A Few Laughs for Mariel

Mariel was the one with the real sense of humor in the family. She always found something interesting even in the most banal of situations.

That is why she never missed watching on TV the “infamous” American Idol auditions around this time each year. Even as Simon Cowell’s nasty critiques may have now somewhat lost some of their original edge, she still would have enjoyed the surprising new vocal discoveries and entertaining “flunkers” as well. In fact, we usually would have the time of our lives with our daughter Sam watching this and even making a contest of predicting who would get “in” or not. (And I’d like to share that it was Mariel who normally “wins”. Now you know where Sam really got her musical genes.)

One of this year’s lovable and inspiring flunkers is Renaldo Lapuz, a Reno- based Filipino who got his “fifteen minutes” and wowed most Idol watchers this year with his blend of audacity and unique message. Mariel would have loved watching him over and over on the tube because she always had a soft heart for the underdog and thoroughly enjoyed a good joke if she ever saw one (I’ve told you before that she usually forwarded me text jokes on my mobile phone all the time).I can now imagine Mariel having a rollicking good time at this funny and characteristically Filipino prank.

So enjoy this one tonight as we have a few laughs with our love– Mariel. This one’s from me and Sam, Mommy. We love you.

4 thoughts on “A Few Laughs for Mariel

  1. So sweet, this young man, Renaldo Lapuz. I don’t watch American Idol, but have a few times in other friends’ homes.

    I especially loved the bowing scene backstage (in your post). I’m sure it’s true, Mariel would have gotten suck a kick out of this. Laughter is such an amazing healer, Bong. We both know this.

    Many (MANY) years ago, I dated a Filipino man who was (a few years earlier and while still living in Manila), the Filipino Scrabble champion – in English and Tagalog. We used to play Scrabble together, and he always won in English. He taught me a few Tagalog words and phrases, but I’m having trouble finding a decent Internet translator for English to Tagalog. Do you know of one? I’m a big fan of languages.

    Love and laughter to you and Sam (and knowing you can still Mariel’s laugh),

  2. Hi Linda,

    Yes Mariel loved a good laugh. That’s why I often missed her so because I’m as humorless and corny as anyone can get. But I’m trying to change that a little bit, if only to honor the cheeriness she has brought into our lives..

    I’m pleasantly surprised by your Filipino acquaintance. The world is such as small place, although our links I’m sure are not merely accidental.

    I’d also be very happy to translate anything for you into Tagalog. Just email them to me anytime.

    Thanks again for caring. I know Owen’s probably sharing a few laughs with my Mariel too.

    All the best,


  3. doris maclaren

    Hello Bong,
    That american idol clip was so funny. I would never have seen it had I not visited this site. I often think of you and Mariel and Sam. Actually, it comes automatically when I think of my mom and my family in Tarlac-that means quite often.
    It is impossible to really expect folks who have not lost their spouses to feel your loss. My dad passed many years ago and I can’t think of him without feeling pain and regret-that of not being able to say good-bye or spending more time with him. I always second guessed myself on the choices I made when I was younger-I should have been a medical doctor and I could have saved him. But what can I do about that now?
    I think,as hard as it is, we do have to move on. It does not mean that we forget, it is a way of coping with our loss. And for you, writing about how you feel and what is going on with you and Sam and sharing it with us is a wonderful way to keep Mariel’s memory alive.
    I am not so sure if I am making sense, but I just wanted to reach out to you and let you know that we have not forgotten.
    Take care, Bong. Give my best to Sam who is so lucky she has a dad like you.
    By the way, Joy was in the same batch as my older sister Julie.

  4. Dear Doris.

    Thank you for your kind words. I often think of you too even as you are oceans away. I never forget the good ol’ days at UP and fun times in Morato. Mariel has often told me too that she remembers how beautiful you were in high school. (Still are) She remembers Julie too and your younger sister.

    Please keep in touch and I look forward to your someday meeting Sam, who is truly her mother’s daughter in every way. Beautiful, kind, intelligent and most of all very loving.

    Warm regards,


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