ang nawawala

Ang Nawawala (What Isn’t There) was released on 2012, but I didn’t know what kept me from watching this really great film. But it’s all good, atleast now, I finally watched it. 

Where to start with this film? Hmm. The trailer. From the trailer, we can’t really tell which path this movie is going. Recollection with the family? Friendship? Or a chance at romance? But later on, as the film progresses, we’ll see how it’s so much more.

It tells of a story of a 20-year-old Gibson, who has been selectively mute for 10 years. Because of trauma and guilt, he choose to pull away from the world but tries to make a connection through the lens of his small camera. Throughout the film we can see how much he was longing for a lot: his family, his life, a connection. We can feel in his dysfunctional family, how they’re trying to keep it together. No matter how broken they are, they are trying to survive their awkward formality. Gibson, then reconnects with a childhood friend, introducing him to the local music scene and to Enid, “the cool girl”.

I love this movie because it’s not everyone’s type of movie. I love how it lets you peek in a window of hipsters: the retro house decors, vinyls, they’re lifestyle and even how they think. (I understand now why my friends has been really wanting me to watch this film.) I love how the casts were perfect for the characters, specially Dominic Roco with Gibson. He reminds me a lot about Charlie in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Both of them are quite, awkward and naive. And they have their own way of loving things. I love the cinematography. The places where the film happened were familiar to me and even showcased local indie rock artists, which is definitely a plus plus to me. But most of all, my favorite part about this film, is the character development. What it took from Scene 1 Gibson to Last Scene Gibson. It is so depressingly good. It made me cry, a lot.

Ang Nawawala (2012)

Every once in a while, I find a film so beautiful, moving and relatable that I find it hard to sum up in words. “Ang Nawawala” is such a film. Its subtelty and poignancy has cut my heart out and got me tongue-tied. It is so painfully sweet, so depressingly good that I am writing this review with so much and nothing to say at the same time. The film left me as speechless as its protagonist, and whatever writing I’m doing will probably end up as confused ramblings of an emotional girl.

Ironically, this is going to be a very long review containing NECESSARY SPOILERS. I am attempting to expound on the undertones which I can’t do without giving out some details. And because I’m getting really carried away.


“Ang Nawawala” (What Isn’t There) focuses on 20-year old Gibson Bonifacio (Dominic Roco) who has not spoken in ten years. Because of trauma and guilt, he pulled away from the world, setting up his selective mutism as a wall. He comes home for Christmas to a dysfunctional family. His mother (Dawn Zulueta), a woman distant and broken, welcomes him with a cold heart. And when mother and son first look at each other after a long time, we see the pain and longing in Gibson’s eyes.

The Bonifacios are dysfunctional in a very quiet, somber way. They sit over dinner with awkward formality. Although the father (Boboy Garrovillo) tries to cheer everyone up, the cloud hanging over their heads is too heavy to disperse. We see a family portrait of depression. And when we notice one vacant chair on the other end of the table, we understand that something is really missing in the picture.

Gibson moves around the house like a ghost. He locks himself up in his bedroom, smokes pot, and plays his records. Even when he is spending time with his family, he doesn’t really connect with them completely. He tries, with the help of a video camera. He records moments he finds to be special, no matter how ordinary they are. And then he mashes them up in his computer, adding tracks of music that describe how he feels about these memories. He also reconnects with an old friend, Teddy (Alchris Galura), who introduces him to the local music scene. Here, he meets Enid (Annicka Dolonius). They are into the same things and she doesn’t judge him when she finds out he doesn’t talk. She becomes someone he can finally talk with, albeit not without his iPhone. And as her name implies, she brings “life” back to his existence.


Keep reading

The Eraserheads

“We used to be so happy… but maybe we forgot”

-Ang nawawala

ngunit ngayon kay bilis maglaho ng kahapon

sana'y huwag kalimutan ang ating mga pinagsamahan

at kung sakaling gipitin ay laging iisipin

na minsan tayo ay naging

tunay na magkaibigan…

…ngunit kung sakaling mapadaan baka

ikaw ay aking tawagan

dahil minsan tayo ay naging

tunay na magkaibigan…

Umibig ka nang tama.

Kapag nasasaktan ka na, kapag nasisira na ang pagkatao mo, kapag nawawala na ang pag-ibig sa puso mo dahil sa kabaliwan sa pagmamahal mo sa kanya, HINDI NA TUNAY NA PAG-IBIG YUN.

Dahil ang pag-ibig, bumubuo hindi sumisira, nagpapangiti hindi nagpapaluha, nagbibigay pag-asa, nagbibigay saya.

Umibig ka nang tama. Umibig ka nang tunay.

Move on.

Wag ka mananatili sa isang tao dahil akala mo eh wala ng ibang magmamahal sayo. Palagi mong tatandaan na meron laging kapalit ang lahat ng taong nawawala. Iba man ang itsura, nagkakaiba man paminsan minsan sa ugali, pero pare-parehong kang mamahalin ng mga yan. Dapat mong paniwalaan na deserving ka maging masaya, na hindi ikaw yung taong basta basta lang at paulit-ulit na sasaktan. Kapag hindi na maganda ang pag trato sayo, sige pabayaan mo na. Maniwala ka palagi na may isang tao na magbibigay sayo ng importansya bilang tao, ang taong gagalang sayo at tatratuhin ka sa paraan na gusto mong maramdaman.

Maawa ka sa sarili mo, kapag sobra na ang sakit at patuloy ka pa ring lumalaban, patuloy mo lang na sinasayang ang oras ng iyong buhay. Huwag mo ipagkait ang sarili mo maging masaya. Tandaan mo na hindi sayo magagawa ng isang tao ang isang masamang bagay kapag importante ka sa kanila.

Ngumiti ka, salubungin ang bagong pag-asa. Mag move on na. Sayang ang araw na dapat ikaw ay palaging masaya. Matuto sa mga pinagdaanang problema. Kailangan mo yan. Bigyan mo lahat ng seryosong tao ng tiyansang mahalin ka.


So here’s a sort of behind the scenes step by step process of how I made the shirt design. It’s a mess. 

1. Presented them with two options, one was the scene where Jamie and Gibson were smoking in the bathroom. One of my more favorite scenes. Wanted Jamie’s face to be obscured by smoke so that it works on a certain level of you do not see him there. #visual metaphors

2. Second Option was the two twins when they were little kids before one of the more climactic scenes in the film that sort of sets into motion a lot of things. Brutal for the feels sort of work. Wanted it to be a bit dream like. They went with this option.

3. Started sketching out the scene. Rough line work since I wasn’t sure how the colors would work.

4. Some tests. Saw how the whole thing can work near the top part where the colors sort of just mix together rather than have lines of grass everywhere.

5. Made the rough inks into the pencils, flat grey so I can see better.

6. Started inking, made sure all the important figures were inked first then added colors here and there.

7. Fooled around with the colors a bit so I could have options. The Red Purple one was probably my favorite. This green one was the ‘out there’ option, that sort of gave that dread.

8. This was more subtle hues that I hoped to insinuate how dreamlike the scene was when watching it.

9. I liked this color scheme the most because well certain color theories and unf that Orange.

10. Finished Shirt design. Huzzah!

That’s the process, I guess. Hello.

Director Marie Jamora was interviewed by the BBC about the current state of Philippine cinema, the rise of local independent films, not unlike the American indie scene in the ‘90s, and her experience with Ang Nawawala.

We also see the optimistic views from film critic, Philbert Dy, writer Jessica Zafra, and filmmaker Pepe Diokno. 

Special thanks to Amee Enriquez for calling all the way from BBC Singapore for the interview, and for taking an interest in our movie scene.