Forty-one years ago, on Sept. 22, I reported to the pre-martial law Graphic Magazine office in Port Area only to find it closed.
People still ask me where I learned to walk and how I prepared for the Miss International title which I won 50 years ago. Those questions never fail to surprise me. Who else could have taught me how to walk but my mother? And because she also taught me to be proud of being Filipino, that was the best preparation a Philippine representative, to anywhere, could have had.
Aunt Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, the essayist, once called the actress Cecilia Bulaong “the calmly beautiful Miss Bulaong.” That was a long time ago, and for some reason the phrase has stuck in my mind. Later Bulaong got married, became a mother and reinvented herself as CB Garrucho—which has since become her professional name.
When I was a child, there used to be a Kindergarten A and B in my school. You had to go through it before you could step into Grade I. It is notable that the public school system has belatedly found the necessity to add that to their curriculum. In St. Theresa’s College, if the teacher thought a pupil bright, you were allowed to “skip” or “jump” Grade I and go straight to Grade II, as I was.