Carlos Celdran's Livin' La Vida Imelda

I've always wanted to join one of Carlos Celdran's tours but I've never had the chance to. Blame it on traffic, weather, schedule. Blame it on plain stubbornness. But the stars aligned this time, and I was able to catch the preview show on February 8 at Silverlens Pasong Tamo. A jeepney ride from home! No excuses now!

Watching Livin' La Vida Imelda is enjoying the tour Carlos does, without you having to walk all around the CCP complex on a hot and humid day. This time, you can grab a beer or a glass of shiraz and watch the performance inside the air conditioned gallery.

Carlos Celdran talks about Imelda's life and how the Marcos family rose to power.

With all the juicy gossip and interesting stories, I couldn't help but gasp along with the audience. I probably had a stupid expression on my face, with my jaw dropping every few minutes all throughout the 2 hour 30 minute show (I really hope no one took a photo!) It was interesting to say the least.

The show discusses the buildings that Imelda built during their reign. The first being the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines

The things is, I've always been fascinated by the CCP. I think I was about 7 when my grandparents first brought me to watch a concert at the CCP to watch my grandfather's cousin, Julian Quirit, an internationally-acclaimed conductor (who apparently was sent by Imelda somewhere to study music. O di ba!) We went backstage to chitchat with him and from them I've been charmed by theater.

When I was 10, I was made to join a poem-writing competition. I didn't win, but I remember walking through the halls and being in awe of the lighting, the wood paneling, the carpet and the majestic staircases.

During our college years, Mike and I were lucky enough to have been able to have a peak at the back rooms of the CCP. We had a brainstorming session with some film people at this ancient-looking ballroom that had a view of the Manila Bay. The carpet smelled old. The chandeliers were dusty. The mirrored walls were dull with years of grime. But I loved it! I could imagine festive banquets being held there. And for a second, I even imagined my own wedding! Hihi!

Another of Imelda's buildings was the Coconut Palace, which I've never seen up close.

The Coconut Palace
Before watching the show, all I knew about the Coconut Palace is that it was built for the Pope and that he didn't show up.

Watch the show or join the walking tour and you'll discover more interesting trivia about this building and a few more others that symbolize the rise and fall of the Marcos regime.

I still don't know how I feel about Imelda. I was born at the end of the Marcos regime. And all I remember about the EDSA Revolution was walking to a house in a nearby village to pray the rosary with a bunch of strangers while helicopters noisily hovered above.

The stories that stuck with me about the martial law years were fun ones about my dad and his friends having drinking sessions then silently walking the back streets of Baguio after curfew to avoid being caught by the police.

In third grade, I remember the mock elections at school. My best friend voted for Imelda for president because her family were Marcos loyalists. I voted for Ramos because my family was voting for him. I grew up thinking that Imelda was pure evil, and now, I'm thinking maybe she just badly needed to pop some pills!

Livin' La Vida Imelda gave me a lot to think about- the Philippines' brand identity, our "arts and culture", oligarchy, quest for power, grandiose delusions, Ninoy's death, and how gossip can be so powerful.

Imelda was a woman who got what she wanted. She had balls and charm. But she was also a bit wonky in the head. And her actions hurt a lot of people in the process and that's never right in my book.

One thing's for sure, Imelda's lived a fascinating life. And Carlos Celdran is the perfect storyteller for this unbelievable tale.

Catch the show at Silverlens on the following play dates:
February 7, 8, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24
March 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10

All shows start promptly at 8 pm
Tickets are P800. P400 for students.
To book tickets, contact Kat Luciano at 816-0044 (office hours) or text 0917-587-4011 (anytime)
Silverlens SLab Gallery is located at 2/F YMC Building II, 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati

Click this link for more details

And what did I have for dinner, you ask.

I enjoyed a Gyuyakiniku Teishoku at Yamazaki, one of our favorite restaurants in Pasong Tamo. Read more about it here

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