By now, the whole country (if not the whole world) knows about the passing of one of our generation’s icons – Francis Magalona. He battled with Leukemia (the AML type, the same one my grandmother had) for several months, but it was a big surprise for many outside his close circle of family and friends that he passed so soon. Most of us were thinking that he was on the road to recovery, specially after watching him perform live on Eat Bulaga with his good friend Ely Buendia in October last year (yep, I don’t always watch EB but for some reason, we were tuned in that day).
Everyone who lived through the 80s and the 90s probably have their own memories of the Master Rapper. I remember seeing him perform live and in person at an Eat Bulaga! show. They were still at ABS-CBN then, and he was a guest. It was on our grade 3 (or was it grade 4) field trip and EB was one of our stops. I don’t remember what song he performed that day, probably Mga Kababayan because that was the year it was released, but I could be wrong. Teka, was he really there or am I just associating another memory with it? Basta, that’s how I remember.
I was in highschool when Kaleidoscope World came out. I remember having a friend write down the lyrics on a page in my binder, uso sa ‘min yun nun eh, we really had the lyrics of our favorite songs in our binders right along with our school notes. Tapos pa-bonggahan ng lettering for the titles.
After shift on Friday at around 12 noon, my team went out for a few rounds of drinks and videoke at this bar along Mother Ignacia. As soon as we were ushered into the room, of course I took the remote control for the videoke. Haha. I randomly punched a number and guess what came out? FrancisM’s version of SuperProxy. I am not kidding. We didn’t know that he had died already. We started receiving messages about the news only about two and a half hours later. The boyfriend was the first person I SMSd about it, he hadn’t heard, and he replied back that that wasn’t a very good joke. He’s a fan, you see. As our own tribute, we looked through the song book for Kaleidoscope World and all sang together.
Some time ago, I had read somewhere that he was into photography. I searched online for his photos and that was the first time I landed on his Multiply page. Today was the only other time I checked it out and I spent the last hour or so going through his posts. He lived a full life, that much I can see. And he enabled others to do so too. He wasn’t just passionate about his music, he had the same dedication for his photography, and also for his clothing line (which is a mere reflection of his love for his country). Last night, walking away from the MOA concert grounds, the boyfriend and I were talking about how much the Man from Manila has accomplished in his 44 years of life.
Until around Christmas last year, we didn’t know that the three stars and a sun shirts were FrancisM labels. Seriously. We’ve all seen them around and am sure everyone wants one. Then while shopping for gifts at Greenhills, we saw a guy wearing a shirt and I don’t know how we knew, but it was from FrancisM Clothing Company! We searched through Greenhills for a store where we could buy from the original brand – we didn’t find it. Now I know where the stores are. I’ll be looking for the Cancer shirt (both the Philippine Cancer one and the Leukemia one) because that holds significance for us too. Alfred wants the one with FM’s silhouette, the one with the mic.
FM. I remember when I decided to name my Frankie after FrancisM. He was a good photographer, a good storyteller. I hope to tell more stories through my photos too, be it with Frankie’s help (I have neglected her so much) or with another camera.
He leaves behind his wife, and their 8 children, many many friends and millions of fans.
Rest in Peace FrancisM, Master Rapper, the Man from Manila.