Julia Clarette's Farewell Performance at 12 Monkeys
GPS waypoint: 14°33'55.0"N 121°01'39.9"E
Location: L5, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Ave., Makati, 1210 Metro Manila
Signature Song In a conversation at a QC pub while catching Chikoy Pura's gig, I told Julia that I have yet to have a signature song from her...like I have 'Forever Young' with Noli Aurelio and 'Rage' by Chikoy Pura. She invited me to be her guest at her farewell gig at 12 Monkeys for me to make my choice for a signature song. Deal! There was a sense of urgency as well as she would leave for Kuala Lumpur the day after the gig.
Inside and around us, there is fear and there is love. What we do with these is what will define us. -- Julia Clarette
12 Monkeys If not for Julia, I would not have known 12 Monkeys. Located on the 5th floor of the swank Century City complex, it offered a skyline view of Makati from its al fresco lounge. Inside, the space had lounge atmosphere with good acoustics to wit. Staff were attentive and friendly. Beer? P100 for a Pale Pilsen (including SC). Show charge was P300, but other nights are free even with popular bands like Side A.
Girl's Night It was Girl's Night at 12 Monkeys. Apart from Julia's band, Cult of Julia Robert(Julia Clarette and Robert Javier), there were 3 other bands with female lead vocals - Moonstar88, Cheats and Gracenote. Talent was oozing that night...all they needed was a hit song to catapult them to national stage.
Barong Mini Skirt At 12 Monkeys, Julia came up on stage decked in an oversized barong tagalog with rolled-up sleeves and no pants - a re-purposed barong tagalog mini. Only a diva supremely confident of herself could pull it off - and she did with irreverent abandon. Without uttering a single word, she already commanded the stage.
On Stage Julia did about 5 songs ranging from slow alternative to repressed angst (think Portishead). I like the latter by far. She can pull from deep down when she emotes an angsty song, drawing from the tragedies, heartaches, despair and bleak hopelessness she has gone through. Perhaps with maturity and motherhood, she had that refined control and demeanor - someone who is now assured, someone who's seen it all. It's a sharp contrast to the heady days she'd go wild on stage and take her top off and curse everyone, "bawal magmura dito, mga putang-ina nyo!". Ha-ha. I asked her if she misses those wild days. She calmly replies, "No. I've squeezed everything I could back in the day. Nothing left for me to squeeze now."
Gentler Kinder Julia I'm not sure if it's just a showbiz tact or something more transformational brought about by spanning a broad spectrum from modest beginnings to one whose name is in lights, but Julia had an almost delicate nurturing attention to the people around her - the band members, her fans, the staff of 12 Monkeys, everyone within her orbit - me included! But she's as real as it gets. Like evolved beings I encounter from time to time, I believe she is mindful of how fragile the human factor is and the myriad ways it is woven together.
Julia Clarette Biography
September 24, 1979 - Edda Giselle Rosetta Nuñez Clarette was born. She would be famous in the name Julia Clarette. In her own words, " My birthday is an important event, and it's every year! So I'm absolutely stoned-happy I get to have my day."
1996 - her showbiz career was launched in Batch 4 as member of Star Circle
2000 - Julia's father passes away. The Dad-issue or having a Dad she never had continued to haunt Julia through the years, sometimes finding a father-figure in the counsel of wise men
2004 - Chico Molina, long time partner of Julia, committed suicide leaving Julia in shock and disbelief. This traumatic episode left an indelible impression that never quite left her. In her own words, "...the only way loving someone ends, is when you decide to end it. Up until this weekend while I was in Cebu, I thought I saw Chico in my peripheral, and felt loving shivers on my shoulders. Chico's death reconfirmed/reaffirmed my vision for Julianism. Chico's life made me grateful for every day, conscious or unconscious."
2005 - joined Eat Bulaga, a popular and would eventually be the longest running noontime show in the Philippines. This made Julia a household word.
May 2007 - gave birth to her first born, a son she named Sebastian. The marriage soon fell apart and Julia had to learn how to be a single-Mom, juggling showbiz and motherhood to keep an even keel. In her own words, "Sebastian is an everyday feat. Raising this man is a beautiful experience, so that's everyday for me, near or far."
Jan 16, 2016 - Julia abruptly leaves Eat Bulaga to the astonishment of her fans. In her own words, "I only left Eat Bulaga, but still do gigs and hosting/acting work. Cult of Julia Robert Band (COJR) tours Europe and US this year. As well as the Middle East"
Human Swiss Army Knife In my traveler's parlance, Julia is a human Swiss Army Knife. She packs an array of essential tools to survive in the trench warfare of showbiz. She's an accomplished singer, a graceful dancer, plays musical instruments, hosts a noon time show, competently plays movie and tv roles, etc. As a consummate entertainer since childhood, the stage is her oyster. Like a fish thrown into the sea, she's in her elements on-cam or on-stage engaging her audience with her drop-dead good looks, quick wit, disarming humor, energetic presence and positive radiance.
On Leaving Eat Bulaga After 11 epic years of co-hosting the highest rated noontime show with the comic duo, Vic and Joey. It was a shock to her fans who didn't see it coming. They only learned about the departure from Julia's Facebook account - no formal goodbye to her fans, no formal network send-off. This fueled wild speculation ranging from the pedestrian ("na Pepsi Paloma siya") to the educated guess ("she needs to complete a Malaysian residency requirement"). To put an end to all this speculation, I asked her why. In her own words, "I left Eat Bulaga because I want to see if I can build a family with my partner of 4 years, Gareth, who is based in KL for the next few years.".
Third Wheel Odd, but when I find myself in Manila and catch-up with Julia, I would often find myself a third wheel, between her and her boyfriend at the time. So the three of us would make conversation over coffee or dinner and talk about Julia, as she listens in earnest. Looking back at it, yes, it was odd. But while it happened, I was completely oblivious...as I still am. I could just imagine the boyfriend's thought bubble, "who the f#$k is this guy and why is he with us?"
Girlfriend Issues Equally odd is when I meet Julia in Manila when I'm the one with a girlfriend. Of course I'd make the introduction and we three would make a fleeting polite talk (as Julia is usually carrying on a show). At some point in my private conversation with the GF, she would refer to Julia as the eye-candy, of course, with veiled jealousy. And of course, I would staunchly defend Julia, saying she is indeed eye-candy, but there's a lot of talent underneath that sultry exterior. I'd be thrown out of the door before I even realize what's happening. It happened twice, one a little more violent than the other :)
Ending Thoughts I thought I would just write an article about Julia's performance last night. But obviously I digressed and ventured on to share my intermittent history with her - who Julia is from my lenses, and the optimism I have for her broadening horizon. She's a kindred soul. We're both LoneRiders - fiercely independent, comfortable under our own skin, relish the interaction with people but not reliant on them for validity, mindful of our continuing evolution and striving to be the best version of ourselves. As LoneRiders, we don't meet too much of our kind but when it happens, there is a meeting of the hearts and minds...while the moment lasts.
Well Jules, safe travel to KL. I'm off to do some monk duties myself in Thailand, and if I don't see you again, I'll certainly see you in the next life. Godspeed.
ps - If you are a musician or band (or a music bar) and want me to objectively cover your next gig/scene for this website, email me.
Julia Clarette (Jan 26, 2016) your article is perfect - stingy and smooth in the right intervals
Ricky Avancena (Jan 27, 2016) idol ko si Ado (Fernando Ado Bantula)...pero mas type ko si Julia
Jan 26, 2016