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Monday, April 2, 2012

Niñal: How I’ll spend Holy Week with Judy Ann

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

HOLY Week is that time of the year when you are forced to regret all the money you spent on beer while you are drinking beer at the same time. What I mean is that the week that’s supposed to be holy is also a week off from work. And what’s vacation without beer?
But my indecision about how I must spend the week does not stop me from spending it in the holiest way I know, such as listening to homilies and Lenten reflections on my transistor radio first thing in the morning while I’m still too hung over to get up from bed.
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I’m fine with this arrangement, and I don’t think God has a problem with that, too. If there’s any reason this arrangement doesn’t sit well with Him, that reason would have something to do with my transistor radio being so old that it still has the face of Judy Ann Santos painted on it. What God would like the idea of The Seven Last Words blaring from an old transistor radio painted with the face of a soap opera queen?
But I just can’t get rid of this radio, which I bought in Magallanes St. when “Mara Clara” the TV series was at its peak. You know Mara Clara, right? What, no?
Remember that story about a girl named Mara and another girl named Clara, one chubby, the other skinny, whose drama between them started in 1992 and ended in 1997 with us viewers still wondering if Mara was not actually Clara and Clara was not actually Mara, until the confusion led to the Filipino people electing Joseph Estrada as President in 1998? Yes, that TV series.
That time, all the transistor radios being sold in Magallanes and Colon Sts. had the picture of Judy Ann Santos. Which made you wonder, what about Gladys Reyes who played Clara? Or was it Mara? Jesus!
If we do the math, this radio is almost 20 years old now. What journalist in his right mind would let go of a thing of such sentimental value to him, and with Judy Ann’s face to boot? I bought it at P150. If a collector wants to have it for P1,000 now, he can have Judy Ann for free, but I will not let go of my transistor radio for P1,000. Make it P2,000.
For one, this transistor radio molded my newsgathering skills when I was still starting out as a reporter more than 10 years ago. Its usefulness would increase a hundredfold during Holy Week, when government offices were closed and all that was left to write about were fire-and-brimstone sermons and the Seven Last Words delivered at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
And by skills, I mean something that I don’t recommend to anybody and that any respectable reporter today must not have, because my reporting skills that time consisted of getting all the details of a news story purely from radio reports while I ate benignit at home.
My thinking was that if I was covering sermons and Lenten reflections, I was actually covering words, not actions, unless I was praying that the priest choke on his words and collapse at the pulpit. That would be an action I wouldn’t miss for the world.
This week, the closest I can get to holiness is no TV, no music, no Facebook, no Twitter and no Angry Birds in the house. There will only be me and my transistor radio with the face of Clara on it. Or was it Mara? Ugh, must be the beer.


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