Gallivanting Notes (1)


The first time I went to White Plains for a work, I looked for Harlem, and Harlem found me. This is not the White Plains of Metropolitan Manila where the rich are found, and where those who were involved in EDSA 1 and EDSA 2 served as a refuge for the tired body and equally tired bones. Instead, this is the White Plains on the outskirts of NY, and where brick houses dotted every space, and Greek and Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine compete for clientele of the card-carrying kind.

But in between Central Park and White Plains is Harlem, the city of my dreams, the city of my imagination, the city that gave those beautiful African-American artists who trained professionally at its Apollo Theatre. Had done this-and-that theatrical work [if that is at all considered theatre, elsewhere] and I thought of paying homage to this place of demiurgus, the force of creativity and destruction.

I told myself: I would never leave NY without going to Harlem.

Friends told me I was looking for trouble.

I told my friends I was looking for peace, connection, alliance, friendship, history, and soul. I told them I was looking for liberation.

And I did. I stood before Apollo Theatre, my church.

I took the train and went through the city's subways, and dealt with those vendors of imitation goodies. You name 'em, and you see the same goodies in Istanbul's Asian Market and Divisoria's equally the same Asian Market. Ah, the Class A goodies spewed by Chinese factories and made by abused children's hands.

Ah, everywhere, the difference is the same.

Harlem, NY/Apr 2009

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