Remembering Ben Viccari — a very good friend, mentor and a father to me

July 2, 2017

By Ace Alvarez

Toronto, Ontario — Today, in what could have been his 99th birth anniversary, I remember writer, journalist & broadcaster Ben Viccari, who was a very good friend, a mentor to me in Canadian multiculturalism and who was a second father to me, too.

Wherever you are, Ben, please know that I haven’t forgotten you; your innate goodness on, close support for, and encouragement to me.

I offered the Holy Mass I heard today for your eternal tranquility.

Thank you so much for all what you have done for me and for all your fatherly love and care.

Ace Alvarez, Madeline Ziniak and Ben Viccari (Courtesy: Manila Media Monitor/Front Page Philippines TV /Click photo to enlarge)

In photo, Ben Viccari – at the time president of the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA), an all-inclusive national association of publishers, editors, writers and other professionals engaged in print, radio and television, making a point before Madeline Ziniak, Executive Director of CEMA and at the time, Vice President for National Television of Rogers Media, Inc., and me. The meeting occurred shortly before passing on the gavel to me as the elected successor to Ben for the presidency of CEMA.

More on Ben Viccari on Wikipedia.

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To connect with Ace Alvarez on Facebook, PRESS HERE.


IGNORE SIGNAGE AT YOUR OWN PERIL

April 27, 2017

By Ace Alvarez

Since the 70s through even mid 2000s, the zoo keeper did his best to feed and tend to the animals at the zoo, regardless that he himself had a farm to attend to.

The zoo keeper has since retired from that role to devote his time fully to his own farm and flock.

Having been away for almost twelve years, the retired zoo keeper decided to visit the animals at the zoo again recently, bringing food stuff in a plastic bag.

He tried to feed the animals only to find his hand oozing with blood.

While trying to reach for his hankie to wrap his hand around with, the retired animal lover’s attention was drawn to the sign he has had always known was there, but simply ignored all those times: “DO NOT FEED ANIMALS”.

“Yes, they’re wild, as I’ve always known they were then. But I don’t regret having ignored the sign,” he thought.

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To connect with Ace Alvarez on Facebook, PRESS HERE.

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One Key

February 17, 2016

By Ace Alvarez

Toronto, Ontario — The things of immediate use for me on a daily basis are assigned their pocket in any among my winter coats I use for the day.

(Click image to enlarge)

(Click image to enlarge)

Waking up on the cold winter morning today, I stepped out outside, but was surprised that the spare key for the car was not in the left front pocket of my coat, nor in any of its pockets. I stepped back inside, wondering if my wife Gie took it by mistake, ‘though, I doubted if she had it.

Not wanting to bother her while she was having time for herself either in church, or at our local grocery store, I opted to wait for her, and, in the meantime, took a shower.

Still bothered by the disappearance of the car key from my coat’s front left pocket, something came up to me while I was dressing up – and which gave me a smile.

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Flora’s Appeal to the Public

February 1, 2016

By Ace Alvarez

Toronto, Ontario — Friends, I am sharing the following link to you as requested by Flora – the matriarch of the family who became close to me and my wife.

Flora’s townhouse here was gutted to the ground by a fire last January 8.

Flora is asking for financial help aimed at raising $10,000 to clean up the place. In a private message requesting that I share her plea, Flora said that while the unit was insured, the insurer would only pay the minimum amount and that she and her family would have to pay the contractor for the clean-up.

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Brushing-Up on the Continuously Evolving Tagalog Language

November 20, 2015

New Trends in Tagalog Informal Writing

By Nancy Factura-Ampil with Ace Alvarez

Toronto, Ontario — My wife, Front Page Philippines TV Host, Gie Alvarez, and I are sharing with you one note sent to us by our niece, Nancy Factura-Ampil, which, we found pleasure in reading and made us smile all throughout, especially because of the humor incorporated in her letter — including the play on words picked from English, the old Tagalog language in formal compositions and the informal street-coined Tagalog words that have continuously evolved the Tagalog language — in the same manner that other languages do.

Nancy Factura-Ampil (Click Photo to enlarge)

Nancy Factura-Ampil (Click Photo to enlarge)

I apologize to my non-Tagalog speaking readers as I will not even attempt to translate Nancy’s writing. I will certainly get lost in translation.

Here and there, Nancy’s note contained “Jejemon” — a pop culture phenomenon in the Philippines, where the younger Filipinos subverted the English language to the point that their elders could not comprehend, and which the former usually used in text messages.

Nancy’s letter follows:

“Bago ako maging hilong-talilong na naman sa kahektikan ng sked ko ngayong papasok ang Disyembre, mag-email na kaya ako sa mga paborito kong Titas & Titos (di naman sumisipsip ha… totoo naman talaga yan). Speaking of Disyembre, di lang po Pasko ang inaatupag ko ngayon. Reviewer for 2nd Trimestral Exams ni Buch (Dec 1-4); parents’ recollection (Dec 4); birthday ng mabait kong honey (Dec.5); First Confession ni Buch (Dec.6); First Communion ni Buch (Dec 11); 17th Anniversary namin ni honey ko (Dec.11); HighSch. Batch Xmas Party (Dec 11) and so on, and so forth. Kung meron lang totoong ‘genie in a bottle’ ang 3 wishes ko ay: isang clone ko para gawin lahat ng gawaing bahay, isang clone ko para umattend sa mga school activities ni Buch at i-review sya sa exams, at syempre ang last wish ko is makapag-relax naman and pamper myself. Simple lang po ano? No material things (wink emoticon)

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Taking Time for Children: A Recollection

November 20, 2015

By Ace Alvarez

Toronto, Ontario — Just like every young parent of today, Front Page Philippines TV Host Gie Alvarez and I have had a good chunk of time, too, spent on driving our children to their activities when ours were also young.

Top Photo: Pepito Rodriguez, Rosemarie Sonora and Len Alvarez in a scene in the video presentation, "My Son Was Into Drugs", produced by Manila, Philippines' Grace Media Services for the Dangerous Drugs Board of the Philippines. Below: Len Alvarez with Marco Polo Garcia playing the lead role in the DDB video material cited in top photo. (A & G Photo Library/Click image to enlarge)

Top Photo: Pepito Rodriguez, Rosemarie Sonora and Len Alvarez in a scene in the video presentation, “My Son Was Into Drugs”, produced by Manila, Philippines’ Grace Media Services for the Dangerous Drugs Board of the Philippines.
Below: Len Alvarez with Marco Polo Garcia playing the lead role in the DDB video material cited in top photo. (A & G Photo Library/Click image to enlarge)

In the mid 80s, one activity for us was to drive our oldest child, Len, to her taping schedules.

In the photos here, Len was among the cast in the video documentary “My Son Was Into Drugs”, acting the role of the younger of the two children of parents portrayed by Pepito Rodriguez and Rosemarie Sonora. Some of you would recall, that Pepito and Rosemarie were part of what was known as Batch 66, launched by Dr. Jose Perez’s Sampaguita Pictures. They were in Philippine moviedom’s love triangle of the late 60s,  Pepito Rodriguez-Rosemarie Sonora-Ricky Belmonte.

Marco Polo Garcia was in the lead role of “My Son Was Into Drugs”. Marco Polo is the son of character actor, Boy Garcia and Lucita Soriano.

Len belonged to the 1st batch of children who acted in “Batibot” — the Filipino counterpart of popular TV program for children, “Sesame Street”. Gie juggled her time as a Writer-Producer-Radio Announcer for the government radio VOP (Voice of the Philippines), to occasional voice over talent for radio commercials and dramas, to her role as a mother of two young children and a wife. I must add, those were not easy tasks.

Gie would stay for hours on the set with our daughter during the latter’s taping.

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A Heartwarming Story of Simple Caring for a Stranger

November 14, 2015

By Ace Alvarez

Toronto, Ontario — I’m re-sharing this beautiful video story of simple caring, shared by Oswald Tugadi — the principal of printing and graphics company, PromoBee Enterprises, on Facebook from its original post on the same social media at “The World’s Funniest Video”. To see the video, PRESS HERE.

The video shared by Oswald on Facebook reminded me of a boy who was about 10 years old back in the late 70s, who approached me while I was eating lunch at a small restaurant on Ylaya Street in Divisoria, Manila in the Philippines, offering to shine my shoes.

I asked the boy if he had lunch yet. He said “no”, explaining that he had to do his work before attending elementary class in the afternoon.

I asked him to please sit and join me, and asked the waiting lady to serve what the boy wanted for lunch.

Four years later, while I was parking my car in front of the Santo Niño Church in Tondo, Manila, a young man approached me, saying, “Sir, how are you? Do you remember me?”

I replied, “I’m sorry, but I don’t?”

He said, “You remember that boy who offered to shine your shoes four, or five years ago at that restaurant in Divisoria? I am that boy.”

I was so surprised. The boy has grown so tall that I didn’t recognize him. He told me that he was to graduate from high school. After a few more pleasantries, he offered to watch my car while I was away.

The late U.S President John F. Kennedy once said, ” … the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

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To connect with me on Facebook, PRESS HERE.