Super Nene

We know very little about Maria Makiling.

We knew that she fell in love, and probably had sexual intercourse with her man, for she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl before she was really nowhere to be found. Or perhaps the reason why she disappeared was because she was ashamed of the fact that she gave birth out of wedlock. No one really knows. But after Maria Makiling disappeared, it was said that a crying baby girl in a basket was found in the vicinity of Mt. Makiling.  

Nene is seven years old. There is an aura of mystery about her because she is being taken care of by an old childless couple. The old couple also always tried to keep mum about where they got their child. But setting that aside, Nene’s family lived a pretty normal and ordinary life. Nene, just like any other kid, loves to play in the streets and pick up fallen pennies to buy herself sweets. She loves sweets so much, especially those that can be licked in public, like ice cream and lollipops. Her baby teeth were black and rotten because of that; but when she grew her permanent teeth, she learned how to brush her teeth. She always wears her hair in pigtails, and she likes wearing pink.

Nene and her playmates wandered around Mt. Makiling as they were playing hide-and-seek. For two hours, Nene was walking around – and she always seemed to get back to the same particular spot of the forest.

“Mukhang naengkanto yata ako ah,” muttered Nene.

She did everything that she could to escape from the situation: she undressed herself and put back her dress inside-out, said “tabi-tabi po”, ran as fast as she could, and so forth. But she still found herself in the same spot of the forest. Her hands were already trembling, her knees wobbling, so she screamed on top of her lungs, hoping that her playmates would hear her and rescue her.

However, the one who heard her was not a human being, nor her playmate, but the one who was playing with her for the last two hours. Nene finally saw a very beautiful maiden with a long hair and wearing a white dress, looking very much like a diwata, or some kind of a forest guardian. It looked at her with a very loving and nurturing look, even more affectionate than the stares her Nanay always gave her. For some weird reason, Nene felt that she was looking at her mother, but she immediately dismissed it, thinking how impossible it would be.

Finally, the spirit spoke.

“Anak, pagkakalooban kita ng kapangyarihan bilang alaala mo sa akin – magbigay ka lamang ng isang bagay sa akin at iyon ang magiging armas mo sa lahat ng iyong makakaaway.”

Nene was confused. The spirit just addressed her as her child, but she already had her own parents, she thought. Also, she didn’t have anything with her. She had candies and lollipops in her pockets, but she loves them so much that she didn’t want to give even a single one of them to the diwata. They just stared at each other for a few minutes, so the diwata got a bit impatient.

“Magbibilang ako. Isa…dalawa…tatlo…”

But Nene really did not have anything to give, so she just gave her a mischievous smile instead. The diwata smiled back, amazed at how clever her daughter was, and said, “at dahil diyan, ipagkakaloob ko na sa iyo ang iyong kapangyarihan.”

The diwata suddenly disappeared, and Nene felt sharp pain in her teeth as if they were all being pulled out of her mouth. After just a few seconds, her playmates found her. However, she refused playing with them again and went back home immediately, feeling a little feverish, and insecure about her teeth. Her mother made her porridge and she just treated her dental pain with sleep.

After she woke up from her sleep, still feeling very conscious about her teeth, she looked at herself in the mirror and smiled. But gosh, suddenly, she was knocked out by her own reflection. Not because she was breathtakingly beautiful (she is cute), but because her own beaming smile had punched her. The energy of positivity had easily spread in her room, and that made her smile more, and that made the energy around her more positive, and that made her smile more, and that made the flowers in their garden just bloom even though it’s not their time to bloom yet.

Without eating breakfast, she went out to the streets to play. She met the bullies in their neighborhood right away. Ay leche, she thought. The bullies (they were all girls) were able to corner her fast and they punched her and looked for anything that they could take away from her. Nene was punched so hard that she immediately fell on the ground. One of the bullies tried to make her stand up, but she accidentally touched Nene’s armpits, which is a very ticklish part of her body. Nene giggled, partly from being tickled and partly from pain, and the bullies were stunned. It’s as if their dark auras suddenly turned rainbow-colored. They were shocked by their own wrongdoing and felt pity for Nene. The bullies suddenly showered Nene with affection by hugging her and buying her lollipops, and she couldn’t believe what was happening.

A grumpy old man in their neighborhood, very bitter with his own life, was drunk again and did his habit of cursing people that happen to pass by in front of him.

“Putangina, wag kang lalakad lakad dito babae ka! Doon ka sa bahay mo paligayahin mo asawa mo!”

“Ano ba naman yan mga kabataan talaga ngayon, walang alam kundi kumerengkeng! Tapos maya-maya lang makikita mo buntis na! Nagahasa! Pinatay! Punyemas.”

“Oh, galing kayo simbahan? Mga hipokrito! Simba-simba pa kayo ano bang natututunan nyo sa pari nyo? Ang gumawa ng mas maraming kasalanan? Eh yung pari nyo nga mismo kung sinu-sinong babae ang tinitira dyan eh! Pasimba-simba pa! Naku!”

But all of a sudden, Nene and his friends played tag within the grumpy old man’s eyesight. That man is especially annoyed by any sign of happiness, so he held his cane and got ready to make the children’s day miserable. He went up to them and said, “Sa araw-araw ba naman na ginawa ng Diyos, dito pa talaga kayo mag-iingay sa harapan ko?! Bumalik nga kayo sa sinapupu..”

The old man accidentally spewed his false teeth. There was an awkward, ominous silence.

However, Nene couldn’t hold back her laughter. She laughed a very loud HA-HA-HA-HA-HA in front of the old man’s face. Her playmates, by just looking at her, got infected by her laughter. Soon, everyone laughed at the old man. Their neighbors who were watching them were already getting ready to behold the old man’s nasty revenge; yet on the other hand, the old man was charmed by Nene’s laughter that he immediately forgave the children and got into a good mood for that one whole day.

One fateful night, people were shouting and telling each other about Darna, who was in their neighborhood at that time. She was fighting Sulfura. Nene and her playmates went out to watch despite their parents’ warnings, because they wanted to see Darna’s sexiness. They were shouting, “Darna! Darna! Darna! Darna!” to cheer for their favorite superhero, indifferent about the fact that Sulfura might burn them into ashes. Darna and Sulfura’s fight was really intense. Both were really angry at each other. And due to her youthful folly, Nene went nearer to the fight scene really excitedly, giggling very girlishly. Sulfura was annoyed so she glanced at the irksome little bitch. When she beheld Nene’s smiles and laughter, she was immediately disarmed and she lost most of her anger from where she gets her fiery powers from. That’s what made Darna defeat her. People thought that Darna defeated her with her powers alone, but little did they know that behind Darna’s particular victory was a cheeky little girl with a very charming smile.

It took Nene about ten years before she realized her own superpower. It is what made her have lots of friends and suitors. Because of that, no one really had the guts to hurt or offend her. That kind of superpower was bestowed to her by her own mother, Maria Makiling, who eventually realized that her daughter had the best superpower ever. It was not used by Nene to fight people, but to heal them by removing their negativity and replacing it with lots of positivity. In a world with already lots of wars and conflicts, we do not need more fights and resistance anymore. We need more people like Nene, who spread light, gentleness, and love. For hate cannot drive out hate – only love can do that (Martin Luther King, Jr.). When Nene realized her own superpower as she became a beautiful young maiden, she sometimes used it for manipulation and getting away from her mistakes. Superheroes do not always need to capture the attention of the people. Sometimes they are just there, passing by us, getting on with their normal lives. Female superheroes do not need to be masculine and “amazons” to be able to defeat enemies; we normally underestimate the passive ones who help the world in their own little ways.  


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