Old times, memories, choices: they have more to do with the present than one might think. My wife Peggy and I had just, after two years, left Manila when Lino Brocka first started making movies (because of her white skin, Peggy played the Virgin Mary in one of Lino’s dramas on live national television). So if we had stayed in the Philippines, I could’ve… STOP!
Here I go again with the old “I could’ve-should’ve game,” which I don’t like.
We were not from the Philippines and had we stayed we would’ve always been transplants. But the notion of envy and regret has sometimes come to me when someone I had been associated with became very successful and I had moved on and missed out: Lino was one example, and Preston Jones, another (both are dead and I’m alive, as I’m still trying and they’re tragically finished). I can easily be envious. WAIT!
I have to tell myself the truth: I chose to leave the Dallas Theater Center and Manila and each move led to incredible experiences. Soon these experiences offered different opportunities. And consequently, I’ve had a very full life, nothing that I regret. It’s only during the downtime, the in-betweens, that the could’ves and should’ves emerge.
I left the Dallas Theater Center (Preston Jones) and a theater that produced my plays to teach and work in the theater in the Philippines. For two years I taught drama during the day at the University of the Philippines and at night and on weekends worked in a theater in Fort Santiago under the auspicious The Philippine Educational Theater Association. Lino Brocka also worked there and directed and produced weekly television dramas. I always had more than drama and theater in mind; for I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity I had to see the world and decided the best way to do that was by bicycle.
And just as we had left Dallas, we flew out of Manila and then bought bicycles in Malacca Malaysia, and from there commenced a three-year trek. (Except for the chance that Peggy might’ve been pregnant, we would’ve started from Singapore.) There is just so much you can fit into a lifetime, back to old times, memories, and choices. I was a writer (in search of material) with an urge to keep going, and without a clue where I would end up. I wanted the experience, and now that I have it I have to remind myself that it was all worth it.