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Lea Salonga and Rachel Arenas both take—and own—the stage in their respective fields

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By Deedee M. Siytangco

Angel Thoughts

Just remember; The past cannot be changed. Opinions don’t define your reality. Things get better with time. Overthinking will lead to sadness. Judgments are confessions of a character. Positive thoughts create better things. Kindness is free. Pass it along. Everyone’s journey is different. Don’t compare. You only fail if you quit. Things get better with time. Believe it. Smiles are contagious. Spread it.—Anonymous

Our sympathies to the families of the soldiers who have given up their lives in Marawi city. AFP, please be more careful with air strikes as these have killed more soldiers than in the encounters. May this month bring us gentle rains and peace in Mindanao!

To  MTRCB chair Rachel Arenas, serving in the government is easy and enjoyable. She has served in various posts including being the first woman representative for the third district of Pangasinan. Her mother, socialite and civic leader Baby Arenas or simply “Baby A” followed suit as congresswoman after her term and is currently the representative there.

MTRCB Chair Rachel Arenas

When she was called by Pres. Duterte whom she supported, it was not unexpected, but the offer to head the MTRCB that regulates movies, television shows, radio, and advertising materials in theaters was the big surprise. As in all things happening in her life, she decided she would meet the new challenges, and to do her best. This meant studying unchartered waters, getting the cooperation of her co-workers especially her 30-member board and coordinating with the stakeholders.

Rachel is no ordinary flighty socialite although she is a favorite of glossy magazines. She finished high school in the Colegio de San Agustin, her AB Political Science degree from De La Salle University with an Academic Excellence Award for her outstanding thesis. She then took up further studies at the Institute of John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard and later enrolled at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at the Tufts University in Boston.

She served as a director of the Padre Pio Lend a Hand Foundation as her mother, Baby A. was responsible in introducing the devotion to St. Padre Pio here in the country. In Congress, she once worked at its research and training service and produced public shows at ACE TV Concepts and had a stint at as a writer in Money Asia, and was a consultant at PAGCOR. Now she is one of the governors of the Philippine Red Cross.

As chair of MTRCB she sits only when there are ties in the voting of the clusters of reviewers, and sets the policies and administrative thrusts of the agency. She is by nature non-combative and liberal minded but, she assures, she knows when something is offensive.

She watches the movies she wants to watch and oftentimes will line up for her ticket. No, she can’t be bribed or cajoled or pressured. Rachel will always stand her ground.

One of the guests at the Bulong Pulungan where Rachel was the guest speaker was Rocio “Chuchi” de Vega, once the MTRCB chair in Marcos’ time. She revealed her tumultuous term since the board was full of generals’ wives, Marcos’ driver, gardener and other characters with no qualifications whatsoever. Rachel confided that her board represents many sectors and she feels she can work with them.

Cheers, Rachel!

We had a pleasant musical experience the other day at the CCP with the Brighton Young Orchestra and Lea Salonga. Conducted by Kory Katseanes, the director for orchestra in the Brighton Young University School of Music, the group regularly goes on world tours and they did so here in the country, going to Cebu, Iloilo, Palawan, and around Metro Manila.

Lea Salonga

Lea Salonga

Lea joined the orchestra in the CCP for a one-night show. This stage, she reminded her audience, was where she first sang professionally and auditioned for Miss Saigon which made her an international star at 17 years old.

Last April Lea had sang in Utah, where the Brighton Young orchestra is based and was such a hit there too, the conductor Kory related.

So the second teamup was just perfect and we were part of the enthusiastic audience clamoring for “more, more.” Lea obliged to the sheer delight of the packed house.

Lea grows more confident every time she performs and it is always a “new” Lea we hear in her concerts—witty repartee, beautiful-sounding vocals, and still getting better and better. Are we gushing? Yes. My daughter Sandee just loves Wicked and she swears Lea sings Gravity better than the original Broadway. Of course her songs from Disney’s Mulan and Aladdin are precious jewels!

Thanks to Haidi Fajardo of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints for inviting us to watch the most travelled school orchestra in the world and our own Lea Salonga!

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