#apagspoetry

Eulogy for Ate Lora

By | apagspoetry, apagstheater | 5 Comments
Today is the one month death anniversary of my sister. To be honest, it has been very hard. And it has been harder to be okay, especially when I have to pretend to not be affected. I know a lot of people have been concerned, and I’m very thankful for that. But I also don’t want people to worry too much. I don’t want people to be sad when they see me or talk to me, so I try to stay as cheerful as can be. I am trying to be ok.
But honestly, there are days when it feels harder to sleep, and there’s nothing else to get your mind off things.
So tonight, let me share with you my Eulogy for my sister last June 26, 2015. I have edited this for easier reading. As you read this, please remember my sister. How happy she was. How much she meant to all of us.
me and ate hs grad
ATE LORA – June 23, 2015
(a Eulogy by Paolo Apagalang)
Good evening po sa inyong lahat.
Ako po ang baby brother ng napakagandang babae sa picture na ito.
Hindi katulad ng nga naunang magsalita, ako naman po ay sanay sa ganitong pagsasalita in public. In fact, medyo magaling po akong magsalita sa ganito bilang teacher ako at isang theater actor. Pero sa totoo lang, hindi madali itong gagawin ko ngayon.
Paano ko pagkakasiyahin ang buhay ng ate ko sa loob ng iilang minuto? Medyo imposible. Kumbaga yung buhay ni ate, sobrang siksik. At napakaraming bahagi nito ang nasaksihan ko.
Lahat kayo kilala niyo siguro si ate sa isang part ng buhay niya: kapamilya, kaibigan, katrabaho, ka-church, kasabay kumain etc; pero para sa akin, nakilala ko ang ate ko by default. Hindi kagaya ng karamihan sa inyo na pinili maging friend ng ate ko, ako, ika nga nila “wala na akong no choice”. Walang part sa buhay ko na wala siya. Except ngayon malamang.
Maiintindihan siguro ang pinagdadaanan ko ng lahat sa inyo na may kapatid. Yung kapatid na iyon older man o younger — hindi niyo maipagkakaila — na hindi talaga kayo lagi magkakasundo. Ganoon talaga eh. Hindi pwede. Kahit sa mga simpleng bagay tulad ng hatian ng cake, o distribution ng pamasko. Siyempre mas matanda si ate, so mas malaki ang binibigay sa kanyang pera noon. Sa akin 20 lang, sa kanya 50 na. Siyempre maiinggit ako. May nalulugi talaga. Off-balance kumbaga.
At minsan pag napapagalitan si ate, pati ako napapagalitan kahit wala akong ginagawa. Ganoon din naman, pag pinagalitan ako, siya din mapapagalitan sasabihin pa nga sa kanya, “hindi mo binantayan ang kapatid mo”. Kaya hindi pwedeng magkasundo kayo lagi. Eventually, pag pareho na kayong matanda, magkakasundo na kayo. Pag pareho na kayong adult at nag-mature na kayo.
Pero hindi kami nag-mature. Na ok lang naman. Minsan, sa mga pagka-immature namin ay may mga memories kaming nabubuo na sobrang nakakatawa.
The other night, binabasa ko ang mga text messages namin. Sure merong mga lambing-lambing-sweet-sweet-cheesy-cheesy, pero maraming away-away. Ganoon eh.
Pero kahit gaano karaming away-away, close pa rin kami. Isipin niyo, lahat ng mga taong pinaka-kayang niyong awayin, malamang, yun ang mga taong pinaka-close niyo. Di ba? Mga best friend, boyfriend, girfriend, kabiyak, asawa — ito ang mga tao na hindi tayo nag-sesecond guess o nagdadalawang-isip kung hindi tayo sang-ayon sa kanila. Ok lang sa atin na awayin sila. Kami ni ate, forced kaming magbati. Kailangan kaming hindi magkasundo, pero kailangan din kaming magbati agad. Ang ironic noh? Isipin niyo nag-away kami habang nakasakay sa likod ng kotse. Bago kami dumating sa pupuntahan namin, bati na kami. Haha.
Noong magkatumor si ate, ako ang isa sa mga taong hindi nag worry. Iniisip ko, “ok lang yan. Lets worry about it after your checkup.” Iniisip ko, “bata pa si ate, hindi siya umiinom at nagyoyosi.” Ang tanging bisyo namin ay maging mean. Pinag-uusapan namin kung sino mga artista yung panget, walang talent, masama ang ugali. Magaling kaming manlait. Tapos tatawa kami. Iyon lang naman ang isa sa mga trip namin sa buhay.
And then lumala yung sakit ni ate. Honestly, hindi ako masiyadong nagpupunta noon sa hospital for 3 reasons:
1. Nalulungkot ako – feeling ko powerless ako. Hindi naman ako crucial sa paggawa ng mga medical decisions, dahil mas parents ko iyong gumagawa noon at si Laurence (asawa ng ate ko).
2. Babawi nalang ako – iniisip ko na babawi nalang ako pag nakauwi ka na sa bahay ate. Na manlalait uli tayo. Na magkakakain tayo ulit. At pag nasa bahay, aalagaan kita ng wagas.
3. At higit sa lahat, hindi ko talaga matanggap – Iniisip ko noon, na sa tuwing pumupunta ako sa ospital, tinatanggap ko na may sakit ka. Na hindi ko magawa. Kahit ngayong wala ka, hindi ko pa rin matanggap. Napahirap ate.
Hindi ko talaga matanggap eh. Hanggang ngayon umaasa pa rin ako na gigising ako mula sa panaginip na ito at nasa bahay lang ako at pagkagising ko ay mag-uusap tayo. na magkwe-kwentuhan tayo ng mga buhay natin. Pero hindi. Ano ba itong nangyari? Bakit ganito? Bakit napakabilis ng lahat ng mga pangyayaring ito?
Kapag may nangyari na hindi dapat mangyari, kina classify natin sila into two things: chamba at malas. Chamba pag maganda, malas pag pangit. Pero ibig sabihin noon, may mga pwersa na beyond our control. Sa totoo lang, hindi ko maintindihan. Hindi ko maunawaan.
Hindi dapat nangyari to eh. Walang bisyo si ate, may anak siya, and a whole life ahead of her.
Ang nararamdaman ko talaga sa puntong ito ay nadaya kami. Kung anuman yung mga pwersang nagpapaikot ng mundo, nadaya kami. Kung sino man ang naglalagay ng mga baraha ng buhay sa palad namin ay dinaya kami. Ang daya na wala ka na sa mga bagay sa buhay ko. Sa buhay namin.
Wala ka sa kasal ko, pero nandun ako sa kasal mo. Nag drive pa ako para sa mg bisita. Ang daya.
Pag ako nagkaanak, hindi ka peperwesiyuhin. Hindi mo so-spoil. Hindi ka niya makakasama in the same way na kasama ko si Mirka. Ang daya.
Ang daya talaga.
Madaming mga gabi na nag-ddrive ako pauwi tapos umiiyak lang ako. Nag ro-rosary ako pag traffic.  Umiiyak ako kasi tingin ko nadaya talaga kami eh. Ilang gabi kong hinihiling sabi ko kay Lord, “sana ako nalang”. Kung hindi mo kayang pagalingin si ate, ako nalang ang kunin mo. Kung may nakalaang himala para sa bawat isang tao, yung akin, kukunin ko na, mabuhay lang yung ate ko. Kahit wala na akong ibang makuha pa sa buhay ko.
Sa dami ng kalokohan ko sa buhay, mas deserve ng ate kong mabuhay kaysa sa akin. And to think pa, ang daming walang hiya sa mundo. Araw-araw kaya kong magturo sa’yo ng tao sa diyaryo — na walang hiya na mas less deserving mabuhay sa ate ko siguro. Dapat buhay pa yung ate ko eh. Hindi nga para sa akin, pero para sa pamilya niya at anak. Sa totoo lang, natatakot ako para kay Mirka. Alam ng Diyos, kung gaano ako katakot para sa magiging buhay ni Mirka. Kami ni ate, lumaki kaming pareho na kasama namin ang parents namin. At hindi lang kasama ng parents, lumaki kaming naaalagaan, namamahal, at kung anu-ano pa.
Hindi ko maimagine ang buhay na walang nanay. Kaya ang taas ng respeto ko sa mga taong nabuhay ng walang nanay o tatay o magulang. Nabawasan si Mirka ng nanay. Ang daya. Malas.
Madalas pinag-uusapan sa ganitong sitwasyon kung gaano kasakit maglibing ng anak para sa magulang. Pero ang hindi masiyadong pinag uusapan eh yung kapatid na maglilibing sa ate. Ang sakit guys.
Sabi nila, “ang sugat pag handa kang tanggapin, hindi masakit, yung mga biglaan lang ang masakit.” Biglaan itong nangyaring ito. Sabihin na nating oo, two months nga rin siguro kaming na prepare dahil two months and coma ni ate, pero biglaan pa rin. At kahit alam kong may darating na sugat,  sa tingin ko, walang preparasyon ang magagawa ko para tanggapin ito ng maluwag. Ang sakit talaga.
Pero siguro kailangan ko ngang tanggapin. Hindi man today, kailangan balang araw magawa ko.
Isang bagay na pinagsisisihan ko ate is I never wrote you a poem. I always thought you’d be around.
So I wrote you this short one. This wont be the last.
ATE
Minamahal kong kapatid
Pisi man ng buhay mo’y biglang napatid,
Sana’y iyong nababatid
Na minamahal ka ng lahat ng tao sa iyong paligid.
Siguro tatapusin ko ito by saying some memories with my ate.
Ilang beses na naming napag-usapan ng mga friends ko, na pag magbaon ka ng ate sa suntukan, sure panalo ka. Pag kuya yung dalhin mo, may pag-asang matalo ka eh. Pero pag ate mo yung dinala mo, walang kayang gumalaw sa iyo. Buti never ko naman inabala yung ate ko na samahan ako sa suntukan. Pero from this point on, sa tingin ko, dahil alam kong katabi lang kita ate, kahit anong away, hindi ako matatakot matalo.
Maraming araw kaming nagbonding sa harapan ng TV. May time na kumanta lang kami bigla ng “Beat it” ni Michael Jackson. May araw na pareho kaming umiyak habang nanonood ng “A walk to Remember”. Maraming araw na umuwi ako ng early morning at nakatulog sa kama niya habang nanonood ng “The Soup”. Maraming Sunday kaming gumising ng maaga para magpaligo ng aso. Maraming hapon ang sinayang namin kakaisip ng kung saan mag-oorder, at kung anong oorderin, at mag-eendup na hindi kami oorder. Hindi maubos ang mga alaala.
Pero ang mga memories na ito ay hindi kayang i-summarize ang buhay ng ate ko.
Kung may isang bagay o quality na pwede kong gamitin para isummarize ang buhay ni ate, is that she was never afraid to matter. Hindi siya takot maging mahalaga sa buhay mo.
Anong ibig sabihin noon?
Ang daming taong natatakot maging mahalaga sa buhay ng ibang tao. Takot silang purihin ang ibang tao, kasi baka isipin mahina sila. Takot silang sumunod sa mga ibang tao, kasi takot silang abusuhin sila. Takot silang maging close sa ibang tao dahil takot silang masaktan. Yung iba, takot magsalita nang masakit sa ibang tao dahil baka iwanan sila.
Ang ate ko hindi ganoon. Makatotohanan siya. Kung may maganda kang gawin, asahan mong magiging proud siya sa iyo. Pag may gawin kang tama, magiging masaya siya para sa iyo.
Kung may mali kang gawin, hindi siya takot na maging diretsahan sa iyo. Hindi siya takot na awayin ka, o pagsabihan ka. Hindi naman siya perfect, pero honest siya. Kasi kung mahalaga ang mga tao sa iyo, at gusto mong maging mahalaga sa kanila, ang tanging sandata mo ay honesty.
Kaya kung may mga taong mahalaga sa buhay ninyo ngayon, wag kayong matakot na maging mahalaga sa kanila. Wag kayong matakot na i-encourage sila, at mas lalong wag kayong matakot pulisin sila pag may mali silang ginagawa.
Mas masama ang pinalampas mo lang ang isang tao sa buhay mo, pero ang totoo, ay napakahalaga pala nila. Don’t be afraid to matter. Don’t be afraid to be important. Yan ang buhay ng ate ko. Sana kaya nating siyang gawing ehemplo.
Alam ko, miss na miss niyo na siya. Ako rin. Miss na miss ko na siya.
Pero sana, lagi natin siyang ilagay sa ating mga alaala.
Mahal ka namin Ate Lora, we love you very much.
Your Baby Brother/ Tito Pao.

NEAR YET FAR, FAR YET NEAR

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Cover image

Cover image

 

(this is a part of my Director’s notes for DITO:Bahay ng Sining’s upcoming play, directed by me)

NEAR YET FAR, FAR YET NEAR – SILENCE REFLECTIONS

Director’s Notes

 

It’s been a while since I’ve written Director’s notes. So I’m not exactly sure how to do this. But here goes. Funny guy naman ako eh, so I think ok lang yan.

 

UNA sa lahat, thank you audience member, dahil nanood ka (or kung excited kang bumili nitong souvenir program na ito at intermission palang, na nanonood ka) ng palabas namin. Kung binabasa mo ito sa blog ko, salamat na baka manonood ka ng play namin. Kung friend kita or nakaka inuman regularly, i-eexpect kita sa mga show namin ha? Kung hindi kita kilala, i eexpect ko na maging friend or kainuman kita sa mga show namin ha? Or after the shows.

 

SECONDLY, you might be asking kung bakit “Near Yet Far, Far Yet Near” Ang title ng production. Nung nabuo namin ang materials nito (Hi Yaps Estagle my fellow writer), it wasn’t exactly easy to come up with a theme. Ok, sige given na, love plays ang mga ito. Pero, ang dami daming pwedeng sabihin about love, anong masayang pag-usapan? So after some thought, we figured out na one aspect of love na interesting gawin at i-intertwine sa plays ay ang concept ng SILENCE.

 

Sa panahon ngayon, usong uso, or prevalent ang self censorship. Marami tayong gustong sabihin pero ang daming factors na pumipigil sa ating gawin iyon. Pag may sabihin tayo or gawin na hindi kaaya aya, lalabas na agad sa facebook yan or twitter o kung ano mang social media mo. Ako din mismo guilty dito. Ayan tuloy nagpapaka overly safe tayo. At pag lumabas sa social media yun, nag susuffer ang identity natin. Na iinsecure tayo, natatakot. Yung older generations, mas bad-ass kaysa sa mga tao ngayon palagay ko. Just imagine, pag nanliligaw sila dati, or nakikipag landian, diretsahan. Ngayon, may mga concept ng “thing lang yan”, or “happy crush”, “sawi”. Dati walang ganun. Or baka meron pero hindi masiyadong napapansin, or hindi masiyadong nababalita. Pag may trip ka, attack. Eh ngayon? Kailangan stalk mo muna sa facebook or twitter, tapos pag match ang mga like pages niyo, or pag marami kayong mutual friends, or pag pareho kayong naglalaro ng COC, etc, doon ka palang mag-iisip na mag go. At pag mag fail, rekta na mag rarant ka sa facebook, or mag popost ng mga cryptic song lyrics to complain about why the world isn’t fair blah blah blah. The older generations? Bad-ass. Wala silang paki sa judgments ng mga tao. Malamang, nung time nila konting tao lang ang nakaka judge sa kanila. Pero sa panahon ngayon, mas na jujudge tayo on a wider scale. And sadly, at the end of the day, when we are unable to express a lot of who we truly are, slowly, little parts of us disappear or die. And a lot of people nowadays find it so harder to cope with heartache. Naturally may mga mag didisagree sa akin sa mga previous statements ko. Tama lang, may mga exceptions naman to my observations. Pero isipin niyo. Ang dami talagang whiny biatches today. Tapos false courage lang ang meron.

 

The plays talk about 2 kinds of silences. One Rainy Evening in April talks about not saying anything, despite having so many things to say. 10 Questions naman talks about saying so many things, but not saying what we truly want to say. Misdirection kumbaga.

 

So ayun, SILENCE makes us feel either near yet far or far yet near to certain people depending on the way you look at it.

 

Feel free to view the following pictures taken by Christine Chung:

Jerome Actor

Jerome Actor

Tarek Actor

Tarek Actor

Trency Actress

Trency Actress

Guelan Actor

Guelan Actor

That time when I got to see Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay perform

By | apagspoetry, poetees | No Comments

March 2, 2015

Irwin Theater, Ateneo de Manila University

 

It was a wonderful day. The weather was just right as night began to fall in Ateneo. I had been looking forward to this day for a couple of weeks now. Finally, I would get to see Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay performing live on stage. Many people might not know how big a fan I am of Spoken Word poetry. It’s one of those hobbies that I really don’t get to share around until recently. I mean, I dunno, I don’t exactly know who’s gonna get it or who would even relate to it. But I’m glad to discover that a lot of people are actually into it. One of my closest friends, Edzon Rapisora calls it “high art” jokingly. I think it is high art too, but for a different reason. While Edzon thinks Spoken Word poetry might be high in the sense that it is not easily reachable, I’d like to think of it as art that makes you high. Like a drug. High Drugs. High pare. High.

 

Anyway, the Irwin began to fill up pretty quickly. At 530, the line was only at the side of the theater, at 545, it was reaching all the way to the back, at 6pm i think it was already stretching all the way into marikina. Prolly at around 615 it was pretty close to the depths of hell. (It sucks to be in line late!) It was nice to see a bunch of familiar faces and more importantly, fellow fans of poetry. And this sort of thing is not as rowdy as a rock concert. But make no mistake, these poets are modern rockstars in their own right. And in a field of their own. Actually, they’re more than rockstars. They’re stars that guide people into navigating in and out of their thoughts, their innermost feelings. I know this for a fact because poetry does that for me. It helps me verbalize certain feelings, and helps me figure out how to deal with them.

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The not so long line outside the Irwin theater

While we were waiting in line, a camera crew came up to me and interviewed me. I was wearing a #poetees shirt and they thought it would look nice on camera. I obliged. I suck at these interviews. I don’t think they’ll be able to use my cheesy answers. But it was a good experience. I tried my best knowing that Phil and Sarah would see these responses. I was pretty damn nervous. But what the heck.

 

620pm. Phil Kaye walks out and greets people at the line. This group of girls in front of me was making tili. I immediately whisper to my friend Guelan: (translated) “That’s what I want. If i become a poet, I hope when I walk by, pretty girls will be kilig at my presence.” We laugh at the idea. Of course, poetry is about making people feel. What a nice fantasy it was at that point to actually make people feel kilig. Phil had this different aura to him. Like he was this quiet guy. The kind of guy who would be a class officer, or the type of guy you’d hang out with to play board games. He seemed like a pretty relaxed guy. He was handling the intense female attention very well. He was cool.

 

630pm and the line starts moving. But stops again outside the theater. All of a sudden a casual Sarah Kay runs out the doors and starts high fiving people from the line. She grazed my hand. First thought to myself: “MAN SHE IS TALL. IN HER YOUTUBE VIDS SHE DIDN’T SEEM TOO TALL.” Youtube you have deceived me once more. Second thought was “OMG ITS SARAH KAY DONT BREAK DOWN. DONT LOOK AT HER. SHE WILL KNOW YOU LOVE HER. BREATHE JUST BREATHE. OMG SHE’S COMING CLOSER. SHE TOUCHED MY HAND. SHE LOVES ME. THIS IS DESTINY. WAHHHHH”. I though I handled it pretty well. I was cool.

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Sarah high fiving people

Finally at around 715 we get to set down. It would almost be a full hour before the show started. Obviously. 1100 people won’t walk and sit down inside the theater in a flash. I’m used to sitting down and waiting for theater shows to begin. But something was different today. There was no house music (only ads and acknowledgements), there was no present lights, no elaborate or minimalist set. These usually give me an idea of something to look forward to during the show. Or at least it keeps me entertained until the lights dim and the play begins. But nothing but an empty stage with a curtain and a spotlight. I knew some of their poems, but other than that, I did not know what to expect.  So I sat, and waited quietly. Then I fidgeted. Then I took a selfie with my friends. Then I felt tired so I took a 10 minute nap. Then I woke up feeling fresh and excited.

 

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 With friends from L-R: Guelan, Inna, Chungy

But the wait was worth it. As the two poets came out, I felt my heart jump into overdrive. I was determined not to take a video of any of the poems. I wanted to savor every moment I would get to see these poets live. It’s so sad seeing some of the audience members watching these two poets from the live view of their camera phone. I took a few photos to remember the experience, but I don’t think those can ever make me relive those moments where I cried. When I laughed. (Phil is super funny, I think he has this Vic Sotto-esque quality about him — the quirky, awkward thin guy who all the ladies fancy despite that). I listened and clapped after every poem. I tried very hard not to cry, but these poems were just so moving. Sometimes, I’d get lost because they’d go with a fast delivery, but I find myself being able to catch up at one point. I held my breath with each painful heartstring that was pulled. I was watching them, but a bazillion images would be playing in my head. Images from their poems. And then every now and then I’d hear an amazing rhyme, and I’d point to them and softly say” “you ha, that was brilliant!”. I hung on to every word, and tried to grasp every metaphor. And before I knew it it was almost 2 hours. Not once did I think of going to the bathroom, or if there would be an intermission, or if there was something else I had to do at work. I was there with Phil and Sarah swimming in their souls and bathing in their feelings. I cried several times I must admit. I hate crying in public, it’s so out of character for me being a big burly guy who is super kaduper funny. (at least I think I’m funnier than most people I know.). The poets end with “When Love Arrives”. Aptly enough, the last line of that poem is “Thank you for stopping by.” And that was how i felt. I was just so thankful to see them. Thank you for Stopping by Phil and Sarah.

 

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After the show, I made a few friends outside while standing in line for merchandise and autographs and pictures. THEN I FINALLY MET THEM. I TALKED TO THEM. SHOOK THEIR HANDS. I could not take an #apagsawesomeselfies, but they have an official photographer and they’ll post the pictures online daw. So I’m excited for that. Also, sadly, Sarah’s book didn’t make it past Philippine Customs. WHICH TOTALLY SUCKS. So the volunteers will mail the books to people who purchased them. I’m even more excited for that!

 

A message to you Philippine Customs: FIX YOURSELVES!!!!

 

And with that I end this short retelling of yesterday. I’m gonna have a #poetees give away contest, so you’d better watch out for that. Again, thanks Phil and Sarah!