The traditional mindset has always viewed women as the weaker sex, destined to be married off and to care for the household, while never being quite strong enough to do what the men could.
That is rarely the case nowadays, with the exception of conservatives who maintain these traditional beliefs. The current age has sparked a stronger generation of women who dare to defy the stereotype, from working in careers whose fields are dominated by men, to never being afraid of expressing themselves, despite what other people say.
However, perhaps the struggles of women before aren’t so different from the struggles of women today. Tatlong Yugto, Tatlong Babae, a play organized by Junior Chamber International Philippines, NaFlora Feminine Hygiene, and Ley La Salle, shed light on these struggles through the eyes of Marigold, Jasmine, and Petunia.
The play starts off with the monologue of a mother of three, Marigold. She starts with her struggle of being a mother who dreams of returning to her life as a triathlete. One of her biggest hurdles is her husband, who restricts her from training. She mentions how her husband becomes unfair sometimes, but she dismisses it because they are partners. This monologue in particular shows how much a woman sacrifices whenever she decides to get married and have a family.
Next up is Jasmine, a teenager whose scene takes place in the bathroom where she was once trapped by her friend to prevent her from going to a concert. She narrates how she was raised; her mother was overprotective, with her being the only daughter in the family. She recalls a time where her mother scolded her for letting a gay friend sleep over at their house on the basis that because he was still a man, he could still take advantage of her. Her character reflects the struggles of young women today, who are taught that the world can be a horrible place for the feminine sex.
Last but definitely not the least is Petunia, the ballroom-dancing middle aged woman who made the crowd roar with laughter. She starts off by recording a dance video in her room while narrating her struggles as she approaches the age of 60, qualifying her as a senior citizen. She also shares about her love life, and while showing off her GoPro in true Titas of Manila fashion. Although she narrates the several difficulties that she has experienced, she has still managed to pursue the things that she wanted for herself, which speaks volumes.
The play ended with messages from each of the characters, saying that even though women face great struggles every day — from being restricted, to fearing their own safety — these should not stop them from achieving their goals. “Dapat huwag nating papabayaang mayroong humadlang sa mga pangarap nating lahat bilang babae.”
In a brief interview after the show, the actresses shared their first impression of their individual scripts. “Looking back, parang nadaanan ko siya eh. So, kumbaga naging mas natural for me na i-act si Jasmine kasi nga nadaanan ko ‘yun, tapos ‘yung nanay ko ganun din siya. Tapos ngayon na pinapalabas namin siya tapos nagrereact yung mga tao parang, ‘Wow, hindi lang pala ako mag-isa’. I’m sharing the same experience with others. Mas naging attached ako sa character,” shares Karen Bongco, who plays Jasmine.
As for Wenah Nagales, who plays Marigold, “Ako, interesting ‘yung material para sa akin. Unang-una kasi siguro ka-age ko siya, pero wala pa rin akong asawa at wala pa rin akong anak at hindi ako triathlete. [laughs] Anyway, pero ang ganda lang nung idea na totoong pinagdadaanan siya ng babae. It’s a good venue para matulungan mo ‘yung mga kababaihan.”
Mosang, who plays Petunia, shares similar sentiments, but she candidly adds, “Ako, Petunia is very hard kasi unang-una hindi pa ako 60, 43 pa lang ako. Pangalawa, hindi pa ako naghohot flushes. Pangatlo, hindi ako masyadong active sa sex. Chos. [laughs]”
The play has been staged all around the Philippines, with each performance having a varied connection with the audience. What did the actresses think of the Lasallian audience?
“Well you’re all normal ha. Joke lang. [laughs]”, Mosang quips. On a more serious note, she adds, “Pero nakakatuwa kasi matatalino talaga ang mga audience ah, ang mga manonood natin ngayon ‘yung mga kabataan ngayon matatalino sila. Natutuwa ako because they can relate and I think ‘yung kwento niya (Tatlong Yugto, Tatlong Babae) in the near future maiintindihan ng mga lalaki.”
Nagales shares these sentiments, partly due to the difference in age between their characters and those of the student audience. On the other hand, Bongco commends the crowd for listening intently to the monologues, saying this helps them understand what other women in their life go through as well.
Tatlong Yugto, Tatlong Babae gave a glimpse of what women have to deal with in different stages of their life. It delivered a message that women can, despite the stereotypes given to them by society. These are things that women have to keep in mind, especially with the changing times.
Mosang gives a message to the women who watched the show and to those who will watch their future shows, sharing, “Mahalin mo yung pagkababae mo. Basta bigyan mo ng importansya ang pagiging babae mo. I know it’s malalim, pero nasa sarili mong interpretasyon. Hindi interpretasyon ng mundo, kundi interpretasyon mo.” Bongco adds, “Don’t be scared. Kasi yung point ng buong play is to empower women, and to be aware sa mga nangyayari sa isang babae.”
There is nothing to be ashamed of for being a woman, whether it’s the physical struggles that you go through, or the dreams that you want to pursue. You should not let restrictions imposed by others stop you from achieving your goals in life. With that, Nagales ends with these simple words, “Be yourself. Masaya. Don’t put your dreams on hold.”