[Shown in the photo are my cousins: from L to R- Arlene “Beth” Llorca-Lever and Araceli “Cely/Sally Beckham” Oconer; Cely is actually unattached nowadays but she is pining, hankering and dreaming that David and Victoria Beckham might split up and that David would in a serendipitous and magical episode emerge at her doorstep in her Rooty Hill, Sydney home and would ask for her hand in marriage….(suntok sa buwan) To my left at their back is my suave, sociable, superb, sanguine and supportive STEVE, my cousin-in-law and Beth’s hubby. We were then all lining up attired in the official LEGIT STATUS t-shirts, at the dance contest venue, the ROSE HILL GARDENS in Parramatta, Sydney; as the queue spilled up to the stairwell.)
This hispanic-sounding name Llorca is actually the surname of my maternal first cousins. These cousins of mine are the children of my late aunt Teodora “Tia Doring” Tobias and my late uncle who hailed from Silay City in Negros province, Generoso “Tio Gene” Llorca. Lever, on the other hand, is the surname (actually of Irish descent) of my cousin-in-law; the suave, sociable, supportive, sanguine and superb Steve. And Steve is married to Arlene, whom we (her kin) have been accustomed to endearingly refer to as Beth. Finally, Legit Status is the name of the hiphop team of my youngest daughter ALEE which participated in the World Supremacy Battlegrounds hiphop contest (“WSB”) here in Sydney, Australia particularly in the Varsity Division.
Beyond this fondness for the letter “L” in a virtual alliterative composition, the letter “L” is actually the 12th letter of the alphabet and today is the 12th of September, my first birthday with my family in a foreign land peopled with hospitable personages. And as it is my birthday, I have decided to write this BLOG as a gift for the Llorcas, the Levers and the Legit Status team with whom I will rub elbows with, wine and dine at today’s simple feast with kith and kin. For it has been said, it is better to give than to receive.
I got so inspired to write this BLOG as it really pained me to hear as a Filipino, at last night’s FINALS at the WSB a plaintive utterance by the leader of one Philippine team from Cavite (a province south of Manila). The team’s leader of a group of young Filipino passionate hiphop dancers unashamedly narrated after the emcee asked for some remarks after their number, their plight. He was in near tears when he confessed, certainly to scrimp on expense, that on their first night they actually slept in one of Sydney’s commodious camping parks. But unable perhaps to withstand the coldness of the night, they were compelled to eventually rent a house to shelter them all, 30 young Filipinos who just want to show their talent to the whole world. Thus, they pleaded to the audience for help as they admitted having spent money for house rent which was allotted for their food. And copious financial help from both their countrymen and Australians poured in.
But the LEGIT STATUS team, though they neither was able to snatch the gold nor the silver nor the bronze (they actually landed in 4th place); was copiously blessed, for they not only have the Llorcas but the Levers too. [Actually, the LEGIT STATUS Team topped the semi-finals held on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016; which was participated in by all foreign teams. The next day (Saturday, Sept. 10) was the AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL COMPETITION, and from these competing Aussie teams, 8 Aussie teams were seeded to compete in the FINALS on Sept. 11, 2016.] My cousin Beth (who is so gracious, funny, elegant and so “bongacious”) is an organizer par excellence, as she not actually planned for the team’s lodging accommodation (except that due to some unforeseen mishap, a contingency arose— but still Beth’s contingent plan was even better) but also the team’s transport needs. Beth is actually a looker too which explains why Steve is so madly in love with her. In 2012, Beth won FIRST RUNNER-UP in the Lola Queen Pageant held in Ontario, California where she represented Australia.Though Beth did not win the top prize, the consolation as I personally perceive it, is that the organizers of the pageant accorded fidelity to the title of the pageant, and awarded the top prize to an old looking LOLA. Photos of that unique and exciting pageant are shown below.
It really gave me a sigh of relief when last night too, after the scramble to head for home (the festivities ended at almost midnight at the WSB venue) begun, another Philippine team pleaded for help as they did not plan for their transport back to their rented home in Sydney’s Bexley district almost a 2 hour drive from the WSB venue (as the train service was already closed; and taxicab service is so very expensive). A friend of Beth (who is kin to one of the team’s members) narrated that they had to seek friends’ help to aid the 40 man team using their own cars to shuttle them all. Actually, the owner-driver of the shuttle service which Beth engaged was sought for help, but the Chinese driver said that he was dead-tired already.
On top of the shuttle service which Beth engaged, Steve who is manager of one of Sydney’s upscale supermarket, the Woolworth, and who took a leave for the whole period of our stay, announced to all of us that he is our OFFICIAL DRIVER. And true to his word, Steve lived up as our driver, shuttling us to here and there; never complaining and even serving as porter, carrying this and that for us. On the other hand, my other cousin, who is Beth’s younger sister – Cely aka Sally Beckham, opened her home for the team free-of-charge and with her daughters’ (i.e. Charmy and Candice) fed, nurtured and took care of the kids together with their coach Vimi Rivera, who is my daughter’s (i.e. Shayna) fiancé.
Well, about Legit Status’ not winning a prize—2 of their team mates got denied in their visa application and the denial came a day after the team’s departure to Sydney. And, ALEE, my sweetest daughter, sprained her ankle, a day too before the trip to Sydney…. and with medication and some special kind of bandage, the dance routine had to go on.
But what is most important is family and friends…our KITH and KIN! And that I want posterity and the whole world to read and see the Llorcas’ and Levers’ HOSPITALITY!
Oh, I almost forgot, we met Steve’s mom, Bettina, at Sunday’s holy mass at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church here at St. Mary, Sydney; and I am sure Mom Bettina uttered a little prayer for the Legit Status Team too. And it was good, ALEE’s sprained ankle did not worsen (thanks to the timely advice and medical prescription given by my friend, orthopedic doctor Bibs Carilo before we left for Sydney).