Friday, January 18, 2008

Locked in the confession room

A one-hour notice last Friday brought me and four other companions to Manila to cover the final night of ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) celebrity edition 2 reality show last Friday. With such a short notice, we missed our 7:30 p.m. flight but we stayed by at the Davao International Airport hoping for a chance at the fully booked last flight at 9 p.m. Luckily, the rain must have caused some passengers to back out and we were accommodated.

The day after the big night, the famous Bahay ni Kuya was finally vacated, and after an interview with PBB winner Ruben Gonzaga, we were allowed to come in the house we had seen so much on television.

I went looking for the only room I was so curious about, the confession room. It was a room which has been a mute witness to all the emotions poured by the housemates, the room where instructions, decisions, sentiments and punishments were meted out by the voice of Big Brother. Finally, I located it at the farthest end passing the bathrooms and the punishment room. We went inside the mirror-covered room and I felt as if I were inside a room from a Chinese movie.

The famous red-padded seat occupied the center of the room, facing a huge TV screen and a camera. I sat on the chair and tucked my legs in, putting the throw pillow on my lap.

To make the effect complete, I went to the open door and closed it for total privacy. The resounding click seemed to come with a sense of finality in it but I did not pay much attention. We were so busy taking souvenir photos, pretending to talk to the invisible big brother on the microphone. When we were ready to go out, a surprise awaited us. The door refused to budge.

I twisted the knob and poked and pried but nothing happened. My companions Cris of Mindanao Times tried, Althea of ABS-CBN tried, but no matter what we did, the door remained firmly shut. We called out to the persons who were outside but they couldn’t open it either. We were locked from within. It seemed unnatural as the door latch looked normal but I began to get worried in case it was broken and we would have to wait until somebody repairs it. Uneasiness was slowly creeping inside me in that windowless room full of mirrors.

A few minutes before we were allowed to go in, I kept saying what if we would be locked and would not be allowed to go out? I could just imagine hearing the voice of Big Brother telling us we could not go out but stay for the “PBB media surprise edition 1”. Ha-ha, what a comforting thought but I was sure that the Kuya must have taken a day off from his house after the 84-day session with the latest celebrity edition

After almost 10 minutes of banging and shouting, I heard another click from somewhere up and door opened. Our host had a big laugh to discover that it was us who were trapped. What we were not aware of was that the door to the confession room was set with electronic locks. Somebody has to go to the controls to unlock the door. Thankfully, it was Sunday and there was not much traffic going to the airport. Otherwise, we would have missed our flight again and that was an idea I did not relish.