May 27, 2017

Samina (15) and Aisah (8) are born in an average-earning family in Lanao. Their parents Abu (60s) and Amirah (late 50s) separately earn below the minimum wage in their respective fields – Abu being a farmer and Amirah being a blanket weaver. As young as she is, Aisah dreams of finishing her studies someday, in order to give her family a better life; this is why Aisah grows up to be the obedient child. In contrary, her older sister Samina is the kind of daughter who is stubborn, hard-headed and does not care enough to even attend her classes. But in spite of their differences, the two get along very well, except when Samina starts to be the difficult daughter that she is. As the two grow up, Aisah is always affected by every decision her older sister makes, especially when it comes to her antics where she encounters troubles. Aisah is often ordered by her Ate Samina not to tell their mother about their side trips to a nearby river before coming home, only to always get busted by their mother every single time, resulting to the two of them being on the receiving end of the whips of their mother’s walis tingting. If not swimming by the rivers, Aisah is then forced by Samina to climb up coconut trees just before dinner time when they are asked to harvest kangkong from a bukid, for their dinner and then again resulting to their mother’s rage. Every time Aisah is with her older sister Samina, all she encounters is trouble. Even so, Aisah loves her sister dearly, especially for being resourceful. Years pass and the two drift apart to build their own families and try to pursue their individual dreams. A mother to five children, Aisah is brought to the southern part of Lanao, while her older sister Samina is brought to Divisoria to make a living like other Muslim vendors. Over more than four years of not seeing each other, the two accidentally meet in Lanao, when Aisah (30s) comes with a Mayor’s driver on a campaign, while Samina (30s) waits for the mother of the lost child she had randomly picked during Christmas time in Manila. Wanting to see the mother’s reaction upon the reunion, Aisah asks Samina if she could stick around, to which Samina agrees. Hours later, as soon as the boy returns, policemen flock to arrest her and sister Samina due to an alleged kidnapping for ransom case. Both arrested and charged with the aforementioned case, the sisters are to serve a lifetime sentence in the Correctional Institution for Women. Innocent of the crime, Aisah endures the indubitable lifelong pain away from her children, causing one of her children to not recognize her as his mother in one of their visits. Aggravating her distress, more than half of Aisah’s beloved family, in 2013, dies in an ambush attack during a campaign for the Mayor who was supposed to help her and sister Samina discharge from prison. Putting the blame on Samina, Aisah states that had she not been there on Samina’s plan, her husband and three children wouldn’t have had to go to the Mayor’s campaign just to receive the help they had been coveting. Reiterating her sentiments when they were younger, Aisah believes that being with her sister Samina only causes her to be in trouble. But being behind bars with Samina soon proves Aisah that the former is the only rock whom she draws strength from, while their remaining siblings have all passed away.


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