A Mother's Little Secret

Dec 1, 2018

Sheila (19) grows up in a conservative family. She has no boyfriend ever since, and promises to herself that she will only give her virginity to the man whom she will marry. After graduating from college, she works in Singapore as a caregiver, devoting her time to work to give remittance to her family. Ten years later, Sheila (29) decides to have a vacation in the Philippines to spend time with her family, and to attend a high school reunion. In the reunion, she meets Rey (29), her batchmate and a seafarer by profession. At first, Sheila does not like Rey due to the stereotype that all seafarers are playboys. But as days pass by, their relationship deepens until they part ways due to their respective work abroad. Despite that, Sheila is constantly getting in touch with and having feelings for Rey. After almost 2 years, they decide to get married and settle down in the Philippines to build a happy family. But it is only after 5 years when they are blessed with a baby girl they named Lyka. Sheila (36) and Rey (36) thought that finally, they would live a happy family, but disarray soon arises when Lyka is diagnosed with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Sheila harbors hatred and disgust towards Rey, and she blames him now that the three of them acquired the virus. While Lyka is undergoing medications, Rey’s condition worsens due to HIV, leaving Sheila alone to stand up for her family. They stay in Bahay Lingap foundation, a shelter for people living with HIV (PLHIV), that provides medical needs, alternative livelihood, and seminars and trainings, and extensive unit for children living with HIV. Meanwhile, Sheila takes care of Lyka alone, while Rey continues to battle the complications of HIV. Unfortunately, Rey died after 2 years. With all her might in spite of her disease, Sheila raises Lyka (2) all by herself. As Lyka grows up, Sheila hides the truth from her daughter about their real illness. Though it is hard for Sheila, she conceals the truth from Lyka and convinces her daughter that her illness is leukemia so she could protect her daughter from the inevitable judgment of society. To make her daughter feel she is not different from any other children, Sheila enrols Lyka in a normal school. She never fails to remind Lyka to be cautious around other children at school, especially when she gets cuts or wounds. Years after, when Lyka (12) reaches puberty stage and now having menstruation, Sheila (47) finally reveals to her daughter the truth about their real disease – HIV. At first, it was hard for Lyka to accept the fact she has HIV and that Sheila hid it from her all throughout their journey. But through the help of Sheila, Lyka realizes all the sacrifices of her mother to protect her, and gradually she is able to accept and understand life living with HIV. Now Sheila (51) is living positively in life, with Lyka who is now an active advocate for PLHIV children; encouraging them to live a normal and positive life like other children.



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