This post talks about regret. As usual, this blog post talks about myself. However, Perhaps I should also count this, as my tribute to Francis M.
No, we did not know each other and one of my biggest regrets was that I never got to meet him.
He was probably my first musical idol. I remember when I was still in kinder 2, when I would bring a cassette of the album Meron akong Ano! and ask them to repeatedly play it on the tape player. Being 6 years old, I was just amused at how fast he can speak, and how catchy the tune of Meron akong ano (meron akong kwento, a wala wala wala wala), how cool ayoko sa dilim (nagdidilim ang paningin, ang paninging umiiitim, ayoko na dito, ayoko sa dilim!) sounded. I also loved the ballad feel of the song called Nilamon ng Sistema ( I always remembered the lines
(…at siya'y pinag-buhatan ng kamay, si inay nagsusugal doon sa madyungan napakasakit kapag walang humahagkan, because of the way he sang it). Little did I know that behind those catchy tunes were lyrics that spoke of a plethora of topics about the deepest ills of our society.
I was literally bringing it everyday that my uncle just decided to copy the cassette to a blank tape and created a mixtape with my favorite songs in the album So that I would be able to bring something to the school bus without destroying the entire album. Apparently, my uncle noticed that I kept on rewinding and fast forwarding to my favorite tracks which he said hastened the deterioration of the tape. Kuya Vic, the driver of the school bus, even noticed my fanaticism (perhaps aided by the fact that I came to the school bus one day wearing a vest and screaming HUWAG KANG MAHIHIYA KUNG ANG ILONG MO AY PANGO!) that he bought me a signed picture of Francis M.
I was so thrilled about it until my Aunt made me realize that it was kuya vic who did the signing. I didn't believe her at first, but then I realized that the chance that our school bus Driver knows francis m. is slim.
When I got my own cassette player, not sure if it was the aiwa or the sony "walkman", perhaps about a couple of years later, I was able to listen to more of his tracks, aside from meron akong ano, i got my uncle's copy of Rap is Francis M. I did enjoy listening to Halalan and mga praning. Now a bit more knowledageable about things, I was able to now understand some of the deeper meanings of his tracks. This trend continued with my uncle consistenly buying his other albums such as Freeman, oddventures of mr.cool (I'm pretty sure there were others but these were those that I remember).
Hmm so where does regret come in? Well as some of you may know, I don't really own this house in cubao. Despite the fact that I've been here all my life, we just rent this place. Durng my high school years, my paretns decided to build a house all the way in Antipolo... It was a bit new at that time, so everyone was curious about the neighbors. And it turns out that Francis M. was an owner of one of the houses in that neighborhood.
And remember, that picture that Kuya Vic gave? Well I wanted a true one this time, I wanted to meet my musical idol. And being neighbors (well not really next door neighbors, more like subdivision mates) I felt that I had a better chance this time. I remember a halloween party in the clubhouse with him coming as a pirate (my memory is quite hazy, but i'm pretty sure it was him). I also remember seeing him in a few masses at the clubhouse. Also, I actually remember when I went to the clubhouse swimming pool and swam with his daughters and one of his sons. To add more to that, my cousin is actually good friends with his son, and his daughters are both ateneans.
Despite that proximity however, I never got his picture, or his autograph. I had been given all the chances to have an encounter with greatness and I was apparently too busy, too shy, or too stupid to take advantage of it. Regrets.
Upon Francis M's death people were quick to showcase his other skills. How he delved in photography, film making, and other activities. How he was supposed to be a good father, husband and friend. I just realized that in contrast to me, this was someone who probably lived his life so as not to regret anything. He had been shown his opportunities and he grabbed them with whatever he had.