I couldn't have planned it better.
Back in VA, the girls attend a weekly Philippine language and cultural school run by volunteers. A few months ago, they learned about well-known Filipinos. Depending on the ages of the students, I am sure they do not remember the same personalities. My girls remember Lea Salonga, especially since we showed them a behind-the-scenes recording of Disney's theme song for the movie, Aladdin. On the other hand, the teens in class may remember Arnel Pineda, currently lead singer of the American band, Journey.
Last night, I skipped Journey's concert to watch a ballet and lost bragging rights. Yes, a ballet. It was an extended run of Ballet Manila's Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang led by Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, the first foreigner invited to join the Kirov Ballet. Lola Basyang was a creation of (another well-known Filipino featured in the girls' lesson), Severino Reyes. The girls have read the three stories retold in this performance, narrated by veteran actress, Luz Fernandez, who reprised the role that I've watched her perform when I was younger.
So far, so good. In watching this world-class ballet, a lesson from the past gets some flesh. For PhP100 (or $2) per person, my girls get to watch a story come to life, to see a prima ballerina, and to pose with an actress.
But we had another surprise in the form of another famous Filipina -- former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who came to watch the performance. Of course the girls remembered her from their lesson! And in a few days, the lesson from months ago will continue at the Shoe Museum where we will view this woman's collection.
On the drive home, Elena was writing on her pocket journal, recording that Imelda Marcos is a big woman. If I didn't know what it meant to give up watching Journey's concert, by evening's end, I did.