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Celebrating A Dear Friend’s 73rd Birthday

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Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera, hombre renacentista

Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera, hombre renacentista

Today marks the 73rd year that Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera has been treading the earth. And upon meeting him inside his book-filled room this afternoon together with my wife, I immediately commented that he’s already 37 years old — ¡al revés! LOL!!!

Me and Señor Gómez go a long way. We’ve known each other for the past 12 years. He was one of my instructors back in Adamson University. It was he who opened my eyes to the twisted reality that is Philippine history and the existing language crisis that the Philippines is suffering from for decades since the American invasion of our islands back in 1898. Señor Gómez gave me all the opportunity that I could get to become a writer like him. He has made me feel welcome everytime I visit his house in Barrio de la Paz, Ciudad de Macati. He even once offered me and my young family to live with him back in 2003.

Throughout the years that I’ve come to know him —and his magnificent body of literature— I was faced with the realization that I’ve been working with a virtual national treasure; he deserves to become one of our country’s National Artists. I still have many things to write about him and his obras: books, flamenco activities, etc. Unfortunately, I’m too sleepy to even continue typing right now (been awake since 8:00 PM last night). But one thing’s for sure: this septuagenarian intellectual powerhorse will outlive most of us. If diplomat León Mª Guerrero considered Rizal as The First Filipino, I therefore call Señor Gómez as The Last Filipino, the quintessential one.

From left to right: My wife, Maridel Coching, Maggie de la Riva, Sr. Gómez, Mary Anne Almonte, Ana María Andaya, Valerie Devulder, and Kenneth Gaerlán. I'm right behind these fellow Spanish speakers.

From left to right: My wife, Maridel Coching, Maggie de la Riva, Sr. Gómez, Mary Anne Almonte, Ana María Andaya, Valerie Devulder, and Kenneth Gaerlán. I'm right behind these fellow Spanish speakers.

Guillermo Gómez Ordóñez, Me, Yeyette, and Venus Gómez

Guillermo Gómez Ordóñez, Me, Yeyette, and Venus Gómez

Valerie Isabel Devulder and Yeyette Perey de Alas

Valerie Isabel Devulder and Yeyette Perey de Alas

Mary Anne Almonte and Kenneth Gaerlán, two of Sr. Gómez's flamenco protegés

Mary Anne Almonte and Kenneth Gaerlán, two of Sr. Gómez's flamenco protegés

More photos in ALAS FILIPINAS and in my Facebook account! Related Links: Guillermo Gómez Rivera — FILHISPÁNICO Guillermo Gómez Ordóñez — ECHE..BLAH..BLAH Valerie Isabel Devulder — VALERIE ISABEL DEVULDER

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One response »

  1. Estimados José Mario y Jennifer: muchas gracias por estas fotos. Son muy bonitas. ¡Qué alegría estar con ustedes! Abrazos. Guillermo.

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