MANILA — Kim Chiu is moving on, in style, from what she described as one of the lowest points in her life, with the release of a song with the precise words that made her the target of ridicule on social media.
"I was really down for the past few days... But of course pag may problema, siyempre hindi mo dapat tinatambayan. Doon tayo sa option na move forward," Chiu said in her YouTube vlog on Monday, referring to the incessant mudslinging following her participation in the #LabanKapamilya campaign.
In the online protest against the government shutdown of ABS-CBN, Chiu likened the situation of her home network to students complying with classroom rules.
The analogy, by Chiu's own admission, was not well formed. Laughing, she agreed that it made little sense when she reviewed her own statement.
The hurtful words she received, however, became so unbearable for Chiu, that she had to shut herself from social media for several days.
"Kontrolado mo ang emosyon mo, kontrolado mo kung ano ang papapasukin mong emosyon, at kung ano ang hindi mo papapasukin," she said.
She even had her phone kept from her, "just to keep my sanity," Chiu recalled.
"Isa ito sa mga lowest [point in my life]. Tao lang naman din ako na nasasaktan din, lalo na fragile ang emotions natin kasi na sa bahay tayo nang ilang days," she said, referring to the coronavirus lockdown.
While friends checked up on Chiu at the height of the meme's spread, it was one stranger's open letter on Facebook that made a mark on the actress.
Chiu received messages from her ABS-CBN bosses linking to the viral letter from one Adrian Crisanto, a marketing professional. In his post addressed to Chiu, Crisanto wrote detailed suggestions as to how she can turn the meme into something positive.
"Nilatagan niya ako!" Chiu said. "Binuhat niya ako, at nilagay niya ako sa kabilang side. 'Huwag ka mag-self-pity, huwag mo i-doubt ang sarili mo. Punta ka dito sa kabila, tingnan mo, maraming gold dito.'"
At that point in Chiu's vlog, Crisanto joined via video call.
Turning emotional, Chiu explained that she sought Crisanto to personally thank him "for picking me up at my lowest."
"You're such an angel!" she told Crisanto.
In his letter, Crisanto mentioned that he is not necessarily a fan of Chiu — a fact he now apologized for, in jest, as he came face to face with the actress.
Nonetheless, he said, "You don't have to be a fan of someone to respect that person."
"It was my intention to encourage you. I wanted you to know na kahit hindi tayo magkakilala in person, I respect you for who you are," Crisanto told Chiu, who appeared to be holding tears.
"Do not be discouraged because there are people who look beyond the mistakes and can really find something beautiful," he said.
In Crisanto's room, as seen in the video call, was a piece of decor with the text, "Hoy, be kind" — apt words, given Chiu's brush with bashing.
"We have to decide to be kind," Crisanto said. "'Yung oras na gugugulin mo sa pag-post ng masasamang words, take it as a time to step back and isipin mo, 'Tama ba 'tong gagawin ko? Makakasakit ba 'to sa isang tao?' Pass. Huwag mo nang gawin. Just be kind."
Chiu credited Crisanto's kindness, despite him being a stranger, for helping her recover from the dark episode.
"Pinagdasal ko sa Panginoon. Paano ako tatayo? Natumba ka na, tinapak-tapakan ka na... Dahil doon, nabuhayan talaga ako ng loob," she said, referring to Crisanto's letter.
Among Crisanto's suggestions to Chiu was to record the "remix" of her video statement that had gone viral, spawning its own classical and rock covers, as well as a TikTok dance challenge.
The song, which autotunes Chiu's words and with its own original beat, was produced by DJ Squammy.
DJ Squammy, joining the video call with Chiu and Crisanto, explained that he is a music producer by profession, with his own recording studio.
When asked by an amused Chiu what "inspired" him to come up with the parody track, DJ Squammy went technical.
"Narinig ko 'yung pagkakabigkas mo," he told Chiu. "May tinatawag kaming prosody, 'yung tono ng salita. 'Di ba sabi mo, 'Sa classroom may batas'? Maganda 'yung ganoon mo, eh. May alliteration, rhyming, lahat present. Pag ito, nilatagan ko ng solid na beat, kakabit 'to."
DJ Squammy said he understood why Chiu struggled to finish her sentences then.
"Kung tutuusin, gets ko naman, eh. Nag-stutter ka lang doon sa words na kukunin, kasi emotional ka noon. Naintindihan naman natin 'yun," he said.
Chiu admitted that initially, she was saddened when she came across DJ Squammy's remix. Seeing that it entertained people, especially amid the pandemic, however, soon changed her mind.
"Bakit pinaglaruan 'yung sinabi ko?" she thought at the time. "Tapos noong nakita ko na 'yung video sa TikTok, na pati 'yung mga pamangkin ko sumasayaw na doon sa beat na ginawa mo, sabi ko, 'Shocks, at least sumaya pala 'yung mga tao sa ginawa mo sa sinabi ko.'"
"Kahit malungkot 'yung paligid, malungkot 'yung mga nangyayari sa bansa natin, at least nagawa mo 'yung part mo na mag-entertain ng tao. I think we did a good job!" she said, prompting a high five with DJ Squammy.
The music producer said he had been receiving messages, among them from fans of Chiu, thanking him for turning a video weaponized against the actress into a source of entertainment.
DJ Squammy did not expect his remix would go viral, to the point of virtually meeting Chiu, as he made it admittedly out of boredom after a two-month lull of having no clients.
"Ako ang iyong first client after two months!" Chiu said, laughing, as she invited both DJ Squammy and Crisanto, who also happens to be a songwriter, to collaborate on a full version of the track.
"Sa pagkikita nating into, we turn the tables para sa atin, para sa entertainment ng lahat," she said.
Concluding the vlog was the result of that collaboration — a music video of a song now titled "Bawal Lumabas (The Classroom Song)."
While it retained the original viral lyrics, the song now spoke in clearer terms — about the "law" of loving your neighbor as yourself, and overcoming a dark chapter with newfound courage to face the world again.
"Ay, puwede na pala ikaw lumabas," goes its final line.