SHE was called Ninj or Ninja. And people asked why. Well, she only wears black or white. But unlike the ninja, she cannot seem to disappear. Nida Djanson-Sabado may look like your Baguio dilettante but she knows her arts. She was one of the most insistent collectors including nudes of her when she was a waif and has championed painters like Ronald Bay-an, Willy Magtibay and John Frank Sabado.
She owned Arca’s Yard and Potentiana Avenue, which tourists only knew for its sweet potato pie. She launched only last March the Black Cabin, envisioned to be an artist residence for Baguio and non-Baguio artists.
But her fierce group of friends swear there is more to Ninj.
She was a fine dancer, storyteller, gourmand, drinker-to-death and most generous friend.
Her death last June 9 was unexpected and created a huge landslide in our cultural and personal memories. Here are some of the thoughts of Ninj’s Friends:
“My friendship with Ninj is my prize and honor. We were close friends from the age of twelve. I will celebrate her life by cherishing all of those beautiful memories of the kind, empathetic and compassionate human being that Ninj was. Ninj is a precious gem and she will be remembered and missed.”
- Evangeline Mitchell, Ninj’s best friend
“Ate Ninj was a siren who couldn’t sing but whose invitations I could never decline. She loved to laugh, dine, and dance, and all the times I spent with her, I laughed twice as much, appreciated food more, but never danced enough. She was my Ate Ninj whose heart was so beautiful, no other person could outshine her no matter where she went.”
- Jasmin G. Bayquen, tea companion, dining buddy, early morning/late night chatmate, friend
“Ninj is a true friend inside and out. She laughs at my stories even if they are not so good, and sympathizes with my troubles even if they are not so bad.
I miss you Ninj! A little too much, A little too often, and a little more everyday.”
- Bea Munar, friend
“Ninj is a beautiful and regal lady. She is a kind and wonderful woman. She is a cherished friend I miss.”
- Jennifer Crisostomo, friend
- A classy lady for her beauty and brains, plus her kindness and generosity.
- Lover of Arts, Music, and Mother Nature.
- Hopeless Romantic.
- D’Jalma Arnedo, a friend of Ninja since high school (‘75-Forever)
“ When I think about Ninj the first thing that comes into my mind is our funny moments together. We giggled and laughed uncontrollably about the same things. What a real pleasure to have been able to do it with her. I know she is smiling in heaven now knowing that I cherish these moments.”
- Jacqueline Caasi, friend.
“She laughed, she danced, she loved, she lived. Ninj did all of that phenomenally as only she could. Beloved by her friends, admired by many–she will be missed.”
- Mia Fokno, wine-drinking ading, slapstick provider, friend
Our friendship started during the Goldmine and Spirits days and became closer after the 1990 earthquake and 1991 Mt Pinatubo eruption. She became one of my clients for the DTI & CIDA sponsored design consultations. Through the years we would brainstorm about putting up a cafe and the black cabin. I’ve known her to be one of the most beautiful faces of Baguio, soft spoken and calm, a dreamer, thinker, believer and a doer. I’ll be missing our long conversations on FaceTime. Rest In Peace my beautiful Igorota friend.
Alejandro Singian dancing partner
– such a likeable amusing woman;
she never behave proudly or arrogantly.
– a foodie who has ardent or refined interest in food;
- Sonn Fernandez, friend