I don't fall in love anymore and I sure don't with Filipino men. Well, maybe. I don't care to watch or hear any of the Filipino talents we have, not even our famous actors or actresses in the US- in fact they make me sick if not piss me off. But two weeks ago, Chat, John and I were at La Madeleine for lunch and she started telling me about some Filipino guy who sings and was discovered on YouTube by Journey - the famous band in the US. I had to think hard of who Journey is so John my favorite son- in-law started humming "Faithfully". As soon as I got home I went to YouTube and watched the video. Immediately, I felt like I was strapped in a straightjacket. I was gripped. I remembered an old black and white footage of The Beatles arriving in America and the camera panned on women crying and stretching their hand out wanting to touch them. In disgust under my breath I called those women, stupid, lunatic etc. Well, to my horror, I too became a lunatic for Arnel Pineda, except there was no camera panning on me.
Arnel Pineda!!! I was captured, smitten, bitten, sick to the nines and goosed to death. I suddenly found myself unable to explain my euphoria. I was so exhilarated I could not sleep that night. The next morning in my pensive moment I pondered on what God must have been thinking that day in 1967.
In a town of Sampalok, Manila, Arnel was born. Six years later, Arnel's parents would position him on top of a table and make him sing while a band called Journey was being formed somewhere in California. Journey went on to sell 43 million copies while Arnel was living off of left over crumbs, scavenging for scrap metals and selling empty bottles in order to eat. At the same time, successively, the year 1977, 1978 and 1979 - three boys were born respectively in America, Taiwan and Germany.
God looked down from heaven smiling while methodically creating a position at Journey. Hmm.... He said, "Arnel, hang in there. The design is almost complete. I just need to get these three boys together so they can create YouTube. In the meantime, I will give you a glimpse of life outside the Philippines so go to Hong Kong and sing there. I will get you back to the Philippines when it is time because I know you really want to go to America. And by the way, don't worry about the position at Journey - you already have the job. I am just waiting for Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim to iron out the kinks at YouTube, so when Noel uploads your clips it will be perfect for Neal Schon to view and hear.
Arnel, if I can put all this together you think I would overlook the US embassy in Manila? Don't sweat it man. I will get the adjudicating officer to be at Bagaberde and hear you sing. I will make sure he drinks enough San Miguel that even if you sound like a frog he won't notice. And hey, don't fret when you get to the embassy! At first you will show up at Singer's window (don't laugh at his name, it's not a coincidence) but that American who had too much San Miguel will take over your case and he will remember you. I told him to give you the visa so you can go see Schon and the gang in San Francisco. And like I said, you already got the job so just relax in Chile. And you thought I had forgotten you. Don't stop believing, the wheel in the sky is my sign that with open arms I am faithfully watching over you."
Then God giggled and rested. But then He remembered that I, Ritchie, for two weeks went to bed crying and wishing for a ticket to see Arnel when Journey comes to Dallas in July. I feigned madness, illness and depression until Chat was convinced that the only way to heal me was to buy me a front row ticket. Whew -- what I have to go through to get a Mother's day gift.
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