“ITATAYA KO ANG BUHAY KO – NOY.” (“I will risk my life – Noy.”)

It’s not President Noy Aquino talking. This was one of the last words of Noy, a character in a film with the same name. Noy was a film about a young man (Noy), played by actor Coco Martin, who applied as a journalist in a television network. However, Noy never saw any journalism class because he never got to college. When his father died, he also bid goodbye to his dream of becoming a journalist.

The challenge of giving his family a better chance to live pushed him to fake his papers and apply as a journalist in a network. He asked a friend from Recto to print a fake diploma. Another friend produced a demo-reel which he submitted to the network.

While pretending to be a journalist, Noy was assigned to cover the campaign trail of another Noy – then presidential candidate NoyNoy Aquino. At first, he just wanted to earn a living and to have access to influential people. He had no interest with his subject matter. For him, he did not care for the other Noy. All he cared for was his family.

As the story unfolded, Noy began to see the realities around him. He got to ask a wheelchair from Aquino and this abruptly changed his point of view. Soon, the love of his life also left to marry a guy who would give her a better future and this too changed him. From an uncaring news reporter, Noy began valuing his work and was about to change when the network executive found out his scheme. He was fired from work, but his immediate boss (played by Vice Ganda) would not easily give up on him. For the last time, he was given the chance to lift himself and prove to the network executives that he had talent.

It was his last chance, and he grabbed it. However, Bong (Noy’s brother played by Joem Bascon) got involved with people peddling drugs. These people sought Bong out to get the drugs back and when no drug was found, they battered him black and blue. It was at this point when Noy arrived and they turned their anger at him until one of the drug pushers shot him repeatedly to death.

The last scenes in the movie showed Noy’s first and last production, recounting his experience as a journalist who was trailing a candidate. He told the story of NoyNoy Aquino and how he took the risk for the country. Noy admitted that at first he only wanted to earn a living for his family. But now, he believed that he too wanted to take the risk, just like his subject (NoyNoy Aquino).

He said, “Itataya ko ang buhay ko… hanggang kamatayan” (I will risk my life… until death).

I took the pain narrating Noy’s story because it says so much about us. We can identify with Noy in so many ways. First, just like him, we too work for our family. We strive to do our best to give our family a decent life, sometimes to the point of violating the law. Second, like Noy, many of us live in poverty, not because we are lazy but simply because we are not given the chance to get out of the rut we found ourselves in. Third, just as Noy was given a second chance, we too just needed the second chance, which sometimes society deprives us of. Finally, just like Noy, sometimes we don’t get to enjoy the second chance.

More than anything else, Noy teaches us what being true citizens of this country means. There is nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves and of our family. This is our obligation. However, while we care for ourselves and for our family, we must also care for our country. This Noy realizes as his story unfolds.

Noy realizes that being a citizen of this country is not incompatible with being a family person. He knows that when he risks his life for the country, he does this for his family, for his children and for their future. Ang pagtataya ng buhay para sa bayan ay pagtataya ng buhay para sa ating salinlahi, sa mga anak ng mga anak natin… (Risking one’s life for the country is risking one’s life for the next generation, for the children of our children…)

I was not really interested with NoyNoy Aquino’s story and his pagtataya (risking). Rather, what attracted me in this movie was the character of Noy, the fake journalist. Although his life was merged with that of NoyNoy Aquino, Noy told his story without the melodrama. He said it straight as if saying “I am poor, so what?”

Rather than wallowing in his poverty, Noy fought back. He claims his dream and tries to make it happen. This is what every Filipino is doing now. We are also taking the risk; we are fighting back to reclaim what we deserve, the riches and opportunities in this country. But it would not be easy… our chances may come but obstacles may stop us…

Now, the question is: “Tataya ka pa ba?” (Are you still going to take the risk?).

“Noy” is directed by Don Santos under Star Cinema.