I‘ve had the DVD a few months now, courtesy of Amazon.com, but when the offer to see an exclusive screening of the film came, I immediately accepted it in the hopes of immersing myself back into the world I had left behind many, many months ago. The invitation, sent to my editor at BusinessWorld (Hi, Lali!) , came from HBO Asia and the lovely people of Virtusio Public Relations, Inc. What better way to start writing again than to write about something very close to my heart- autism?
The screening was set August 23, at 10:30 am, at the Quality Life Discoveries Center in Cubao, Quezon City. I took a cab early to make sure I made it in time but the cab driver and I got lost along the way. It was a little difficult to spot the building at first; I was looking at low gates and building numbers that we both missed the center’s name in big bold letters near the top of the building. When I finally spotted it, I heaved a sigh of relief. How could I have missed it the first time? Still huffing and puffing after climbing three flights of stairs and mixed with the breathlessness of excitement, I was ushered into QLD’s Multi-Sensory Room by Ms. Dessa Virtusio of VPRI and HBO Asia’s Ms. Angela Poh. It was lovely seeing them again. We exchanged cordial hellos and quick stories on what we have all been up to since last we met more than a year ago, also in an HBO event. For me, though, the best part of the day was meeting Ma’am Lulu (Virtusio) again. Gracious and charming as ever, Ma’am Lulu made our brief meeting feel like a reunion of sorts. I could not stop hugging her, heehee. 🙂
I was glad to run into old friends too. The autism community is a tightly knit one and with Autism Society Philippines’ partnership in the premiere, I was sure to see familiar faces. Dang, Grace, Ranil, Peng, and Tiff were there; these are the tireless faces behind ASP. I took the opportunity to speak with Prof. Abelardo David, known as Teacher Archie to many; he is QLD’s Executive Director and founder/executive director of Independent Living Learning Center. I asked about his views on behaviorally-challenged children with autism and I was heartened to discover new services that just might fit my son’s current needs. I promised to give him a call and visit ILLC soon.
After the movie, there was a short Q and A portion with Ms. Poh, Dang, and Dr. Tippy Tanchangco. They were also joined by JR Tan and Gabby Atienza, very able individuals with autism. We all shared a wonderful repast prepared specially by the young crew of Abelardo’s Diner (more on that in another post), ILLC’s social enterprise. And then, after more catching up and another tour of QLD’s facilities ( I checked out their indoor pool), it was time to go and ponder on all I’ve learned that day.
On the way home, I was struck at how fortuitous this turn of events were for me. After I resigned from HerWord last December, I seriously considered giving up on writing. It was Godsent, this opportunity to write for the paper again. And to have it all begin with Temple Grandin and the one thing that has made my life different from all others- autism- I take it as a sign.
A very, very good sign. 🙂
My review of HBO’s Temple Grandin appears in the Weekender section of BusinessWorld’s online paper: A Reflection of God (or check out the next post- thank you!)