Planning to watch Niño, a full length feature Cinemalaya 2011 entrant that shouldn’t be confused with the short of a similar name? Let’s hope the scene of my lolo’s cousin, Tito Luis, made the final cut. You can see him at 0:35 in the film’s trailer below:
All I know is that my Tito Luis was tapped by director Loy Arcenas to play a has-been opera singer reminiscent of previous glory. As you can see from the screencap below, an image of my tito belting like there was no tomorrow, it’s a role suitable for him.
For such old-school followers of opera, it’s acceptable to boo singers off stage when they don’t perform well. Tito Luis would be one of the first people to hoot and whistle, making his displeasure known. While my lolo never really got into the craft—probably as a way to differentiate himself from his dad (and my great-grandfather)—his cousin is real passionate about it.
Luis Santisteban remains a tall man, who towers over me despite a constant slouch brought about by old age. My fondest memory of him comes from the early 90s, when we spent the whole day touring the National Zoological Park in Washington DC. During the week or so we spent near the American capital, Tito Luis would wake me (my parents, and my sister) every morning, with a booming interpretation of Nessun Dorma.
What is about generations and traditions that are so incompatible? Tito Luis is the nephew of my famous opera singer ancestor. My dad was a member of the Ambivalent Crowd, a singing group that was a popular in the Philippines during the 70s.
I was part of my high school choir, but people cover their ears when they hear me sing. Oh well.