In English, it means friend. To us who belong to this tight-knit bunch of alumni of The Varsitarian, the official student paper of the University of Santo Tomas, katoto means a friend from way way back, 20 years or so. Katoto also happens to be the title of the debut album of my friends Paul Val Pena and Vim Nadera, also staffers with me then at The V.
Paul and Vim have been known to collaborate on original songs since we were together in college. Vim, now an award-winning creative writer, would write the lyrics. Paul, who has been touring the Olongapo folk houses since he was in his teens, would put them to music. Paul has since migrated to San Diego, California, doing time-motion studies for a big gaming company in southern California.
Admittedly, some of their music would be kuwentong lasing to me, but some are real gems, such as If and When, and Ang Dating Tipanan. We V staffers still remember how two of our co-staffers interpreted the latter song with hands swaying, which somehow distracted the audience from the song. hehe
So here we are 20 years later. Vim and Paul just uploaded their album Katoto in full on the Internet, which you can download for free. Why for free? Well, the bighearted men want you to enjoy the music, and if you feel you'd like to share your blessings, you are encouraged to donate to their favorite charities, listed on the website.
Tomorrow, July 1, Paul will sing the songs in their album at Conspiracy Garden Cafe, 7 p.m. onwards. It will be likewise a celebration of our being katoto these past two decades.
BOOK OF THE WEEK: I thoroughly enjoyed Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. A mountaineer, Mortenson attempted to climb K2, one of the challenging mountains in Pakistan. Failing to reach the summit, he went down with his guide and buddy, but got disoriented and lost along the way. He found himself in a little community where he was nursed back to health by the village head's family. In the process he got to know their lifestyle and saw the sorry state of their education. This man showed that it can be done. Now there are over 61 schools educating young children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, thanks to him.
VERSE OF THE WEEK: A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17