This is the story of how I met Benjamin Mendoza, the Bolivian painter accused of attempting to assassinate Pope Paul VI on his pastoral visit to the Philippines.
My second visit to Bilibid Prison was under very different circumstances. In fact the day following my second visit one of the Manila papers referred to it under a typical tabloid headline: “Balloons and Bibingka for Benjamin’s Birthday.”
My friendship with the Bolivian surreal artist, Benjamin Mendoza, began in 1969. By that time I considered myself an old Manila hand, regarded by many locals as an honorary Filipina and by the Indios Bravos crowd a resident fixture of the cafe.
Benjamin Mendoza was the new guy in town. As with most newcomers, particularly artists, it did not take long for him to gravitate towards the welcoming crowd in Indios Bravos. I met him on his first visit to the coffee shop. He was sitting alone and I instantly recognized him as a South American. He had the dark, elongated face, the fine aquiline…
View original post 3,024 more words