Saturday, December 23, 2006

PDI Forum by Noelani Torre

What's your best local movie of the year?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

IYM No.11

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

IYM No.10

Nay, mag-isa lang ba ginawa ni Louise ang pulseras?
Ako lang ang nagtali.

Ako, ako lang mag-isang gumawa n'yan.

Ang galing mo nga eh. Kahit ang bata mo pa,
kaya mo nang mag-isa.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

IYM No. 9

Nanay ko yan!
Oo, alam ko. Mamya pupunta kami sa ilog.
Sama ka?
Andyan nanay ko eh.
Wala ka pala.

Anong wala?
Eh ba't ayaw mo?
Eh ayoko ko.
Wala ka pala.
Ikaw ang wala.

Mga walang modo!

IYM No.8

Thanks to our creative Kasambahays- Nana & Tess for these wonderful Louise's Bunnica Bday cupcakes!

Friday, December 15, 2006

IYM No.7

…Nay, puwede akong sumama?
Sige na, po.

Ay! Huwag kang ganyan.
Hindi ako susuka.
Hindi naman yung pagsuka e. Anak, huwag mo akong pahirapan.
Alam mo naman hindi pwede.
Ruby, anong sinabi ko sa iyo kanina?
Bawal pong sumama.

Magtatampo si Ruby. Darating ang bus.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

IY Moment No.6

IY Moment No.5

IY Moment No.4

What should I call her?
Kamukha siya ni Ruby. Magkakulay. Yung batang
'yon babad kasi sa araw. Lagalag.
Lag-a-lag? What's that?
Lagalag...Ano ba iyon, palaboy. Pirmeng wala sa bahay. Laging nasa labas.

She's allowed?
Allowed? Anong allowed?
She's allowed to go out of the house? By herself?
Ah oo! Iba kasi doon.

'Ya, what if I call her Ruby?
Talaga? Kung malaman 'yan ni Ruby, kikiligin 'yon...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

IY Moment No.3

...huwag na huwag mong pababayaan si Ruby.

Ano naman akala n'yo sa akin?

Malay ko, baka unahin mo pa ang anak ng iba kaysa anak mo.

Ayan na naman kayo, paulit-ulit na lang.

Naawa lang ako. Wala na ngang tatay...

Oo na, wala pang nanay...Pero anong magagawa ko?

IY Moment No.2

...ang kapal namboboso!

Ano? Sino?!

Si Junathan.

Sino naman si Junathan?

Yung anak ni Ruben. Sumugod nga dito...

IY Moment No.1

Ruby at Junathan sa manggahan.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

‘Inang Yaya’ commands attention, respect and involvement

By Nestor Torre

MARICEL SORIANO’S CURRENT STARRER, “Inang Yaya,” is one of her best thespic showcases ever. For this perceptive and finely crafted production (directed by first-timers Pablo Biglang-Awa and Veronica Velasco for Unitel), Maricel drops most of her signature acting ties, in favor of a simply but deeply felt portrayal that is luminous, affecting and inspiring to behold.

In the family drama, Maricel plays the “Mommy Yaya” of spoiled, English-speaking Louise (Erika Oreta), the daughter of yuppies portrayed by Sunshine Cruz and Zoren Legaspi.

They’re often busy with work and social obligations, so Maricel has been their daughter’s surrogate mom. Louise may be a hoity-toity brat, but she loves her yaya to bits.

Trouble is, Maricel has a daughter of her own in the province—Ruby (Tala Santos), who’s being cared for by her grandmother (Marita Zobel), and aches for her mother’s presence.

That’s the film’s central irony: Maricel is forced to earn money for her daughter by taking care of—and loving—somebody else’s child, while her own daughter grows up without a mother.

Yes, her basic needs are paid for, but there’s a hole in her heart that nothing and nobody can fill—aside from her hardworking mother, who perforce is unable to.

It’s a hurt as old as the movie hills, but “Inang Yaya” makes it especially painful by not going whole hog in the melodrama and tearjerker departments.

All of the movie’s hurting characters wear their pain on their sleeves, but they don’t beat themselves—and the film audience—black and blue and bathetic with it. Such restraint is admirable and exceedingly rare to see on the local screen.

In any case, the emotionally untenable situation changes when Maricel is forced to bring her daughter to live with her in her employers’ home.

Alas, the change is not necessarily for the better, as the two girls from both sides of the social divide bicker and fight for Maricel’s love.

Other problems intrude and obtrude, until one “inang yaya” doesn’t know how else to divide himself up to please all of the people who demand her attention and affection.

Yes, she makes the “right” decision in the end, but only after so much struggle and strife. And the viewer suffers and learns along with her.

This is Maricel’s movie, but interestingly enough, Sunshine Cruz also comes on strong in this production. And the two new child actresses who play Louise and Ruby turn in absolutely pitch-perfect performances.

This early, we bet that, come film awards time, they’ll win a slew of trophies as an ensemble act—together!

Beyond excellent performance, however, “Inang Yaya” commands attention respect and involvement as one of the better films of 2006.

Do yourself a favor and catch it soonest—among other beneficial effects, it will help restore your admiration for Filipino films.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Inang Yaya going strong on its 2nd week

excerpt from Star Circuit by Ricky Calderon
Freeman Entertainment 12.08.06

Mr. Tony Gloria, the big boss of Unitel Pictures, is very pleased with the box-office results of "Inang Yaya," which is still going strong on its second week. Aside from being a critical success, "Inang Yaya" also did very well at the box-office and is being talked about as a potential awards winner in next year''s awards derbies, with Maricel Soriano being touted as the actress to beat with her fine performance.

Kudos also to the two directors, Pablo Biglang-Awa and Veronica Velasco, with a special mention to Roni for her beautiful script.

The "Inang Yaya" team had a thanksgiving party where they were congratulated by Mr. Gloria for a job well done. Incidentally, "Inang Yaya" has already been subtitled and will be shown abroad. We''re not yet sure if it would be joining international film festivals (but we believe it should). Unico Pictures, the partner of Unitel Pictures, will handle the international screenings of "Inang Yaya" and the possibility of it being marketed and shown in film festivals.

To those who still haven''t seen "Inang Yaya," do see it and marvel at the beauty of this simple film that would definitely touch your hearts and make you cry.


Mama Nana / Inang Yaya

Carver's House

Carlo Vergara on Inang Yaya

Friday, December 01, 2006


Reymundo Salao Inang Yaya Review

The hand that rocks the cradle rules our hearts

Inang Yaya
Directed by Pablo Biglang-awa and Veronica Velasco

Vol. XX, No. 92
Friday-Saturday, December 1-2, 2006 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES


That we all measure our reality by the mirrors that reflect them is an indication of the power of film and its ability to show us what is hidden from our own selves. It is a lofty aspiration: to mirror the truth and lay it barefaced for all to see. Yet, more often than not, this influential medium is used to obfuscate and befuddle, much to the delight of commercial enterprises that seek no other reward than money.

In truth, local cinema has wallowed in a quagmire of B-movies over the last few years, in a peat of decomposing ideas unfit for the cultivation of creative thought. The Golden Age of Philippine Cinema awaits its rebirth, but, sadly, there are very few to answer such an imposing call.

There is, however, reason enough to smile these days, and it’s kept me in a better mood than I have been in of late. Call it the holiday spirit inevitably coloring the sentiments of a cynic like me. It may even be the inebriating spirit of a glass too many of eggnog too early in the season, but suffice to say that in a season of tiresome remakes, unimaginative exploitation of serials, and depressingly formulaic horror flicks, Unitel Pictures’ Inang Yaya rises from the lot like Aphrodite born in a sea of foam.

It’s a rarity in current Philippine cinema, given its deteriorating state. And it’s exactly the sort of feature film that makes you second-guess the future of the local motion picture industry. Hmmm. Maybe things aren’t so bad after all.

Maricel Soriano topbills as Norma, a.k.a. "Inang Yaya" or, literally translated, "mother nanny." A single mother, she is forced to leave behind her daughter Ruby (Tala Santos) in the care of her mother Tersing (Marita Zobel.) An all-around helper in the household of May and Noel (Sunshine Cruz and Zoren Legaspi), she earns this loving moniker from Louise (Erika Oreta), the seven-year-old child she has cared for since birth.

A crisis ensues, however, and Ruby moves in with her mother, thanks to Norma’s grateful employers who can’t seem to live without her. It’s happily ever after then, right? Think again. As in the case of real life, the transition is not as rosy as it seems. Norma, Ruby, and Louise all find themselves in a balancing act of love and loyalty, and of compassion and personal desires, walking a hair-thin line of economic divide.

It’s an ordinary life of servitude, common to many and identifiable to Filipino families all over the world. Whatever the arguments may be for or against the very notion of household help, they all fly in the face of our culture. Truth be told, we’ve probably all had the same experiences — or close to them — changed only by our different personal perspectives. Nannies, or more commonly known as our ubiquitous yayas, are a part of Filipino family life. Many of us grew up with them and, in turn, have assimilated them into our adult lives.

Yet, as seemingly "common" and "necessary" as they are to our lives, we often take them for granted. The poet William Ross Wallace once wrote, "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world," and, to children growing up in a nanny’s loving care, no words ring truer. Our nannies are our surrogate parents, there for us when our own flesh and blood is conspicuously absent. They lighten the load immensely for us; they are a ready helping hand to ease the burdens of everyday. They give us respite and rest from the troubles of the world.

And this where Inang Yaya succeeds in realizing the enormity of an otherwise "insignificant" sector of our society. By immersing us in a realistic family situation, we find our selves — our values and truths — mirrored in the depiction of the film. From the provincial household of Lola Tersing, to the more modern and decidedly sophisticated lifestyle of working parents May and Noel, directors Pablo Biglang-Awa and Veronica Velasco get the rhythm of life down pat. Their characters are fleshed out with real skin, bones, even grit, that it becomes almost instinctive for viewers to empathize with their plight.

Moreover, Ms. Velasco, as the film’s writer, has imbued her characters with lifelike representations of real-life people. Lola Toots, Louise’s abrasive and surly grandmother (played by the fascinating Liza Lorena), is not the tiresome caricature she seems to be. Scratching at the surface of her blossoming relationship with Ruby, our notions of contentiousness and indifference are tested. Beneath this ill-humored, stubborn old woman springs forth a wealth of emotions, some noble and some, well, just plain human, that reject ambivalence at any level.

Ms. Soriano does an excellent job portraying Norma, a woman torn between love for her daughter and the child she considers all but her own. There are no excessively sentimental or cloying scenes to keep the mood depressing; instead, Ms. Soriano deftly highlights the poignancy of Norma’s plight with restrained acting, albeit one that breaches through the artifice of howlers and snot-nosed tearjerkers.

Sunshine Cruz and Zoren Legaspi play supporting roles to the triumvirate of Norma, Louise, and Ruby, but, as brief as their appearances may be, they are convincingly consistent as busy working parents: loving, concerned, but with just a tad too little time in their hands. Perhaps it is well and good that they are now parents themselves. Rather than simply being cast as glamorous figureheads, they provide the film with more meat and soul.

Nonetheless, the real revelations of the movie are the child actresses hired from an audition of hundreds. (Log on to YouTube to see footage of the audition, and you’ll certainly agree with the choice of casting.) Erika Oreta’s Louise is a perfect foil to Tala Santos’ Ruby. Each representing half of Norma’s heart, they play off as yin and yang, the refined vis-Ö-vis the gruff, the child of her heart as opposed to the child of her womb. Both possess a natural charm for the camera, though it is the irrepressible Santos who deserves special mention as a gifted performer, one who can summon emotions simply with a pout or even just a downcast glance.

That being said, I must comment on a little product placement that seems out of sync in the overall scheme of things. On two separate occasions, a specific product was integrated into the scene, calling attention to itself rather than blending into the natural progression of the work. It’s a momentary lapse in judgment on the part of the film’s makers, I believe, and fortunately, despite its very obvious intentions of commercial promotion and recall, viewers who shared the screening room with me were more wont to smile about it and simply brush it off. I note, however, that this would not have worked in a lesser-caliber film.

Inang Yaya is definitely a first rate production. It absolutely deserves the grade-A rating it received from the Cinema Evaluation Board. Smooth, with a strong story line, solid execution, great production values, and even greater acting, Inang Yaya succeeds in transporting us from the realm of make-believe to real life. Best of all, Inang Yaya reminds us that love is never divided, just always multiplied.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sapul na sapul ang aming mga puso

Allan Diones Review of INANG YAYA in Abante Tonite

Napakasimple ng kuwento ng pelikulang Inang Yaya na nagawa na noon sa mga pelikula at napakaraming soap opera at drama anthologies sa telebisyon kaya akala namin ay ‘one of those’ tearjerkers lang ito nang panoorin namin sa press preview.
Hindi namin akalain na sa kasimplehang ‘yon ng istorya ay maaantig nito nang husto ang aming damdamin.
Si Norma (Maricel Soriano) ay naninilbihan bilang yaya ng batang si Louise (Erika Oreta). Kapwa working parents ang Mommy May (Sunshine Cruz) at Daddy Noel (Zoren Legaspi) ni Louise kaya ang palagi nitong kasama ay si Yaya Norma, na napakalapit sa bata at halos nanay na kung ituring nito.
Si Norma ay may sariling anak, si Ruby (Tala Santos) na kaedad ni Louise. Sa probinsiya nakatira si Ruby kasama ang kanyang Lola Tersing (Marita Zobel) at tuwing bakasyon lang ito nadadalaw ni Norma.
Nang pumanaw ang lola ni Ruby, napilitan si Norma na dalhin sa Maynila ang anak at patirahin din ito sa bahay ng kanyang mga amo.
Nang magpasya ang kanyang mga amo na manirahan sa ibang bansa, kailangang mamili si Norma kung sasama siya upang huwag malayo sa kanyang mahal na alaga o mananatili siya rito para maging ina sa kanyang pinakamamahal na anak.
Sino ang pipiliin ni Norma — si Ruby o si Louise?
Makabago, makatotohanan at ngayon na ngayon ang Inang Yaya na feature film debut ng baguhang direktor na si Pablo Biglang-awa at sinulat ni Veronica Velasco (na co-director ng pelikula).
Pinatunayan ng dalawang bagitong direktor na ito na hindi kailangan ng malaking budget o ng mamahaling special effects para makalikha ng isang makabuluhang produkto. Mahihiya ang ibang beteranong direktor kina Pablo at Veronica sa galing nilang mag-motivate ng kanilang mga artista at humugot ng makatotohanang pagganap mula sa mga ito. Maging sa aspetong teknikal ay kapuri-puri ang pelikula at pulido sa bawat anggulo.
Tama ang desisyon ng Unitel na kumuha ng mga bagong dugo na bibigyan ng pagkakataon na gumawa ng pelikula dahil sa mga nakaraang produksyon nila ay ang indie digifilm na Nasaan Si Francis? (2006) lang ang nagustuhan namin, bukod sa initial venture nila noon na American Adobo (2001). Ngayon ay numero uno na sa listahan namin ang Inang Yaya.
Makaka-relate ang maraming Pinoy sa Inang Yaya, lalo na ‘yung mga lumaking may tagapag-alaga at nakagisnang ‘pangalawang ina’ sa katauhan ng kanilang mga butihing yaya.
Nagustuhan namin ang karakter nina Sunshine at Zoren bilang modernong mga amo na mababait at hindi na iba ang turing sa yaya ng kanilang anak (hindi ‘yung stereotype na malulupit at matapobre).
Wala kaming itulak-kabigin sa dalawang batang babae na tampok sa pelikula. Swak na swak sa kanilang karakter sina Tala at Erika, na napili mula sa napakaraming bagets na nag-audition.
Natural na natural si Tala bilang poor kid pero street-smart na si Ruby, at very lovable si Erika bilang sosy but sweet rich kid na si Louise.
Hanep ang mga eksena ng dalawang bagets at animo’y hindi sila umaarte. Deserving silang pareho na bigyan ng award for Best Child Actress.
Maging ang mga ekstrang bata sa movie ay agaw-eksena, lalo na ‘yung dalawang mean girls na ang babagets pa ay ang gagaling nang mang-okray!
Standout din si Ms. Liza Lorena bilang Lola Toots, ang mahadera at matapobreng lola ni Louise. Kasuklam-suklam ang karakter niya pero may change of heart siya in the end, kaya pinaluha niya rin kami nang husto.
Effortless si Ms. Liza at pasok siya sa listahan namin ng Best Supporting performances sa taong ito.
Pero ang tunay na puso at kaluluwa ng Inang Yaya ay ang bidang si Ms. Maricel Soriano (na isa rin sa mga producer nito).
Lutang na lutang ang pagiging tunay na aktres ni Marya sa pelikulang ito. Tila nagbalik ang ‘rawness’ ng kanyang pagganap at nawala ang kanyang ‘mannered’ at ‘gigil’ acting.
Makadurog-puso ang mga simpleng nuances niya at hindi si Maricel ang nakita namin sa screen kundi ang kanyang yaya karakter.
Hindi ino-OA ang kadramahan kaya hindi ito lumabas na katsipang melodrama.
Maraming eksena na sapul na sapul ang puso namin at tahimik lang kaming nanonood pero tuluy-tuloy ang pagdaloy ng aming masaganang luha.
Sa katunayan ay gusto na namin agad itong matapos dahil sikip na sikip na ang dibdib namin. Pero pagkatapos ng screening ay parang ang gaan ng pakiramdam dahil ang sarap-sarap lumuha!
Isa ito sa best performances ni Maricel kundi man best performance ever ng kanyang buong career.
Bago namin ito napanood ay si Gina Pareño ang Best Actress bet namin (para sa Kubrador) so far this year, pero binago ‘yon ni Maricel.

Para sa amin ay ito na ang panahon para siya’y maka-grandslam!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Film Development Council of the Philippines
Summation of CEB members’ comments on
Unitel Pictures

INANG YAYA tells a very simple story. A single mother lives away from her very young daughter to work as a nanny of another little girl. When circumstances allow the three of them to live in the same house, the nanny realizes that she hardly knows her own daughter and that her heart is even torn between the two girls. What could easily have been just a mushy melodrama becomes, in the hands of scriptwriter Veronica Velasco and her co-director Pablo Biglang-awa, a finely crafted film that is both deeply moving and very intelligent.

It is a tearjerker that effectively does what it’s suppose to do – jerk tears without being cloying. The crisp and clear cinematography, with mostly close-ups and tight shots, compels the viewer to feel the various complex emotions of the film. But the film, too, has enough restraint to allow its audience to reflect on the complexities of domestic relationships and the oppressiveness of social prejudice.

The film, of course, also draws its power from its well-thought out characters as well as their portrayal. Maricel Soriano, true to form, delivers an excellent and highly nuanced performance as Norma. Tala Santos is credible as the feisty but caring Ruby, and so is Erika Oreta as the bratty but sweet Louise. And Liza Lorena, as a haughty grandmother who learns how to care for someone she is determined to hate, shows how a true actress can shine even in a minor role.

INANG YAYA shows how a simple material, when treated with complexity and depth, can turn into an excellent film. The Cinema Evaluation Board, therefore, gives the film a grade of 'A.'

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

INANG YAYA Advanced Screening on Nov.24

To pay tribute to the positive contributions of domestic workers in helping raise the Filipino family, the Visayan Forum in cooperation with Unitel will sponsor the advanced screening of “Inang Yaya” on November 24, 2006, 7 p.m. at the SM Megamall at Cinema 10.

For ticket inquiries and reservations please call:

Visayan Forum Foundation Office
631.8101 loc 7401/7421
Ticket Price: P150.00

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ready with your hankies?

STARBYTES By Butch Francisco
The Philippine Star 11/16/2006

The tried and tested formula to come up with a tearjerker is to make orphans out of the child characters, beat the hell out of them and subject them to all sorts of physical abuse and torture.

Unitel’s Inang Yaya tries the reverse by showing love, compassion and teaching kids all the right values and succeeds in coming up with one of the most effective tearjerkers in the history of local movies.

Directed by Pablo Biglang-awa Jr. and Veronica Velasco (she is also credited for the screenplay), Inang Yaya casts Maricel Soriano as an all-around helper in the home of young upper middle-class couple Zoren Legaspi and Sunshine Cruz. Her main responsibility, however, is to play nanny to her young ward, Erika Oreta.

The big irony of Maricel’s life in the story is actually the fact that while she is able to care for another couple’s kid, she is unable to attend to her own daughter (Tala Santos) in the province. Looking after her child is grandmother Marita Zobel, who tries to instill discipline in the young girl.

Unfortunately, the grandmother passes away and Maricel is forced to bring her daughter to Manila to live with her in the home of her employers. Now, she is torn between her own flesh and blood and the child she had learned to love as her own.

The plot of Inang Yaya isn’t all that strange because it happens to practically all domestic helpers working abroad. That’s the cruel joke the economic crisis has played on these poor women who have to leave their families and go elsewhere to make a living.

Luckily for Maricel, she ends up with kindhearted employers who treat her like family – and this also happens in real life because for all of the world’s nastiness, there are still a lot of good people on this earth.

By showing what is positive, Inang Yaya as a tearjerker works – and works in wonderful ways. Whoever thought that could be possible – given our culture where media highlights only what is negative because this is what sells on TV and even in the papers?

I personally like the characters here because they are generally sympathetic – basically good people who show kindness and concern to others. But at the same time, they are not black-and-white cardboard characters who are labeled good and bad. Liza Lorena’s character as the matriarch, for instance, has a condescending attitude toward servants. But she is no monster and, in fact, has the ability to see, detect and appreciate the pureness in people’s intentions. Maricel Soriano, on the other hand, is the ever-reliable helper, but at the same time also has a mean streak in her which she displays when she starts wishing to have this one opportunity to push Liza Lorena "down the cliff." Of course, she isn’t serious when she says this, but we see here that her screen character is no picture of perfection either.

What is perfect is her portrayal of the helper, who has to make a lot of sacrifices to serve both her family (in terms of finances) and her masters, who are her source of finances. She has no big dramatic highlights here and yet she delivers in this film one of the best performances of her career.

It is also a relief to see Liza Lorena rescued from the horror genre where her great talent was wasted. (If it’s any consolation to her, even Hollywood legend Bette Davis went through this exact phase.) In Inang Yaya, Liza Lorena is again at her shining best and her character stands out not only because it is written well, but also because she is able to flesh it out in a style uniquely her own (think Oro, Plata, Mata and other memorable Liza Lorena performances: Miguelito, Ang Batang Rebelde, La Vida Rosa, etc.).

Also noteworthy are the performances of the other supporting cast members: Zoren Legaspi, Sunshine Cruz and Marita Zobel, who excels in all her scenes (her best is the bilo-bilo sequence – you’ll know what I mean when you see it).

The two girls – Tala Santos and Erika Oreta – are also acting gems and they complement each other in the film.

Tala, as the street-smart and spunky one, is perfect for the role and is very credible in her scenes where she has to display feistiness. Erika, fragile and sheltered, has the makings of a fine actress. You see this even in scenes where she only has to stay in the background and supposedly does not do anything. But she knows how to interact with her eyes and body movements.

Of course, the movie’s two directors obviously also know what they are doing because here is an excellent film product that recently received an A grade from the Cinema Evaluation Board. Inang Yaya is a simple, yet powerful tearjerker that is never cloying. If you intend to watch this movie – and hope you do – don’t forget to bring your hankies because you’ll need them... oh, plenty of them.

In my case, I’ve done all my crying as a baby and I don’t cry easily. Inang Yaya, however, still drove me to near tears. But it was more at the realization that the local movie industry is still capable of coming up with good films that espouse positive values that can make life better for all of us in this world. Inang Yaya is the best example.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Inang Yaya: GRADED A by CEB!

Our producer, Tony Gloria of Unitel Pictures is proud to announce that Inang Yaya garnered a GRADE A rating from the Cinema Evaluation Board. Inang Yaya joins Unitel Pictures' exclusive roster of GRADE A films: Crying Ladies (2003), Santa Santita (2004) and La Visa Loca (2005).

Monday, November 06, 2006

Inang Yaya and Kasambahay

11.02.06 / Engine Room

Film has the power to move people. It encapsulates reality in a certain way that makes us realize our incapacities. Film has the power to open our minds to things that we unconciously forget, aspects of our lives that we leave unattended or just simply disregard.

This afternoon, a group of NGO workers from the VF (Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc./ headed by its President, Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda watched Inang Yaya. VF works for the welfare of marginalized migrants, especially those working in the invisible and informal sectors, like domestic workers and trafficked women and children. It is most known for its pioneering and documented work on domestic workers in the Philippines, especially in pushing for the Domestic Workers’ Bill or the Batas KASAMBAHAY.

It is heartwarming to learn that they found our film an ideal vehicle to promote their cause. They found aspects of the film very timely and engaging. Their enthusiasm and interest in spreading their cause through Inang Yaya was touching. They wanted to sponsor Inang Yaya’s November 24 screening and even offered the mobilization of their organization for our Cebu and Davao premieres.

It is quite satisfying to know that our work for Inang Yaya has the potential to go beyond the industry’s measure of success. People say that it is important for first time directors to make sure that their first movie should be a hit. I must admit that I always hoped for box-office success even to the point of hard-selling. I am hoping also that it could earn enough to sustain Unitel Pictures future film projects.

The VF group who watched the film have spoken about the film’s potential to move people, touch lives and make us better human beings. VF call their Inang Yayas, KASAMBAHAYS. We are glad that Ms. Cecile made the effort to get in touch with us after seeing Inang Yaya’s MTV trailer at a theater screening Scorsese’s The Departed.

At the end of Inang Yaya’s screening life, box-office sales just become an statistic but with partnerships with cause-oriented groups like VF hopefully, through this film we can reach out to more people beyond the cinemas into their homes, lives and hearts, and further the cause of our millions of KASAMBAHAYS here and abroad.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

'Yaya' Stories

from AT LARGE column

By Rina Jimenez-David
Published on Page A13 of the October 28, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

SCRATCH a middle-class Filipino mother -- or just talk to her for any length of time -- and chances are you will reap a harvest of “yaya” stories. Yayas, or nannies, have become increasingly rare and difficult to find, or rather, difficult to keep, but they are still a presence in any Filipino household even of modest means.

Whether paid or unpaid -- a poor relative, a student working for tuition, or a younger sibling -- a yaya is the buffer between the mother working outside the home and the vicissitudes of what feminists call the “double burden.” It is the yaya, or even just the household help, who shoulder half that double burden, taking on responsibility for nurturing and household chores and freeing up a woman’s time and energy for “productive” work.

But while mothers feel deep, if often unexpressed, gratitude to the women who share their burden, there also lurks an element of jealousy and resentment in the relationship. Especially when their children’s affections seem to have been transferred to the caregiver rather than to the parent.

There are yayas, and there are yayas. My sister and I shared a yaya in our childhood, but maybe because I was perceived as a favorite of my mother’s, Yaya Basing showered my sister with more affection. I always felt resentful of such special treatment, so when my sister began looking for our yaya so she could invite her to her wedding, it was all I could do to keep my disdain from showing.

But not all wards are as ungrateful as I was (am?). Someone I know invited his yaya to stand as his ninang at his wedding. My friend Peachy has kept her “Yaya Esther” from the time her daughter Paola was an infant to this day, when Paola is already earning her own keep.

I haven’t been as lucky when my turn came to hire yayas for my children. I once wrote that while as teenagers our biggest worry was how long our relationship with a boyfriend would last, when we became mothers, our foremost concern became how long our yaya would deign to stay with us.

I have my own favorite yaya story, though. I was playing a game with my then one-year-old daughter, pointing to our house help and asking her: “Who’s that?”

“Yaya Fe,” she answered when I pointed to our cook. “Yaya Bernie,” she replied when I pointed to her caregiver. And when I pointed to myself, asking “Who am I?” “Yaya Mommy!” she piped up happily.

* * *

WE love them, we treasure them, we thank God when we find a kind and loving one, but we also sometimes resent them, or want to tear her eyes out when we find out a yaya has been mistreating our child or stealing from us.

And we curse every carpenter, delivery boy, security guard or boyfriend from home who takes a yaya away from us just when our lives had gotten comfortable and secure.

And now Unitel Pictures has just made a movie about a yaya.

“Inang Yaya” is not the first Filipino movie with a nanny as the main character. But it is one of the very few films that depict a yaya, and the relationship between her and her ward and the rest of the family, with realism and complexity.

The movie has all the elements of a soap opera: a single mother forced to leave her own child behind to earn a wage, a daughter coping with her mother’s absence, a couple whose work takes them away from home for long stretches, a girl who looks to her yaya for the love and attention she lacks from her parents, snooty classmates, even a grandmother who looks down on those less fortunate than her.

But what the movie does with these stock characters is not just to flesh them out but also to turn them in unexpected directions. Many times, “Inang Yaya” strays dangerously close to melodrama but manages to skirt the pitfalls of excess.

Much of this is due to the work of Maricel Soriano, who plays “Yaya” Norma with deadpan efficiency and carefully nuanced emotion. Also noteworthy are the performances of the two girls who vie for Norma’s loyalty and love: Tala Santos as the sturdy, self-sufficient Ruby, and Erika Oreta as Louise, the “Ingglisera” ward.

* * *

“INANG Yaya” is directed by Pablo Biglang-awa Jr., a well-known commercial director whose first feature-length movie this is. His co-director is also the screenwriter, Veronica Velasco, who works as a line producer for Unitel.

“I was planning to submit the script to Cine Malaya, the independent film competition, and the synopsis had already been chosen as one of the finalists vying for funding,” Velasco says. But then her boss, Tony Gloria of Unitel, asked to read the synopsis and the preliminary script and decided it was worth investing in. “Let’s just do this,” Gloria told them, and “because we had such a long-standing relationship with him, we decided to let Unitel produce it.”

“Inang Yaya,” says Velasco, is based in part on her own Yaya Tess, who has been with her since her daughter Louise, now 11, was born. But while Yaya Tess is single (“though she has had boyfriends,” Velasco clarifies), she made “Norma” a single mother because Velasco’s daughter has a friend who is the daughter of a yaya.

“Isang yayang may malasakit, ’yung mapagkakatiwalaan” [“A yaya who truly cares, whom you can trust”] is how Velasco describes Norma and Tess, and perhaps the yaya of every young mother’s dreams.

In my day as a mother forever (it seemed) in search of a yaya, I dared dream of one who would not only feed my children on time or change their nappies without complaint, but also really love them, or at least care for them the way they would their own children, when their time came.

“Inang Yaya” is a tribute to all the yayas who fill parents’ shortcomings with their presence, love and caring. This review is my way of thanking all the yayas who passed through my threshold, and helped us carry the load.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ang oras, nahahati, Ang puso, hindi.

Great tagline by Divine Gil-Reyes! Excellent image of Ms. Maricel Soriano, Tala Santos and Erika Oreta captured by master photographer Jun de Leon, art and design by Rocketship.

I’ve directed quite a number of commercials with Divine when she was still working for McCann Erickson as Copywriter and Associate Creative Director. She recently put up her own shop called Racketship. Divine also appears in Inang Yaya as Ms. Arabit, teacher of Louise and Ruby. May dugong showbiz din si Divine! She’s related to Pop Diva Nikki Gil, prolific writer Gina Tagasa and the legendary Mely “Miss Tapia” Tagasa of Iskul Bukol fame. She’s on board for Inang Yaya promo and marketing. So expect more exciting things to come in the next few weeks!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

MUNTING HILING MTV on YouTube and Yahoo Video!

Finally! Inang Yaya OST Munting Hiling MTV is now available for your viewing pleasure. Performed by Tala Santos and Erika Oreta. Music and words by Joey Benin.
Want to see the MTV on the big screen? Watch Unitel Pictures' two upcoming movies: Penguin, Penguin, Paano Ka Ginawa? ( 2006 Oscar for Documentary ) and the celebrated Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (Official Phil. Entry-2007 Oscars). Munting Hiling MTV will be shown before the main feature.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Sana ay palagi na lang kitang kasama
Magmula umaga hanggang sa dilim
Sana ay palagi ka na lang sa akin
Sana ay bigyan pansin itong munting hiling

Kulang ang bawa’t araw kapag ika'y kapiling
Kahit na malapit, lalayo ka rin

Sana ay palagi ka na lang sa akin
Sana ay bigyan pansin itong munting hiling

Walang ibang inaasam

Walang ibang hinahangad

Kung di ang iyong pagmamahal, O Inay
Sana ay palagi ka na lang sa akin

Yan ang tangi kong hiling, sana’y mapansin

Sana ay bigyan pansin itong munting hiling

Marijo Saves The Day

The staff behind the scenes usually do not get enough credit for their blood, sweat and tears. This is a tribute to one of the most hardworking of IY's staff, our production manager, Marijo Clauor.

Marijo was one of the first to say “yes” to Inang Yaya. Once committed, her enthusiasm to see the movie through was infectious. Anything for Inang Yaya. Her determination was such that on strength of willpower alone, no obstacle was insurmountable.

While at a Q.C. subdivision, various homeowners complained the shoot was disruptive. Admittedly, their grievances were not without cause. They asked the association to revoke our permit. Undaunted, Marijo set out to beg and plead with the neighbors to give us another chance. She sent them flowers and fruit baskets, going door to door to apologize. While listening to the disgruntled homeowners, she cried. Whether for show or for real, the tears were effective. The very next day, we were granted a permit.

Numerous are the tales about Marijo. Her exploits are the stuff production legends are made of. Outlandish things seem to happen to her. Whether of her doing or she’s truly a magnet of the bizarre, she is forever welcome on our team. In a fix, it’s a guarantee… Marijo will save the day.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Little Pro's

Those who've seen Ericka's and Tala's performances have only praise for them. Both are outstanding.

On the last shooting day, on their final sequence I was caught off guard by both girls. When they realized the shoot had ended for them, they both threw their arms around my neck and started howling. They nearly strangled me. I exaggerate not. When I could breathe again, I then understood how rich an experience Inang Yaya has become for Tala and Ericka. During the shoot, our world revolved around Louise and Ruby.

Ericka, "Louise" is Top 1 in her class. She finds romance amusing. She loves to sing. She doesn't like being told she's pretty. She bikes with training wheels. She can swim very well. She can cry on cue everytime. She's allergic to make-up so doesn't like it.

Tala, "Ruby" is into the arts. She even looks like an artist. She likes to draw but doesn't want to exhibit her drawings. She learnt how to swim and bike for the movie. Her favorite scenes are those which require her to cry. She's semi-vegetarian. She's very independent.

Ericka and Tala have brought so much of themselves into the characters of Louise and Ruby. We were so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with them. They are true little pro's.

Marathon Editing

The past week we’ve been editing Inang Yaya. We’ve locked ourselves in Engine Room’s mini-theater and watched the movie take shape before our eyes. Together with editor, Randy Gabriel we lessened or lengthened scenes as required. Adjusting the head or tail of a take adds so much. Sometimes its that extended moment that triggers the viewers’ emotions.

When we were more or less satisfied with the edit, we did a backyard test. We called on whoever we could at the office to view it. Several scenes set off the responses we expected. We were quite surprised to have generated amused laughter on others. But when the lights went on, we weren’t prepared for the audience’s reaction. People wept.

Monday, July 24, 2006

How We Saw It... How It Was

It’s the director’s task to interpret the script into visuals. What is imagined is made real. For a more efficient shoot, we decided to do a photoboard. We were able to plot out the majority of the scenes using a director’s viewfinder and a mini-dv for documetation. We ourselves acted out the scenes. To stand in for the kids, we asked for volunteers. Our special thanks to Cassandra, Bettany, Monica, Andrea and Louise for being patient with us. It took us three days of going back and forth to the location to block and figure out angles. Looking back now, we weren’t that far off from how we saw it and how it was.

Scene 2:
Scene 3: Scene 8:

Scene 10 a:Scene 19:

Scene 44:

Scene 44a:

Scene 49a:

Scene 49: