No, it’s not Dairy Queen.
Somebody had a birthday bash last week. As far back as I can remember, I had been in a number of his celebrations, starting in the late 80s. As far back as I can remember, his home in Pag-asa was always the party venue. Until Conspiracy Garden Cafe in recent years.
Conspi, as we like to call it, was full house that night, the SRO courtesy of Noel Cabangon. As usual, Noel was in his generous element—always performing overtime, at an energy level that would challenge the music hall’s air conditioning.
That generosity extended till the late hours, until friends of the birthday man, the Conrad, demanded he should please the crowd with his own singing. And there he went, lent his voice to Noel, and the audience was indeed pleased. His was a perfect second voice to Noel. It was a Beatles song they did.
And the crowd demanded that friends of the birthday man, or family, should follow suit. Until it came to pointing a finger at the brother, Paul. And the brother went, took over the guitar, and played and sang. Those who knew the birthday man too well clamored without let up that he join his brother on stage. And he did, without delay. And the audience had a blast. As for me, I had a trip down memory lane, back into the early 80s.
Flashback. You see, I “grew” up listening to these brothers, including Emil, [as I met him much much later], belt out harmonies in some of those evenings when they would probably get together in that house in Marikina. I would overhear their singing, as I lived just two houses away from that house. I would be so intrigued by the blending they did of those Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel songs, asking myself who on earth were singing these tunes? They sounded really good.
And I would be joined by my cousins, sitting still on the pavement, and making sure we were silent enough to let their sound travel without interference past two houses and reach us audibly. It was always a treat catching them blend out those folk songs. Unconsciously, we would wish that they had gotten together more often so we could enjoy ourselves in a “free” concert.
That night at Conspi was a reminder of my youth. Little did I know that I would officially meet the DQs.
It is an honor, Emil, Conrad, and Paul.