by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, newmedia specialist
Caption: Cebuano music genius, scriptwriter, editor and former radio & stage personality Allan Jayme Rabaya. FROM TAGGED.COM
CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Did you know that there was a Cebuano genius behind Lino Brocka’s blockbuster movies “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” and “Maynila, Sa Kuko ng Liwanag”?
Cebuano writer, poet, editor, stage director, radio personality Allan Jayme Rabaya submitted the storyline of the said award-winning films in his younger years. He was not given credits though, as these were purchased, thereby entitling film producers to intellectual property rights.
At 61 years old, the composer and lyricist returned to his Creator after suffering two waves of cardiovascular accident (layman’s term: stroke or brain attack). Surrounded by family, neighbors, very close friends and radio/stage colleagues Stella Monteno and Marchetta Beltran, he was laid to rest at the Queen City Memorial Gardens last December 22, or three days short of Christmas.
Monsignor Achilles Dakay, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, is Rabaya’s spiritual director, who became a close friend despite a 19-year gap. He mentioned in his homily how he met the “young Allan” in 1970 when he became the first chaplain of the ALU Chapel at the Associated Labor Union Compound on Pier 1.
“He was a very curious young lad. Very bright person. And he loves playing the piano. He would come and serve me food cooked by his mother. He would linger at the convent to ask for my review on his works. He translated quite a number of foreign scripts like that of Marlon Brando’s “Waterfront.” I had a distaste for it though because of the violent content, however in his other plays I was one of three actors,” Msgr. Dakay recounted.
Dakay, in a trivia, narrated how Rabaya could have won the first place in the 1st Cebu Popular Music Festival. “Niangkon man gud to ang usa ka judge, later na lang ba, nga wa diay siya mobotar kay wa siya kasabot sa title. Pastilan nga judge, siya pa may gikuha. Anugon kaayo ang talent ni Allan,” Dakay lamented.
Dakay referred to Rabaya’s third-placer piece “Kausa Nabasa ang Tubig” which has the following subliminal lines: “May aninong samaran/Libo og usa ka bayranan/Milyon ug duha ka suliran/Sa tunga-tunga sa kahayag/Tinaguan nga ibutyag, ipadayag/Sa tunga-tunga sa kamingaw/Gipangita ko ang adlaw ug ikaw/Sa tunga-tunga sa kapakyasan/Palihug, ang hangin iduyan.
This was interpreted by a certain Stewart Papas. This served as hymn to Rabaya’s funeral march to which friends and family sung along to.
This writer covered one of his plays “Ang Karaang Balay sa Sepulveda” which incorporated a strip of film onto stage acts and used even audience space as part of his actors’ block, as when the character’s ghostly image walked through the aisle, among the viewers, that made the audience screamed to the top of their lungs.
This writer, under the tutelage of Rabaya, wrote the script and served as stage manager in 2000, for the revival of University of the Visayas’ “Comparza” (a spectacle of dances all over the world). It was learned in one of those backstage conversations this writer had shared with Rabaya that he capitalized imagery in poetry to project through “Kausa Nabasa ang Tubig” the struggles he went through as a homosexual not fully received, in his time, because of social restraints.
“El (referring to this writer), the song is about my coming out. It’s about a mix of my struggles to get my stories recognized. It was about my search for love and my space under the sun, how can a gay like me be accepted in a society that gravitates toward traditional values, how my acts contradict my piousness,” he shared in one of those moments we would chat about boys over beer, ngohiong and barbecue.
From him, this writer learned, that he was the very first regional scriptwriter tapped by ABS-CBN’s “Maala-ala Mo Kaya.” He mentioned of his favorite episode. It was an Alice Dixson-Christopher de Leon episode entitled “Cattleya” which was later adapted onscreen in the suspense-thriller genre.
“That was also my last full engagement project with ABS-CBN. I came home because I just miss the pace of life here in Cebu. Interestingly what happened to me on my way home was a manifestation of how God loves me. That’s how I stopped searching for physical love. It opened my eyes that I don’t have to be overwhelmed by that search for the worldly definition of love.”
Rabaya, who was at that time using the pseudonym Mil Lorenzo Acabar, narrated that while he was bringing his separation pay in cold cash (in six figures, for emphasis) two men opened the cab he was riding in headed to the port. “Gitulis nila ang taxi driver, nya ako El ilang gipakanaug kay wa kuno koy labot. So I immediately disembarked. After the cab fled, my knees began to jerk. I saw myself sitting on the curb, clutching my bag, the bag that held an envelope with cash. I was spared. I have been given another chance to enjoy home.”#