We just lost a dear friend of ours, one of our “berks“. We used to joke around, wondering who among us would go first, and who’ll get the thankless role of burying us all. It was a morbid game to play, but we dared go there because the idea was so far away, it seemed safe. Little did we know that in as short as a few years, we’d be forced to look mortality straight in the eye.
Minna worked as a dubber for the 2 giants, so she was both a kapamilya and kapuso. She wrote the scripts and voiced many characters of koreanovelas and anime shows. Our names would suspiciously pop up as character names in the shows she wrote for. We’d make her do her “Pink 5” voice she did for the Power Rangers. She also dubbed the voices of many big name stars when she could sound more like them than the actresses themselves.
I met Minna because she became the girlfriend of a close friend I hung out with. So by association, we ended up as good friends. So good in fact, that way after they broke up, we still hung out with her, even more often that we did with my own friend. Before we knew it, she was part of the berks.
I learned badminton, diving and underwater hockey with her, and as a barkada we’d travel to places like Batangas and Bohol. She was even supposed to go with us earlier this year when the whole barkada traveled to Hong Kong, our first trip abroad as a group. In fact, we bought her plane ticket using my credit card.
Unfortunately, fate had other plans for her. Late last year, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, exactly the same illness her mother died of. It wasn’t even a year after her mom died when she got sick. She was no longer able to join us on our Hong Kong trip. We regaled her with promises that we’ll return to Hong Kong once she gets better. But at around 3am yesterday, the prospects of that ever happening became nil.
I don’t know if it has sunk in yet. I’m still half expecting her to pop up laughing, telling us it was all a joke. When I went to her Twitter and Facebook profiles just minutes ago, I was hoping to see a fresh status update about how she pulled a fast one on her friends. Unfortunately all I saw were farewell messages for our fallen friend. I guess it’s final. The last time we saw her was my birthday dinner. Even if she was so weak, she made it a point to attend. She told me that she really fixed herself up, had her hair done, put on make-up, so that we won’t get alarmed at how thin and drawn she’s gotten. I guess it was also her way to say goodbye to us. And she wanted to make sure we remember her that way – smiling, beautiful, strong, the way we knew her before she got sick. Maybe she somehow knew that it was the last time we’ll ever see her. Rest well Mins, we’ll miss you terribly. And we, your family, love you dearly.
Carmina Nicolas Bernales (1967-2010)