I finally met the great Butch Dalisay — in a US Embassy reception, of all places. Last Thursday, I went up to him and introduced myself, we exchanged cards, we talked about his sister who was a classmate of mine ("She was the best in our class [in UP Law]," I said; "we were half as good as her, but that’s because we shared her notes!"). We talked a little about the largely undeveloped art of biography-writing in the Philippines; he said he was writing a biography of the brothers Buenaventura. I also learned he was set to teach (again) in the States this fall, in a college in Wisconsin. A good time to buy your fix of the latest Macs, I suggested.
The following day, he addressed the departing Fulbrighters. His speech, published in his Monday column in the Star, is a wonderful read. (He has also included in his blog a letter from a fellow Fulbright alumnus; I can only hope the program’s budget, nickel-and-dimed during the Reagan era, has now been fully restored.)
PS. I like the way he writes his column, but even the best of them pale, become almost workaday, when you set them side by side his fiction, which is marked by a truly heightened use of language.