Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Miracles Begin

On the eve of the beginning of the campaign period, I receive a text message from a friend from high school asking if I wanted to guest in a TV morning show. Telling her that we had no advertising budget she assures me that she worked at NBN, a government station that broadcast throughout the Philippines and was fed via cable to the US, Australia, Middle East and Europe.

So at 7:30 am, when the major roads of Metro Manila were suddenly studded with promotional campaign materials from the well-financed candidates, I found myself in the studio where 33 years earlier I had worked in an educational tv show for kids. It was still the NMPC then (National Media Production Center) and the show was "Ano 'Yon?". Our director was Gil Portes, writer Tony Perez, talents included Laurice Guillen, Leo Rialp. The show went on for about a year and through this little adventure, I managed to play a tiny role as the young Jay Ilagan in Lino Brocka's "Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa" a trilogy that was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. So much for my acting career then lest I be accused of "celebrity politics".

My friend Veronica Baluyut-Jimenez whom I had not seen in 25 years was so warm and kind and put me to ease. All those years I spent becoming a doctor, she spent becoming an accomplished TV personality. She was purely professional and I was glad for her success. The interview went well according to my mother who ordered everyone in the house to watch the 10 minute spot.

Next I made further inquiries regarding election leaflets and cards because I wanted to start visiting marketplaces and leave everyone I encountered with a card bearing my name and the names of the other candidates. If this miracle does happen, remember always that I began by writing down those names by hand and walking to a fruit stand and asked for votes. Can't have a humbler start than that.

The Inquirer was gracious enough to give us an interview in the afternoon. All 4 candidates were present and we spent time discussing issues, the most pressing of which was the lack of traditional campaign tools (guns, goons, gold) that the perceptive reporter quickly picked up.

I went to bed early. Here I was, tired and deeply involved in a national election with meager resources but relying on the prayers of many for a miracle.....I just might enjoy this.

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