Heroes come home for good


BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro

On Bonifacio Day, international concert pianist Adolovni Acosta played Philippine music during a 45-minute A Night of Heroes and Music in Dubai’s Philippine Consulate General.

“I know her (Acosta’s) classical renditions will inspire more people to reflect on the values our heroes have lived up to and to imbue among our kababayan (countrymen an appreciation for musical traditions that promote pride and honour for our country and people,” said Consul General Paul Raymond Cortes.

Acosta rendered Jocelyn ng (of) Baliuag,most popular1890s (revolution against Spain) kundiman (Filipino love song); Francisco Buencamino’s Maligayang Bati (Good Tidings); Ang Larawan (The Photograph); and Mayon (pastoral life amid volcano’s rumblings). Acosta encored with No Other Love, Chopin’s Etude No. 3 in Op. 10.

ConGen Cortes sang Constancio de Guzman’s patriotic song Bayan Ko (My Country).

Acosta also performed Filipino classics at Philippine Ambassador to UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana’s Al Bayt Al Filipine official residence.

In Acosta’s third concert, diplomatic community heard her play on UAE’s National Martyr’s Day and 48th founding anniversary, November 30, 2019.

Philippines halts inbound tourism amid Omicron Covid19 variant when stranded ex-OFWs-tourists return home on National Heroes Day during 20 month-lockdown.

We self-finance our one-way ticket to Manila from Brunei, worth a return ticket to London before pandemic; pay for government-approved quarantine facility stay; and swab test costs on third day.

OFWs like Arnel “Mamay Ambo” (grandpa) Aldovino and Abraham “Butch” Leotivo get free quarantine, free swab tests.

“As OFWs,we are ambassadors of our country. No matter what we do, let’s do our best to help our country,” Aldovino tells “Filipinos in Brunei” book author Cecile Castilla.

“I will propose my dream project to Governor Herminigildo Mandanas to erect an OFW statue in Batangas.

“I have been an OFW since 1977, after university. Time to payback to community and family. In 42 years of marriage, I had spent 18 years value time with family”.

Behind Aldovino’s professional success is a journey of loneliness not seeing four boys and two girls to be engineers, biologist-nurse, IT, lawyer, doctor.
For eight years, Aldovino worked five days with five Filipinos in the middle of Saudi desert, 50 kms from closest village.

Phoneless before Internet, Aldovino received letters once a month. A 90-minute cassette tape from wife recorded children’s voices.
Aldovino read many times and knew by heart a Philippine newspaper which wrapped dried fish pasalubong from balikbayan colleague.

Aldovino spent four years with a Papua New Guinea mining company; found a Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia job; worked with Brunei Shell Petroleum.

During November’s Manila quarantine, Aldovino tells OWWA: “Chairless, waterless, no complimentary 3-in-one coffee sachet, no telephone, no Internet (other rooms have routers). Bilibid’s facilities are better.”

Following OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac’s call to Suites Hotel’s management, apologies and acknowledgement of concerns, complimentary cake, food and coffee flow.

“I told my wife I will stay here until January because of the food. Vegetables, fresh pineapple, pork belly, grilled bangus came,” Aldovino laughs.

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