I had the time of my life during my second stint with the stage play “Vagina Monologues” at the Music Museum. It was so heartwarming to bond with empowered women from various fields and to raise funds for comfort women.
I got misty-eyed when the dear lolas joined us onstage for the finale and gamely danced with us to Beyonce’s “Run The World.” Despite the horrors they’ve gone through, their spirit has not been broken.
Aiza Seguerra was a standout in her monologue, “Ang Aking Munting Calachoochi,” about a sexually abused child who later on discovers the joy of sexual awakening with an older woman.
Leah Navarro’s “Hair” monologue showcased a side of her never seen before. Joy Virata’s “The Flood,” Mae Paner’s “Vagina Workshop,” Sheila Francisco’s “Because He Liked To Look at It,” and Juno Henares’ moan marathon brought the house down.
G Tongi was fierceness personified in her number, “My Angry Vagina.” Bibeth Orteza’s “What If I Told You I Didn’t Have a Vagina,” Roselyn Perez’s “My Vagina Was My Village,” Tami Monsod’s “For My Sisters in Port Au Prince Bukavu New Orleans,” Boots Anson Roa’s “I Was There in the Room” and Pinky Amador’s “Say It for the Comfort Women” pierced everyone’s heart.
Ces Drilon asserted woman power all the more in her “Not So Happy Fact” and intro to Pinky’s monologue. So did Madeleine Nicolas in her “Reclaiming Cunt” segment. Sining Lila’s song “Sawang Sawa Na” and Cynthia Alexander’s rendition of “Malaya” highlighted V-day’s crusade to end violence to women in all forms.
Other V-warriors who shared their voices and hearts were Angela Padilla, Ampy Sietereales, Gina Wilson, Christine Carlos, Dr. Manilyn Ruaro, Jamie Tapales Oakes, Ces Nuñez, Denise Bontogon, April Celmar, Ronalou San Pedro, Nikki Ventosa, Therese Endriga, Rica Jose, Fatima Fernandez-Cuervo, Bella Fernandez and Toni Reyes.
The closing call to action was led by our driving force, Monique Wilson, Rossana Abueva, Representative Emmie de Jesus, Rep Liza Maza and Anna Leah Sarabia.
A touching moment was when Monique asked if there were any women in the audience who were ever raped, abused, or maltreated. There were some brave souls who stood up. Monique and her New Voice Company also made a call for One Billion Rising ( http://onebillionrising.org/), a global strike to demand an end to violence on Feb. 14, 2013.
Kuh Ledesma was also part of the show. But sad to say, she deviated from the theme. She has her reasons, but it was the wrong time to be preachy and take a holier-than-thou stand.
At press time, I was trying to get Kuh’s side through her daughter Isabella, but she has not replied.
Here are the sentiments of some of my V-sisters about the V-day experience and Kuh’s queer act. Although Kuh dissociated herself from us, the solidarity of the group remained intact. Kudos to New Voice Company, our cool director Rito Asilo, and all my fearless and uninhibited V Sisters! V-day 2012 was truly a celebration of women who have something between their ears and not just something between their legs.
MONIQUE WILSON: At V-Day, a global movement where we are working to end violence against women and breaking the silence to empower them, there will always be a seat at the table. But that needs evolving consciousness. Once Kuh’s consciousness evolves, she will be welcome to sit with us. But at our V-Day event last Saturday, it seemed like she stumbled onto the wrong party.
PINKY AMADOR: My monologue was extremely difficult to perform since it was written about our Comfort Women Lolas by Eve Ensler. I am honored to have been chosen by Monique to perform it, because it carries a huge responsibility by the actor to service it properly. I focused on our lolas who were in front of me and I asked them to gather the courage, focus and commitment that “Say It” deserved. V-day is all about inclusion, compassion, and giving women a voice. And whilst Kuh’s voice spoke with ignorance, belligerence and not having the same “heightened” consciousness of compassion and tolerance, everything happens for a reason.
AIZA SEGUERRA: I just felt na parang kung tayo lahat na V-warriors onstage inempower natin ang mga babae, si Kuh binabalik niya sa saradong pag-iisip. Kabaliktaran ng kung anong pinaniniwalaan at pinaglalaban natin. Napakamot na lang ako ng ulo.
LEAH NAVARRO: The “Vagina Monologues” experience brought attention to a sad reality—that women and girls are victimized everyday, and they need our help to stop the violence.
I was very moved when several women in the audience stood up to acknowledge being abused or violated. That simple act demanded great courage. I hope each of them was empowered in that moment to begin healing or get help.
As for Kuh’s actions that night, I was quite disappointed and bewildered. Why did she accept the invitation to perform if she knew she couldn’t even say “vagina”? It’s not a cuss word, it’s a body part from which babies are born. Vaginas are powerful. You cannot be a woman and be ashamed of having one.
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