Monthly Archives: March 2011

Storytelling – Part 2

Metaphor

Veteran storyteller and actor Luisito “Kuya Bodjie” Pascua was introduced in the first part of this series. He reads and animates stories of people living with AIDS, simplifying the words and situations of the character affected by the virus, how loved ones deal with the situation and the lessons learned from the stories.

Storytellers made use of metaphors to describe the AIDS virus to the audience, similar to the computer virus and kids’ ordinary toys.

“In that way effective siya. Malaki ang maitutulong namin sa paglikha ng mga future adults na caring and whol will also be responsible for their own sexuality. Kaya sasabihin mo sa kanila kung saan nakukuha ang AIDS, epekto nito, etc.,” Pascua said.

“Tinuturuan mo na silang maging responsible, Bukod do’n hindi lang sila, pati na rin teacher at mga magulang na nakikinig,” he pointed out.

Pascua said the stories about people living with HIV/AIDS were presented in such a way that children can relate to the plight of the character in the story and the hope shown by the person to continue to fight for his or her life for the sake of a loved one.

Pascua who also had a short stint as lounge singer before he joined Batibot in 1984, noted an increasing number of enthusiasts who read stories to children in malls, bookstores and schools.

“Siguro nasasawa na rin ang mga tao sa TV, sa computers. Parang feeling ko bumabalik yung person-to-person contact through storyteller.

“Sa storytelling, ang daming uses niyan eh. Puwede mong patulugin ang bata, puwede mong i-assure ang bata kung may problema siya, puwede mo siyang i-entertain, gusto mo siyang turuang magbasa, and nothing beats the presence of the person to validate sa bata, na you, the child, matters,” he stressed.

Pascua has facilitated the training of 15 employees from Levi-Strauss on story-telling and teachers from Bohol.

“Marami-rami na rin kami (storytellers) na involve sa cause ng AIDS,” he mused.

Masarap magkwento

Pascua said that various stakeholders in the country should exert extra effort to drum up information on HIV/AIDS.

“I think, HIV infection is getting high, lalo na sa ibang bansa, is because people are afraid to talk about sex. We are afraid to talk about sexuality out in the open. It (sex) is the most natural thing in the world. Kasi nga sa atin, sex is given with such malice. It’s really the inability of adults to discuss sexuality…minsan nagmamalinis tayo,” he said.

Local AIDS expert said that some children and even adults still believe that AIDS could be contracted through the exchange of saliva, mosquito bites, sitting on a toilet bowl previously used by an infected person, or going to school with someone.

Pascua said everybody should have a hand in educating each other about HIV/AIDS and that people living with HIV/AIDS should not be discriminated against, citing a number of Filipinos, who are already afflicted with incurable disease.

“May mga sufferers na dito sa bansa natin na kailangan ng suporta, pagkalinga, pang-unawa, sympathy bilang kapwa tao. May mga aral silang maituturo sa atin, hindi lang as individual, but as a society. Sa atin (fellow artist), biniyayaan tayo ng Diyos ng talent para makipag-communicate sa kapwa natin, pinaniniwalaan tayo.

Sana magkaroon tayo ng lakas ng loob na makibahagi kahit kapiraso lang ng ating talent, sa pagtugon, kung ano man ang hinihiling sa atin ng sitwasyong ito,” he urged.

“I think we all should be a part of any situation hindi lang sa AIDS, especially in educating people about reality, about the truth, about ourselves,” he added.

When asked which medium he prefers the most in conveying HIV/AIDS information (TV, stage, or storytelling), Pasuca, withou batting an eyelash declared: “Now that you asked me, masarap magkwento!”MVTorrecampo

Storytelling- Part 1

“Masarap magkwento”

The prudent or cynical would cast doubt on sex education for children, let alone the HIV virus and the disease it causes, AIDS.

“Bakit mo ituturo ang HIV/AIDS sa mga bata, tapos storytelling pa? Napakainosente nila, baka magkaroon ng malisya ang isip nila. Takot sila na baka hindi maintindihan ng mga bata,” comments one concerned parent.

But veteran storyteller Luisito “Kuya Bodjie” Pascua begs to disagree, saying storytelling is effective in educating children about the health and social issues concerning HIV/AIDS.

Kuya Bodjie should know, with his experience and as education advocate in the popular children’s television show Batibot.

“Ang maganda kasi dito, napapaabot namin sa paraan na nakakarelate ang bata, its not a typical classroom na nagle-lecture ang teacher about AIDS, about compassion, etc, pero nagawa namin in an entertaining way,” Pascua said.

The 54-year-old stage and TV actor had been involved in promoting reading, peace and telling stories to children with cancer for several years now.

Having brought numerous children’s stories to life with his effective use of voice characterization, sound effects and distinct facial expression, Pascua was tapped by the AIDS Society of the Philippines in August 2002 as story-teller and mentor for the its nationwide storytelling caravan.

The AIDS Society is a leading association of individuals working towards the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in the country.

The native of Nueva Ejica has practically toured key cities and provinces in the country, reaching out mostly to elementary students.

Pascua reads and animates stories of people living with AIDS, simplifying the words and situations of the characters affected by the virus, how the loved ones deal with the situation and the lessons learned from the stories.

A graduate of Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama (Major in Acting) at the New York University, Pascua said that his primary mission is to make children and adults aware of HIV/AIDS and accept that those affected are ordinary individuals whose immune system has broken down.

This way, he said, the stigma and discrimination attached to the dreaded condition would somehow lessen.

When asked what inspire him to support the AIDS campaign, Pascua said: “The opportunity to enlighten ‘yung kaisipan ng mga kababayan lalo na ang mga kabataan sa pagtangkilik o pagtanggap na dapat sa mga hindi lang people with AIDS, but sa lahat ng tao na nasa gilid-gilid ng ating lipunan, kumbaga they need some tolerance, understanding, compassion for the less fortunate.

“It inspires me to go out of my way. In my own little way, however way I could lalo na kung ibabahagi ko ‘yung talent that I have.”

Pascua, who did about 200 plays since he began performing in 1978, admitted that he and a handful of story-tellers were a bit apprehensive when they initially read the story to children.

“Noong una takot kami na syempre ano ang mga posibleng pwedeng itanong ng mga bata. We as adults would be able to answer question about sexuality.

May isip na rin ang mga yan eh. Ako ba ay bukas ang puso at isipan na pagusapan ito na hindi madumi ang isip ko, na hindi ako mabo-bother o madidisturb.

“May magandang sagot na kaming inihanda, pero pagdating naman sa storytelling session wala naman palang problema. Most of the kids anyway ay napakabukas ng isipan about sex,” he recalled. (to be continued)

The red ribbon is an international symbol of AIDS awareness that is worn by people all year round and particularly around World AIDS Day to demonstrate care and concern about HIV and AIDS, and to remind others of the need for their support and commitment.