What I remember most about reading Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince is when the fox revealed his secret to the little prince before leaving goodbye: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
But watching Layeta Bucoy’s Prinsipe Munti, a musical/shadow play adapted from the classic book entranced me in an unimaginable way. True, I love the book and I learned a lot of lessons from it. Theater has its own unique power to strike its audience, slap them, pound them and reveal these secrets right in front of their eyes. In my case, I cried. Towards the ending, this secret had been uttered more than twice, by the little prince and the pilot.
“Ang tunay na importante ay hindi nakikita ng mata.”
As this statement echoed around the theater, the more I realized how our journey could also be similar to that of the little prince or the pilot.
Indeed, Prinsipe Munti and his plight gave me several reasons to cry.
1. I have the rose to take care of.
I cried watching Prinsipe Munti because I realized I’ve been spending a whole lot of time tending to the needs of my rose. That despite the effort and the care I give to that rose, everything ends in vain. But the thing that matters, despite its flaws and vanity, it is my rose. And I vowed to take care of that rose despite the one-sided affection. It is the rose that I want to spend with as I battle with loneliness and bid farewell to numerous sunsets on my own little planet.
2. I forget myself thinking about that rose.
Call me stupid, but there comes a time when I am encumbered by that need to make sure my rose is all right. That its petals are arranged or it is covered under the glass globe during the cold night. I believe in whatever my rose says, though at times I feel that my rose conceals its true feelings. Because it is my rose, I have to give in.
3. I have to let go of that rose.
I definitely hate leaving. And I can’t say goodbye to my rose yet. I still need to water it everyday, listen to its complaints and demands. And most of all, I still want it to join me in watching the sunset over and over again. But deep within, I know eventually my rose and I would part ways. Still, there is no other great pleasures in life than being with someone you really care about. And it is hard to let go and say goodbye.
4. I am bound to obey.
Prinsipe Munti arrives on the planet where a president treats everyone as a subject who would obey everything he says. What made my tears well up was the fact that I see myself obeying orders from people no matter how reasonable these orders are.
5. Everyone wants to be treated as celebrities.
Some people display air of conceit. It’s unfortunate that some want to take the spotlight just to earn admiration from other people. At what cost? What I love about the scene was when Prinsipe Munti asked the celebrity: “Ano ang ibig sabihin ng paghanga?” (What is admiration?) To admire means that you are regard as the handsomest, the best-dressed, the richest, and the most intelligent man on this planet. Sadly, conceited people can only hear praises. And at times forget themselves, forget other people for fame. Talk about social media, friends.
6. I have been busy counting stars recently.
Someone asked me how I’m doing in Manila. Without hesitation, I replied: “Slowly imbibing the robotic lifestyle of the urban jungle.” And I didn’t even know if it is a good thing or not. One thing for sure, something has slowly taken me away from doing things that I love the most. But sometimes I can still manage to enjoy. Staying in this city frightens me. I don’t wanna find myself as a businessman who spends her lifetime counting and recounting stars. I know there is more to life than work. Yes, I am slowly making an automaton out of myself, but the sound of the waves and the laughter of my friends still resonate strongly. I will never be a victim.
7. Time is not measured from morning to night.
When we follow orders, time has the power to enslave us. We wake up in the morning, go to work and go home in the afternoon. Months become day, and days turn into minutes and seconds. When we realize that, we also come to discover how less we spend on other things that can make us feel more alive. I have felt that, too. I think I am slowly turning into a lamplighter. And that’s what makes me feel sad.
8. My rose is just like any other rose.
Damn it. My rose is just like any other rose. When I come to think of it, I wonder I even gave my rose that attention. And that is the constant question that would always haunt me. Why that rose?
9. When you want to tame someone, silence is important.
I must say, I have never tamed my rose yet. But there is always a lesson to learn from the alamid. Because my rose and I nag and bicker all the time, I think I have to take it from the alamid. “You must be very patient. First you will sit down at a little distance from me –like that in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing.” I wish my rose and I would have that moment to tame each other. But all I think about is how to let my rose go.
10. You don’t know who any one really is.
The most important thing one needs to know about knowing someone is through the heart. It hurts how people judge other people by what they show and say. They can just assume or base on first impression. Indeed, what is essential is invisible to the eye.