Alyana in Tagum City
Tagum City, formerly called “Magugpo,” the time I travelled to the place was very peaceful and quiet. Nothing of the negative image we hear about in Manila. If ever true, they are solitary incidents for sure. My apprehensions regarding the peace and order situation of Mindanao’s “medium-sized” city, if there was any before I went to place was immediately erased as soon as I was fetched from Davao City International Airport on December 5 at around 4pm by Ruth Labargan, Luz Ventura and Rosean Cutad who are all members of the sponsoring groups—the Parents Mobilization Action Group (PMAG)-Tagum City and Precious Gems Academy (PGA). I later met Ralex Garibay, PGA President and Ester Bayawa, their treasurer. Until I left their city on December 7, 2008, I felt so safe and secure. With all of them, the spirit was warm and the aura was good. I easily felt so much at home in Tagum. “Kuyawa! [Hanep!]” I would say! I stayed in a fairly new and cozy hotel called the Golden Palace occupying Rm. 205.
(With PMAG-PGA Officers and Members)
The following day, in the morning of December 6 while awaiting for the showing of Alyana at 4 pm, Rosean with Bea, her child with autism, and her yaya toured me to PGA, their school which is located at Delfina Subdivision, also to Christ the King Cathedral and to e-Park. It was Rosean who told me that she needed a blanket not a handkerchief the first time she saw Alyana at the Venue in Davao City.
(In front of Precious Gems Academy: L to R – Rosean, her daughter Bea, a child with autism, MM in green, Headteacher Unique and her mother Teacher Emma)
In the afternoon, approximately 500 people watched Alyana in CAP Auditorium located at the National Highway.
Parents, not only of persons with autism, members of PMAG and PAG, students and some professors from different colleges and universities, among them from University of Mindanao, etc. stayed for the open forum.
After the film showing, here are some of the reactions that I got from the viewers:
Informative! We really learned a lot… – PMAG President Norma Lumain, mother of a person with autism
It was so touching…I cried… I hope the people who watched it were also touched and I hope there will be more films coming up for the public to know there is a need to understand special children. – Mrs. Sharon Garibay, PMAG & PGA Officer
Alyana is indeed a very fantastic film. It makes me realize the beauty of life…that as parent, to love Jason [her son]…– Aida Septimo, Letran-Davao high school teacher with a child suspected to have cerebral palsy
You [Alyana] made me cry twice! – Rosean Cutad, high-spirited Mom of Bea, child with autism
We appreciate very much your movie. We learned so many things… – PMAG Member, Friend of Ms. Lumain
Very informative. Talagang maganda! Awesome…magnificent! 100% maganda! – Unique Sajol, Head teacher, PAG
My travel to Davao has been full of notable coincidences: the first being that of meeting last year—when Alyana was first shown—the first speech therapist of Alyana, Teacher Dav Quilantang. She was then still a student at UP Manila. Teacher Dav was the one who referred Ralex Garibay of PGA and PMAG-Tagum City to me and the one who encouraged them to show Alyana in Tagum City.
Then, last December 5, 2008 on my way to Tagum via Davao City from Manila, my plane “seatmate” was the Visayas-Mindanao Area Manager of Torrent Pharma Phils, Ms. Donabel Jervoso. She knows Dr. Bernie Chua Macrohon, the pedia-neurologist in Zamboanga City who is in my line-up of interviewees for my CP docu. She told me that she is going to meet Dr. Bernie next week. On December 7 before my flight back to Manila, the sisters Ester Bayawa and Ruth, both PMAG members dropped me at Rizal Sped Learning Center in P. Tavera Street to meet Jane Gonzales, super mom of a person with autism and also a PMAG member-Davao chapter. They met for the first time. Jane introduced me to the school’s principal-owner Mrs. Gauce who has a Deaf son. She is interested to screen my “Silent Odyssey.”
Finally, in the plane on the way back to Manila, the elementary teacher of Raphy Domingo [Deaf] and CJ Patriarca [Deaf] Ms. Karing Paglinawan sat near me. Both Raphy and CJ, her former students at Quirino High School are in my film. I initiated the chat as I heard them mentioning about autism and especially so, when I noticed that she was using some Deaf signs to her companion. She said they attended a special teacher’s congress in Davao City. Also a member of Autism Society Philippines, she introduced me to their Superintendent who seemed to have heard of Silent Odyssey before. They got interested to show the film in Quezon City and will look for a venue they say.
You meet a person for a reason. My instinct tells me that I shall be meeting all these people again in the future for some reason or another. Only God knows anyway. But as I have always believed, He is my Planner. He paves the way for me to meet more and more good and inspiring people. The more I go around, the more I see the need for films like Alyana and Silent Odyssey. The more it strengthens my conviction to make films on special people.