Thursday, February 4, 2010

Santino and Generativity

My youngest child Sophia, 5, will surely miss Santino, the “miracle boy” from the television series entitled “May Bukas Pa” (lit. “There Is Still Tomorrow”) for the show will be going to end this Friday. I have no choice but to follow said telenovela since my wife and I decided to cut our cable TV subscription last year due to some household austerity measures. Since then, I kissed CNN, HBO and Basketball Channel goodbye. Pipay (as we fondly call her), her elder sister Anawim and myself have been following (I do not have any other choice for ABS-CBN is the only available channel here in San Jose) the show since day one. We watch "Santino" together, except of course when I am out for meetings, trainings and other advocacy and job-related works during its airing time. Well, that is “Santino” for you.

"Generativity" is a term coined by the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson in 1950 to denote "a concern for establishing and guiding the next generation." Generativity can be expressed in literally hundreds of ways, specially when you try to "make a difference" with your life, to "give back," to "take care" of your community and your planet.

There was a time when the show lost focus on the miracle boy’s story, his eargerness to find his biological parents, and instead lump together stories of other people, that obviously made just to parade the network’s “galaxy of big stars”. At first, I was turned off but as every sub-plot goes on, I began to realize something. This is what I re-learned from the story of Santino : To move beyond ourselves and our own concern, to become involved in the crucial issues of the day, to have an impact of the wider community in which we live. Forget about its poor cinematic effects especially the animation, the excessive portrayal of violence and evil deeds, poor acting by some of the supporting casts and incredible scenes. Let us just focus our lenses on Santino’s sense of mission : the call to self surrender. Self surrender is a state of being called “love” by us, Christians.

In short, Santino reminded me and hopefully taught my teenage Anawim that faith is not a private matter. That it makes sense in life to trust and rely on her and other people’s experience in order to help our needy neighbor. For me, this is generativity in its simplest form. This “Faith is not a private matter” lesson we have (re-) learned from Santino reminds me of Adi Maronilla, Jr, the 7 year old “boy wonder” from Victoria, Oriental Mindoro who said : “Faith is an action word.”. Maronilla is said to have an IQ of 144. But let us now go to Santino’s Bro, AKA Jesus.

Jesus is a life giver. Like Santino, the real-life Bro, wherever He go, He generated life. Jesus listened to stories told by all the people who crossed His path. He healed them of their illnesses, entrusted them with responsibility, suffered with them, encouraged them to love and offered them hope. The beautiful parable of the vine and the branches (Jn. 15:1-10) is a call to generativity. One of my favorite authors and a theologian named Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ once said : “God will have the last word in our lives as indeed God had the first, and it is the same word : ‘LET THERE BE LIFE.’” If we are united with Santino’s Bro, we will continue to generate new life.

Even when Santino is gone and Zaijan Jaranilla become a grown up man …

(Photo from ABS-CBN Website)


  1. nice reflection.

    kuya, kahawig daw ni Santino yong kapatid kong pitong taon. kapag sobrang miss na sya ni sophia, sabihin mo lang, nandyan si Jau :-p

    j. estorninos

  2. Thank you J. Is this a proposal for a pre-arranged marriage? I'll ask Pipay, then. He,he,he. Thank you and may "Bro" be with you always, your honor ...

  3. haha we can never tell. your daughter might grow up w/ Santino face tattoed in her mind. in that case, it's pre-destined than pre-arranged. :-p

    thanks Kuya. may 'Bro' always be w/u & your family too. keep on, tc!

    j. estorninos