Consuming various media forms over the years has taught me the importance of mastering this certain aspect when it comes to crafting your piece: unraveling your mystery. One of my favorite films, Knives Out, for instance, does this particularly well. There are little mysteries scattered throughout its story, and are all answered at the end of the film. In a whodunit situation, how do you slow the burn of the mystery without revealing too much in the beginning in order to have a smooth payoff by the end?
Although the excerpts from Jerry Gracio’s Bagay Tayo that we were given are far more lighthearted compared to my favorite film mentioned, reading it has reminded me of how important this aspect is. A personal narrative detailing his love life in a first person point of view, the excerpts from Bagay Tayo are overall lighthearted and a quick, fun read. Going into this entry of my online journal, I would like to highlight some parts I found neat, as well as explain why the specific order of those three chapters were vital and important to telling its story as a whole and connecting with the reader.
HINDI AKO NANINIWALA DATI SA LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, kahit na sinasabi ni Shakespeare na “Whoever loves, loves at first sight.”
Starting off, I found myself immediately drawn in by this introduction. The opening line to these three chapters is interesting and quirky.
Reading ahead, we are greeted by our first mystery: Gracio keeps mentioning this person named Pitbull, who must be the love in question, but why is he named like so? Again, to be explained later, I find the order of these three chapters interesting when it comes to unraveling this little mystery.
“Na-in love ako sa k’wento mo, hindi sa ‘yo.” Pero siyempre, hindi iyon totoo. Bahagi lang iyon ng buong katotohanan.
I’d like to note how the first chapter’s ending solidified my interest in reading further. I immediately wanted to know more with how this last line was phrased. Then, continuing on, I was greeted by a chapter that impressed me.
NAGSISIMULA ANG PAG-IBIG SA KUWENTO, nabubuo sa pagitan ng mga kuwentuhan.
The structure takes a point here, noticeably so. Looking back, we were presented with a mystery in what we could say was “present time” in its place within the storytelling narrative. Now, we are presented with a memory/flashback from Pitbull but told by Gracio, as well as an explanation to the new mystery given to us by the end of the first chapter (why he didn’t fall in love at first sight). It brings us back and forth and further stimulates our interest with ease.
First, we were presented with a first meeting with little mysteries in between, ending with a question in mind. Then, we were taken back in time to answer this question, as well as receive more answers when it comes to our questions surrounding Pitbull’s identity.
I think this technique is fairly simple, yes, but with how Gracio phrases things and builds moments up for them to drop and rise once more, I think the execution was effective and notable. The narrative’s structure was fully utilized.
This chapter’s concept of love, storytelling, and time were also very refreshing and interesting to take in. I had to pause for a moment in the middle and think about it, actually. The introduction drove me to think deeply.
Maiisip ko: hino-hostage na naman ng gago na ‘to ang emosyon ko.
I also need to mention how there was a slight shift in tone when moving to the second chapter. The seriousness amps up with the memory/flashback we were presented, but I find it nice how there were still uplifting jokes to combat how the mood might completely dissipate into seriousness.
RAYMOND BERNABE REÑA TALAGA ANG PANGALAN NI PITBULL. Totoong tao siya, hindi imaginary friend o imaginary boyfriend. Hindi rin áso. Naging Pitbull siya dahil sa utol ko.
Then comes the third part, which I think might have been my favorite. Our little mystery from the beginning finally gets answered, and by the end of this chapter, the payoff was heart-melting to witness. We are brought back to the “present time” of the storytelling narrative.
I find it interesting how we were presented with a flashback to his “backstory” before we even learned of his real name and why his nickname was like so the whole time. I think it adds to how I felt very attached to their story by the end of it all — learning of their identities slowly in an interesting order really helped me appreciate things further.
I also loved the whole part with different nicknames being used according to the mood of the couple. Despite the negative origins of the nickname Pitbull, it all adorably boils down to:
“Okay lang sa akin maging pitbull para sa ‘yo. Basta ako lang ang Pitbull mo.”
This is the part where I say, I do wish I had what they have.
We end it at a heartwarming note, with a payoff that was certainly satisfying, as we were able to flesh out their identities and answer their mysteries through three simple chapters. With how the narrative was structured, by the end, we have an understanding of their relationship to an extent, as well as an appreciation for their story.
Cute, lighthearted, and clever in its humor, these excerpts from Jerry Gracio’s Bagay Tayo, with all of its mini mysteries, is presented in a way that is sure to tug at your heartstrings by the end of it all and leave you interested enough to want to read and know more. (I certainly am interested for more, as I’ve been compelled by these three perfectly executed chapters to read the book in its entirety sometime soon.)