An Open Letter to AlDub Nation
Dear AlDub Nation,
We’ve been wanting to write you a letter but have been hesitant in doing so. You might laugh us off the planet, saying that we are presumido because how can we connect you as fans of Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards, the three lolas and the whole Eat Bulaga dabarkads, to what we are about to say to you?
We are out and out Mar Roxas-Leni Robredo for the coming elections but don’t worry, we will not make you uncomfortable about our specific conviction. But maybe, just maybe, you may be open to some ideas of nationhood which AlDub beautifully expressed—even if accidentally—and continue to express for us.
Do you know that our article The Social Significance of AlDub is still being read or re-read up to now, six months after it came out in Joe America’s Society of Honor blog? It received quite a number of reads—over a hundred thousand around the world—and over 10,000 shares in Facebook when it first came out, and what surprises us is that it seems the article is rolling around in social media with a life of its own. We still watch the two—Maine and Alden—for the laughs and kilig, and they have since evolved from infatuation to love (scripted? maybe not) but no matter, they still elicit the same feelings of grogginess. We are after all a young nation, not only in number of years to define age—118 years young—but in frame of mind, worldview, in living and loving.
We pointed out several truths about what kalyeserye did to us as a country. Allow us to review:
“1) Speaking the truth about being in love, being apart from their loved one, being thrilled by the experience of even just a peep, a brush, a love note, kisses on split screen.”
Truth. Truth is big in AlDub Nation. Remember the whole thing started with an honest reaction from Maine (then Yaya Dub) July 16 last year? So, liars keep out. Only genuineness and authenticity, please. In choosing your candidates for May, please be guided accordingly. Don’t be taken in by gold, glitz and glamor, by the parsed (scripted) word. Choose life, choose candidness, off-the-cuff remarks. They tell more about the candidate than prepared text, promise, cash gift or made-for-camera smiles and hugs.
“2) Representing the OFW population and those who have long-distance relationships, and generally those who are in love. Flowers from Dangwa, small notes, the mere suggestion of a touch, that’s what we’re missing, and the OFWs know how it is to miss a loved one.”
Miss. How else to define love except by the word “miss”? Will you miss him or her if he or she weren’t around? Did he or she create such an impact in your life that absence of the person would create a great, big hole in your day-to-day, such that it wouldn’t be the same without him or her? Go by “miss.” Go by impact. Imagine him or her out of the picture. Would you hunger for his presence? Do you remember how he would try to make up for his shortcomings, that he just keeps coming back, unwilling to accept defeat, his conviction to love growing stronger even if hindrances seem insurmountable? Do you remember how he loves to the point of forgetting himself, that wooing you is all that matters? In all humility and honesty? Would it make your heart ache just by the mere absence of such a love?
“3) Revisiting tradition by way of the lolas—especially the character of Wally Bayola. Reminding us of delayed gratification, obedience to elders, and the values that defined Filipinos in a forgotten time. Sex has become a mere handshake, for one. Answering back elders is another. Sad. AlDub is showing that love gathers strength if obedience to elders is present, if we are patient and tolerant enough. The message has some Godly significance considering Bayola was involved in a video with a woman who was not his wife. Sinners do make the best homilies.”
Sin no more. AlDub created such an impact that whole families were huddled together, watching their every move, every look, hanging on to every word. Was it graphic sex? No. Was it about male dominance or macho? No. Was it about Maine in a cheap role? No. Did the lolas tolerate wrongdoing? No. Remember AlDub when you choose candidate. Choose unity. Choose good values. Turn away from sin. Rigid Catholicism? Not necessarily. Just folksy Filipino. Just us being the way we were before the instant gratification of internet and gadgets. Yes, before bad politicians came without invitation to our hapag kainan (dinner table), abusing our trustful nature, stealing even the spoonful of rice and a bit of adobo just as we were about to lovingly convey it to the mouth of our child.
“4) Improvising, making the most out of present circumstances, carrying our own weather, being happy in spite of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. That is a truly Filipino trait—observe the jeepney—something that increases our resilience in the most trying times considering our country lies in the path of storms, in the realm of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and all other natural calamities.”
Be kind. Just be kind, and joyful, and resilient. Make allowance for mistakes. We are just making the most out of our present circumstances. That is the Filipino in us. Our forgiveness is legendary because we sleep with disasters, carry them around during the day. We need mercy like we need daily bread. We are just grateful for every day of life. Good-naturedness and thankfulness is a command, a necessity for survival. If we are not good, we are lost as a people. How else can we approach the May elections aside from being the best of what we are, as AlDub has shown and continues to show. From Galatians: “… For whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
“5) Speaking to the average Filipino and Filipina. Forty-seven per cent of our population is composed of millennials, mean age 23. So if you’re selling tocino, life insurance or endorsing a politician, AlDub is the way to do it. Talk to this age group. That’s where our country is, the youth among us.”
Maybe this is for both candidate and voter. Talk to each other. Be personal. We know where we all live. We live in a country where love is uppermost. Be accessible. Be loving or perish.
Which brings us to the gist of what we want to say: it would be a waste of hours of family time and kalyeserye production devoted to AlDub if come election day, we will still prefer a candidate who does not embody honesty and love, talent and its good use, value and tradition. AlDub exhibited emotion and talent so unmistakable, so honest and heartwarming to everyone that it brought forth what was best in the Filipino soul. It would be ironic if kilig will just be kilig for its own sake, that talent and ability to serve is meaningless, and our choices will bring out something alien to our nature. It’ll be a waste of AlDub love. Respond to Lea Salonga’s challenge: “Okay lang sa akin ang kababawan, pero hanggang doon na lamang ba tayo?” (Shallow entertainment is fine with me, but is it all there is to it?) Is it true what she said? Prove her wrong.
AlDub Nation, listen. These are dangerous times for the country. Only one of the five presidential-vice presidential tandems are in favor of the arbitral approach to resolving the China issue with the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas. Only one in five of them will pursue graft and corruption cases lodged in the Aquino administration, including the cases against a leading contender, Vice President Jejomar Binay, also hidden wealth charges to recover the balance of the P10 billion loot of the Marcoses, about P4 billion of which have been recovered. Only one in five of them will most probably continue the economic gains of the present administration, for which Bloomberg has called the Philippines the Strong Man of Asia, no longer the sick one. (Bloomberg L.P. is a privately-held financial software, data, and media company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.—Wikipedia)
These are dangerous times, especially when history is being revised before our very eyes, and millennials are especially prone to believing the:
Lies of Bongbong Marcos,
Depraved and dictatorial renditions of Rody Duterte,
Rank beginner and opportunist in Grace Poe, and
Mind-boggling reframing and evasion of VP Binay.
It’s up to you, AlDub Nation, the next move is yours. We appeal to you because Tito Sotto of Eat Bulaga fame continues to dominate surveys for senatorial picks, borne on the wings of AlDub. If and when anyone of the four other presidential contenders are elected together with Marcos Jr. as vice president, the country will go down in world history as a strange case, where it went from being strong to being sick again, having spurned the candidates of the successful Aquino administration. The strong man of Asia, cannonball-shoulders, toned abs, bulging calves and all, would be bound and gagged, carried kicking and screaming back to intensive-care unit—cathetered, NGTed, hooked to a respirator—wondering what in the world was wrong with him. What a waste of country.
So, this is all for now, AlDub Nation. Here’s a toast to you, for knowing what is good, for knowing what works for us, for knowing how to distinguish a lie from a truth.
This is occasion to repeat the concluding paragraph of the article The Social Significance of AlDub:
“God bless all of us, that we have rediscovered how it is to fall in love, to stay in love. When we discuss how government sucks, how incompetent it is and how the thieves and pretenders can get away with almost everything, the lesson of AlDub is that love will find a way. As long as we want a good country, we will have a good country, but we will have to wait a bit, waiting for the “tamang panahon,” the right time, if we follow our values, our traditions, our kindness, our love.
Aah, love. . . . Nothing is lovelier.”
Renée and Will