We had missed the original screenings of di- rector Maryo de los Reyes entry to the 2013 Film De- velopment Coun- cil of the Philip- pines’ (FDCP) Sineng Pambansa All Masters’ Edi- tion titled Bamboo Flowers. So when direk Maryo in- vited us to watch his film, we quickly said yes.
But what we got at SM Cinema 4, was not the usual press people milling around the handful of stars, but dozens of families with children conversing in a language we didn’t understand. Soon, it became appar- ent that they were Boholanos who had come in support of Oplan Ban- gon Bohol (OBB), the brainchild of the Association of Young Boholano Professionals in Metro Manila, with chapters in Cebu, Bohol and Davao. The magnitude of the earthquake of Oct. 15 that had toppled buildings and historical churches and taken hundreds of lives had brought these Boholanos together.
As they took to the stage, these young professionals confessed to have been amiss in visiting their province, and now had taken office leave to answer the call of suffer- ing province mates. When the turn of direk Maryo came, he, too, related to having neglected his homeland until he won the production grant from FDCP that designated shooting in their hometowns a requirement. Direk Maryo has offered the film to OBB as part of his contribution to the fundraising.
Bamboo Flowers is a virtual tribute to the islands before the earthquake. It will forever serve as a visual re- cord of each trip taken on the boat used by tourists along the Abatan River in Antequera, along the edge of forests with various vegetations along the way.
The main story of Berta (Irma Adlawan), her sick father Andong (Spanky Manican) and her son Omel (Ruru Madrid), who were living sim- ple lives now, brings with it a stron- ger meaning. Berta clings to father and her son, afraid of losing them both and being left alone. But what about the real Bertas, Omels and Ta- tay Andongs in the true story of An- tequera? Have they lost their lives to the rampaging waves brought about by the massive 7.2 magnitude earth- quake that shook their homeland?
In the coastal town of Anda, San- dra (Mylene Dizon) brings back a teenage son Eric (Hugo Singh) who goes through an adjustment from city life to provincial life. He has to learn to manage an anger the calm sea waters along the beach helps in tempering.
The last story is set in the beautiful island resort of Panglao, Bohol. But Luis (Orlando Sol) does not see the beauty of his surround- ings. He harbors a twisted dream of going abroad. This affects girl- friend Dolores (Max Collins), sister Lumen (Diva Montelaba) and everyone in the household. Dolores consid- ers accepting an offer of marriage from a foreigner (Paul Holme).
A brother of- fers to sell the farm property they have tilled for years just to make him reach his dream. In the end, Luis comes to his senses.
Each story comes more alive today because they no longer exist. The Bo- holanos who watched Bamboo Flowers wept all throughout the movie, recalling those who had perished.
What impress- es us most about the OBB project, however, is that these Bohola- nos didn’t go to government, the Red Cross, inter- national institu- tions for help. They did it all on their own, with an organizational savvy that stuns and captivates. The presskit we were handed was detailed and professionally done. It contains the number of barangay ser- viced, number of towns, number of hygiene kits distributed, how many food packs and what these included. By town and date, we know that on Oct. 24, for example, a total of 1,058 packs were distributed to eight towns, broken down to 108 packs to Brgy. Babasacan in Sagbayan town; 77 to Lib- ertad Norte, etc. etc; On Oct. 26, 84 packs went to Brgy. Katipunan in Clarin town.
Not only that. The partners and donors they had sought out, again on their own, were similarly listed. UERM College of Medi- cine as medical mission partner, IBM HRT Team as partner for Story Telling and Art Session for evacuees at the Jose Fabella Center in Manda- luyong City and so on. Clearly, everyone knew where every service, donation, food, psychologi- cal session and medicine was going.
Thank you director Maryo J. You have opened up the eyes of many people. Not only did they enjoy watching a movie, they also learned how it was to help one an- other.
(E-mail your reactions to bibsyfotos@ yahoo.com or call 0917-8991835.)