TUM TUM – Savant Person with Autism Gave Final Nod to Score Music of Project Mabini

May 7, 2015

Day before yesterday, I met TumTum Mendoza and his Mom Belina in Quezon City. TumTum is a person with autism [PWA] gifted with musical genius. He is a savant PWA. TumTum, when asked by Mom Belina if he can, and really wants to take up the challenge of doing the film scoring work for the docu on Mabini replied “Yes!”

TumTum Watches Rizal

TumTum Intently Watches My Docu on Rizal Scored by His Art Studies Teacher Roselle Pineda and JM Diego

He has no background in film music scoring. That I know. And that alone makes me as excited as his mother. The risk is there…but I am very much willing to take the risk of giving him the opportunity to do the job. Afterall, that is part of my personal advocacy: to let the world know through my films what these people, or PWDs can do. We will never know what TumTum can do beyond just the masterful playing of the marimba if opportunities are not given to him, and others in the sector. In this project, he will have freedom to explore on the use of several instruments to create the music he deems appropriate for the scenes and graphic elements used.


I last saw TumTum in 2011 when he performed during the celebrations of World Autism Day

Diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 1/2, TumTum played the marimba at the age of 5. At the age of 8, he was presented as a gifted child prodigy by the University of the Philippines through its President’s Committee on Culture and the Arts. International artist at an early age of 11, he was a Rosemary Kennedy International Young Soloist Awardee in 2001, and was invited to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the UP Conservatory of Music major in percussion. Snippets of his performance when he was six years old are in my docu on autism ALYANA.

This is TumTum’s first time to film score; but there are many other first-timers in Project Mabini as I’ve earlier written in my blog posts: Abner Manlapaz, a person who like Mabini was paralyzed due to Guillain-Barre Syndrome based on the latest research findings on the cause of Mabini’s paralysis, some of the Deaf play performers who interpreted Mabini’s Decalogo, and the narrator Cris Lorenzana, an inspirational speaker with radio program at DZXL.

The docus [now in the making] about our hero Mabini, an icon to persons with disability show a person who performed excellently despite his disability. I believe it is but proper to include PWDs in the making of The Sublime Paralytic [English] / Pule: Utak ng Rebolusyon [Filipino] to also show their abilities — THISability not DISability should shine.


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