Last Saturday night was undoubtedly one of the most delightful evenings I’ve ever experienced.
And just where was this marvellous movie night?
Was I reclining in air-conditioned, Ezy-boy comfort at Metro Manila Director’s Club Movie Theatre, nibbling popcorn and sipping hot chocolate while watching the latest fast paced, nail biting block buster?
A hard wooden seat and three Banwaon buyags (old ladies) were my movie-companions in the cooling night air of the mosquito infested jungle. The four of us buyags, that is, and three or four hundred other Banwaon.
We had the good seats. Most were sitting cross-legged on the hard concrete floor or standing ten deep and dozens across at the back of the wall-less barangay (community) hall.
For years we’ve wanted to help broaden the Banwaon’s world view by showing selected films. And while I doubt we’ll be featuring the Lord of the Rings trilogy or Ironman anytime soon, we did have several excellent Youtube videos our son-in-law’s brother, Ricardo, had recently filmed as well as a documentary on African animals.
Ricardo’s videos intrigued the tribal film-goers, especially this one – Back from the Dead, which tells the story of Eddie Latube’s release from fear of the spirits on the island of Palawan. This was something the Banwaon could clearly relate to. They loved it!
But the real fun (which was also one of our goals), came when we started showing the film on Africa.
The buyags besieged me with questions –
“Inay Becky, what is THAT! …
Inay Becky, is that a goat? (it was an antelope) …
Inay Becky, Inay Becky – what on earth is THAT with a long neck and legs and spots?!”
I gave up trying to explain. How DOES one explain a giraffe?
Instead, I settled back and delighted in the amazement and exclamations as most of them for the first time saw new parts of God’s unique creation.
Almost an hour of enchanted “Ohhh, aheeebul … Ohhhh, agoya!” (“Wow!”) filled the air from young and old alike.
I laughed out loud at the squeals of terror as the camera zoomed up on hairy caterpillars, which most Banwaon are petrified of. Several were half-way off the floor ready to run, but thankfully the scene moved on.
And as I looked around at the fascination and wonder on the faces of these beautiful Banwaon, the realization dawned that what I was experiencing was truly special.
In this age of restless internet surfing and the constant search for more – more fun, more action, more stimulation, more alleviation from boredom – the innocence and joy of the people surrounding me, their faces bathed in marvel, was truly a rare thing.
Things we take for granted, like learning about elephants and giraffes and lions from babyhood, are intriguing new discoveries to most of these people.
Best movie night ever!
(Don’t forget to take seven minutes to watch Ricardo’s video – click here – Back from the Dead )