John Irving at Sitio

by Sigrid Salucop

Sometime in 2011, American novelist John Irving was stuck at JFK with his wife Janet and their son Everett. Thirty long hours later they were finally able to board their flight to Manila. The Irvings, along with their friends the Dancels, then traveled to Sitio Remedios.

John Irving’s stay at Sitio was kept a secret and it was only a few days after they left the country that the local media finally got a whiff of the news. Except Jessica Zafra. More on that later.

Privacy and exclusivity are two of Sitio Remedios’ biggest secrets. And oh, Sitio has many stories like these and we will reveal them either in the coming days or in the next decade.

So back to Miss Jessica Zafra. At a dinner in Antipolo hosted by Sitio’s proprietor Dr. Joven Cuanang, the vibe was happy and light and as with any of his dinner parties, the food was mouthwatering and the drinks overflowing. The said dinner was in honour of John.

National Artist for Visual Arts BenCab was supposed to be on the writer’s left but BenCab, bless his kind heart, and as recounted by Zafra, “decided to sit closer to the buffet”. And at that point, the only seat available for Jessica was right next to Mr. Irving.

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