Narratives of a balikbayan returning to settle in the country for good and perhaps contribute to the country’s economy once more. Take Rose Alcido who recently returned from the Big Apple after fighting against social injustices suffered by fellow migrants in conflict with the laws of New York.
She had led protest rallies of “Pinoy Flips,” as they called the group, in an effort to release a hapless Aldo Guce, who was languishing in jail for allegedly molesting two of his pre-teen daughters. After Guce was decalred innocent and subsequently released, Director Gil Portes made his life into an inspirational movie billed Minsan May Pangarap: The Guce Family Story.
Martial law also saw Rose urging many Filipino exiles to spring to action in New York to campaign against and put an end to the conjugal dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos back home. She worked closely with the couple Heherson Alvarez and Cecile Guidote, founder of nationalist theater PETA, who both left the country allegedly because they had been the target of a shoot-to-kill order by the strongman. Cecile was fortunate to have been sheltered by the famous Off- Broadway La Mama Theater, ETC of New York under Ellen Stewart, PETA’s affiliate theater company overseas.
Through much of the Alvarez couple’s campaign against martial law, such as formally taking the issue to the White House to cut US support for Marcos and staging of anti-dictatorship plays staged at La Mama and its environs that elicited positive reaction from the US media, Rose was a production assistant coordinating for Filipino community, Girl Friday.
Unlike some exiles who returned home after martial law was dismantled through the CIA-scripted “People Power” revolt in 1986, she stayed behind and was given a meager post at the Philippine consulate as media coordinator of sort. There she led the launching of Carmen Pedrosa’s controversial book on Imelda Marcos in a well-attended dressed-up event at the consulate.
Back in the country, she tried reconnecting with Pedrosa through a couple of warm hellos via e-mail but the attempts sadly fell on the deaf ears of the journalist. In friendship, you win some and lose some, I consoled her.
This bit of juicy historical accounts about Pinoy exiles in New York, including the disgusting ones committed by the non-paying shoot-and-run type of Pinoy indie filmmakers from the country, took place right at Rose’s unpretentious Beautystar Salon at Quezon Avenue, where I was recently taped live by scriptwriter Reggie Flores of Korina Sanchez’s TV show Rated K to comment on actor Julio Diaz’s contribution to local cinema. Before facing the cameras, I had my face treated by a rejuvenating micro current facial, but that’s another story to tell.
Rose in Manhattan district was much sought after by snooty beauty bugs and celebrities like Demi Moore who would come to her salon in disguise. Wellness writers who have tried her services incognito have endorsed her among others in Condo Nast’s publications like Allure, Seventeen, Mademoiselle and Time Out New York, etc. The departed New York-based culture writer Behn Cervantes who once paid her a visit with beauty queen Gloria Diaz and deputy chairman of Touro College and actress Lorli Villanueva wrote in glowing terms about her best kept secret skin care salon. Here in the Philippines, she got the shock of her life at how skin aestheticians in the country would spend a fortune for publicity mileage to get themselves known to the public.
When asked why she had to retire in the country for good, Rose said she could not see herself aging in the cold comfort of home for the aged in the States, adding that it simply is not her culture as a Filipino. Besides, she said, she has a lot to contribute to professionalizing the skin care industry in this country that she thinks is below world standards based on her disguised sleuthing even of local, high-profile medical salons.
After protesting against martial law in New York and decades of training and experience as world-class licensed skin care aesthetician, Rose Alcido has got her own authentic life now in the country. Like Euripides’ Medea, the political animal in her, however, laments that Ninoy, wife Cory and son Noynoy whom she fought for have been discredited for being shameless and fake harbingers of democracy.
Conspiracy theories have it that Ninoy with his failing health had turned himself into a fawning American minion sent back home to take the scripted, repackaged role of a ready-to-die “martyr” for embattled Pinoys at the “gates of hell” then in desperate search of a hero. Do you still wonder why Ninoy’s murder will remain forever unsolved? Ask the “yellow tards” in this country.