#reflection | 093015

Mulanay: Sa Pusod ng Paraiso (Reflection)

Mulanay is a 1996 Filipino film co-produced by the New Tropical Medicine Foundation which starred two of the country’s finest actresses – Jacklyn Jose and Gina Alajar. The movie was written by the respected Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr. and directed by multi-awarded Gil Portes. The plot of the movie revolved around Dra. Ria Espinosa and her passion for work and service as she decided to be a doctor to a barrio called Mulanay.

In relation with the topic “Community Organizing and Development,” I think Dra. Ria Espinosa became the spark that started the change in Mulanay. After finishing her degree in Medicine, she immediately established her path to being a Doctor of a Barrio and she was assigned to Mulanay, Quezon. After arriving at Mulanay, she eventually discovered herself the different problems and complications experienced by the community. Among these are health problems and poverty brought about by the bad habits of the community people including reliance to faith healing, alcohol drinking and lack of initiative to make amends in the community. Speaking to a bigger circle, Dra. Ria Espinosa was also able to reach out to the local government to pay attention to the struggles of the people and raise awareness among the concerned people.

During her first night in the community, Dra. Ria Espinosa experienced some difficulties in adjustment as she is used to life in Manila wherein resources are available. Having stayed in the community clinic during her service days, she met Norma, the community midwife who stood by her side during the time of organizing and leading Mulanay into being a better community.

In organizing Mulanay and paving a way for its development, Dra. Ria Espinosa started with the most important component of the barrio – the people. She then encouraged everyone to practice cleanliness and good habits towards the environment since the surrounding areas are usually the cause of epidemics and diseases in the community. She was also able to raise funds and reach out to the local government to address the issues faced by Mulanay.

Despite being the spark that ignited the change in the barrio, Dra. Ria Espinosa did not accomplish these changes and developments all by herself. She needed the help of the community people, the local government and her family and friends. This made me realize that change might be initiated by an individual but it is still brought about by a collective effort. If it has been without the people then achieving an organized community would be impossible. There are struggles faced by each individual belonging to the community and that is exactly the point to begin with – we deal with our own problems, fixit, before we can fix the entire community.

While some of us are entitled to be leaders, some should step back and settle with the role of followers. For without followers there wouldn’t be an effective leader. An effective leader is backed with an effective plan – as shown in the scene in which Dra. Ria Espinosa made her way back to Manila and left Mulanay temporarily to engage with her own plans for the community. Some of which are to raise funds for the deep well and contact the local government to address the issue about the bridge connecting Mulanay to the town to make way for farmers to be able to market their products.

It is not easy to organize a community especially if you are not a citizen of the certain barrio. I therefore conclude that the first step into development is knowing the problem and identifying the ways by which this can be addressed. Dra. Ria Espinosa has proven that if you want to help, it does not matter if you belong to the community. What matters more is your passion for service and work because these passion is what plays a trick and turns around things that opens the door for a brighter future not only for those who needed rescue but also to those with helping hands who weathered the barriers and painted a blue sky for other people to see the same rainbow they see.


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