brought Joy to the hospital and she was settled in at the delivery room. I went to the assigned room where Joy will recuperate after the birth. I quickly discovered that hospital beds could really be comfortable and soon fell asleep.
At around 9am, my mother in law woke me up, telling me excitedly my wife was about to give birth. I told her “Sorry Ma, I am not the obstetrician” and went back to sleep. My mother in law did not talk to me for two weeks. I did not know then whether to be happy or sad. I love my Mother in law, God Bless her soul.
I guess it’s quite a different experience to have an only child.
With greater seriousness we would closely observe every word and action of JY, especially during the first seven years of his life. We hoped that we could somehow get glimpses or clues on what qualities this boy will have. Early on we knew that JY will be a survivor. The first word that he spoke was “Mama”. I really thought his second would be “Papa”. It was “Milk”. JY gave indications that he would be ambitious. At age threehe was asked what he wanted to be when grows up. He said he wanted to be Batman.
JY was four years old when he joined his first swimming competition. He proved he was a team player. He was way ahead of the other swimmers when he suddenly stopped in the middle of the pool. We were all wondering why he did that until we saw him swim again when his team mate caught up with him. He later told us he really wanted to finish together with his buddy.
When the car of JT, my brother in law broke down while parked in our home, JY gave us a hint that he was a resourceful kid. He was five at that time, He asked JT what was wrong. JT said it won’t start. “Uncle JT I will help you. Let me call my dad.” “ Why is your dad good with cars?” JY answered “ No, he does not know anything about cars! I will ask my dad to go with me to call our neighbor who knows how to fix cars!”
JY was six when he was a ring bearer for a wedding. He showed signs that he will be very self confident and creative. During the rehearsals, he followed instructions to the letter and he walked formally and with cadence with the music. On the day of the wedding, when it was his turn to walk he went jogging instead towards the altar. We asked why he did that. He said the whole thing seemed boring and he wanted the event to be more exciting.
JY always wants to be prepared. Fast forward to time when JY was about fourteen. He told us he that wanted to play the guitar. I asked him, “Why are you courting somebody?”. He said, “No, not yet but I soon will.”
The following year he told us that he needed money for golf lessons. We asked if the girl he is courting was a golfer. He said, “Not only is she a golfer, she plays for the Philippine JunGolf Team and she has made a hole-in-one”. I took out my wallet and gave JY double the amount for a lot more golf training.
And true enough after about a few golf lessons Joy and I met Linnel for the first time. From hindsight I don’t think JY inherited too much of my genes. Obviously he has a little bit more hair than I have. Whereas JY is tall dark and handsome, I am pale skinned, not so tall but handsome too.
Fortunately, JY got the most important trait that I could ever pass on to him. We both know how to choose our perfect partner for life. JY, your mom and I are so proud of the man you have become. Please know that you have given us much more happiness than whatever we have shared with you.
Through the years Joy and I have grown to realize and appreciate why Linnel’s name is so appropriate for her. She possesses the best qualities of both her parents, her mom Lilibeth, the ‘Li’ in Linnell and her dad Nelson the ‘Nel’ in Linnel. Obvious ba?
Linnel is charming, beautiful, extroverted, meticulous, thoughtful and caring like her mom, Doctora Lilibeth. Linnel is goal oriented, business minded, purposeful and kindhearted like her dad Nelson. Like both her parents, Linnel is God fearing, religious, athletic, humble and family oriented.
Joy and I look with happy expectation that JY and Linnel will have a long and blissful life together because they always laugh out loud in unison and they zestfully laugh at each other.
And I know for sure Linnel will be a great daughter in law.
You know why? Because she always laughs at my jokes. Sometimes, even when they are not so funny.
As parents all we want is the best for our kids. Linnel and JY, as you begin this next exciting chapter of your lives, please be assured of our unwavering love and support.
As you learn both the pleasant and challenging realities of living together and raising your own kids, always place our good Lord at the center of your family and never take each other for granted.
As your love for each other grows, please continue to keep your hearts open to generously share your talents and blessings to make the world better than when you first entered it.
Finally and most importantly in your relationship with each other be patient and persevere. Expect that things may not always turn out the way you want them to and cheerfully accept the fact that your partner may be right sometimes.
And when all else fails buy dogs for each other maybe even two.
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