Many things stood between us and The Bayanihan: the girls' 11:00 soccer game, a Cal game that effectively rendered null the idea of driving to Berkeley, my fear that public transportation (BART) would prove unreliable, and my endless worry that one of the girls (or all of them!) would require a restroom at an inopportune moment. This last item involved a strategic doling out of liquids, a task that proved tricky since R & V had spent 45 minutes running up and down the soccer field in 80º weather.
But whaddaya know? The planets aligned, and we arrived on Shattuck a solid 45 minutes before curtain time. We made the short trek to Zellerbach, found a shady spot near the Bear's Lair, and quickly downed the picnic (okay, well maybe "picnic" is too glamorous a word) I'd prepared. It was then that I noticed a familiar-looking Pinoy gesticulating wildly as he chatted with a young couple. "There's Rhett!" I said.
"Never mind, never mind. Just go over there and say 'Hi! We're Veronica's children,'" I said.
"Never mind! Just go, go. Come on, go!"
I'm sure you've noticed I do this all the time. I make people do things simply to feed my daily quota of necessary amusements. I am horrible that way. Anyway, they then proceeded to inch the fifty yards towards Rhett. They stood about ten feet behind him, giggling and taking turns pushing each other forward, taking a few steps back, whispering, and whatnot. All this was lost on Rhett, who continued his conversation. The spousal unit and I looked on. Finally, Rhett turned around. And since I don't know what transpired as they spoke (although I seem to remember seeing him mouth the words, "Veronica who?"), I will leave it to Rhett—Mr. Newly Minted American! Naks!— to report or not report the exchange.
All I know is that he gamely walked over to us, kids in tow, and gently berated us for scaring the hell out of him. "I heard these children's voices saying 'Hi Rhett!' and I thought...should I turn around?" So he was quite delightful.
But—and I'm sure he will not mind my saying so—not as delightful as the Bayanihan dancers. I am no judge in these matters, but between the costumes (at one point, all the women came out in black and white, and I audibly sighed with pleasure), the music, and the choreography, I was enthralled. I especially loved the piece they performed right after the intermission, "Mindanao Splendor," and most specifically their interpretation of the Sambi Sa Malong.
After it was all over, and we'd taken BART back to Daly City where we'd left our car, we ended up at the perfect spot to end the day: the In 'n' Out Burger in Millbrae. The spousal unit and I let the girls sit at their own table. They were quickly chatted up by three twenty-something-year-old men, who initially frightened me a little due to the fact that they all more or less looked like my personal idea of Satan. One had on a sweatshirt that read, "3 can keep a secret if 2 are dead." He never removed his hood. One—his name turned out to be Arturo—had stringy orange hair worn to the middle of his back, a goatee, and preternaturally large teeth that he continually bared (although to be fair, it was because he kept laughing). The last one was Federico, and he claimed to be Arturo's twin brother. His hair was black as night and sort of looked like Danny Patridge's, though with a lot more bouncin' and behavin' action, and he, too, kept a carefully tended goatee. Very curious, those three. Anyways, there was little to fear because, as the spousal unit pointed out, though you couldn't tell by simply looking at them, they'd make great babysitters.
At one point, Federico said to Risa, "So, where'd you guys come from?"
"Oh, we rode the train."
"Really? That's cool. From where?"
She looked at us for guidance, which we gave. "Berkeley," she repeated.
"Oh yeah? What were you doing there?"
"We watched Filipinos dance."
"What?" said Federico.
"We watched Filipinos dance."
"Dude! That's hilarious. Hey," he said, nudging the hooded guy, "Did you hear her? She was all 'we watched Filipinos dance'!"
And, well, when you put it that way, it was kind of hilarious.