Ang big ‘C’ at pelikula sa buhay ni Direk Marilou Diaz-Abaya

ANO nga ba ang difference ng salitang “worship” at “venerate.” Kayo alam ba ninyo ang kaibhan ng dalawang salitang ito in English?

Ito kasi ang naging bone of contention recently sa isang press brief sa Dolphy’s Theater ng ABS-CBN para sa coming movie ni Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya na pinamagatang “Ikaw Ang Pag-ibig” na graded “A” ng Cinema Evaluation Board. Showing na ito ngayon, Sept. 14 nationwide. Check it out. It is a homage to  the Lady of Penafrancia in Bicol in commemoration of the Tercentenary of the Devotion to the said Lady of P.

During the Q & A portion katabi ko ang walking history at theologian or say religionist/ movie reporter  na si Ed De Leon. Bale ka-face-off namin onstage the cast of said movie namely Jomari Yllana, Marvin Agustin, child actor Yogo Singh,  Ina Feleo, at ang mag-aswang Shamaine at Nonie Buencamino.

I hazard a question this way,  “How would you guys reconcile the fact that according to the gospel (kinorek ako ni katotong Veronica Samio na it’s in the Ten Commandments even) one is not supposed to “ worship”  images other than God Himself? Idolatry churva issue, etc. at alam natin ito lahat from whatever religious persuasion you come from.

All of them answered in the typical “Catholic” way that we were brought up __convoluted, beating the bush, and never getting to any logical conclusion. Pati si Ed was so dissatisfied of their answers (excepting Yogo) I had to give the mic to him to help clarify the issue.

Sabi ni Ed to everyone ay hindi raw nagwo-“worship” ang mga Katoliko sa mga imago, icons o images kundi nagve-“venerate” lang daw tayo, meaning as a sign of respect in the direction of pleadings to the icons who are supposed to intercede on our behalf. Well taken ang punto ni Ed among programmed Catholics, but for the Christians and the “born again” fundamentalists I doubt if Ed’s explanation would suffice. Idolatry is idolatry as in Faith is Faith, kuha ‘nyo?

I also shared the fact that according to Ed De Leon ang orihinal na Lady of Penafrancia which was brought from Spain ay nasa Paco, Maynila ngayon at ang nasa-Bicol ay duplicate lamang.

In the same manner na ang orihinal na Mother of Perpetual Help na nasa-Baclaran ngayon ay nasa-Roma, Italya. I should know for in some ways I was an OFW of sort there for about three years on a UNESCO travel grant to direct San Lorenzo Ruiz musical for the Pinoy community in Milan, Rome and Vatican as well  (i-write-in ba ang experience, pasensya na, ha (?) relevant naman, e) at dahil duplicate ang nasa-Baclaran parehong-pareho talaga ito sa orihinal na nasa –Roma.

Kaya everytime nakatanghod ako (“veneration” lang ha, (?) hindi “worship”) sa Baclaran occasionally  on Wednesdays, parang “de ja vu” experience palagi ang feeling ko and I could not help but feel elevated by the icon before me knowing that it looks exactly like the original in Rome. Amen to that. Faith is faith.

Pag-uwi ko tiningnan ko sa Thesaurus sa aking laptop kung ano ang difference ng “worship” at “venerate”. Voila synonymous lang sila as in pareho lang ang ibig sabihin. Kalowkha ‘no? We Catholics are really experts in playing with words, semantics. Whatever, faith is faith whether it is done before an icon or not. That’s it. No debate on that.

Para sa amin naman this movie of Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya is her final shot at spiritual maturity in terms of her craft as total film director. Plus the fact that ang storyline ng “Ikaw Ang Pag-ibig” which is about a cancer patient ay somehow nadadaanan niya sa aktuwal na buhay. She is herself a cancer survivor. She knows how is it to suffer, whereof she shows it in masterful, filmic terms.

The same way with Director Laurice Guillen’s shot at spiritual maturity via her award-winning “Tanging Yaman, ” remember?

Caveat emptor (viewers beware). Ang pelikulang ito ay hindi ganun ka-heavy handed in its religious fervor or dating as you might imagine. Lahat ng rekados ay narito sa pelikulang ito. You will cry, laugh, jump to the miracles of the Lord and feel good, so good I promise you would feel being born again coming out of the movie house.

Plus the fact that the A-actors of the industry led by Laurice Guillen’s daughter Ina Feleo are gathered together in this oeuvre of Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya who returned this time from a self-imposed hiatus, from her journey with the Big C which she was able to conquer. Isn’t that worth watching?


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