Alexis Tioseco may now be gone, but these very words he once wrote that was published on the pages of Rogue Magazine is eternal.
I was not aware of film critic Alexis Tioseco’s existence — I’ve never really been one to appreciate indie and/or art films, much more the Philippine Cinema, sorry Alexis — until yesterday, when I received this text from Marian:
My friend, film critic Alexis Tioseco and his Slovenian girlfriend, Nika [Bohinc], were robbed and shot yday night in their house in QC. Please pray for comfort for family and friends they left behind. They are a lovely couple and among the nicest people I know.
It was sad, I thought upon receiving the text, knowing how it’s like to lose someone you love, how much more to lose someone over such a tragic fate. But you see, my real “attachment” to Alexis and Nika started about 30 minutes ago, when I read this article written by Alexis himself sometime last year.
So that was their story, I thought after reading Alexis’ love letter. Brought together by their love for film (Nika was also a film critic in Slovenia), Alexis and Nika shared a love story that was not bound by cultural differences, nor the distance between Manila and Slovenia. They could be anywhere in the world living a comfortable life together, but Alexis chose to stay in the Philippines because of his love for Philippine Cinema, and Nika, having understood this form of love, agreed to move here as well.
“The first impulse is always one of love,” Alexis said. Those words, along with this beautifully written love letter, were enough for me to know what kind of life Alexis (and Nika) lived.
My dear Nika,
If there has been a single cause of strain that has stuck out in our relationship it is this: the idea of my attachment to the Philippines, the strong desire you see that I have to live and work here, and the way that, perhaps, you see this as a matter of misappropriate priorities. Does a place mean more than a person? Does my work in the Philippines mean more than the possibility of a life with you, somewhere, anywhere else? Must it be you that moves, makes the (I know you hate the word, but let us use it) sacrifice of moving? And what, if anything, does that say about us—that the scales of our love weigh more heavily on your chalice?
I know you’ve come to terms with the idea of moving here, hopefully next year, we discuss—but I still feel the need to talk a bit more about some of my reasons for wanting to stay, at the very least for the meantime. I’m not attempting to compare my affection for Manila with yours for Slovenia, but only to explain the thoughts that go through my head, the things I feel I must do, things that, perhaps, we can do together.
It has always amazed me how a piece of article or letter you wrote years ago, or a sentence you unknowingly said, or a photograph you randomly took, can speak not only a thousand words but anecdotes that people will talk about and draw inspiration from for years to come, long after you’re gone. Such is this year-old article written by Alexis.
What happened to Alexis and Nika — their life, their written work, their passion for the film industry — is a reminder for all of us to stay true to our word, to live a life worth sharing to others, to love unceasingly, and to live each day as if it’s the last.
“The first impulse is always one of love.”
Thanks Alexis and Nika, for living up to those very words. May you both rest in peace.
Edit. A few hours later.
Other blog tributes to Alexis and Nika:
- The first impulse is always one of love (Alexis Tioseco 1981-2009) | Marian
- In Memory of Alexis Tioseco | Rogue Magazine
- Nika Bohinc and Alexis Tioseco : Friends and Critics | Theauteurs
- Of Love, Life, and Loss | Movie City News
- Alexis A. Tioseco, R.I.P. | Jonathan Rosenbaum
- RIP Alexis Tioseco (1981-2009) | Richard Bolisay
- Alexis Tioseco (1981-2009) | Francis Cruz (perhaps the most beautiful tribute to Alexis I’ve ever read)
*Alexis used to blog at http://alexistioseco.wordpress.com.