I didn't expect that I will be involved in moviemaking because I
have not studied filming. For the whole month of February 2010, I have
been sent by friends, video links that are mostly documentary. I
became inspired that lead to the creation of this movie.
I bought a consumer grade HD video camera which is on sale, only
to realize that there is no audio output which means the sound might
turn out to be noisy without a boom mic which is too expensive for me.
Video tutorials helped me gave me insights on how to use a
camera properly but I forgot that there is also a scriptwriting and
directing side that I have to learn too.
Perhaps I just didn't have the time or I'm just foolish.
I came home for a vacation in Philippines and started rolling without
a story or a script. Maybe this is the way I like some things,
unplanned. I decided to let things unfold and allow this intelligent force
in the universe to use my physical body to execute whatever needs to
It is much like stepping on a bus without reading the destination
sign but trusting that I will reach the right place.
Is that dumb? or is that dumb? (laughs)
Who else would be the best subject in my documentary but the
people in the mountain whom I have observed from childhood to be
living a difficult life.
My parents have established a copra business that deal mostly with
them. Carabaos and horses carrying the sacks of coconut harvest
would be a normal scenario in front of our small warehouse.
Lack of money, sickness, typhoon, and all sorts of heartbreaking
stories would be heard from them. I have neither given them
substantial help nor shown signs of warmth & compassion when I was
However, it seemed that while I was busy in my school life, they
have always been at the back of my mind and one day I wish to be of
service to somehow make their life easier.
Before filming, I thought that this might be a story about poverty.
But as I started taking videos and getting to know a little bit more of
the people, I realized that they must have been the luckiest people on
Why? Because they have a huge carpet of greens, fresh air, big
trees, fruits, vegetables, beautiful horizon and all that mother nature
can give, except that they lack the right frame of mind on how to use
the resources wisely.
Where I work, money is attainable but we are deprived of nature.
We are stressed everyday by deadlines, office politics, traffic and so
on. We eat deep fried foods and apples bombarded with 30 kinds of
pesticides. In truth, both worlds are abundant, but in a different way.
I felt there is no reason to continue, there seems to be no issue
here at all. But I kept going.
Then one night, while in downtown, I saw a boy about seven years
old picking up the bag of trash in front of a shop. I followed him and
ended up seeing his father waiting by a pedicab (small bicycle with
sidecar) loaded with garbage. I asked for his name and the place where
The next day, I searched for the garbage people's house but first I
get to meet the grandmother who is taking care of three disabled
I wish I could have shown in the video the intensity of my
heartbreak while "Michael" gives himself a physiotherapy, something
that he does while grandma is away working.
I cried as I walk home. What level of strength do these people
I went home for lunch to charge my battery and went to the
dumpsite where I heard people sift garbage for a living, a second blow
in my head for me that day.
Big flies are everywhere, it felt like they are all over my body.
Horrid smell seemed to live inside my lungs forever. But my conscious
mind was so focused on capturing the activity in their work. They are
fast, happy workers.
Laughter and jokes fill the air as I capture them in amazement.
Subconsciously, I must have been devastated because after a
couple of days, I became ill.
Then I met Jerick, a high school student who seemed to radiate a
young, hopeful energy despite of the fact that he is struggling
How I met these people seemed magical to me. I walk in a place,
quite unsure why I went there. Whenever I ask around, they point me
in the direction as if it is really meant to be the way I am supposed to
After capturing the footages, I still don't know how to formulate
the script. It is a mix of heartbreak, amazement, realization and the
pressure of presenting a story as per the standards of filmmaking,
which I have zero experience.
I almost decided not to complete the movie for many reasons. The
experience that I had is more than enough for it has given me profound
realization that I can never obtain from any classroom or seminar.
This is a gift that I will carry everywhere I go.
Producing a movie is just a bonus for me.
Being lazy at the time, I was sent a link by my friend, Beth Lamont,
about a film festival that is due in three months' time. I thought the
prize money is enough to help me start a foundation in Philippines and
pursue my mission. It became the fuel for my passion to come alive
I asked around for people whom I can talk to about the filmmaking
process who gave me tips about the basics of filmmaking and then I
went from there.
Before I put the story together, I did a meditation for clairty of
mind. After I woke up, I have the story in my head which is now the
movie that everyone can watch for free.
It didn't make it to the film festival but it did prompt me to finish it,
which is a good thing.
I would like to thank the people who participated in the movie for
showcasing their life as representation of many things. I consider them
the bravest of souls who came down here on earth to volunteer to live
the life that they have now. We deserve to enjoy the material things
but know that they are temporary and what lies within is eternal.
They are the basic representation of the groups of people who
have become socially invisible. Through this movie, we hope that they
will have a voice to be heard to get the attention of proper
organizations and institutions worldwide and in the Philippines.
The human spirit is strong no matter what is done to us externally.
And I do not want to give this up for it is only our true beauty within
that can heal the world we are living in.
Everyone, please have a seat, perhaps with an organic popcorn
and better yet raw finger foods, and enjoy the movie. :)