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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

Godot^5: The week after

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So it’s been a week since my latest theater endeavor ended. If I haven’t told you, I was part of the recently concluded production of Tanghalang Ateneo called Godot5. Basically it was 5 ruminations of the classic Beckett piece, “en attendant Godot”, or more popularly known (to most of us at least) as “Waiting for Godot”. I’ve already posted a bunch of cheesy things previously about how much difficult yet fulfilling working in this production was. To say that this play was life changing was an understatement.

One week. And I’m missing the play. Terribly.

So I sat down and reflected about what I miss most about the play. This won’t be a long post, but I’ve had some several thoughts which I think might apply to a bunch of us with regard to waiting for someone or in terms of missing something.

Of course, first and foremost I miss the people. I miss being around people who are just so passionate about what they do. I miss laughing and making jokes with everyone. Despite doing so many different things, and stressing out over rehearsals and the time that we had left till opening night (especially those people who were still memorizing days before opening – like me), we still came together and was able to share a lot of happy moments. I especially miss my co-actors in my set, who were all so endearing (yes, even you sungit Xander). I miss playing around yet still ending up doing something so serious.

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I miss the godot set. That small piece of road with a platform and a tree. That was home. That was the place where we created, collaborated, and moved people.

But what I really miss was that sense of certainty. I have mentioned this to some select friends, but I wanted to share this reflection. Being part of godot gave me a sense of certainty with who I was, what I was doing, how I was thinking.

In our lives, we become part of things, we do things, but sometimes we aren’t really sure if what we’re doing is something that we’re SUPPOSED to be doing. We tend to ask ourselves questions like “should I be doing this? what the hell was I thinking? how much longer do I have to do/endure this?”. We get frustrated, we get tired, and we feel like we jumped into things a little too quickly. Like for the students, we commit to being a beadle, but then sometime during the sem, we get annoyed at having to do beadle tasks because they can be time consuming and unfulfilling. Same thing for some orgs. More so outside of school. We apply for and accept jobs that initially feel like they will change us, and make us better people. Then comes the time where we question said jobs because we feel like it no longer makes us grow. Some people leave, some people endure, some people disregard these questions. Sometimes, we may not exactly understand how the world works, but we still try our best to live everyday.

But that wasn’t the case for Godot^5. Everyday that I have to go to the theater, from around 5pm, until the time I leave at around 10pm, I knew I was exactly where I wanted to be, doing what exactly I was supposed to be doing, thinking and doing it in the way I was supposed to be thinking and doing it. That no one else in the world at that moment, despite who they are, can do exactly what I was doing for my set. I don’t care if they’re more good looking, more talented, more blah blah blah than me. Only I could do it, and it was a task that I had to do. Sort of like Frodo being the one who brings the one ring to Mordor. No one else could do it. And that is something that gives a person fulfillment. Knowing that they are doing something that is worth something. That was the sense of certainty. And I’m so thankful to everyone who believed in us to do this task. And I hope that what we did was enough to give justice to the solid material and to engage the audience that took time and spent money to watch the play. And I’m so blessed and grateful for just even being given the chance to feel that sense of certainty, that sense of fulfillment. And add to that, sharing it with people I knew were doing the same thing. It was all so inspiring.

A good friend of mine, Kenny Lirios, once said (I think this quote is from the wise Gandalf, I mean Mr. Pagsi):

“There are only three things that man needs to be happy: A job to do, a person to love, and a tomorrow.”

We should all find that job to do that makes us fulfilled (or at least trick ourselves long enough to endure it for us to find its fulfillment). A person to love (even if it isn’t the cheesy romantic kind of love). It could be just loving your family, your close friends, or even just ourselves for that matter! And to bring those to the tomorrow. Where so much magic happens.

So I guess now that the play is over I have to look for that again. I’m pretty sure that it isn’t so hard to find. Some people think it is. But it really shouldn’t be. So long as you use your heart as a compass, and your passions as a map. Looking forward to that tomorrow!

 

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