Sa Pagkaubos ng mga Bukid

(Published in Banaag Diwa 2016, Literary Folio of Ateneo de Davao’s Atenews. This is the first play ever published in Banaag Diwa)

 

Sa Pagkaubos ng mga Bukid

 

Mga Tauhan

Romnick Lumayon: 20 anyos, security guard sa Ateneo de Davao, taga-Mua-an, Kidapawan, may dugong Manobo na halata sa kanyang mukha

Charlene Villarico: 19, MassCom student sa Ateneo de Davao, taga-Woodridge, Davao

Janbert: 20 anyos, kasama ni Romnick sa inuupahang bahay sa Davao

 

Tagpo: Sa kwarto ni Romnick, sa isang bukot-bukot na bahay sa Baranggay 1A, Quezon Boulevard, Davao City, maulan na hapon. Gawa sa plywood ang mga dingding. May kawayang kama sa gitna, may maninipis na unan at kutsong may mga tila lumang punda. May de-plywood na aparador sa kanan, at may bintanang nakakurtina sa kaliwa. Nasa unahan ng aparador sa kanan ang pintuan palabas sa kwarto. Makinang sa floorwax ang sementadong sahig. Malinis ngunit may bahid ng kahirapan ang kwarto.  

Pagtaas ng tabing, naghuhubad ng pangtaas ng damit si Romnick. Sandali itong matutulala, nakatingin sa umuulang tanawin sa labas ng kanyang bintana.

Dudungaw si Janrick sa pinto.

Janbert: Sht, Romnick.

Romnick: (medyo nagulat) Atay, ‘Bert, pagkatok sad uy. Wa man ka gaila’g privacy.

Janbert: (pilit ang Tagalog) Privacy ka jan. Magpasok ako ha.

Tatango si Romnick, papasok si Janbert at uupo sa kama

Romnick: Ug nganong nag-Tinagalog man ka ha?

Janbert: (pakutsa) Ay para sana makapractice ka ba.

Romick: Ug ngano man daw sad ko mu-practice og Tagalog?

Janbert: Yung pinapanguyaban mo na kolehiyala ba. Yeeee!

Romnick: (magugulat, ngunit medyo mahahalatang kinikilig) Hoy giunsa nimo pagkabalo ha. Ug wa ko nanguyab ato oy, giistoryahan ra ko ato.

Janbert: Kay alangan part, kada muagi ra ko diha sa Atenyu, palagi na lang kitang mamatikdan na nakikipag-usap sa isa lang na babae habang naga-duty. Alam ka na nakin, part!

Romnick: Paghilom diha uy.

Janbert: (pilit pa rin ang Tagalog) Dali na, istoryahan mo na ako tungkol diyan sa iyong salad – ay una ko makalimot, may sulat pala para sa iyo. Kadadating lang. (kukuha ng bukas na sobre mula sa bulsa at iaabot kay Romnick)

Romnick: (tatanggapin) Ug nganong abri ni ha? Atay bay, ayaw sag pangabri og sulat sa ubang tao uy (manglilisik ang mata pagkakita sa likod ng sobre, dali-daling babasahin ang sulat)

Janbert: Gibasa ra nako, wa man pud ko kasabot kay English masyado (tatawa). Pero importante na no? Gikan man sa presidente sa Atenyu! Oy unsa na?

Magkahalong gulat at hirap makapaniwala ang makikita sa mukha ni Romnick. Ipapasok niya ang sulat sa sobre at itatago ito sa aparador

Janbert: Oy unsa to?

Romnick: (tila nagising sa panaginip) Ah wala, wala ra. (makakaisip ng pang-abala sa kausap) Hisgutan na lang taka atong babae be.

Janbert: Ay yan, gusto ko yan! Sino pala yan part?

Romnick: Ay ambot ana imong Tagalog-Tagalog do. (uupo) Estudyante sa AdDU.

Janbert: Klaro man sa uniform bay.

Romnick: (tatawa) Aw mao. MassCom, third year.

Janbert: Wow MassCom! Makauyab ka nito ng reporter part!

Romnick: Wa lagi ko nanguyab, unsa ba. Nag-istorya ra me kanunay. Akong naharang diha ikausa sa may Jacinto gate kay wa nagdalag ID. Kay ako ra may duty ato, ako rang gipasulod.

Janbert: Iingon daw inyong panagistorya bay!

Romnick: (madadala sa kilig) O, kahinumdom pa kaayo ko. Giingnan nakog ‘Ma’am, ID.’ Unya gitubag kog ‘Hala kuya guard, nakalimutan ko pala! Hala papasukin mo na lang ako please kay kalayo pa gud ng bahay namin.’ Gitubag pud nakog ‘Ma’am policy man gud ni sa school.’ ‘Alam ko talaga kuya, at nagasisisi talaga ako, pero ano man ang gawin ko?’ Ug nabal-an nakong bright bay kay nidungag og ‘alam mo kuya guard minsan ang policy kailangan iframe against sa backdrop ng greater mission ng university. Education baya ang purpose nitong Ateneo, kung makaabala itong policy sa purpose na yun – gaya nito o, hindi makapasok ang estudyante – tama lang man siguro na kalimutan ang policy. Tapos may super long quiz pa talaga kami ngayon kuya!’

Janbert: (halos hindi makapagsalita sa gulat) Part, kuyawa man diay nimog memory uy

Romnick: (mako-conscious) Ay ayaw na lang uy.

Janbert: Uy binuang ra uy, joke! Pero kacute sad ana niya, unya?

Romnick: (maeengganyo ulit) Kato, nalingaw ko kay maayo kaayo muhimog punto. Nipromise pa nga ipakita niya ang ID ig makuha na niya.

Janbert: Ug gipakita sad niya?

Romnick: Pagkahapon ato. Ug didto na mi nagsugod og tabi-tabi. Kanunay man siya muabot og sayo, unya timing sad nga wa koy kuyog sa Jacinto gate anang orasa. Kato, mutambay siya kuyog nako og magtabi mi. Katong nabalhin akong shift sa Roxas gate, didto na pud siya gasugod og naog.

Janbert: Yeeee! Sinadya talagang magnaog sa Roxas para makatabi ka. ‘Pag-ibig na kaya!’

Romnick: Saba diha uy, sekyu ra intawon ko…

Janbert: Kay siya pala?

Romnick: Taga-Woodridge bay. Benz ang gahatod kada-adlaw.

Janbert: Agay! Sino ba talaga yan siya, part, na dato man masyado?

Romnick: Negosyante ang papa – nakaingon man to nga apil daw anang rice smuggling maong nakapalit silag balay sa Woodridge. Ayg saba ha. Pero kwartahan na daan.

Janbert: Agay! Pero okay lang yan part, (kakanta ng Gloc-9) ‘kahit na, wala akong pera…’

Romnick: (bubuntong hiniga) Kon kwarta ra ang problema…

Janbert: (matatantong seryoso ang kaibigan, iibahin ang takbo ng usapan) Pero ano din ang pinapag-usapan ninyo part?

Romnick: (may kinang ng pangarap – na nababahiran ng kawalang pag-asa – sa mata) Ay bisag-unsa gud. Iyang lessons, iyang mga classmate, makipulitika sad sa campus. Makabright sad baya…

Janbert: (makikita ang kalagayan ng kaibigan, magiging seryoso) Bay, okay ra na, ako kabalo ko, maayo kang tao, ug bisan pag wa man kay Benz, kon utok ray hisgutan di ka malupigan. Pasaylui ra ko usahay ha kon wa koy ayo kaayo kaistorya

Romnick: (matatanto ang pinapahiwatig ng kaibigan) Okay ra uy, salamat sad. Ug okay ra kaayo nang imong katanga bay kay kataw-anan man sad.

Janbert: Agoy! Kasakit mo magsalita part! (tatawa ang dalawa)

Romnick: (Kukunin ang cellphone sa bulsa. Babasahin) Hala nagtext!

Janbert: Kinsa? Siya!? Atay nagpinangayua’y na diayg number! ‘Hey I just met you, and this is crazy..!

Romnick: Paghilom. (nagbabasa) ‘…asan ka gani nakatira dito sa Davao?’ (magta-type) Sent.

Janbert: Hala kinikilig ako na talaga!

Romnick: Saba diha – naa na dayoy reply!

Janbert: Grabe, kabilis ng mga pangyayari!

Romnick: (nagbabasa) ‘asan banda specifically?’ (magtatype)

Janbert: Gusto ka gyud talaga niya makilala part!

Romnick: (halatang kinikilig din) Pagpuyo diha uy. Hoy wa ba kay trabaho ron?

Janbert: Pinakyaw ni Angkol Muklo ang lahat ng aking Tamban, baby! Choks to Go ang hapunan natin ngayon!

Romnick: (matutuwa sa kaibigan) Sige bay, sa sunod ako na sa’y manglibre.

Janbert: Ay ayaw na uy, kabalo baya ko gatigom ka. Gibuhi pa nimo imong mama di ba?

Romnick: Wa ra uy, di gyud to musugot buhion nako, bahala na dawg asin ray masud-an niya sa halin sa tambo, basta iyaha dawng kwarta. Ako daw ning kwarta.

Janbert: Okay ra pud siya didto? Di ba bukid ang Mua-an? Ang tuhod ni mommy!

Romnick: Mao ganing kusgan gihapon. Mag saysenta na gaigib gihapog tubig pasaka.

Janbert: Kanus-a ka mouli sa Kidapawan sunod?

Romnick: Next month siguro, tan-awon ra.

Janbert: Unsa ganiy gitiguman nimo? Pamilya no? Yeee!

Romnick: Wala uy, wa pa na intawon misulod ang pamilya sa akong utok. (medyo mahihiya) Ganahan unta ko mu-skwelag college.

Janbert: Daan pa lagi ko. Sige ra part, tabangan taka ana.

Romnick: (mahahabag) Ay ra uy.

Janbert: Di bitaw, tabangan taka ana, hanapan kita ng bayot na magpalubot – ay!

Romnick: (babatukan) Amaw.

Janbert: Hindi bitaw part, magkayod din ako para sa iyo uy, para pag mag-reception na kayo sa Woodridge, i-invite niyo ako! ‘Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone…’

Romnick: Saba diha uy. (ngunit matutuwa sa kaibigan) salamat bay ha.

Janbert: Walang problema, parekoy. Basta, dal-a ra kog rambutan inig mouli kag Kidapawan.

Romnick: (tatawa) Mao!

Janbert: (titingin sa bintana) Aguy kinsa ning paingon dinhing gwapa! Gikaistorya man si Nang Soling.

Romnick: (lilingon, mabibigla) Charlene! Ginoo!

Janbert: Hala mao na siya part!?

Tatakbo sa bintana at dudungaw si Romnick

Romnick: Charlene!

Charlene (boses): Rom! (tunog ng paglakad sa matubig na daan) Dito pala ang sa inyo.

Romnick: Sus anong ginagawa mo nagpaulan! Pasok ka, pasok!

Janbert: (dudungaw sa bintana) Hi Charlene, ako si Janbert, best friend ni Romnick, nice meeting you.

Romnick: Saba diha, pasudla siya, abtik

Magkakandarapa si Janbert palabas ng kwarto. Dali-daling magsusuot ng T-shirt si Romnick.

 Maririnig ang tunog ng pagsara ng pinto.

Aktong lalabas si Romnick ng kwarto ngunit papasok sina Charlene at Janbert. Basang basa si Charlene sa ulan, ngunit mas gaganda siya dahil dito. Para siyang Nahamugang prutas, kumikinang sa kasariwaan.

Charlene: (maharot ngunit may bahid ng mapanganib na pamimighaning hindi mapupuna ni Romnick) Hi, Rom.

Romnick: Sus, basang basa ka. (kukuha ng twalya sa aparador at iaabot sa kanya) Ito o. Upo ka.

Uupo si Charlene sa kama habang nagtutuyo ng buhok at katawan.

Romnick: Bay, timplahi sa tag kape

Charlene: Ay ‘wag na, salamat na lang, Janbert.

Janbert: Sigurado ka, Charlene? Timplahan kita kung gusto mo. (madadama na ang tensyon sa kwarto) Kung-kung mayroon kayong kinahanglan, tawagin lang niyo ako ha, diyaan lang ako sa gawas.

Charlene: (nakangiti) Thank you, Jan.

Lalabas si Janbert.

Charlene: Kataw-anan lagi yung friend mo.

Romnick: (nakangiti) Ay ganyan talaga yan. Be, ano man din nakain mo na naisipan mong magpunta dito sa ganitong ulan?

Charlene: (maharot) Sorry na po, gusto lang kita makita. (tatayo, titingin-tingin sa kwarto) Kalinis ng kwarto mo. Akala ko makakita ako ng nakapaskil na picture ni Isabel Granada o sino ba sa dingding, pero kahit maliit na sticker sa lighter wala. (tatawa)

Romnick: (maaaliw) Isabel Granada talaga?

Charlene: Tingin ko ikaw yung type na Isabel Granada ang ilagay sa dingding.

Romnick: Na maglagay sa dingding…

Charlene: Oo, di ba ganun man ang uso sa inyo? (tatawa. Hihingang malalim) Kabango, amoy ikaw.

Romnick: Alangan naman.

Charlene: (tatawa, uupo ulit, yuyuko at titingin sa ilalim ng kama) Be daw kung nandito ba ang mga FHM… Uy, puro libro (kukuha ng isang libro)

Romnick: (nahihiya) wala na kasing lugar para lagyan, sa ilalim ko na lang nilalagay.

Charlene: (tatawa) Precious hearts! Mahilig ka pala sa ganito, Rom! (tatawa ulit)

Romnick: Ay kahit ano basta mabasa. Noon yan, yan man ang kalingawan ng nanay ko noon. Pagdating ko ng Davao nagsimula ako pangukay ng kung-ano-ano sa Booksale.

Charlene: (tatawa ulit pagkakuha ng isang libro) Wow sorry lang sa ‘landmark cases in Philippine Law.’ Wow tag-singko lang! Kataw-anan, precious hearts tapos Philippine Law!

Romnick: Malingaw man ako sa law. Makaisip ka minsan. Kinailangan ko din bumili ng dictionary na maliit.

Charlene: (hindi mapupuna ang kinang sa mata niya, ibabalik ang mga libro, lilingon-lingon ulit) Kalinis mo pala talaga ‘no.

Romnick: Pero hindi siguro kasing linis ng bahay niyo. Pero bitaw, bakit mo man din talaga naisipan magpunta dito?

Charlene: (tatayo, magagala tungo sa pinto) Ay wala lang gud uy, naisip ko lang na bisitahin ka. Bawal? (ila-lock ang pinto ng nakatalikod)

Romnick: (maririnig ang pag-lock ng pinto, kakabahan) Hindi man, pero – pero syaro pud gilusong mo itong ulan para lang magbisita…

Charlene: (lalapitan si Romnick, na dahan-dahang lalayo. Mapapatayo sa may bintana, si Romnick mapapatayo sa pinto, ngunit wala itong lakas na buksan ang kandado) O, para lang magbisita. (haharap sa bintana. Matapos ang sandaling katahimikan, isasara ito).

Romnick: (lalong kakabahan) Nag – nagtaxi ka?

Charlene: Nagsakay lang ng jeep. Kalingaw pala magjeep no, makaisip ka.

Romnick: Pero sigurado siksikan ang jeep ngayon kay ulan. Amoy singhot siguro no (sinusubukang walain ang tensyon)

Charlene: (dahan dahang lalapit) O, parang mga sardinas ang tao sa loob. Pero okay lang. Minsan magcrave man din ako ng amoy ng pawis. (nasa harap na ni Romnick. Aamuyin ang dibdib nito. Pabulong) Amoy pawis ka, Rom.

Romnick: (Mawawala sa sarili. pabulong din) Ikaw amoy ulan… (magkalapit na ang mga mukha nila. Ngunit bigla itong masisindak at itutulak palayo si Charlene). Uy naano ka na man!

Charlene: (may kaunting pagkayamot) As if ako lang…

Romnick: (matatanto ang muntik gawin, iibahin ang usapan) Pero – pero yung si – yung si Steven pala?

Charlene: Ay sus yun ba, Rom? (tatawa ng tila pilit) Wala yun uy, crush-crush lang man yun. (lalapit ulit) Wag mo na yun isipin uy…

hahalikan si Romnick

Maghahalikan ang dalawa ng ilang sandali, ngunit itutulak ulit ni Romnick si Charlene

Romnick: (pabulong) Charlene, anong problema? Hindi ka ganito…

Charlene: Ha? Wala uy, gusto lang talaga kita.

Romnick: (mahigpit) Hindi, may problema ka, anong nangyari?

Charlene: (magiging galit ang kanina lang ay mapang-akit na tingin) Grabe, ganon ba talaga ako ka-walang kwenta na kahit ikaw hindi ko malandi..? (Pipiliting halikan si Romnick ng ilang beses, ngunit tatanggi ito. Magdadabog ito sa inis, mapapaupo sa kama at iiyak) Ka-wala kong kwenta..!

Romnick: (bubuntong hininga. Uupo sa tabi ni Charlene) Sige, anong nangyari?

Sandaling iiyak si Charlene. Malulunod ng ingay ng ulan ang kanyang pag-iyak.

Charlene: (hirap magsalita sa kanyang mga luha, nakatitig sa kawalan) Ilang araw ko gud gihanda ang sarili ko para masabi ko na sa kanya. Kay alam ko na hindi na kami magtagal maging magkapit-bahay, magbalik na siya sa Manila kay tapos na ang bakasyon… Para akong tanga gakausap sa sarili ko sa mirror, balik-balik rehearse sa kung saan man mapunta ang usapan sa kotse niya… Ayun, kaninang tanghali giaya na naman niya ako mag-drive drive, last laag na daw niya sa Davao… Nasa may bandang Maa na kami nung magsimula ang ulan.  ‘Baha na naman?’ sabi niya sa may San Rafael, ‘bumabaha rin sa Kamaynilaan, pero tangina, doon walang kangkong ang bahaan’ tapos tawa… Hay kahit condescending yung tawa niya kacute pa rin… Ayun, hindi ko napigilan, nasabi ko… ‘Steve, yang… ngayong summer lang tayo nagkakilala, konti pa lang masyado ang alam ko sa iyo, pero, yang… I… I think I’m falling for you…’

Malulunod ulit si Charlene sa kanyang mga luha. Nakatitig sa kanya si Romnick, puno ng awa ang tingin.

Charlene: (mas lalong hirap magsalita) Gihalikan niya ako. Gihinto niya ang kotse sa may Marfori banda para halikan at hawakan ako. Pero nagtigil siya sandali. Nagpasalamat siya, pero nagsorry siya kay hindi daw niya mabalik ang naramdaman ko. ‘We can play around while I’m still here, pero walang seryoso…’ No offense meant daw, pero hindi daw niya talaga maimagine na magpatol ng promdi, ng taga-bukid. Siguro daw maintindihan ko man. Taga-Manila daw siya, Intsik pa talaga, ano daw sabihin ng mga tao sa kanila na nakauyab siya ng taga-Mindanao. Taga-bukid… Wala akong nagawa kung hindi magtango sa gisabi niya, so nag-patuloy siya ng drive, nag-yagayaga na parang walang nangyari… Pero pagdating namin sa may DMSF sa Bajada hindi ko na natiis, nagpababa ako. Ayun, nagsakay ako ng jeep papunta dito.

Romnick: (halos walang malay na pagkakasabi) Alam ng mga magulang mo nandito ka?

Charlene: Nasa-Cebu sila, next week pa babalik. (tila ngayon lang ulit naalala na katabi niya si Romnick, mapait na nakangiti) Rom, Taga-bukid lang daw ako… taga-bukid (tatawa ng hibang) Taga-bukid lang tayo! Mga nasa-ilalim ng Pilipinas (pilit na Bisaya) nasa ubos diay, hindi diay tayo mag-Tagalog-Tagalog kay wala tayong karapatan ana. (tatawa ulit. Unti-unting mapapalitan ng pagkamuhi ang awa sa mukha ni Romnick, hindi niya ito mapupuna)

Biglang hahawakan ang mukha ni Romnick, ihaharap sa kanya, at hahalikan ng masidhi.

Charlene: Kaya wag ka nang magdalawa-dalawa na dumihan ako, Rom. Taga-bukid lang tayo lahat dito. (tatawa, hahalikan ulit) Sige, dumihan mo ako. Ubusin mo ako.

Romnick: (mag-aalab ang muhi sa mata. Itutulak pahiga sa kama si Charlene. Habang nakapaibabaw dito) Sige, ubusin kita. Tilukin kita. Tilukin kita hanggang sa wala nang matira sa iyo. Hanggang sa wala nang matira sa iyong dignidad. Hanggang sa wala na yang bukid kung saan ka nagamaliit at nagataas-taasan. Ubusin kita, at ubusin ko ang iyong mga bukid.

Hahalikan niya si Charlene ng bayolente, ipapasok ang kamay sa bestida nito at dahan dahang iaakyat sa dibdib.

Masisindak si Charlene, didilat ang mga mata nito, at itutulak si Romnick palayo. Mahuhulog si Charlene sa sahig at iiyak.

Charlene: Hindi! Hindi ko kaya! Ayoko nito, ayoko! Madumi, masikip, mabaho, mahirap! Kadiri! Hindi ako dito, hindi! (iiyak)

Kakagatin ni Romnick ang kamao sa galit at maluluha sa hindi mabulyaw na pagkamuhi. Ngunit habang humahagulgol si Charlene makakalma si Romnick, hihingang malalim, at lalapitan si Charlene upang akayin patayo. Ngunit itataboy nito ang tulong ni Romnick, at mananatiling nakalupasay sa sahig, umiiyak. Titila na ang ulan.

Romnick: (matapos magtimpi ng damdamin) Charlene, tama na. (Walang kibo mula kay Charlene). Charlene. Tama na. (Wala pa ring kibo. Sandali ulit magtitimpi. Tatayo. Malamig ang pagkakasabi). Ma’am, kinahanglan na siguro ninyo mouli.

Mahihimasmasan si Charlene at mababalot ito ng matinding kahihiyan. Nakayuko itong tatayo, hihingi ng paumanhin, at tatakbo lalabas.

Mapapaupo sa kama si Romnick.

Papasok ng dahan-dahan si Janbert, may pag-alala sa mukha.

Susuntukin ni Romnick ang sahig sa galit at mapapaiyak. Lalapitan siya ni Janbert at tatahanin. Hindi muna ito magtatanong kung anong nangyari.

Janbert: Okay ra na bay, okay ra na.

Hihingang malalim si Romnick at tatayo. Kukunin niya ang sulat na tinago sa aparador.

Romnick: Bay, pasaha sa kog load palihog

Walang tanong na papasa ng load ni Janbert.

May tatawagan si Romnick

Romnick: (matapos ang sandaling katahimikan, sa telepono)… Mang, Mang si Romnick ni… Maayo kay naay signal diha… ay wala, gisip-on ra, ulan man gud diri… Mang, kanang, naa diay koy balita… Gitagaan kog scholarship sa Ateneo sa mga Hesuwita, four years undergrad unya pwede sad ko mag-law… (pipigilan ang pagluha) lagi mang, lagi… (hindi mapipigilan at luluha) muadto gani kog simbahan ron aron magpasalamat sa Ginoo… AB English man kunoy okay nga pre-law mang…. Aw, sakto ra man sad ni, basin naa sad koy ikadungag ani… Next month siguro, mang…. Sige, sige, ayo-ayo mang…. (ibababa ang telepono)

Janbert: scholarship bay..!?

Romnick: Lagi…

Janbert: Uy congrats..!

Romnick: Unya na na. Pila gani’y reward ni Duterte sa tip bahin anang smuggling?

Janbert: (malilito) Aw, depende daw unsa kadako, kanang bigtime gyud pagkabalo nako 2 million daw. Ngano bay?

Romnick: (hindi sasagot, tatawag ulit. Sa telepono) Hello. Good afternoon ma’am, City Mayor’s Office? Ay hala mayor, good afternoon… May ireport po sana ako doon sa smuggling information na ginahanap niyo… Jun Jun Villarico, negosyante na taga-Woodridge, may links kay Davidson Bangayan… Warningan ko lang kayo mayor na posibleng may koneksyon ito sa Sanggunian… Salamat mayor…. Ay saka na po siguro pag na-confirm na ninyo, hindi din po ako sigurado sa info ko, pero reliable po yung source ko… Sige, salamat po. (mapapaupo ulit at tatabunan ang mukha ng kamay)

Janbert: (may kaunting takot sa kaibigan) Okay ra na bay, okay ra na. Naa pay pag-asa.

Romnick: (mapapangiti ng mapait) Wala na bay. (sa sarili) Wala nang pag-asa, ubos na. (tatayo) Pero ang naa sa ubos, pasaka na lang ang kapadulngan.

Lalabas si Romnick at dahan dahan itong susundan ng maingat na si Janbert. Gabi na pagbaba ng

Telon

Advertisements

Killing the Issue

(This play won 2nd Prize for One Act Play in English during the 201 4 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. It got me into the Silliman Writers Workshop in 2012 and, in its embryonic Tagalog original, into the Iyas Creative Writing Workshop in 2011 – it is my most successful work thus far. All rights to reserved to myself and the Palanca Foundation. This play is also available on the Cotabato Literary Journal)

Reyes Mansion.png

Art by Joseph Anthony Harold Dubouzet

 

 

Killing The Issue

CHARACTERS

Hon. Emmanuel “Manny ” Reyes Sr. (80s): congressman of the second district in the province of Bajada

Hon. Emmanuel “Manny ” Reyes Jr.  (60s): governor of the province of Bajada, Manny Senior’s son.

Ruth Cipriano–Reyes (60s): daughter of mayor of municipality of Bacudo, and sister of mayor of municipality of Santo Tomas, Manny Junior’s wife.

Hon. Raymond Paul Cipriano–Reyes (20s): chair of the League of Barangays, Bajada Chapter and ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan

Arthur James Cipriano–Reyes (20s, about two years younger than Raymond): younger son of Manny Junior and Ruth­­­

Insp. John Paul Aladin (44): provincial chief of police

PROPS

Tables, overly expensive looking furniture, a TV, some food, maids and henchmen

 

GENERAL SETTING

In the Province of Bajada, somewhere in Christian Mindanao, Philippines, the present time and consciousness, noon up to afternoon

 

The action of the play is completed within twenty-four hours.

 

MISE-EN-SCÈNE: In the living room of the Reyes Mansion, Municipality of Santo Tomas, Province of Bajada. There are expensive-looking chairs and a coffee table at center with a flat-screen TV of the most expensive kind nearby. A door leading outside is to the left, while one leading to the rest of the house is to the right. There is a desk upstage and a radio to the right near the door. A white carpet dominates the floor. The room is furnished with luxury. Maids are constantly sweeping the floor or dusting the tops of shelves and tables.

ARTHUR REYES is sitting on one of the chairs in front, texting. He has a beautiful face, with shoulder length brown hair tied neatly in a pony tail. He has an elegant slenderness that goes well with the long sleeved polo shirt he is wearing. He moves with some degree of femininity. He speaks articulately with an indifferent nonchalance.

Enter RAYMOND REYES, with a number of maids bringing some papers and food. Raymond is taller than Arthur. The two bear some resemblance, but Arthur has smoother skin and Raymond a more tanned complexion. Raymond’s hair is in a short barber’s cut parted to the left. He is also more muscular that Arthur. The maids bring the food to the coffee table and the papers on the desk.

Raymond: (To a maid) Turn on the TV. (To Arthur) You’re going somewhere already, Arthur? Why, you just arrived from Davao.

Arthur: Kuya Raymond! I have a date. It’s not my fault I’m popular.

Raymond: But it will be your fault if something happens to you because of that popularity, so be careful.

Arthur: True. In every crime, the victim’s stupidity is the lead culprit. But by the way—

Raymond: Wait. (Points to the flat-screen TV)

TV: Journalist and public intellectual Celestino Fernandez is expected to arrive today in the Municipality of Santo Tomas in the Province of Bajada to begin his nationwide intellectual symposium tour entitled “Violence in the Mind: Human Rights Violations on the Level of Thought.” Fernandez’s decision to begin the tour in the province, stronghold of the Reyes Clan, was not without controversy. Not a year has passed since the acclaimed political theorist first criticized the family, which has been in power in the province for five generations, and includes current Governor Emmanuel Jr. Aside from fears for Fernandez’ss safety, low participation in the symposium, in the face of high public approval for the Reyes Clan is also feared.

And to bring us the showbiz news— (Raymond turns the TV off.)

Raymond: Our tiktik was right, it was aired nationally . . .

Arthur: So, Kuya Raymond, what will the family do?

Raymond: I can’t tell you. Have you unpacked? (As they converse he is signing papers)

Arthur: No, I haven’t yet. I’ll do it when I get back.

Raymond: Oh, nonsense. (To maid ) Beng, you can unpack Arthur’s things now.

Maid: Yes, kuya. (Turns to leave)

Arthur: No, wait. Beng, stop. I’ll do it na lang lagi, you can go.

Maid: Yes, kuya. (Exits to the right)

Reymond: What’s in your bags anyway that you don’t want the maids to unpack it for you?

Arthur: Nothing dangerous. I just don’t like the idea of having people do things for me. But come on, tell me. What are you going to talk about with Lolo today?

Raymond: Now how did you know I and papa are going to tell him something? I told you, you can’t know. It’s for officials only.

Arthur (scowling): Really now, you politicians just can’t be reached anymore.  Whatever happened to transparency.

Raymond: I owe you no transparency, you’re not a registered voter. I wouldn’t owe you any transparency if you were.

Arthur: Oh come on, Kuya, spill. For affection’s sake, if not for an FOI law.

Raymond: No.

Arthur: Even if I say please? (Walks slowly to position himself behind Raymond)

Raymond: I said no. If you want to be in the know, enter politics. And besides, you’re tabian. If you know something, everybody ends up knowing about it.

Arthur: Ah yes, having the knack for talking is one of my more flattering defects.

Raymond: How lovably vain you are. (Laughs. Rolls eyes. Scowls at paper he is holding) Domestic violence in Bacudo is up again. When will this end? (Realizes Arthur is peeking at his papers) Oh you’re as nosy as a journalist, will you stop it!

Arthur: (Laughs) I like being curious, it dispels the boredom.

Raymond: You wouldn’t be so bored if you weren’t wasting your time being idle, you know. And be careful with that curiosity of yours, curiosity kills the journalist. (Laughs at his own joke with a sinister air)

Arthur (distractedly): Yes, it can be quite dangerous . . . (Snaps back to attention) Well, about that domestic violence problem of yours.

Raymond (exasperated): It never ends, really. And there’s barely anything we could do to solve it, taking the men into custody could only do so much.

Arthur (after a moment of contemplation): What if you provide livelihood seminars to the poorer areas?

Raymond: What does that have to do with domestic violence?

Arthur: (Distractedly gets some papers from Raymond’s pile) I’m guessing the main cause of instances of fighting is livelihood related?

Raymond: Yes, apparently, husbands beat their wives when wives begin nagging about their husbands’ not working.

Arthur: And I’m guessing husbands always say as an excuse that working is difficult and pointless because you can never be rich with the menial sources of income available to you?

Raymond: Now how did you know that? Board Member Balasabas did say that.

Arthur: If you start livelihood seminars, that will help change their mind-sets about small-time businesses. And you can include seminars on sensible saving practices as well as counselling for unhappy marriages in that budget. (Seems happy with himself)

Raymond: (Sees the merit of the idea but is sceptical) Hmm . . . I’ll think about it.

Arthur: (Laughs, returns to his seat) What a typically politician response. By the way, Kuya, don’t you have classes? We have a saint’s feast day in the Ateneo de Davao, but aren’t you from a state university?

Raymond: Asus, I have much more important things to worry about. Well, education is still important of course, but my duties as an SK Chairman come first.

Arthur: Of the whole province, you never mentioned. When mama arranged it with the COMELEC to let you run for SK even though you were overaged, I thought that would be the end of it. But to reach the provincial level!

Raymond (with affected vanity): It helps, I guess, that I look youthful.

Arthur: And you say I’m vain. (Laughs) But in any case, you never mentioned this to me when I arrived.  Imagine how I felt when I was told that my kuya had become the chairman of the SK Federation for the whole province. (Theatrically) How poorly, I thought, do people regard their familial relations.

Raymond: Oh, don’t tell me nangluod ka. (Laughs) Well, I figured you’d know about it anyway.

Arthur: Still, when first meeting someone after a period of time, it is only proper courtesy to mention a fact that has not yet been established between the two of you, regardless of whether both of you are aware of it or not. You didn’t even mention it when I came home last night. (Feigns luod)

Raymond: Ah well, I’ll be leaving the courtesy to you, that would be your department. But point is, I have the SK and the board to think about now—though admittedly there’s nothing much to think about with the SK—so going to class wouldn’t be that important. And besides, what’s the use of having Tita Jane as our dean? If I’m right, she’s even ninang to our PolSci chairperson’s wedding. So heck. I’ll still have high grades.

Arthur: (Laughs resignedly) The youth is the future of the Fatherland!

Enter Gov. Manny Jr. and Ruth with another entourage of maids and with some henchmen. Manny Jr. is shorter than Arthur. His big stomach is bulging out from behind his barong tagalog. His wavy hair is in an army cut. In general he looks like a bulldog. Ruth is around the same height, and she looks like a ripe rambutan. Her curly hair, as brown as Arthur’s, is shoulder length. Her clothes and makeup look expensive and churchy. If Manny Junior is a bulldog, she looks like a chowchow.

Gov. Manny Jr. (obviously not hearing the preceding conversation): If you know that, why don’t you make something out of your own future, you buang! (Arthur makes obeisance. He kisses the boy on the forehead) You know that your kuya is now the provincial SK chairman?

Arthur: Opo, Pa. I’ve heard of it back in Davao.

Ruth: And what about you? You wouldn’t even try to be club president! Oh, you’re wasting your potential, dear! (The couple sits down.)

Gov. Manny Jr.: (To Ruth) Make me a cup of coffee.

Ruth: Raymond.

Raymond gestures to maids to make coffee. A maid obeys.

 Ruth: (To Arthur) What time did you leave Davao yesterday?

Arthur: Around six, Ma. I had something to do before that.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Flirting with someone again? Uwagon! (Laughs) I was not able to meet you last night, I had to attend an SK Federation meeting—pastilan, those kids were stupid. Their parents have done nothing to make them intelligent.

Arthur: They’re still the first generation, Pa. Give them a few more generations and they’ll learn the trade.

Gov. Manny Jr.: True. But you are not one to talk, you opted out of politics—you are wasting your privilege. (Theatrically) You, dong, happen to be the issue of five generations of politicians! (Gets one of the newspapers from the coffee table) Well, at least you are not causing trouble like those stupid aktibistas. (Glares at Arthur) Are you?

Arthur: Don’t worry, Pa. I have my convictions, but I’m not so in love with them as to throw stones at policemen for them.

Ruth: Now it’s a good thing you only look like an activist—oh, would you fix that hair of yours, dear!

Arthur: Oh no, Ma, activists don’t wear their hair long anymore, the hippies of the seventies realized conditioner is too bourgeois. One-inch to skinhead is the new hair range for activists these days, political detainee coiffure. In fact they don’t think much of me. I’m far too stylish to sympathize with the masses. Besides, I like this long hair, it’s allowed me to experience many things.

Ruth: What kind of things, if I may ask?

Arthur: The kind I wouldn’t tell my mother, of course. (Pecks her on the cheek as she giggles)

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Laughs) Well, it’s a relief too that you are not making noise like these pinisting journalists. (Opens the paper he is holding) Mga yawa. They don’t see anything good, all they see are the mistakes.

Arthur: Ah, that’s true, Pa. In the Philippines, all that those in position are saying is that they’ve been doing everything right, while the opposition and the media say that the administration is doing everything wrong. Nobody seems to want to listen.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Laughs) Exactly!

Ruth: Oh, would you reconsider for me, ’Nak? You’re far more articulate than many of the baga’g-nawongs that have the gall to run. Try running for some office for me, will you?

Arthur: I dare not do so, Ma. I might win.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Ay you are hopeless. (Laughs. Sips coffee but finds it too sweet) Leche. This is too sweet. (Slams it on the table, much coffee spills. To maid) Clean that, and make me another cup. (The maid obeys tremblingly. He reads the papers again) Putang ina, this Celestino Fernandez! All he knows is to attack LGUs. If he is not accusing them of making useless projects, he would be calling them useless themselves for not doing anything. What will you do to impress this yawa!? And what he said on the radio last night—oh, your lolo will be so angry!

Arthur (with some anxiety): What he said last night, Pa?

Gov. Manny Jr.: Ay, you tell him, dear. My blood pressure will go up again.

Ruth: Well he was implying something during the press con about this symposium of his here. When he was asked if he was not afraid of the family, he answered—now how did that go? “I am afraid of neither the bolo of the Old Reyes’ past, nor the tank of the younger Reyes’ present. I am even brave enough to uncover them.” I was at Epifania’s this morning for a meeting of the Couples for Christ wives, it’s the talk of the town.

Arthur is visibly aghast, but his family does not notice it.

Gov. Manny Jr.: The putang ina knows  about the tank, but he knows something else, I tell you.

Arthur (after a pause. with composure): I have to excuse myself, Pa, Ma. I have to meet someone. I’ll try to come home early.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Raises eyebrow) Going off to flirt again? (Laughs) At least you are spreading our genes. Go on, leave now. We have to talk to your lolo later. You’ll just be distracting him again.

Ruth: Do come home early tonight. I want to take you to Salud’s dinner party. Her daughter Terry has just returned from Manila with her Chinese boyfriend. You remember Terry dear, don’t you?

Arthur (in a rush): Well, not as much as I should, perhaps.

Ruth: You were always very warm with Terry, I thought you had something going on.

Arthur (with sentimental amicability, still in a rush): Well, we find new people to be warm with. (Motions to leave. With great anxiety) Now I really must excuse myself.

Ruth: Oh wait, have you unpacked?

Arthur: (Stops on his tracks) Not yet, Ma, but I’ll just do it later.

Ruth: Oh, let the achays do it. What’s the use of having achays.

Arthur (almost consternated): Oh no, Ma, I insist. I’ll be unpacking them myself.

Ruth (affectionately):  Are you ordering me!? (Giggles) Just go, already!

Arthur: (Kisses mother and father) Okay. Kuya.

Raymond: Yeah, take care.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Take one of the cars. (Gestures to one of the henchmen)

Arthur: Oh no, Pa, I prefer commuting. I haven’t commuted here in Santo Tomas for a while, I want to reminisce. (To the henchmen)You can stay here, Boy. (To the family) I’ll go ahead.

(Exeunt Arthur in a rush to the left)

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Follows Arthur with his eyes. Affectionately) Ay, that boy is hopeless. (Reading the paper) Putang ina this Fernandez. Kahilas! Listen to what he wrote on this column of his: “The underlying elitism that manifested itself in the Magdalo–Magdiwang rivalry crippled the Revolution and it still cripples us today, because the elitists (note that I do not use here ‘the elite’) never consider the capabilities of those whom they perceive are below them.” Funny, because he himself is an elitist! Inglisero! (Puts down the paper violently) I hope papa agrees to the plan!

Ruth: I’ve been nothing but tears and hurt feelings in front of the Couples wives and with the Gabriela people. Have you dealt with the Federation, Ray?

Raymond: Not without difficulty. Arthur’s the only actor among us, you know!

Ruth: (Laughs) What did you do, dear?

Raymond: When Fernandez was mentioned in the Federation meeting, I pretended to be unaffected. But in a few moments, I pretended to be bothered. When they fell silent, I explained to the idiots that “I was just hurt because all the family gets after five generations of service is criticism.” I also brought up the issue of extrajudicial killings, and I said if I had only known they’d suspect me and my family, I should never have taken the responsibility of chairman. Finally I apologized for digressing from the order of business of the federation. Basically, I just did what Tito Edward pulled off in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Laughs) And what do they think of Fernandez now?

Raymond: Hilas, an elitist who never understood their sufferings.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Good! Now we are no longer the sole suspects, the angle of a privately motivated directive could be seen. It is a good thing our appeal is populist while Fernandez is seen as being hilas. (Gestures to the maid to hand him another newspaper)

Ruth: Everything seems to be in order. I think we ought to call Papa. (Rises. To Raymond) Come, let’s get your lolo.

Raymond: Yes, Ma. (He and Ruth exit)

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Reads papers. After a short while, he gets his cellphone) Hello, John Paul. Come over . . . What, and where did Cocoy take the men? What happened? (Listens)

Re-enter Raymond and Ruth, with Cong. Manny Sr. The congressman is old, but he is just as plump as his son Manny Junior. His army cut hair is entirely white. His face is ruddy, making him look like a mastiff. His age, however, imposes a high amount of respect from all the other characters. They crowd around him like little children clambering up a scowling Buddha.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Stands up to greet father) Papa, have you had a good sleep?

Cong. Manny Sr.: Yes, but dios mio, I really cannot deny it anymore, I am old. Just walking is becoming tiring! (Laughs)

Raymond: Tito Cocoy took some of the men with him, Pa?

Gov. Manny Jr.: Yes. Apparently the idiot could not control his urges. He did the wife of a policeman in his city. Now the policeman found out!

Ruth (condescendingly): Oh, men!

Raymond: Now where did I hear that story before!?

Gov. Manny Jr.: Yes! It is familiar, isn’t it?

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Looks at the maids and henchmen and dismisses them to exit. They exit. Laughs suddenly) You young people have terrible memories! Have I not shared with you boys that the same thing happened to me when I was young? Ah, that Lucretia was one woman. (To Gov. Manny Jr.) Even your mother was no match for him, Jun! (Laughs)

Gov. Manny Jr.: Do refresh our memories, Pa.

Cong. Manny Sr. (with a glint of nostalgia in his eyes): I was right around your age, Raymond, and was just a capitan de barangay—yes, you have outdone me, I was not the provincial chair of the Federation! That Lucretia was the wife of a policeman, Collatino. When the tonto was out I did her. Well, she liked it (laughs) but she ratted to him anyway, the puta.

Ruth: (The feminist in her is aghast) Oh, Papa!

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Eyes her authoritatively, silencing the feminist in her. Continues as if she did not interrupt) The gago of a husband threatened to kill me, said it would be easy since I was just some kid. But the neighborhood was for me, exactly because I was young—they could not believe a young man like me from a buen familia could do something like that. And to protect me, this neighborhood thug named Dionisio—I forgot the family name—went so far as accusing the policeman of stealing his goat! And the neighborhood’s attention was diverted to the goat! (Laughs) One night, I drank with Dionisio and made him drunk. When the idiot was asleep, I took his bolo and went off to take care of the couple. It was his bolo, and he had a known grudge against the victims, so Dionisio was in prison until he died!

Gov. Manny Jr.: Ah yes, now I recall. It’s been some time since you’ve told that story! (He realizes. Suddenly, he looks aghast.)

Ruth: Manny?

Gov. Manny Jr.: Papa! We have to kill that Fernandez! (Almost to himself) It was just a countermeasure about the tank, but now we have to do this! We have to kill him!

Cong. Manny Sr.: Wait, wait. Calm down. (Takes a deep breath)  I knew we were coming to this. But let us talk about it properly before deciding. This is a big decision. Inhale, exhale (Gov. Manny Jr. obeys.) Okay, let us decide on this properly. (To Raymond) Ray, hijo, could you lead us a prayer so God can enlighten us?

Raymond: Opo. (Stands up) Let us all be reminded that we are in the presence of God. (Sign of the cross) Father God, thank you for giving us a new day. Please guide us as we make this very important decision. These we ask in Jesus’ name, amen.

All: Amen. (Sign of the cross)

Cong. Manny Sr.: Okay, now that the Espirito Santo has blessed us with prudence, speak.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Stands. Clears his throat) Papa, Celestino Fernandez will come to the province today. We have devised an operation to get rid of him and his entourage.

Cong. Manny Sr. is surprised but seems passive.

Cong. Manny Sr.: How will you pull it off? How will you hide it from the police?

Gov. Manny Jr.: That is easy. (Looks at window) Ah, John Paul’s timing is admirable.

John Paul enters with an entourage of henchmen. He is as tall as Raymond, with army-cut hair and a well-built body. He has a stiff expression on his face. His complexion is much darker than that of the other men. At a gesture from the old man the henchmen exit.

Gov. Manny Jr.: John Paul. Before all else, tell us, do you promise to be loyal to the family with respect to its plan I already mentioned to you?

John Paul (a bit surprised): Yes, sir.

Cong. Manny Sr.: So you have the provincial chief of police with you. Good. Okay, let us continue.

Gov. Manny Jr.: As you can see, Papa, the provincial chief of police is ours. In fact, it will be the provincial police who will be doing the deed.

Cong. Manny Sr.: But what about the national police? How will you avoid blame? You should pass the blame on others.

Gov. Manny Jr.: We have thought of that, Papa—yes, Edward, Celinia, and Boboy are in this as well. We have specifically chosen to do the deed in our NPA hotspots here in the province. Edward and Raymond here too have been talking in their respective assemblies to rally sympathy for us. We have also stirred a considerably high amount of public dislike for Fernandez that the angle of private action is more than likely.

Raymond: Yes, Lolo. Tito Edward’s been the one negotiating with the NPA, and things are going well. But Tita Cely says the people in Congress still think we have little control of them. The possibility of rash action from them to please us—and also because Fernandez has been criticizing the NPA too—will make them very convincing suspects!

Cong. Manny Sr.: I see. (After a pause that makes the other characters tense) But really, is his criticism all the reason why you want to get rid of him? What are you hiding from me?

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Hesitates) Well, Papa, when Fernandez was speaking on a radio station last night, he was asked if he was not afraid of the family. Well . . . he answered, “I am afraid of neither the bolo of the Old Reyes’ past, nor the tank of the younger Reyes’ present. I am even brave enough to uncover them.” (Cong. Manny Sr. starts up) I only remembered about it when you retold the story a while ago!

Cong. Manny Sr.: So you think he knows? How? What is he planning to do?

Gov. Manny Jr.: One of our assets speculates that Fernandez’s men might have already found your bolo. It was taken to the police for evidence, was it not? It would be very easy for an inquisitive man to look it up. He might be planning to meet with the henchmen who got it when he arrives—that is why he chose to start that tour of his here!

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Stands up) Kill that putang ina and everyone in his convoy! He dares dishonor me and this family? Get rid of him! (Raymond tries to calm him down and leads him back to his seat) How do you intend to do the deed?

Gov. Manny Jr. gestures to Ruth.

Ruth:  (Wipes sweat) This will be how things go po, Papa: Fernandez’s convoy will enter from Davao into the municipality of Bacudo. Daddy, Mayor Pablo Cipriano, gave us his policemen to act here.

Cong. Manny Sr.: So Cipring is in it too?

Ruth: Opo, Papa. SPO3 Tirona of Bacudo will meet the convoy and pretend to escort them to Buduan. Here, the policemen of Buduan and Bagong Quezon will pick them up. They will ask the convoy people to give their communication devices to secure the area. They will say there is an NPA-related conflict. After these communication devices are to be taken and destroyed, they will be brought to Santo Tomas, far from the town, and they will be disposed of there.

Cong. Manny Sr.: Disposed of? How?

Ruth: Shot po, before being chopped to make burying them convenient.

John Paul raises hand. Ruth looks at him and nods in consent.

John Paul: Let me just add, sirs, ma’am, that for the whole operation, SPO3 Ervic of Santo Tomas, my wife’s cousin, will be in charge. He’s a newbie, sir, but I trust his capability.

Cong. Manny Sr.: That bolo worries me. (To himself) How on earth did he find out? Are you sure if we kill Fernandez, we will get rid of that bolo?

Gov. Manny Jr.: We will make the convoy stop for a few hours in Bacudo before they are picked up to let Fernandez’s man come after them. That way whoever that tiktik of his is would be included in the shooting. Besides, Papa, we are still not sure if Fernandez really has found it, or even if he actually knows what happened.

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Breathes deeply) Yes, I should not worry too much. But it’s best to be certain. (Smiles) It is a well-made plan! Who thought of it?

Gov. Manny Jr.: It was Ruth, Papa.

Cong. Manny Sr. (smiling):   You are very clever, hija.

Ruth:  (Bashfully accepts his beso on the cheek) I learn from the best, Papa.

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Laughs. Notices Raymond’s pale face) What’s wrong, Ray?

Raymond: I don’t know, Lolo, but I have a bad feeling. We’re dealing with lives here, I realized.

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Laughs) You have weak guts, boy. This is how you kill issues and problems: you kill the people making them.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Even better, reverse it: think that you are not killing a person, you are killing the issue.

Cong. Manny Sr.: Is that how you do it, Jun? Yes, you can do that too. But to be sure. You ought to make this boy’s guts stronger. (To Raymond) Go to the site today after the whole thing is done, hijo. That will give you guts, a lot of it, I can imagine! (Laughs) Report to us if the plan was successful.

Raymond: (Loses his cool) But . . . but I might throw up!

Cong. Manny Sr.: Oh, it will be nothing! Just think they had slaughtered pigs.

Raymond: But . . . but, Lolo, Pa—Ma! I . . . I really don’t think this is right. These, these are lives we’re dealing with—

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Shuts him up with a gesture) Elders say, you obey. Okay? (Raymond nods with a mixture of continued reluctance and fear) Good. Jun, make me a cup of coffee.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Distracted chatting with John Paul) Oh, Ruth.

Ruth: Raymond.

Raymond (loudly): Beng!

Enter a maid. Raymond gestures to her to make coffee. The maid obeys.

A cellphone rings. It is John Paul’s. He answers it.

John Paul: Hello, Vic . . . Yes, yes—what, you’ve began moving? (The family is startled) It’s a good thing the congressman agreed! Wait . . . (To the family) They’ve started, sirs. The convoy arrived early.

Ruth: Where are they now?

John Paul: Heading towards Santo Tomas.

Cong. Manny Sr.: Did you make them wait in Bacudo?

John Paul: Let me ask, sir. (Phone) How long did you stay in Bacudo? (To Cong. Manny Sr.) just as was planned, sir: about two hours. They just started the plan early.

Gov. Manny Jr.: You mean to say even though the plan was out of schedule, they still went accordingly? This is a useful bata you found, this Ervic!

John Paul: I know, sir. He’s a clever man. Oh, he was asking about the women and children.

Ruth and Raymond: Women and children?

John Paul: Yes, sir, ma’am, there are women and children in the convoy.

Ruth: Violence against women!

Gov. Manny Jr.: Oh drop it, Ruth. Women should get equality in everything, even the things men have to suffer.

Cong. Manny Sr. laughs.

Raymond (unable to restrain himself): Lolo, the children, please, not the—

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Again shuts Raymond up with gesture) Get rid of them too to keep things clean. That’ll get rid of the NPA too. Imagine the public outcry! (Laughs)

John Paul: Okay, sir. (Phone) Include them. Call me if it’s done . . . Okay . . . (Puts phone down)

Cong. Manny Sr.: Brilliant! I was hesitant that a newbie is taking care of this, but now I am glad!

John Paul: We really don’t have too many old-timers now, sir. Many of them have retired by now. In fact most of the people in this operation are newbies. Sir Cocoy somehow took all the old-timers with him.

The family laughs except Raymond. Ruth observes his silence and tries to comfort him. He cheers up a bit.

Cong. Manny Sr.: At any rate, we do need to secure more bata.

John Paul: Yes, sir. I was going to suggest that.

Gov. Manny Jr.: John Paul. When you recruit more bata you should mention the tank we’re about to get. That’ll draw them in!

John Paul: A tank, sir?

Gov. Manny Jr.: Yes! I was able to bribe this general, he even gave us some ammunition to go with it. It was a real bargain.

John Paul: This is sure to attract more men, sir!

Cong. Manny Sr.: (To John Paul) Really, boy. I am glad I took you in. The family’s future depends on your able action.

John Paul: (Smiles humbly) I do my best to repay your kindness, sir—my son is graduating thanks to your support!

Raymond (with hesitation): By the way, Lolo, can . . . can I request something?

Cong. Manny Sr. (with pronounced gentleness this time): Yes, Ray?

Raymond (encouraged by the display of gentleness): You see po, barangays don’t have any budget to support domestic violence victims. Could you lead the legislation on this? (Ruth perks up at hearing this.)

Gov. Manny Jr.: Why? Is not the DSWD doing anything? Stupid national government.

Raymond: I don’t know, Pa. We always direct complaints to the DSWD, but they always answer that nobody is in the DSWD Office. And besides, right now the DSWD is just acting like a juvenile prison. (Gov. Manny Jr. shrugs his shoulder). Domestic violence is a big problem in barangays. But the women aren’t the only victims, men too are also indirectly affected. Poverty is the main cause of instances: usually when we ask, we are told that the battering begins when the wife complains too much to the husband—the image of the demure battered wife is far from true! For there really is no such thing as a demure housewife anymore. Really, poverty is a big problem: we had this family who resorted to catching mice and lizards to eat.

Ruth: Ugh, why didn’t they just ask from their neighbors!?

Raymond: The neighbors don’t want to help. The family would just rely on them, they say. This is usually what happens

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Shudders) What a relief we are in power.

Raymond: (Misinterprets what his grandfather said. Face brightens with hope) That’s why I believe if we give free vocational training, it will really help. And if we incorporate counselling on anger management and marriage counselling, it will solve two problems at once. It will be a long-term solution.

Cong. Manny Sr. (dismissive): Okay, okay, draft the articles and I will pass it when I go to Manila—I  have to go soon, anyway. I’ve been absent in the Camara for months already.

Ruth: Oy, my friend Bibeth is also asking about that House Resolution on allowing mining in Buduan, Papa. Her husband has foreign investors willing to fund operations already.

Cong. Manny Sr. (slightly annoyed): Yes, I’ll check that, too.

Ruth: Oh, and Luz wants your vote for this bill Gabriela is planning to pass next month. It’s about women’s health.

Cong. Manny Sr. (annoyed this time): Okay, okay, I’ll check that too. Where is that stupid secretary of mine when you need her.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Remember you gave her a leave?

Cong. Manny Sr.: And right before I’m to go to Manila. What a bad idea.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Mischievously, adding to the list) Oh, and Papa, we seriously need to increase Bajada’s IRA. We want to set up an intelligence fund

Cong. Manny Sr. (very annoyed): Why don’t you just tell Lotlot at the NSO to magic the province’s birth rate for the coming fiscal year! (The family laughs, and when Cong. Manny Sr. realizes the joke, he laughs too)

Ruth (remembering her tasks): Oh, I have to prepare for tonight’s party, and I have to read those papers Salud sent me! But I’ll go unpack Arthur’s bags first. (Gestures to maid, and maid waits by the door for her. To Manny Jr.) Update me if the plan was successful.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Okay.

Exit Ruth with maid.

Cong. Manny Sr.: I think that maid heard too much. (To John Paul) Take care of her after Ruth’s done with her. Go have fun while you’re at it.

John Paul: Yes, sir.

John Paul’s phone rings again, and he picks it up.

John Paul: (Phone) How did it go? Okay . . . (Puts down the phone. To the family) It’s done, sir.

Gov. Manny Jr.: It was fast! (To Raymond) Go, ’Nak, take a look and call us to confirm that Fernandez is dead.

Raymond (hesitantly): Okay, Papa. (Stands up)

Cong. Manny Sr.: Wait. (Takes some money from pocket and gives to Raymond) Here, treat the men to something!

Raymond: Opo, Lolo. (Exits to the left)

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Follows Raymond with eyes. To Gov. Manny Jr.) You have a hardworking son.

Gov. Manny Jr.: I’m proud of both of them—even if Arthur’s being a useless dandy, he has remarkable insight too.

Cong. Manny Sr.: Yes, very good with his words that boy, hopeless case that he is. But what worries me about your panganay is that he does not seem to have the sense of responsibility for his “duty of privilege.”

Gov. Manny Jr.: Duty of privilege, Papa?

Cong. Manny Sr.: I am certain you know what I mean. You feel it too of course. Though it is stronger with Cocoy and Edward. (Laughs) Not only is Raymond a public servant himself, he was born into a family of public servants—that makes him doubly superior to the ordinary people. And because he is better than them, it is his duty as it is ours to enjoy things in behalf of them. He must enjoy the privileges of power that are not given to everybody.  We as leaders are obliged to be happy in behalf of the suffering masses. As Arthur would put it, noblesse oblige.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Ah, I am still so young, Papa.

Cong. Manny Sr.: Of course. You have a lot more rice to eat, dong. (Laughs. Looks around) But dios mio, how on earth can we enjoy for the masses when our house is this small? (Sighs)  you know what, in our five generations of service we have gotten very little, compared to some upstart who happens to be in Manila. We are just LGUs in faraway Mindanao, unfortunately. You are planning on becoming congressman, right? Try to be as conspicuous as you can in the House so you can aim for Senator. The local politician’s resources are really not enough to support us. (Sighs) As for me I’m too old now. The reigns are yours, dong.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Ginoo, don’t pressure me, Papa. (Laughs)

Cong. Manny Sr.: (Laughs along) If I do not pressure you, what kind of a father would I be!

Gov. Manny Jr.: True! (Laughs. He shouts the name of a maid, and maid enters. Gestures to the papers on the desk. The maid hands it to him. He dismisses the maid after receiving the papers) Raymond has been bothering me to sign these ordinances for months now. (He begins signing the papers while Cong. Manny Sr. reads newspapers)

Cong. Manny Sr.: (After some minutes reading) Punyeta!

Gov. Manny Jr.: What is it, Pa?

Cong. Manny Sr.: Have you read this Zayd Suleiman? A new writer, it seems. Here, read this column of his on Davao Star (Hands the paper. Maid takes it and hands it to Gov. Manny Jr.)

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Reading) “The continued hegemony of the Reyeses in Bajada in spite of their decades of atrocities just goes to show that Mindanao politics is predominantly ‘makatao’ (personality based) rather than idea-based: There’s too much focus on personalities and not enough emphasis on ideas. But it must not be said that this problem is limited to Mindanao: This is a national problem. During People Power 1, for instance, the ‘fight’ was between then-president Marcos (a personality) and senator Ninoy Aquino (another personality). Was it not the case that the personality of the latter ‘party’ was transferred from Ninoy when he died to his widow Cory? It can even be said that this may very well be the reason why Mindanao Secession as a movement was unsuccessful: it was too focused on concepts. It took a P-Noy to sign the Bangsamoro deal, and a defeated villain in the person of Misuari to make it all the more a success.”

Cong. Manny Sr.: His tone infuriates me, as if he knows everything. Who is this m——, writing as if he is somebody! He shouldn’t be speaking, he’s just a moro. In my time, we killed Muslims before they started bombing things. And now they’re giving these cockroaches an autonomous state of their own!? Where is this country going—Ah, now I remember! Was not he that terorista who criticized the SK sometime ago?

Gov. Manny Jr.: Yes, I recall, it was him. What a headache that was.

Cong. Manny Sr.: Oh, I hope he’s part of Fernandez’s convoy!

A phone rings. Gov. Manny Jr. answers his own.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Phone) Hello, Ray? I’ll put you on loud speaker so your lolo can hear you (Presses something on the phone). Hello?

Raymond (voice): Hello, Papa. I’m here in the area now. I can see it all . . . scattered everywhere . . . chopped to bits . . . I feel like I’m going to throw up.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Giggles) Wait, wait: think those are toys, just props for some pelikula.

Raymond (phone): Opo . . . I feel better now

The sound of a car stopping is heard from the phone.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Laughs) Have you arrived?

Raymond (phone): Yes . . . Ah, I’m starting to get sick again. It’s so rancid.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Laughs) Then use a handkerchief, idiot!

Raymond (phone): Opo. (The sound of rustling cloth is heard. A bit less clear than before) Can you still hear me, Pa?

Gov. Manny Jr.: It’s is a bit muffled, but yes. Look for Fernandez’s body. You know what he looks like?

Raymond: Yes. Wait a moment . . . (Momentary silence) I’m in front of his head, Papa. I don’t know where the rest of him is—Ugh! They hit the back of the head with a bolo, and the brain’s oozing out!

Gov. Manny Jr.: Kaarte! (Laughs) Have Ervic wrap that up and bring it here—you do not have to touch it, have it placed at the back of the Fortuner! (Laughs)

Raymond (phone): Opo.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Oh, and was anyone bringing a bolo among there?

Raymond (phone): I’ll just ask . . . (To Ervic) Bossing, was there anybody here who was bringing a bolo? Okay. (Phone) They didn’t find anything, Papa. A few people followed, but they didn’t find anything. They’d have noticed it immediately, because they took all the journalists’ possessions.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Okay. Ah! The journalists and their families will be wearing formal attire, of course. Try to look for a body without of place attire there, Ray.

Raymond (phone): Opo . . . (Momentary silence) Where did I see this polo . . . No . . . (Breathing becomes rapid. The sound of running is heard) No! (The sound of the phone being thrown away is heard)

Gov. Manny Jr.: Hello, Ray? Ray, what happened?

The continued shouts of “no” from Raymond are heard. He suddenly falls silent, with someone asking a hesitant “sir” heard. “That’s the one who followed,” the other voice can be heard saying. Violent sounds are heard and a gunshot. Raymond shouts “A sack! Putang ina, give me a sack!” and the rustling of a sack is heard. The sound of running, then the loud sound of a vehicle starting up. Then the line is cut: the car has crushed the phone.

Gov. Manny Jr.: What happened to him? (Jokingly) Oh, someone he knew was included! Tsk. He’ll learn, that boy. But to be sure, could you meet him, John Paul.

John Paul: Yes, sir. (Exits to the left. In a short while, the sound of a vehicle leaving is heard)

Gov. Manny Jr.: What could have happened to that boy? Oh well. (Returns to signing papers)

Cong. Manny Sr.: (After a while, stands up) I think I will take another siesta. Tell me when Raymond has returned.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Opo, Papa. (Gestures to maids. Maids assist Cong. Manny Sr.)

Exeunt Cong. Manny Sr.

Ruth enters suddenly, holding some worn-looking sheets of paper in one hand and a black attaché case in the other.

Ruth: Punyeta! Manny!

Gov. Manny Jr.: What is it?

Ruth: That Arthur! Look at this!? (Hands the papers to Gov. Manny Jr.)

Gov. Manny Jr. reads, his face growing livid, while Ruth continues to curse.

Gov. Manny Jr.: (Furious) Draft articles—Arthur—Arthur is that Zayd Suleiman? Putang ina! (Tears the bits of paper to pieces, unable to speak out of anger) He was that warik-warik? He nearly cost his brother the SK post!

Ruth: (Controls Gov. Manny Jr.) Dear, your heart! (Leads him back to the seat)

Gov. Manny Jr.: That boy! We have allowed him to do what he wants, but he has gone beyond the limit, I say! What else is in that attaché case?

Ruth: I don’t know. Here. (Hands him the attaché case. He takes another piece of paper inside and reads it). My temper rose when I saw these papers, so I didn’t bother looking at the rest. (Notices the gesticulation on her husband’s face) Why? What’s in it?

Gov. Manny Jr.: It’s from that Celestino Fernandez! (Reads it silently) Putang ina, how close they are, it is almost indecent! (Reads quietly again) “ . . . follow the convoy on time . . .”

Ruth: “Follow the convoy on time”?

The sound of a vehicle is heard.

Gov. Manny Jr.: Ginoo, Ruth! So that means . . . (Insanely) Ginoo!

The violent slam of a door and the shattering of car window glass is heard. The couple looks to the left.

Raymond (voice): (In a lachrymose roar) Pa! Ma! Arthur!  It’s Arthur!

Curtain


R&B (Reality and Budots)

(Published in Nomads Quarterly, March 2015)

Mga Tauhan:

Apat hanggang anim na Budots

Tatlong ‘Audience members

Limang tauhang anino sa likod ng tabing (may dalawa o higit pang babae)

Isang Budots biker

 

Tagpo: Sa isang maliit na proscenium stage, ang backdrop ay isang tabing kung saan maaninag ang mga tauhang anino. Maganap ang dula sa espasyo sa baba ng entablado, pagitan ng walang gamit na entablado at ng mga naganood. Bago makaabot sa mga naganood may tatlong upuan nakaharap sa entablado.

Pagsimula ng dula nakaupo na ang mga ‘Audience members’ sa mga upuan na ito.

Cue SFX: Ethnic flute. Tapos bigla mag-Budots.

(Habang nagatugtog ang Budots, papasok ang mga Budots, naga budots-budots.)

(May mahalong mga tunog galing sa TV, radyo, pelikula, at internet  sa Budots. Kada may mahalo na ganito, mag-moro-moro ang mga Budots ng pinanggalingan ng tunog. Halimbawa: isang Budots (lalaki na mataas ang buhok) kay magdala ng  Shan Cai galing sa Meteor Garden pag may mahalong sigaw na ‘Daoming Si!’ sa tugtog. Pagkatapos ng moro-moro magbalik sila ng budots-budots)

(Pagkatapos mag budots-budots ng sandali, may mahalo sa Budots na ingay ng chainsaw. Manigas ang mga Budots. Ilang sandali mapakita sa tabing ang anino ng lalaki na nagaputol ng puno gamit ang chainsaw)

(Biglang balik sa Budots pagkawala ng anino. Magbalik din ang mga Budots ng budots-budots.)

(Halo ulit mga tunog galing sa mass media na sabayan ng moro-moro)

(Manigas ulit ang mga Budots pagkahalo sa Budots ng ungol ng iyot. Sa tabing, ipakita ang kalaswa na anino ng mag-uyab nagaiyot. Pagkatapos ng sandaling ganito, budots-budots ulit.)

(Ang isang moro-moro na gawin ng mga Budots: prosesyon ng pari at mga kaabag papunta sa entablado, ang isa kunyari pari. Halo sa budots ang tunog ng Gregorian chanting. Pagkatapak sa entablado ng kunyari pari, mag-lipsync siya ng recorded na pagbasa sa orihinal na Latin ng ensiklikang Humanae Vitae. Tapos nito, budots-budots ulit.)

(Manigas ulit sila pagpakita sa tabing ng gina-torture na tao. Mag-alingawngaw sa buong entablado ang mga hiyaw nitong gina-torture. Tapos ng ilang sandali nitong torture, budots-budots ulit at halong moro-moro)

(Dito dapat may moro-moro ng pinaka-sikat na pelikula o teleserye.)

(Pagkatapos ng moro-moro, ipakita sa tabing ang anino ng babae na ginatorture at ginagahasa. Pero hindi maghinto ng budots-budots ang mga Budots. Mag iba nuon ang music: maghalo ang hiyaw ng ginatorture na babae, ng paghapak at pagungol ng nagagahasa, at ang Budots. Ginasaksak ang babae ng isa pang lalaki bukod sa nagarape sa kanya, pero hindi siya saksakin sa makapatay na bahagi. Tapos ng sandali na ganito, ipasok sa loob ng nakabukaka na babae ang kutsilyo, at grabe kakilabot ang sigaw ng babae. Pero masapawan itong sigaw ng Budots, na mas maglakas pa pagpasok ng Budots biker, ang speaker na nakakabit sa bike nito nagatugtog ng kalakas na Budots.)

(Mag-ikot-ikot ang biker ng bike niya sa palibot ng mga Budots ilang beses.)

(Pagtigil ng biker, magmoro-moro ulit: Ngayon naman may isang Budots na nakatayo sa entablado, mag-lipsync ng pagbigkas ng Surah At-Tawba 71 mula sa Quran sa orihinal na Arabic. Pagkatapos niya, sigawan siya bigla ng isang Budots ng ‘Osama Bin Laden!,’ at mag-budots-budots ulit)

(Pagkatapos nito, maglabas ang biker mula sa entablado, at maninigas ang mga Budots. Tigil ang Budots.)

(Magtayo ang tatlong ‘Audience members’ at magharap sa Audience.)

AM 1: (tila naunawaan ang kahulugan ng dula) Hala. Ang Budots, pop culture. Makalunod, makasanay ng katotohanan…

AM 2: (naunawaan din) Tama! Ng sigaw ng problema…

AM 3: (naunawaan din) O di kaya mga salita ng katotohanan ng sangkatauhan…

AM 1: Makalunod, makahalo…

AM 3: Una maghanga tayo sa mga marinig natin, mapaisip, maniwala…

AM 2: Magulat tayo, malain, matakot…

AM 1: Pero makalimutan naman din natin kay malingaw na naman tayo!

AM 2: Masanay…

AM 3: Mainip…

AM 1: Tapos hanap na naman tayo ng ibang mahalo sa Budots!

AM 2: Kaya ang mga problema na marinig natin sa balita o madaanan natin sa buhay, pang-halo lang sa Budots!

AM 3: Ang mga sermon, ang mga pilosopiya, ang mga matutunan sa mga mali at mga tagumpay sa buhay, pang singit lang sa budots!

AM 1: (inis) Ah!

AM 2: (sindak) Ah!

AM 3: (walang pag-asa) Ah!

Lahat: Ah!

(Magtinginan ang tatlo)

(Magpatuloy sila ng ‘Ah,’ na dahan-dahan magkaroon ng kumpas. Tapos magtugtog ulit ang Budots, na sabay sa kanilang mga ‘Ah.’ Sasayaw ang tatlo kasabay ng mga Budots.)

(Magpasok ulit ang Budots biker, ngayon may dalang maliit na watawat, kung saan nakasulat ang mga salita: ‘BUDOTS 43VR’)

(Magtigil sandali)

AM 1: Pirandello!

AM 2: Artaud!

AM 3: Brecht!

(Ulit-ulitin ito ng tatlo at dahandahan ulit magkakumpas, na magsabay sa Budots: Artaud-Brecht-Brecht-Pirandello-Brecht-Brecht. Mag-budots-budots sila habang ginakanta ito.)

(Habang naga-budots-budots, dahan dahan maglabas ang lahat sa entablado. )


Gigi

             “Ako’y gapo sa danaw, isinaog sa dalampasigan
ng mga alon ng puot”

– mula sa Aya no Tsuzumi

           “It’s a thief in the night to come and grab you
It can creep up inside you and consume you
A disease of the mind that can control you”

– Rihanna, Disturbia

Tagpo: Sa sala ng bachelor’s pad ni Gilbert, Sandawa Homes Phase 2, Kidapawan City, sa kasalukuyang panahon at kamalayan. Hatinggabi.

Magaganap ang dula sa loob ng isang araw

Mise en scene: Nasa kaliwa ang pintuan palabas ng bahay, at sa kanan naman ang pinto papasok sa kwarto ni Gilbert. May sofa sa gitna ng entablado, nakaharap sa manonood. Sa likod nito may iba pang mga upuan na nakapalibot sa isang coffee table, lahat moderno ang disenyo. Sa taas ng entablado may estante na may mga nakasarang drawer, salamin, puon, at isang malaki at agaw pansing piraso ng T’nalak, nakasabit na parang hanging scrolls. Tila hinabing bangungot ang disenyo nitong T’nalak, nakamamangha’t nakaiilang. Maraming mga ibang kagamitang lumad (Manobo, T’Boli, Mandaya) sa sala, gaya ng mga estatwa, mga maliliit na tansong kampanilyang pabitay sa kwintas, at de rattan na basket na sisidlan ng payong. Sa kabuuan, modernong may ethnic accent ang motif ng malinis ngunit may pagkamalamig na silid.

Pagbukas ng telon, nakaupo na si Gilbert sa sofa, nasa-telepono habang inaasikaso ang ilang papeles. May dating na tila laging seryoso si Gilbert, ngunit hindi mababahiran ng kanyang kabisiha’t kaalaman ang kabataang tatak ng kanyang mukha. Deretso at “tama” ang kanyang Tagalog. Siya ang larawan ng edukadong lumad at ng kabataang politikong nagsisimulang manguna ngayon sa lokal na pulitika ng North Cotabato.

 

 

(Read the rest of this play on Wattpad!)


Pangayaw

(Part of my MA Thesis. Published in Fortes, independent zine of the Society of Ateneo Literature and English Majors (SALEM), 2015. Fortes is for sale at 30 pesos per copy!)

Pangayaw
Dulang may isang Yugto

Mga Tauhan

William Monterama: mga 19 anyos, estudyante sa Ateneo de Davao (naka-uniporme), anak ng konsehal sa lungsod ng Kidapawan. May itsura.

Janice Malaumon: mga 19 anyos, estudyante sa San Pedro College (naka-uniporme), kalahating Manobo, taga Arakan Valley. May itsura.

Ang Barkada: Kinabibilangan nina
Luke: taga-AdDU
Sophia: taga-SPC
Cholo: Taga-AdDU

Tagpo: Sa ikalawang palapag ng McDo Sta Ana, lungsod ng Davao, tanghali hanggang hapon, kasalukuyang panahon at kamalayan

Magaganap ang dula sa loob ng isang araw

Pagbukas ng telon, nakaupo si Cholo sa nasa gitnang long table, nakalekwatro, nagtetext. Walang tao sa second floor.
Papasok si Luke

Cholo: Akala ko kasama kayo ni papa William?

Luke: (uupo sa tabi) Papunta na daw, gipauna niya ako. Sila Janice? Di ba nandiyan lang sila naga-dorm banda sa SPC?

Cholo: Ay ito, nagapatanong muna kung andyan na ba daw si papa Will. (magtetext) Ewan ko sa babaeng ito.

Luke: Para ano kaya ito ‘no? Grabe kakulba ni Will, malamang maglabas ng kaguol yun sa akin kaya ako gipaaga. Kawawa na lagi masyado siya Chol. Hindi baya siya talaga ganito, tikalon baya ito na tao since elementary pa, pero ngayon!

Cholo: Lagi uy, naga-shaky na lagi talaga sila ni Janice. Nitong huli daw nagaguol si Sophia kay parang may ginatago siya, pero wala man ding ginasabi sa amin itong gaga. Kasayang din ng 3 years uy! At katanga lang din ni Janice kung pakawalan pa niya si papa Will – saan ka makakita ng love story ng Manobo scholar na nakauyab ng anak ng city councilor!

Papasok si William, namumutla.

William: Cholo! Anong ginagawa mo dito?

Cholo: Papunta din si Sophia, gipapunta kami ni Janice.

William: (uupo) Ay anong ibig sabihin nito!

Luke: Ano ba kasi nangyayari sa inyo bay?

William: Ay bay ewan, hindi ko na talaga alam. Isang linggo na kami wala usap-usap, tawag man, text, o chat sa FB. Tapos ito, bigla na lang ako gichat na magkita daw kami dito ngayon para pag-usapan ang lahat.

Cholo: Hala ka uy, hindi mo gisubukan tanong anong problema?

William: Nito na lang, ayaw ko sana na lagi na lang problemahin ang relationship namin – yan baya ang dahilan nung una kami nag-away.

Luke: Hala so nag-away na pala kayo noon?

William: Ay oo, mga a month ago. Nagsimula na ka-cold ang relationship namin kay nabusy kami pareho sa studies – nag-SAMAHAN din baya ako, tapos siya kahirap daw ng subjects sa MedTech. Pero nagkaproblema lang kami kay gi-OA ko, nainis siya. Maliit na bagay lang bitaw sana, gipalaki ko pa. Ayon, para pambawi, giaya ko siya date kami sa Viking’s – gibigyan lang din ako ng cash ni dad. Pero biglang ganito na tapos nun…

Cholo: Hala naano na man ito uy.

William: Wala siyang ginasabi sa iyo, Chol?

Cholo: Wala gud talaga babe. Kahit kay Sophia. Pag tanungin namin, mag-shrug lang siya ng shoulders niya.

William: (tatakpan ang mukha ng kamay) Ano na man nangyari sa amin uy. Kasaya na sana namin. Nag-selfie pa gani kami nung nasa Viking’s kami, tapos gisend niya daw sa pinsan niya, na gipakita ang picture sa lola at mga pinsan niya sa kanila sa Arakan. Hindi baya yun mahilig mag-selfie, at lalo nang hindi yun mahilig magsabi ng tungkol sa amin sa pamilya niya, kaya kasaya ko talaga nun. Tapos ngayon, ganito na, hindi ko man lang gani alam anong problema.

Luke: Baka wala palang problema bay, ginaisip mo lang yan.

William: Lagi bay, sana nga…

Cholo: (nakatingin sa phone) nasa baba na sila.

Mapapatayo ang lahat. Papasok sina Janice at Sophia. Papansinin ni Janice ang lahat maliban kay William. Bibigat ang hangin.

Uupo si Janice.

Janice: Guys, iwan niyo siguro muna kami sandali.

Tahimik na tatango ang barkada at lalabas.

Maingat na uupo si William.

William: ‘Nice…

Janice: (may kukunin sa handbag: coin purse na wangis ng panda, ibabagsak sa mesa) Ibalik nako nimo.

William: (mabibigla) Ito yung galing Hong Kong, bakit-?

Janice: (ibabagsak naman sa mesa ang isang green na notebook bago matapos si William) Ug kani sad.

William: Yung galing Singapore na –

Janice: (ibabagsak ang isang pen purse sa mesa) Ug kani pud

William: Yung galing Boracay –

Janice: (ibabagsak ang isang libro) Ug kani.

William: last month ko lang to –

Janice: (ibabagsak ang nakatiklop na blouse) Ug kani.

William: Gibigay ‘to sa iyo ni mom, a – sandali gud, ano bang problema!

Janice: Ibalik na nako na tanan nimo. Dili nako na kinahanglan.

William: Anong – (makakaisip ng maling dahilan sa desperasyon, matatawa) bakit, ha, galit ka na hindi kita kasama nung nasa Hong Kong, Singapore at Boracay kami nila mom? Ay sus, ‘Nice, kung gusto mo dalhin kita sa Macau ngayong birthday

Janice: (puputulin ang salita niya sa marahas na tingin. Kumukulo sa galit) Kay ngano, tan-aw nimo kay pobre lang ko ug datu ka igo ra nimo ko paliton anang imong kwarta? Pag-adto og Macau ikaw ra usa…

William: (Magkahalong pagkabigla, indignasyon, at di maunawaang pagsisisi) A-ano bang problema…?

Manglilisik ang mga mata ni Janice, ngunit hindi ito mapupuna ni William. Hihinga si Janice ng malalim.

Janice: Undangon na nato ni. Dili na ko.

Parang nabuhusan ng malamig na tubig si William

William: (maluha-luha) Anong… anong ibig mong sabihin..?

Janice: Dili na ko.

William: ‘Nice, bakit? Anong problema? ‘Nice..? (magagalit, ngunit matatantong wala itong magagawa sa sariling galit. Mawawalan ng pag-asa. nagsisimula na ng iyak)

Janice: Dili ikaw ang lalaki para sa ako. Dili sad ako ang para nimo. Gikapoy na ko nimo. Undangon na nato ni.

William: ‘Nice bakit ito..? Anong gud ito uy..? (walang sagot) ‘Nice, wag mo ako Bisayain be. Ano man ito uy… (humahagulgol na)

Janice: (mukhang mag-aalinlangan sa tangkang gagawin, ngunit maiisipang hindi magpatuloy) Dili na lagi ko. Ayaw na ni palisda. Undangon na nato ni be, gikapoy na ko. (bukod sa kaninang tabis ay kailan ma’y di niya titignan si William)

William: (susubukang magsalita sa likod ng hagulgol) So… so talagang tapos na tayo

Janice: O, human na ta.

William: (hirap pa rin magsalita) Si… sige. Thank you for everything, ‘Nice. Salamat sa three years. Kadami kung nakita sa buhay dahil sa iyo… (mapait nga ngiti) Yung mga kwento mong Manobo lalo, hindi ko talaga makalimutan, kaganda… sana nakapunta ako sa inyo sa Arakan. May farm man pala daw kami dun sabi ni dad. (magdidilim ang mukha ni Janice) Thanks for everything ‘Nice. I love you. You gave me the best years of my life. I don’t know what I did, but I’m so sorry for everything. Ako man talaga ang lagi mali sa atin, ba… I – I don’t know kelan ko mapatawad ang sarili ko sa anong nagawa ko… I love you ‘Nice, I hope makalimutan mo ako… I love you. (tatayo, pupulutin ang mga nasa mesa ng parang pinupulot ang mga bildo ng nabasag na sarili) Good bye. (lalabas)

Hindi mapipigilan ni Janice, at tahimik na tutulo ang luha sa mga mata niya. Tutuyuin niya ito.

Maingat na papasok ang barkada.

Cholo: (uupo) ‘Nice, anong nangyari? (uupo din sina Sophia at Luke)

Janice: (matapos tuyuin ang luha) Wala. Wala na kami.

Sophia: Ha! Ano ba kasi nangyari?

Janice: Nakipaghiwalay ako.

Cholo: What!?

Luke: Sus, kaya pala grabe ang iyak nun. Hindi man gani kami gipansin paglabas niya.

Janice: Asan na siya?

Luke: Nagsakay ng taxi

Sophia: Ano ba kasing problema, ‘Nice! Magsalita ka na nga.

Janice: (hihinga ng malalim) May malaking farm ang mga Monterama sa amin sa Arakan.

Cholo: O, tapos?

Janice: Amin yung lupa, ancestral domain namin. Gikamkam noon ng lolo niya.

Sophia: Ano!?

Janice: Landgrabber pala noon yung lolo niya, si Agaton Monterama. Giuto pala niya ang lolo ko sa tuhod, ilang ektarya ng lupa para sa isang lata ng sardinas.

Cholo: My God..!

Janice: (tahimik na suklam) Nakita ko pano naghirap ang nanay-tatay ko buhay sa amin magkakapatid. Ngayon arang-arang na kami, pero gikailangan ko pa rin maging scholar ng Lumad People’s Federation para makapag-college. Hindi pa din alam nila papa asan magkuha ng pang-college ng mga kapatid ko. At hanggang ngayon wala pa rin kaming sarili naming lupa.

Luke: Grabe pala…

Janice: Pero ang pinaka-masakit yung hiya ni lola kay papa at mama na wala siyang natulong sa kanila. Okay lang gud kila papa, pero kawawa masyado si lola, kita masyado sa mga mata niya ang pagsisi sa hindi naman sana niya kasalanan. Anuhin din kaya niya pagbuhay sa pamilya niya na igo lang gipalit ng lata ng sardinas yung lupa ng tatay niya…

Sophia: Hala grabe ito… Pero ‘Nice, nakaraan na yun. Ganun pa rin ba kabigat ang nakaraan sa iyo na makipaghiwalay ka talaga kay Will?

Janice: (biglang may sigla) Oo, Soph’. Ito mismo ang dahilan bakit ako nagasikap maging doktor ngayon, para gamitin itong kolonyal na kultura para tulungan ang mga giapi kong kalahi. Alam niyo ano yang pangayaw?

Sophia: Oo, narinig ko na yan, yan yung blood war na ginagawa mga lumad pag naabuso sila

Janice: (halos sa sarili) Pero hindi lang sa dahas ang pangayaw. Itong ginagawa ko pangayaw din ito, ang paggamit nitong pagka-kolonyal ninyo para tahimik na maglaban sa pang-api ng mga kalahi ko. Pero talo ako kung mahila ako nito. Talo ako kung kahiligan ko ito. Talo ako kung hindi ko na ayawan ang tukso nitong pagka-kolonyal ninyo. At pinakatalo ako kung makuha ako ng anak ng landgrabber…

Cholo: Pero hindi man siguro ganun si Will…

Janice: (manghihina sandali sa katatagan, ngunit manunumbalik) Bitaw, saka pangayaw ko lang din ito. Pero may mas mabigat na pangayaw ang pamilya ko sa kanya. May mas malaking galit ang pamilya ko sa pamilya niya.

Luke: Mas malaking galit?

Janice: Gigahasa ni Agaton Monterama ang lola ko.

Sophia: Ano!?

Janice: Pagkatapos bilhin ni Monterama yung lupa namin ng isang latang sardinas, gigawa niyang tapper ang lolo ko sa tuhod sa gigawa nilang gomahan sa lupa namin. Yung lola ko may asawa at anak na noon, pero gikuha ni Monterama na katulong sa bahay nila. Doon, gihalay niya ang lola ko. Nagtakas daw si lola – halos hubo’t hubad – pabalik sa Arakan. Gisugod ng tatay at bana niya ang mga Monterama, pero nabaril si lolo, patay. Byuda ang lola ko ng 19. Gitakas na lang ng lolo ko sa tuhod ang lola at ang sanggol ko pa na tatay patago. Hanggang sa namatay na lang si Agaton Monterama hindi pa namin nakuha ang lupa namin.

Cholo: Hala ka uy. Pano mo ito nalaman lahat girl!?

Janice: (mapait na ngiti) Nag-selfie kami ni Will, gipadala ko sa pinsan ko para ipakita kay lola. Giatake si lola pagkakita sa kanya – kamukha daw pala sila masyado ng lolo niya. Mabuti na lang hindi naano si lola. Matagal na alam nila papa ang tungkol sa amin, pero hindi nila natanong ang apelyado niya. Ngayon lang din nila nasabi sa akin ang pangalan nung nagkamkam ng lupa namin at yung naggalaw kay lola.

Sophia: … Hindi kita ma-blame sa desisyon mo, ‘Nice. Wala tayo lahat magawa sa mga ganitong bagay. Pero parang kawawa naman si Will, wala siyang kaalam-alam.

Janice: (mapapaisip sandali) Oo, dapat niya nga malaman. Itext ko sa kanya.

Mukhang mag-aalinlangan si Sophia sa pagsuporta dito

Cholo: Asan kaya yun nagpunta? Hala kawawa man pa din si papa Will uy.

Luke: Kanina ko pa ginatawagan, ayaw magsagot.

Sophia: Luke di ba maka-track yan ng GPS ang phone mo?

Luke: Ay o tama, pero may wifi kaya siya kung asan man siya?

Sophia: Subukan mo lang.

Luke: Sige
Janice: Ayan, sent.

Sophia: Anong gisabi mo?

Janice: Na yun lang, gikamkam ng pamilya niya ang ancestral domain namin, tapos gigahasa ng lolo niya ang lola ko at gipapatay ang sarili kong lolo.

Cholo: Hala kasakit siguro niyan sa kanya.

Janice: (halos sa sarili) Sakit..?

Luke: May signal! Nasa condo na niya siya sa may Magallanes.

Sophia: I’m sure dagdag itong depression sa kanya pag nalaman niya…

Janice: (mahahabag) Dagdag depression..!

Cholo: Oo uy, grabe baya masyado ang sense of justice nun.

Sophia: Since elementary pa kami, siya talaga yan palagi ang makipag-away para sa mga kaklase naming ginabully, kaya gani sila nagkaibigan nito ni Cholo.

Cholo: Ay oo, I can never forget that!

Luke: At hanggang ngayon ganun pa rin yun. Ngayon na nasa SG siya ng Ateneo o, staunch supporter pa rin nung memo against sa bullying sa Engineering namin.

Cholo: Tapos di ba concerned din yan siya masyado sa mga lumad?

Luke: Ay oo, nagapush siya ng SAMAHAN scholarship para sa mga lumad students.

Janice: Hala kelan lang ‘to..?

Luke: Hindi na baya kayo masyado nagausap nito lang di ba? Ayaw niya din siguro abalahin ka sa kwento…

Janice: Hala, Will… (mag-aalinlangan na) Hala, anong ginawa ko… Hala…

Sophia: (mauunawaan ang pag-alinlangan ni Janice) Luke, puntahan mo si Will, bilis. Sino kasama niya sa bahay ngayon?

Luke: Wala, next week pa daw pa-Davao nanay niya.

Sophia: Dali, Luke. Magtaxi ka.

Luke: (mauunawaan at tatayo) Sige, hala wag naman sana -! (lalabas)

Cholo: (mauunawaan din) Hala ka uy wag naman sana! (tatawag) Hala ka, gipatay na niya ang phone niya!

Sophia: Sino ba ang kilala natin na nakatira doon malapit?

Cholo: Wala baya, ang pinakamalapit alam ko si John na nagadorm dito sa may Claveria.

Sophia: Tawagan mo, sabihin mo emergency.

Cholo: Okay. (tatawag) Cannot be reached, i-text ko lang.

Sophia: Sige. (mapupuna si Janice) ‘Nice, okay ka lang?

Janice: Hala Soph’ anong gawin ko kung may mangyari sa kanya..?

Cholo: Nagsagot na si John, papunta na daw siya.

Sophia: Good. Kalma ka lang, ‘Nice. Chol, pwede mo bilhan si Janice ng mainom sa baba?

Cholo: Sige, ako na muna tapal.

Sophia: Thanks.

Lalabas si Cholo

Janice: Hala, sana walang mangyari sa kanya, Soph’… (mauunawaan na ang nagawa) Soph’ bakit ko siya gisaktan ng ganun? Hindi man niya kasalanan, Soph’… Hala, kabait baya nun sa akin, he loved me so much...

Sophia: Oo, mahal na mahal ka nun. Mula nung gipakilala ka siguro namin sa kanya hindi ka na nawala sa isip nun. Ikaw baya ang first girlfriend nun.

Janice: Hala ano man ginawa ko uy. Soph’, katanga ko, baka ano pa lang mangyari!

Sophia: Kalma, ‘Nice!

Janice: (maiiyak na) Ay katanga ko talaga, Soph’! Gipatuloy ko lang ang sakit na gisimulan ng lolo niya. Sus kung anong magawa nun dahil sa gigawa ko!

Sophia: Kalma lang lagi, wala laging –

Biglang papasok si Cholo

Cholo: Nagtawag si Luke! My God nagbigti daw si Will sa kanila!

Janice: My God! Anong ginawa ko!

Sophia: Asan na sila ngayon!?

Cholo: Nagtawag si John ng ospital, ginasugod na nila sa Davao Doc. (tutunog ang telepono niya) Hello Luke… hala, oh my God..! (mapapaiyak) Namatay na daw si Will sa ambulance…

Janice: (hahagulgol) Will, Will, Will! Anong ginawa ko!

habang tahimik na iiyak si Cholo at Janice, tatabi sa isang kanto si Sophia, tatawag sa telepono. Maya-maya ay babalik siya sa dalawa

Sophia: Gitawagan ko na sina tita Maricel, (kay Janice) nagtawag pa daw si Will kay tito Ric para inconfirm yung gitext mo. (aktong bababa) Tara, puntahan na natin…

Janice: Soph’, kasalanan ko! Kasalanan ko!

Sophia: (hihinga ng malalim) Oo, pero dahil dito tapos na ang pangayaw niyo. Nakaganti na rin kayo. Only son si Will, dahil dito ubos na ang lahi ng mga Monterama. I hope masaya ka na.

Mapapatayo si Janice, mapapalakad sa gitna ng entablado,at mapapahagulgol sa pait ng natamong tagumpay bago bumaba ang

Telon


Works Included in my MA Thesis

I had just selected the works to be included for my Master’s creative writing thesis today.

The thesis, entitled ‘Davao Filipino and its Literary Possibilities,’ will be a collection of short stories and plays in Davao Filipino, with a critical preface attached to it.

The works to be included are as follows.

Short stories

‘Cause-Play’
‘Kuyaw’
‘Pamulan’
‘Touch Move’
Pagbalik

Plays

‘Sa Pagkaubos ng mga Bukid’
Pag-Asa ng Drug Pusher sa Davao
‘Palitan’
‘Selim’
‘Gigi’
‘R&B (Reality and Budots)’
‘Pangayaw’

‘Kuyaw’ is about Abel, who suffers from bullying and copes with it by finding sexual gratification in gruesome scenes. His ability to not only tolerate but actually derive pleasure from the sight of death gives him a sense of superiority over his oppressors, and he develops this fetish with increasing gruesomeness until he finds it spinning out of control. The story is told in the first person and is narrated by Abel.

‘Pagbalik’ is the oldest among this collection’s works, first written in 2010 with the current version written in 2011. It is about Kyle, who is on a van, on his way back to Davao, where he studies, from Kidapawan, where he lives. He is distracted all throughout by the fact that his two best friends, Eugene and Jenny, who were left behind in Kidapawan, had ended up as a couple, and he is even more troubled to know that the two are expecting a child. As he struggles with these revelations a mysterious child keeps smiling at him from in front of the van. The story is told in a stream of consciousness manner with Kyle’s thoughts represented as they come to him.

‘Cause-Play’ is about Mayumi Bondad, self proclaimed top cosplayer of Davao. Proud, greedy, and fiercely territorial, she recalls her struggles with a rival cosplayer, CJ Gumapac, which culminated in a heated encounter in Hong Kong when the two were there for a competition. Now she is on her way to joining, and she was confident of winning, another international cosplay event. She seems invincible until her actions come back to haunt her. The story was originally written in English and was translated to Davao Filipino. It is told in the very limited third person, focused entirely on Mayumi’s point of view and even using her diction. It is based on a true story.

‘Touch Move’ is about Lenny, autistic son of a political clan in Kidapawan, who finds himself helping his family by devising Machiavellian plots to ensure the family’s political ascendancy in the city. His remove from the tactics he plots out comes back to devastate him when he helps the family take care of one of his grandfather’s illegitimate children. The story is told in the first person, and is narrated by Lenny. It is based on a true story.

‘Pamulan’ is about Teo, a teenager living in baranggay Meohao, Kidapawan who suffers mysterious bodily pains that could only be eased by bathing his body in the moonlight. His older visiting cousin, Carina, uses her knowledge as an ethnographer to help Teo with this illness, to get to know him, and to get to know the pleasures of life she herself had never known. Based on an earlier story written when I was still in third year high school, ‘Pamulan’ is told in the third person, with an omniscient narrator.

‘Pangayaw’ is about William and Janice, a young couple who are studying in Davao. Janice, a Manobo scholar from Arakan, wishes to break up with William, the son of a wealthy political family in Kidapawan, and William does not know why. It is only after he leaves that Janice reveals to her friends how their past has rendered their love impossible. The one act play takes place in a McDonald’s branch in Davao and happens in real time.

‘Sa Pagkaubos ng mga Bukid’ is about Romnick, a young security guard at Ateneo de Davao who has recently been on good terms with an Atenista MassCom student, the pretty and wealthy Charlene. While his roommate along Davao’s Quezon Boulevard, the fish vendor Janbert, cajoles him to talk more about the budding romance, to both their surprise Charlene arrives for a surprise visit. In the ensuing encounter Romnick realizes the divided worlds in which people live. The one act play takes place in Romnick’s room and happens in real time.

‘Pag-asa ng Drug Pusher sa Davao’ is about Franz, a drug pusher bedridden in a hospital after being hit during a shootout with the police. His mother, a school principal who has not seen him for years, arrives to see him, and the two exchange awkward and cold greetings. The conversation leads to honest revelations, and mother and son admit their mistakes and reconcile. But Franz’s actions come back to haunt him and crush his fresh hopes. Written in 2011, this one act play is the oldest among the collection’s plays. It takes place in the ward of an hospital in Davao, and happens in real time. It is based on a true story.

‘Palitan’ is about an exchange of hostages between the last battalion of the New Peoples’ Army in Mindanao, who have kidnapped field botanist Sophia Zaide, and the provincial government of North Cotabato, who have caught NPA member Balong Palabra. Leading the exchange is the governor, Dieudonne Balajadia, who is taking part in the exchange in the face of criticism from the National government. The journalist Nikki Madriguera covers the exchange as it unfolds from the apparently simple exchange to what turns out to Balajadia’s Machiavellian plot against the NPA. This short radio play – my first in seven years – is set in the outskirts of Kidapawan’s baranggay Linangkob, and happens in real time.

‘Selim’ is about the eponymous character, a high school student leader in Kidapawan who is being interviewed by the journalist Lulu Bejar. Selim is establishing a Mindanao-wide organization of student leaders committed to bringing peace in the troubled island. In the course of the interview he talks about his girlfriend, Zoey, a Christian whose land owning family is involved in a land grabbing dispute. While the interview takes place Selim hears devastating news. The play is a dramatic monologue, set in the living room of Selim’s house.

‘Gigi’ is about Gilbert Sirolo, the young first councillor of Kidapawan and a full blooded Manobo. While Gilbert is busy with paperwork and with a conspiracy with his friend the vice mayor, his dark problem suddenly rears its ugly head again: he transforms into Gigi, a demented dancing drag queen who spurts out lewdness uncontrollably. The violent disorder his own mother is suffering, or even a possession, Gilbert does not know what is causing Gigi’s emergence, but his own lack of control over his feelings ultimately dooms him. The one act play is set in Gilbert’s pad, and happens in real time with many dance numbers.

‘R&B (Reality and Budots)’ is a short, experimental play, involving the popular musical form – and associated dance style – of Budots, performed not only with the usual mixture of extracts of sounds from pop culture, but also of sounds from gruesome, terrible, and religious sources. First written in English in 2011, it was translated to Davao Filipino and is the only play in the collection whose instructions are in that language.

Of the twelve works to be included, only two works have been published, although I intend to seek venues for the rest. But then again, publishing in the Philippines is struggling overall. We’ll see.

The selections were made in consultation with my thesis adviser, Silliman’s Prof. Philip Van Peel. It’s been fun seeing the good Belgian, who could only speak Cebuano, struggle with – and actually enjoy – reading Tagalog pieces!

Sir Philip’s personal favourite: ‘Cause Play.’ My own favourites: ‘Kuyaw,’ ‘Touch Move,’ and ‘Gigi.’

The works are all available for anybody who wishes to read them. Just send me a request.

Here’s to making Davao Filipino a literary language!


My first Play in Dagmay!

Finally I get a play published in Dagmay!

My one-act play, “Pag-asa ng Drug Pusher sa Davao,” saw print in Dagmay last 14 July.

Dagmay is the literary journal of the Davao Writers Guild, and it appears both as a page on Sunstar Davao every Sunday and. more importantly, in a website. Dagmay is edited by members of the Davao Writers Guild — themselves established writers — and receives submissions from young and established writers alike, mostly from Davao and Mindanao. The website is run by my teacher, Dom Cimafranca.

Sidenote: Sir Dom gave a fascinating presentation on Dagmay for the ICT4PhD Conference in UP Dilliman last September, 2012. I am glad to know that my friend Paul Gumanao and I — both Kidapawanons — are representing our city well in the statistics, although my Davao Filipino poem being shared as a sample puts me at a very bashful position.

I’ve been publishing in the Dagmay since I was 15, when I was still in first year college. My first publication was a story, “The Wall,” which I wrote when I was in 4th Year High School. Sir Dom served as my first editor, and it’s because of him that I have a deep respect for editors. I have published many times in the Dagmay after that (last time I checked, I’m the most published and in the most genres. God how I prostitute my writing!).

But only now have I published a play in it! This is significant for me, not only because I started getting published in Dagmay, but because I began writing as a playwright in the first place, serving to write the scripts for class productions way back since grade 6. These are two of my beginnings converging. While I’ve seen digital publication before (my one-act play “Sa Pagitan Nila May Masisira” appeared in the website “Balay Sugidanun.” managed by Gen Asenjo), this is also the first time I see hard print (in fact I found out about my being published from my grandmother, who follows Dagmay every Sunday in Sunstar Davao. )

The play is in Davao Filipino, with standard Filipino instructions, and is based on a true story I heard second hand from a relative. It got me  a fellowship to the Iligan Writers Workshop in 2012, a fellowship I unfortunately had to turn down since I already accepted one from the Silliman Writers Workshop. But let that not deceive you, the play has so much to improve on, and I might rewrite it for my MA thesis (on that note, do give suggestions to it here if you have any).

The play saw print thanks to Dr. Jondy Arpilleda, himself a prolific fictionist, who served as editor.