News: Repertory Philippines’ 2020 season holds a mirror up to human life

(5) 2020 Season Directors

Throughout its 53-year illustrious history, Repertory Philippines has allowed audiences to see the world with new eyes. By transporting them back in time or putting them in the shoes of another, REP has always reflected humanity in all its great diversity. For its 83rd season, REP is holding up a mirror to different experiences, highlighting stories that are both unique and familiar.

With Liesl Batucan on her first season as REP’s Artistic Director, audiences can expect a new creative spirit that remains faithful to REP’s legacy while bringing it forward, as she assembles a brilliant and diverse core of creatives who will be making their debut in the REP director’s chair; celebrated thespians who will be treading the REP boards for the first time; and REP veterans who will be making their much-awaited theater comeback.

Tarek el Tayech (as HE), and Missy Maramara (as SHE) are caught in a delightful mess in the romantic comedy Stage Kiss.

The 2020 season opens with The New York Times’ Critic’s Pick of 2014, Stage Kiss by American playwright Sarah Ruhl, which runs from February 7 to March 1, 2020. This romantic comedy takes audiences backstage and introduces them to She and He, two stage actors who find themselves cast as lovers in a 1930s melodrama. But She and He have a romantic history together, and after sharing several stage kisses as their characters, they unintentionally rekindle their love. A deliciously witty and insightful play about life imitating art and art imitating life, Stage Kiss stars Missy Maramara, Tarek El Tayech, Andres Borromeo, Justine Narciso and Mica Pineda, among others, and is directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna, renowned and multi-awarded filmmaker of critically-acclaimed movies Hihintayin Kita sa Langit, Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin, and Azucena.

Gab Pangilinan (as Marela) contemplates how Tolstoy’s ANNA KARENINA ominously intertwines with their lives in Anna in the Tropics.

From March 13 to April 5, 2020, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics by Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz comes to the REP stage. When Juan Julian arrives in Tampa, Florida in 1929, he unwittingly heralds change in the Cuban cigar factory where he has been employed as a lector. As he reads aloud from Leo Tolstoy’s passionate Anna Karenina, the workers soon find the story creeping into their lives and informing their decisions. Marriages collapse, affairs are pursued, and tensions run high as the workers are confronted with the threat of automation. To be directed by New York-based noted production designer Joey Mendoza and starring Ana Abad Santos, Jake Macapagal, Paolo O’ Hara, Brian Sy, Gab Pangilinan, Gie Onida and Madeleine Nicolas, Anna in the Tropics paints a sympathetic portrait of oppressed laborers and lovers who flout tradition, as it shows the transformative power of literature.

Gian Magdangal (as Billy Bigelow) and Nikki Gil (as Julie Jordan) grapple with issues of love, forgiveness and redemption in the award-winning musical Carousel.

The universally-loved and enduring favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical Carousel caps off the season and runs from May 1 to 24, 2020. Helmed by much lauded young director Toff de Venecia, the production showcases a star-studded cast led by the luminous pairing of Nikki Gil and Gian Magdangal, who will both be making their REP debut. The musical follows a poor young couple, millhouse worker Julie Jordan and carousel barker Billy Bigelow. When they both lose their jobs because of their whirlwind love affair, Billy is pressured into committing theft to provide for their unborn child. After everything goes tragically wrong, he is given a chance to make things right. Hailed as TIME Magazine’s Best Musical of the 20th Century, Carousel explores the heartbreak and complexities that make its characters so tragically and wonderfully human.

Snow White and the Prince brings a beloved fairy tale to life for families everywhere.

REP 2020 ends with REP Theater for Young Audiences’ (RTYA’s) children’s musical Snow White and the Prince by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman. From the same writers of REP’s mega hit 2018 production Rapunzel, Rapunzel, A Very Hairy Fairytale comes this witty new take on a beloved classic. Running from September 12, 2020 to January 31, 2021, this play is directed by none other than the legendary Joy Virata. When Snow White meets her prince at the ball, they fall in love. But when the magic mirror tells the Evil Queen that Snow White is the fairest in all the land, she burns with jealousy. She vows to vanquish Snow White, but the young girl flees into the forest and befriends seven unusual miners. Children of all ages will delight in this fun re-telling of this beloved fairytale that reminds us that people united in goodness are more powerful than the forces of evil.

Ed Lacson Jr. directs for REP Unplugged, REP’s edgy take on alternative theater, which will be launched in June 2020.

For the first time in REP history, audiences will get to experience REP Unplugged, an edgy and exciting new staging concept that is independent—or “unplugged”—from the rest of the season. Directed by theater wunderkind Ed Lacson Jr., REP Unplugged is alternative theater and will be performed in unconventional performance spaces. It will be launched in June 2020 during the interim between REP’s first three plays and its children’s production. Featuring an out-of-the-box approach and a fresh take on theater, REP Unplugged is ready to shake things up.

For the full experience of REP’s 2020 seas0n, purchase season passes now. Season subscribers can get access to REP’s 2020 plays at up to 30% off. The Gold Year Pass (includes 3 season shows + RTYA) costs Php 4,900, the Silver Year Pass (includes 3 season shows + RTYA) is only Php3,700, the Gold Season Pass (includes 3 season shows) is Php 4,200, and the Silver Season Pass (includes 3 season shows) is Php 3,150.

For show-buying and ticket inquiries, contact REP at 8451-1474 or 0966-905-4013. You may also purchase your season passes by calling Ticketworld at 891-9999, or through

For updates and show schedules, log on to, or like and follow repertoryphilippines on Facebook and Instagram.

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Literary Millennial:Words that has non-English origins


From the 80,000 English words, roughly 28% originate from Latin, 28% from French, and 25% from Germanic languages. To honor those countries that shared their words, whether intentional or not, here is a list of six words that English speakers may not know as foreign. Truth be told, there are thousands of words to choose from but this will give those who are taking English classes or those who are learning how to be a motivational speaker  in the Philippines have an idea about the origin of English words. Because of this, a lot of educational sectors seek the help of educational publishing services to get the word out and spread knowledge around.  After all, how many people know that “gung ho” is Mandarin Chinese for “gongye hezhoushe”, which means work in harmony?

As demonstrated in horror movies, a poltergeist is some sort of paranormal and usually violent activity taking place around those who are deeply troubled or have been traumatized. The word itself comes from “poltern”, which means to make noise, and “geist”, which means ghost. Most of the activity has been attributed to physical or electrical skeptics but, like with anything paranormal, there are cases that are too strange to be explained by logic.

This is an ancient Greek word that means “glory” or “renown”. In ancient Greek culture, glory was always found in the battlefield, much like with every other civilization. It is considered as a serious insult when a soldier is refused his earned due or kudos. A popular example of kudos is in the Iliad when Agamemnon takes the maiden Briseis from the soldier Achilles as a gift of honor.

The British Army was known for their bright red uniforms until the 19th century. This earned their nickname “redcoats”. This made them
an easy target, especially since they have formations. However, if you look at the British Army now, they are now wearing a different and more sensible color: khaki. The British began to use this cloth and color found in their colonization of India, hence the name khaki, which means “dusty” or “earth” in Hindi.

The origins of this Arabic word date back to the 9th century, when an Islamic sect was led to overthrow the Suni Muslims. The founder of the group, Yemeni Shiite Hasan-I Sabbah, set about his mission by targeting the enemies’ leaders. Their group was given the name Hashshashin, meaning hashish-eaters, and was converted into English in 1603 as “assassin”.

Beserk refers to an Old Norse word that was used to describe Viking warriors. The word means “bear shirt” for the bearskins that the warriors used instead of armor. The warriors believed that by wearing the skins and working themselves into a war frenzy will give them the strength of bears. Sir Walter Scott, a Scottish historical novelist, began using the word in the 1822 in his book The Pirate, more than one thousand years after the Viking Invasions.

Confetti is an Italian word to mean “candy”, specifically the sugared almonds and other sweet confections eaten during special occasions like weddings and first communions. However, the custom of throwing confetti did not come from Italy. In the ancient times, small food items like rice and nuts were thrown during times of celebration to represent fertility and abundance.
Impress your friends with your new knowledge of the English language! Go ahead and flaunt your skills; share to others the origins of these words and see what they think.

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France’s ICT-Asia 2015 Kicks Off

ICT-Asia 2015

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna (May 25) — The two-day conference of the regional ICT-Asia program of France kicked off today at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). The event is held annually to help enhance the capability of Asian countries in the field of information and communication technology (ICT).

The event is jointly organized by the French government through its embassy in the Philippines and Delegation for Regional Cooperation — ASEAN and the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) Regional Science Bureau for Asia and Pacific based in Jakarta Indonesia; and hosted by SEARCA, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

The regional workshop looks to strengthen, on the basis of mutual benefit, high-level scientific cooperation on ICT with emerging and developed Asian nations.

ICT-Asia contributes to regional integration by driving a search for excellence and support for scientific communities in Asia, with a strong focus on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ICT-Asia 2015 focuses on four themes: Climate Change Modeling and Monitoring, Disaster Risk Reduction, ICT Applications to Food Security, and the Urban and Rural Informatics.

ICT Experts from France, ASEAN Member States, Japan, South Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, among others, are among the official participants of the regional workshop. Representatives from French and Asian public and private institutons supporting research and development (R&D), regional cooperation and networking in ICT field are also participating.

A press conference with His Excellency Gilles Garachon, Ambassador of France to the Philippines and the other speakers at the opening program, namely: Dr. Amelia P Guevara, Undersecretary for Research and Development, Department of Science and Technology; Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director; Mr. André de Bussy, Counsellor for Regional Cooperation — ASEAN, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, France; Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., UPLB Chancellor, Professor Kanchana Kanchnasut, Vice President for Research, Asian Institute of Technology; Dr. Luc Le Calvez, Director of the French National Center for Scientific Research; and Dr. Jean-Pascal Torrenton, Regional Coordinator for Asia, French Institute of Research for Development.

Organizers say that workshop is expected to strengthen a Franco-regional network in ICT and increase the participation of Filipino and other ASEAN scientists in the ICT program.

The project proposals to be presented at the 2015 ICT-Asia conference are envisaged to eventually lead to long-lasting trilateral cooperation and collaboration with international research teams.

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Tara! Join Tayo!

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On September 29, 2012, the Philippines joins the world in reveling the International Coastal Clean Up Day with a coastal cleanup activity in Corregidor dubbed TARA! TARA! TARA! SA CORREGIDOR (Para Sa Coastal Cleanup 2012).

The day tour activity is spearheaded by Earthday Jam Foundation Inc. & Dimitri Productions (producers of the popular and irrepressible 13 years of Earthday Jam) with artists-producer Lou Bonnavie and creative director Toto Gentica at its helm.

The event aims to create awareness about the importance of wildlife and marine life and raise greater consciousness and concern for the coastal areas and waterways.

“It is time that we make our young people more aware of these initiatives,” says Toto Gentica. “Choosing Corregidor as our venue for the cleanup this year, makes it more relevant and historical. Relevant, because we have been experiencing problematic issues on waste management along the shorelines of Corregidor in the past few decades.”

Solid and water wastes coming from neighboring provinces such as Bataan and Cavite, and more so from the Manila Bay are being washed up to certain coastlines of Corregidor. This concern has been an ongoing issue in one of the country’s historical tourist destination.

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“Corregidor is undeniably historical,” Pinipikan’s artist-drummer Billy Bonnevie told us. “It records the past and the history of the Filipino people. It is sad that our young people in Manila would go to far off places in the Philippines for vacations, without realizing that we have something like Corregidor that is just beyond our reach.”

The event will be participated by various volunteers from various sectors supported by the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy and its official carrier Sun Cruises, in cooperation with Holcim Philippines, Chevron, the Department of Tourism, and Corregidor Foundation.

The first of its kind, participants gear up for a unique experience, as they are able to clean the seas while they savor the historical treasures of Corregidor. Celebrities and artists will also spice up the event with their participation. The Sunset Acoustic Jam will be participated by Lou Bonnavie, Kitchi Nadal, Meagan Aguilar, The Drum Circle, Pure Sound, among many others.

“We are looking for ways on how to make such environmental initiative as fun and engaging for the young people,” Lou says last September 20 during the advance party at Corregidor. “We will make sure that we encourage young Filipinos develop the awareness of taking care of the environment, and at the same time enjoy the day through concerts, drummings and dancing. Things that our youth, I’m sure will enjoy!”

Registration is ongoing. Email or call (02) 8976991. You can also visit them on Facebook at Earthday Jam Foundation.

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Nang bilhin kami ng mga bumbay, ang daming change management.

Sa mga pagkaka-taong alam naming hindi uubra ang iba, ang tanging sagot lang nila ay nagawa na yan sa India….pwes, gawin din dito.

Sportsfest namin ngayon sa opisina. Dating gawi. Baketbol, vollyebas, cheering. Ganun pa rin.

I’m just wondering kung bakit hindi pa ito nakakasama sa line-up ng mga laro.

Dahil nagawa na ‘to sa India.

BIlat….umurong-urong ka, at baka ka matamaan.

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Out in the Rain


Monday, July 8, 2002

Nagising ako ng alas-otso ng umaga. Madilim pa rin sa labas, malamig ang hangin, at malakas ang ulan. Hindi pa natigil si Bagyong Gloria simulang pumasok siya noong Huwebes.

Lunes noon at simula na naman ng pasok. Siguradong handa na ang mga kaklase kong makinig na naman sa walang tigil na mga litanya ko tungkol sa nangyari noong isang linggo. Tiyak akong walang tigil na naman ang mga payong makukuha ko. Mga payong tigilan ko na ang pag-iyak at tanggaping wala na nga siya.

Buong Sabado’t Linggo’y hindi ako nakakakain ng mabuti. Hindi ako nakagawa ng mga assignments sa school at hindi ako nakatulong sa bahay. Buong Sabado’t Linggo’y nagkulong lang ako sa kwarto, walang kinausap kundi ang dingding. Buong Sabado’t Linggo’y wala akong ginawa kundi titigan ang cellphone ko at halos magkandarapang damputin sa tuwing may mag-ti-text.

Sana, siya, ang lagi kong bulong. Sana, na-realize na n’ya.

Pero buong Sabado’t Linggo’y wala siyang na-realize. Buong Sabado’t Linggo’y nagpakasaya sila.

Wala akong sinabihan sa bahay. Wala silang alam lahat. Ayoko ring dagdagan ng problema ang nanay ko. Inaalagaan na n’ya si tatay na noo’y binaldado na ng ika-pitong stroke. Ayoko nang dumagdag.

Alam nilang bakla ako. Walang problema doon. Bata pa ko’y alam na nilang hindi pwedeng manood ng PBA tuwing Linggo dahil Superstar sa Channel 9 at ako ang nasusunod sa TV. Ngayong malaki na ko’y, ako ang nagsisilbing Boy Abunda pag dating sa mga family activities at John Lapuz sa mga inuman.

Pero hindi sinasabi ang mga kwentong  pag-bo-boyfriend sa isang ultra-conservative na pamilya. Magagalit daw and Diyos. Kukulog, kikidlat. Kakainin tayo ng lupa.

Salamat na lang at balik ako ng iskwelahan noong araw na ‘un. Kahit papano’y may mga tao doong makakaintindi sa mga pag-si-senti ko, at mababawasan ang bigat sa dibdib ko.

“Walang pasok,” bungad sa akin ni nanay pagkalabas ko ng kwarto. “Signal no. 3, sinuspinde na ang klase.  Hindi pa naalis si Gloria.”

“Ay papasok ako,” sagot ko.

“Wag kang tanga!” sigaw sa akin ni nanay. “At san ka naman pupunta? Ma-stranded ka pa d’yan.”

Dahil sa lamig ng hangin sa labas, hindi ko napansing hindi umaandar ang mga electric fans sa sala. “Walang ilaw?”

“Kanina pa,” sagot ni nanay, habang pinaghihiwalay ang mga puting damit sa de kolor.

“E telepono?”

“Wala rin,” sagot n’ya.

Anu ba yan! Kundi ka naman talaga minamalas! sa loob ko. Mukhang buong araw akong makukulong dito sa bahay na walang makakausap. Papano kung atakihin na naman ako ng senti?

“Maghanda ka na ng makakain ng tatay mo. May adobo d’yan. Kumain ka na rin pagkatapos.”

“Wala akong gana.”

Naglaba si nanay. Naghanda akong pagkain ni tatay. Buwiset na araw ‘to. Kung bakit naman sinabayan pa ng langit ang pag-ngawa ko?

Naupo ako sa tabi ng braso ni tatay. Ini-upo ko siya at isinandal sa cushion chair na nakasandal sa headboard ng kama matrimonial.

“‘Tay, kakain na,” bulong ko.

Mag-ta-tatlong taon na noong bed-ridden si tatay. Matapos ang ilang mild strokes, binawi na rin sa kanya ang kaliwang katawan at salita. Tanging mga tango, ungol at turo lang ang pang-usap n’ya sa amin.

Dahan dahang sinubuan ko si tatay. Mahirap na siyang lumunok, at madalas pang masamid.

Tiningnan kong maigi si tatay. Ang swerte n’ya. May asawa siyang nag-aalaga sa kanya. ‘E ako? Sino ang sa akin?


Hindi ko napigilan ang luha. Sa gitna ng rituwal na pagpapakain kay tatay, ay bigla na lang akong napahagulgol.

“‘Tay, may problema ako.”

Tiningnan ako ng tatay ko. Umiyak din siyang bigla. Tumango ng dahan dahan at hinawakan ang kamay ko.

“Niloko ako ‘tay,” pilit kong binulong. Mahirap nang marinig ni nanay. Siguradong sermon ang aabutin ko.

Maganda na ring kay tatay ko na lang ibuhos ang nararamdaman ko nang mga sandaling iyon. Tahimik na lang siya sa kama at siguradong wala siyang ibang masasabihan, kahit ilang taon pa silang magtabi ni nanay.

“Ang sakit pala ‘tay. Ang sakit sakit,” sinabi ko habang tahimik akong umiiyak.

Pinunasan ni tatay ang luha ko. Pinunasan ko ang sa kanya. Ibinaba n’ya ang kamay n’ya at nag-astang namununtok. Nalerki ako. Baka mabuntal pa ‘ko ng baldado.

Dahan dahang pinukpok n’ya ang dibdib ko. Matapos noon, pinukpok naman n’ya ang kanya.

“Talaga ‘tay? Kaya ko ‘to?” tanong ko sa kanya.

Tumango siyang humihikbi. Sapat nang sagot na gusto kong marinig.

“Ano yan? Ba’t hindi mo sinusubuan, e lalamig na naman ang pagkain ng tatay mo,” biglang bulas ni nanay sa likod ko.


“‘E kasi ‘tong si tatay e, ang bagal ngumuya e,” pasinungalin ko. Sorry ‘tay ah! Desperate situations call for desperate measures.

“Bayani, kumain ka na. Tapusin mo na ‘yan!”  utos ni bungangera. “Gusto mo naman kasi nandito pa ‘ko. ‘E ang dami kong nilalabhan.”

Naupo si nanay sa kama. Sumandal sa headboard, at inihiga ang ulo ni tatay sa dibdib n’ya.

“O ayan, nakaupo ka nang mabuti. Kain na!” utos ulit ni nanay.

Pareho na silang nakaharap sa akin. Si tatay, si nanay. Itinaas ko ang kutsarang may lamang konting kanin at hinimay na adobong karne. Naka-subo ulit si tatay. Hinimas ni babae ang ulo ni lalake. Nakiusap ulit.

“Lunok na,” malambing na pakiusap ng nanay ko. “Ibibili kita ng hamburger mamaya. Gusto mo ‘yun.” Sabay halik niya sa noo.

Ganun nga siguro kapag nagmamahal ka at minamahal ka. Walang mahirap na problema, dahil kayong dalawa ay sapat nang solusyon. Sa oras ng gipit nandun ‘un isa. Umaagapay, hindi ka iniiwanan.

Lumabas ulit ang second batch ng luha ko. Kasama pati sipon at sigaw.

“WAAAAAH! Nay…..Pag…..pray…mo…’ko!” bulas ko.

Nagulat si nanay. Mukhang aatakihin. Matagal na kong hindi nasama sa kanya sa simbahan tuwing Linggo at nakalimutan ko na ring magdasal kahit papano.

“HINDI KO NA ‘TO KAYA! Hirap na hirap na ‘ko!”

Hindi muna nagsalita si nanay. Tahimik n’ya akong tiningnan. Saka nagsabing: “Anong problema mo?”


“Aba Orlando! Papano kita ipagdadasal kung hindi ko alam kung anong tsismis?”

“Basta, ipagdasal mo na lang ako,” sagot ko habang umaatungal.

“‘E ako pa bibigyan mo ng problema n’yan sa panghuhula e! Ano bang problema?”

“Basta nga!”

Nakisama na rin si tatay sa pag-iyak. Idinampi ulit n’ya ang kamay n’ya sa dibdib ko. Pagkatapos ay sa dibdib naman n’ya. Lalo akong naiyak.

“Bayani!” tanong ni nanay kay tatay. “May alam ka ba dito?”

“‘Nay, kahit may alam yan, wala kang makukuha d’yan. His lips are sealed!”

“Lintek na! Ako pa pala huling makaka-alam nito!”

“Basta! Wag mo nang alamin.” Parang umiinit na ulit, kahit malakas ang ulan sa labas.

“Anung problema? Sabihin mo!” tanong ni nanay na parang nag -i-interrogate. “Hindi ka-ga-graduate?”

“Ga-graduate ako noh!” sabi ko. Dean’s Lister ‘ata ‘ko. Pero malamang, next sem hindi na, dahil parang nawawalan na ‘kong interes mag-aral.

“May naka-away kang propesor?”


“May nadispalko kang pera?”


“‘E anu ngang problema?! Sabihin mo’t maipagdasal na yan!”

Tiningnan ko si nanay. Panandaling tumigil ang iyak ko. “Concerned ka ba talaga o gusto mo lang maki-tsismis?”

“Lintek ka!” sigaw ni nanay. “Sabihin mo!”

“Basta nga!”

Tumigil na ko sa pag-iyak. Mukhang nasa bingit na ‘ko ng kamatayan.

Tumahimik na rin si nanay. Tanging ang hampas ng hangin at ulan sa mga bubong at puno sa labas ang narininig namin.

Nakatungo ako sa pinggan ng pinaghalong adobo at kanin, nang marinig ko ang malalim na buntong-hinga ng nanay ko.

“Lalake?” bulong n’ya.

“WAAAAAAAAAH!!!!” sagot ko ng malakas! Tulo luha, sipon – pati luga isinama ko na rin.

“Ayan na nga bang sinasabi ko. Matagal ko nang sinasabing tigilan mo na yang pag-babakla mo. Wala kang mapapala d’yan.”

“‘Nay naman!”

“Ano’t eto na nga?” sagot ng matanda. “Lolokohin ka lang ng mga lalaki. Peperahan ka. Gagamitin.”

“‘Nay, hindi ako pinerahan,” paliwanag ko.

“Darating din sa ganyan. Wag ka nang mag-kaila. Darating din sa ganyan!”

Tuloy pa rin ang pag-iyak ko. Isinbay ko sa lakas ng ulan ni Gloria noong araw na ‘un. Sa labas, bumaha na sa Maynila, sa bahay naman, bumaha ng sikreto ko.

“Ako na d’yan,” utos ni nanay sabay kuha ng pinggan sa kamay ko. “Kumain ka na’t ikaw na magpatuloy ng nilalabhan ko.”

Hindi na ko umarte pa. Pagkakataon ko na para makatakas sa kuartong halos malunod ako sa mga sinumulan kong drama.

Dumeretso ako sa kusina. Sumandok ng kanin at ulam, naupo sa dinning table. Hindi pa rin mawala sa isip ko ang sakit, pati na rin ang problemang ibinigay ko kay nanay.

Matapos ang unang subo, tinamad na ako. Wala talaga akong gana. Wala pa ring lasa ang pagkain. Tiningnan ko na lang ang pinggan kong puno ng ulam at kanin.

Nakikita ko pa rin siya. Ang saya nila ngayon siguro.

“Aba! Kung hindi ka kakain, ‘e ibang problema na naman ang makukuha mo n’yan!” sabi ni nanay na nakatayo pala sa likod ko. “Hindi iniisip yan. Lahat dumadaan sa ganyan. Kailangan mo lang tanggapin.”

Sumubo ako ng pangalawa. Dumertso si nanay sa ref para kumuha ng tubig.

“Masakit talaga yan. Parang bato yan sa dibdib mo. Hindi natatanggal, ambigat bigat. Laging nasa isip mo: ang saya saya nila. Pero anung magagawa mo? Andyan na yan? Lunukin mo na lang.”

Nilunok ko nga ang kanin.

“Humanap ka ng babae. ‘Dun hindi ka masasaktan. Mabubuntis mo pa.”

“Gusto mo ‘kong mawalan lalo ng gana?” tanong ko.


Naglakad si nanay pabalik sa kwarto. Tumigil sandali at nilingon ako uli.

“Tigilan mo na yan,” bulong n’ya sa akin. “Pati ako magdadala n’yan.”

Pumasok si nanay sa kwarto nila ni tatay. Muli kong tiningnan ang pagkain sa harap ko. Bigla akong nagutom. Naamoy ko ang asim ng sabaw ng adobo.

Tumingin ako sa labas. Medyo humina ang ulan. Manananghali na rin siguro sabi ko sa sarili ko.

Bigla kong napansing nakangiti na pala ako.

Tatay, nanay, salamat.

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Ang 12,000 Pesos na Glass Slippers

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Ipinarada ko si Snooky sa tapat ng Union Bank, Pasong Tamo Extension branch.
Tiningnan ko si nanay na halos hindi nagsasalita simula pa nung umalis kami ng bahay. Huli ko siyang narinig magsalita kaninang agahan; ni-request na sumabay sa akin sa pagpasok para ma-check daw n’ya kung nagsimula na ngayong buwan ang pension n’ya.
“Sabi sa GSIS,” bulong ni nanay na hindi naalis ang mata sa kanin at ulam n’ya, “i-check ko daw ngayong buwan na ‘to kung papasok ang pension ko.”
“Ilang buwan yan?” tanong ko.
“Isa lang. Kung meron nang pumasok, ngayon na ang simula.”
65 na si nanay. 60 siya nang mag-retire. Lump sum ang kinuha n’ya nung tumigil na siya sa pagtuturo. Actually, hindi ung inaasahan n’ya ang na-credit sa, pero OK na rin. Hindi na rin siya nag-reklamo. Ang sabi n’ya hangga’t buhay pa naman siya, magagamit pa rin n’ya un.
“Dito na lang ako,” sabi ko kay nanay. “Hindi na ko mag-papark d’yan sa loob. Bilisan mo na lang.”
Walang kibong lumabas si nanay. Kinakabahan siguro.
Pinagmasdan ko siyang naglalakad pa-ika-ika papunta sa ATM ng Union Bank. Kurkubado na at mabagal maglakad.
Sabi ni nanay, pagkatapos mong sumuko sa ilang taong pagtatrabaho sa gobyerno at napili mong mag-lump sum, makukuha mo ang latest sweldo mo times the number of years of service plus kung anu-anu pa. Maganda na raw ‘tong pagsimulan ng bagong nag-retiro.
Pero may catch. Hindi ka makakatanggap ng pension for the next 5 years. Kaya naman ‘ung ibang matatanda na nag-lump sum, matapos sairin ng mga anak at manugang nila ang kanilang napag-retire-an, limang taong naka-aasa ang mga pobreng Senior Citizens na ‘to sa mga anak na nang-huthot.
Pero si nanay – wais. Tatlong taon pa lang bago siya mag-retire, naka-plano na ang retirement n’ya.
Ilang buwan lang matapos n’yang matanggap ang lump sum n’ya, naubos na agad. Bakit naman, ‘e nag-pakasal si Arvin. 100K din ang iniabot n’ya dito. ‘Ung natira, ipinagpagawa n’ya ng dalawang apartments sa Los Banos.
Ako? Ni piso, wala akong natikman sa retirement pay n’ya. Pero wala sa akin ‘un. Pera ni nanay ‘un, hindi ako dapat umasa. Pero kung nagkataong ikinasal ako nang mga panahon na yun, o nag-plano mang magpa-sex change, e marahil nag-alboroto ako ng bonggang bongga kung hindi ako naambunan ng suporta. Joke lang.
Pero tulad ng ibang nag-lump sum, naghintay din si nanay ng limang taon. Limang taon syang naka-aasa sa buwanang iniaabot ko at sa kita n’ya sa mga paupahan n’ya. Kahit papano’y maluwag ang paghihintay n’ya kahit minsa’y hindi on time kung magbayad ang mga nangungupahan. Kahit minsa’y nababawasan ko ang nai-entrega ko sa kanya.
Sa loob ng limang taon madalas n’yang sabihin sa aking isa sa mga dasal n’ya ay ang umabot pa siya ng 65 at higit pa, para naman daw matikman n’ya ang nakaupo na lang at kumikita ng pensyong ibibigay ng gobyerno. Makakatulong daw ‘to para mas makapag-ipon siya muli sa pag-pagawa ng bahay naming matitigilan sa Los Banos. Makakatulong din daw ‘to para kahit papano’y matulungan n’ya sina Arvin sa mga pangagailangan tulad ng gatas nina Varga at Matt.
Limang taon siyang naghintay. Naghintay rin ako. Gusto kong dumating ang araw na matikman ni nanay ang pagtanaw, ng sistemang minsa’y tinulungan n’ya, ng utang na loob sa mga katulad niya. Sa tuwing nananaginip siya ng gising at nagsasabi ng mga plano n’ya sa pension n’ya, naiisip ko ang ilang taong walang humpay na pagsisilbi n’ya sa Zamora bilang isang guro. Naalala ko ang pag-gising n’ya tuwing madaling araw para makahabol sa Flag Ceremony, pati na rin ang paghahanda n’ya sa gabi ng mga gagamiting materials para sa mga bata.
Napakatagal nga naman ng limang taong paghihintay, kung iisipin mong tatlumpu’t walong taong siyang nagturo ng Grade 1 sa Zamora. Napakabagal ng oras para mag-65, kung iisipin mong ilang taon na halos iwanan n’ya kaming magkapatid sa kapitbahay, nung maliliit pa kami, para lang hindi siya mahuli sa umaga. Masyadong pahirap ang matagal na pagbibilang 1,825 na araw sa tuwing aalalahanin ko ang gabing nabagsakan siya ng malaking problema kay tatay pero pinilit pa rin n’yang pumasok kinaumagahan.
Pero ganun talaga si nanay. Hindi trabaho para sa kanya ang pagtuturo. Tungkulin daw ito. Ang mga estudyante raw na walang teacher ay parang mga anak na nawalan ng magulang sa isang araw. Ipinaampon sa mga katabing kwarto, sa ibang mga magulang. Madalas daw ay nag-iiyakan, nagsisi-uwian, nag-wawala. Hindi raw biro ang mag-absent ang isang guro. Ang isang araw na absent, sabi ni nanay, ay katumbas na rin pagtataksil mo sa sarili mong mga anak.
Kung makuha ni nanay ngayon ang kauna-unahan n’yang pension, mas mabuti. Kung hindi naman, ay OK lang din. May maiaabot pa rin naman ako sa kanya ngayon at sa katapusan. May mga magbabayad pa rin namang mga tenants sa Los Banos at Pansol.
Pagpasok ni nanay kay Snooky tumingin siya sa akin…hindi matawaran ang ngiti.
“Pumasok na, may pension na ‘ko.”
“12,000. Eksakto.”
Php 12,000. Yan ang pinaka-huling sweldo ni nanay bago siya mag-retire after 38 years in service. No wonder walang may gustong magtagal sa patuturo sa gobyerno. Maliban lang kung talagang passion mo.
“O ‘di masaya ka na?!” tanong ko.
“Mukha ka talagang pera!”
“Wala kang pakialam!” sabi ng matandang katabi ko.
Pinaandar ko na si Snooky papuntang EDSA. Male-late na ‘ko sa opisina. “Saan kita ibababa?” tanong ko.
“Saan ba maganda? Balak ko kasing bumili ng tsinelas.”
“Napakamahal naman ng tsinelas yan! 12K? Anu yan, glass slippers? Talo mo pa ‘ko!”
“Tanga! Ilang taon na rin naman akong walang bagong tsinelas.” sigaw ni nanay.
“Hindi mo naman kelangan ng tsinelas ‘e. Hindi ka naman naglalakad lagi dahil sa rayuma mo. Ang dapat mong bilhin, wheelchair!”
“Ay nako! Hindi ko kelangan yan. ‘E ‘di lalo akong nabaldado! Gusto ko pang mabuhay ng mas matagal. Gusto kong tumulong kina Arvin para walang masabe. Kelangang tulungan ang kapatid mo. Isa pa, makakatipid na ko para sa pagpapagawa ng bahay.”
“E ako?”
“Napaka-tuos mo! Humanap ka ng matitirhan mo!” sabi ni nanay. “Sa bahay ka kumakain, at natutulog. Ang swerte mo na ‘uy!”
I rested my case.
Tahimik akong nagmaneho papuntang Pasong Tamo. Si nanay, bulong ng bulong sa sarili. Hindi matawaran ang tuwa, hindi mabura ang ngiti.
Diyos ko, naku pu, salamat po. Pinaabot pa po N’yo ko sa edad na ‘to. Ang tagal ko rin namang nagsilbi sa Zamora. Ang sarap palang maka-tanggap ng pension…”
Pagdating namin ng Walter Mart, nag-park ako sa main entrance. “O, ‘nay, dito ka na lang bumili ng tsinelas mo. Mag-taxi ka na rin pauwi. Kering keri mo na yan.”
“May jeep naman. Ok lang.”
Pinagmasdan ko si nanay sa pagbaba n’ya at paglakad n’ya papasok sa glass door ng Walter Mart. Iika-ika, mabagal, kurkubado.
Nakatalikod man sa aki’y alam kong hindi pa rin nabubura ang ngiti sa mukha.

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