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The AlDub nation is also Luna country

tito-genova-valiente‘AlDub” must be the most recognizable portmanteau in the country, or even outside where there are Filipinos. The name refers to the combined names of Alden Richards, the actor, and this person named DubMash, who has assumed the role of yaya or nanny.

Many things have happened since I wrote about the phenomenal success of this long-running show called Eat Bulaga. It was at the beginning of the “kalyeseries,” a play on the label “teleseries” or telenovela.

As early as August 5, I wrote about the show in the Lifestyle section of this newspaper. The article came out in my column called “Reeling,” and bore the title “Creating Characters and New Market: The Wonderful Case of Eat Bulaga.”

When I wrote about the pretty girl plucked from obscurity, who only talked through songs that were not even completed, that part of the show had not yet attained the wild success it is now having. The time the column came out, civic organizations have not yet endorsed the program as promoting traditional values. Then, there were no rabid critics yet of the program.

Cultural workers and theoreticians are all going to town analyzing why the show about a young man who met only this girl via TV screen is breaking all records. The first time they met—or dated—the tweets went beyond 10 million. By the time the young man, who by the way, basically communicates through words written on a white cardboard, visited Yaya Dub in the mansion of the three elderly taking care of her, the tweet more than doubled, or 25.6 million, and, according to one of the show’s top honcho, Joey de Leon, still counting.

Those who do not like the show sound lame and dull with their protestations. There were even posts warning those who are part of the AlDub nation that they will go dumb if they patronize this TV romance.

If there is a way to look at AlDub, it is not only in the show that one should search for its magic but in its audience. We are this AlDub nation screaming to find out what will happen to two charming lovers while three women dispense advise and create strategies. This show is a lot more engaging than all these presidential candidates vowing to eradicate poverty. Those who love AlDub certainly find a good heart in two young people than in any of these politicians and I mean, “all.”

While Richards and Maine Mendoza, the real name of Yaya Dub, are making history, an aspect of national history is making waves (as in pabebe waves, that clipped, hand-wave made famous by the show). By word of mouth and through the social media, the film by Jerrold Tarog has attracted quite an attention and a box-office crowd one associates with the silly films churned out by major networks. The hero, Luna, and the other patriots are getting a lot of drubbing and polishing because of this film. Gratitude should be given to E. A. Rocha who has produced Bonifacio earlier, and now Heneral Luna.

Both films are handsomely packaged. And yet, it is this film Heneral Luna that has gained a following—and a slew of criticism from all sectors.

Heneral Luna, is, without doubt, a gilded product. In my review of the said film (see “Reeling,” BusinessMirror, September 16, 2015), I took note of the fact that, for all the popular appeal of the film and its hero, Luna remains an elite who did not have high regards for the regular, ordinary soldier.

What the film, Heneral Luna, gives to this country presently is the many questions it has raised. And the questions are not about the heroes, but those who hold them as heroes—us. We do not really know our heroes to the point that history teachers are being blamed for this national ignorance, and historians are asking if we are treating our history properly.

Social-media reports went viral about how some people were wondering why Epy Quizon, playing the role of Apolinario Mabini, never stood up at any point of the discussion in the film.

Historians are quibbling about the history presented. Just as memory plays tricks when it comes to remembering important dates, art can make heroes more engaging. Besides, the “when” does not matter more than the “why.” It is, perhaps, the reasons posed by the film, Heneral Luna, that has brought the audience to cinema.

If cinema can urge the people to rethink about heroes, then Heneral Luna is a good book to start with.  There are other good books to read—the Dagohoy Rebellion, which shows the courage of the ordinary people away from the elitist obsession, is just one of these sources for new heroes. Then there are the nativistic movements that eschew the role of the nation and the falsity of national heroes.

Two histories are being played out on screen: The free TV through a drama that takes place on the street, which is telling us there is another world that is not caught in the web of politics, and the film Heneral Luna that pokes us how the politics of heroes has always been about self and self-interest.

Give me AlDub, anytime!


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