By Sylvia L. Mayuga
Posted date: May 29, 2006
(Editor’s note: Tetchie Agbayani remains a blast of a human being. This article about her, published as a column 24 years ago, has just been echoed and confirmed by her most recent portrait in Newsbreak) Once in a while someone like you comes up to magnetize the public eye and, like litmus paper, shows up the acidity or alkalinity in us all. You’d think someone, anyone, might say, “Thank you.” What for? You and the activist Polly Cayetano, your main interlocutor, might ask. Well, for a gem of a lesson in Pinoy sociology for one. For streaking through both local and foreign media in all your glorious 20-year old naiveté, for another, in the process illuminating the options offered to and the fate suffered by a human being like yourself in this time and place. “That Playboy thing is just like the primera if you’re driving a car,” you declared to the writer Al Mendoza early in the April month of your crucifixion by publicity. “They have not seen everything of me. They don’t know what’s in my brain, my body, my soul.” Good point. Very good point. Especially if these were your own true sentiments and not words put in your pretty mouth by some seasoned calculating brain. But let us begin from the relative beginning.
You have publicly confessed that at 16, you fell in love with a second cousin. Tetchie, that was taboo number one in our Filipino Catholic book of love and marriage. Of course it was a classic fight with your mother next, and then the hanging around, the dropping out of school, the mix of grandiose dreams and cliff-hanging survival that make the life script of girls who break the laws of convention. Haven’t you heard that Filipinas are not supposed to get away with that? So you were ripe for that promoter of stars Franklin Cabaluna when he came along. Did he promise you fame? Independence? Adventure? Did he listen with soothing understanding to your problems with your mother,...