It is Edd with two Ds

I knew Edd since the days of my Yahoo and accounts. In internet years, that’s a long time and I quite like couching the length of our friendship in email years because he was an absolute techy and embraced the iPad as God’s gift to artists when many of his peers thought it was heresy to move away from the old way of creating art.

To me, Edd didn’t see things as old or new,  just better ways to do things, faster ways to do things, different ways. He was all about creativity and imagination and freedom. There were no boundaries, no rules and no right way or wrong way – just art in all its beauty, whatever way it took form.

He was an innovator. He created art that only appeared under UV light, his illustrations on Fairfax were distinctly his, and over the years, he would create ‘stuff’ – ornaments, furniture, accessories – that combined his passion for rock n’ roll, literature and everything in between.  A bit like mixed media over mixed media over mixed media!

2013 at my Love, Manila book launch

With my friend and idol, artist Edd Aragon at my Love, Manila book launch in 2013. He designed my book logo symbolizing the traveling Filipina.

I didn’t know much of his life as a musician, but he knew a lot of the Pinoy rock pioneers, and I knew it was one of his life’s enduring passions. One of the parties I looked forward to over the years were his birthday parties were everyone whiles the night away drinking beer and wine, feasting on Filipino food and ‘jamming’. I remember the time he came to the radio station (Sandigan on 2rdj) and hearing my singing voice for the first time – his face softened and he was so surprised! “Michelle, ang sarap pakinggan ng boses mo. Ang lamig!” Having grown up around ‘big voices’ (Filipinos who can sing Whitney Houstons and Mariah Careys), I’ve always thought that my soft, untrained, narrow-range voice was so inferior and not worth listening to – but that night at the radio station, it meant the world to me that Edd enjoyed my song!

I did make a faux pas earlier on in our friendship. He did the major artwork for the first edition of the Australian Filipina magazine and not knowing him then, I thought the extra D in his name was a typo. So the magazine was published spelling his name incorrectly. I just assumed it was a spelling mistake! He got very cross with me about that (as you would if someone misspelt your name!) but I apologised profusely and all was okay since then.

It was really only when I got to know him that I found out why it meant so much. Edd was no ordinary man and his unusually-spelt name reflected that. I am so sad and shocked to hear that he passed away this morning. But like our mutual friend, Violi, said, he died in his sleep surrounded by the things he loved. He has given so much to this world that it comforts me to know that I was amongst his circle of friends here in Australia.

I admired him for his talent – artist, musician, writer, cook, among many things. But I admired him even more for being a fellow patriot – he loved the Philippines with all of his being and would always come to its defense. He criticized the motherland, too, just as any patriot would: it stemmed from our mutual dream that one day Philippines will achieve its full potential and be free of poverty and corruption.

It’s a sad day to know I’ll never see his smiling face again, that I’ll never get to jam with him again and that I’ll never hear him joke again – he was a funny man and loved Filipino puns!

Edd, I just want to thank you for the memories: for sharing your talents, for being a friend and a fierce kababayan, and quite simply, being you, an all-around legend. Until we meet again, matey.