How Do You Spend Your 150 Pesos?

When I was studying, my allowance everyday is lower than P150. I used it to go to school, buy food and other school supplies. The rest, if there was, goes to my savings. Back then, having P150 for a day seems much already for me but now that I am already working- I guess a P150 is not much.

You can buy a decent meal, or a book or just transport costs to get to Makati from Fairview and back.
Last Saturday, I spent it on a film, entitled Above the Clouds directed by Pepe Diokno. And I had never spent a P150 any better than that!


You might ask why. The truth is, I can’t really tell or explain why it is such a hard-earned money well-spent. Some simple things can value too much if a person likes it. For me, since I became aware of Cinemalaya in college days- I promised to myself that I would watch it when my means permit me to do so. It took me three years to finally attend the Cinemalaya Film Festival. And it is also three years since my first time to watch a Cinemalaya movie.
Above the Clouds is literally about being above the clouds- about being “above the clouds” when you climb a mountain. Obviously, a lot of mountain hikers/ climbers came to watch the said film.
It was a well-made movie but still unlike any of the films I watched before. It depicts of environmental issues, of guilt, of longing for someone who already passed away, of the ever-changing people. The film opens in the tragedy of typhoon Ondoy and it ends in the majestic view of the earth on the summit of Mt. Pulag.
What’s really disheartening is how it shows that us young people never really cared about nature, as shown in the once-teeming-with-fish river on the mountains but is now polluted by garbage. I can really feel the frustration of the grandfather about what happened there.
If that is how we took care of our mountains then it is not too difficult to tell why a lot of us suffers from flood everytime it rains.
It has too many stories to tell- that I think the film can’t really focus on one.
Maybe sometimes, we were like the grandfather (played by Pepe Smith), we don’t know where we’re going but we know we have to keep moving. He planned to take his grandson who lost his parents in the typhoon (played by Ruru Madrid) to the mountains where his parents used to go before. He didn’t exactly knew the reason why he brought his grandson to go mountain climbing- who clearly doesn’t want to go- he just knew that since it is his parents’ treasured place, maybe a part of them lives in there.
(Flashback to what I was feeling last year when we had an Ilocos road trip. I was searching for clues that my father lived there. I just had to know if a part if him still lives there. )
Some of the lines that still resonates on my head were:
“Hindi naman dapat bumalik ang lahat sa dati. Kasi di naman kailangan bumalik sa dati. ”
“Hindi porke matanda na ako ay hindi ko na kayang magbago. Nagbago na ako, at magbabago pa. ”
It had not left a deep impression on me after I watched it but now that I am writing about it, I feel that there are so many layers on that film.
Like the grandfather-grandson relationship they have, or the environmental issues, or how do you move on after having lost your family, the guilt of the living, the supposedly search for traces of them that led you to the most magnificent places in earth, or how after all the hardships in hiking the view at the top will take your breath away.
I guess life is like that. All the clues are scattered haphazardly for us to discover. Sometimes, they don’t make sense. But in reality we just don’t know how to fit all the pieces or if we had already found all the pieces. And it is our job to make them make sense. After all, we’re the living.
I guess we all must learn our lesson. When you travel, take care of the nature. We should not let our carelessness eat the nature that we’re very proud of. All of us were the culprits. And if we continue on neglecting our environment, then the world that we’re going to pass to the future generations will be very scary.
After that was possibly the longest, deepest, exhausting but meaningful conversation with my friends. It was a really long time since the three of us met. We were not particularly close during college but look at us now. Of course I cannot disclose what we talked about but they are the only people to whom I can talk freely about all that and who can understand. Even if I found most of my close friends at work- nothing still beats the friendship that stood the test of time and place, of transition and maturity.


 I was really glad that I had watched Cinemalaya this year and that I had a meaningful conversation in a very long time.

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