The rural farmer Mang Abe was outperforming this corporate farming outfit, and its head honcho Fellino was not happy.
He paid the farmer a friendly visit, and discovered Mang Abe’s competitive advantage was Cornelius, Mang Abe’s son, and his mysterious green and glowing shell.
Fellino was going to have it at all cost.
Contractors were despatched to steal the magical secret from its steward, Cornelius.
But it inadvertently turned into a kidnap, a chase, a mystic force awoken, and a hell of a fairy tale.
Greed had taken root in the big business of yam farming, and Cornelius wasn’t going to have any of it.
Like any other city kid in Manila, I grew up listening to strange tales about the province. Stories of spirits and magical objects piqued my imagination and haunt my dreams. Then moving to New York left me feeling deprived of a cultural nuance one could only experience outside of a modernized city.
So I returned to the Philippines with a crew of Filipino and American filmmakers to produce Mang Abe’s Ube. Shooting in the mountains of Rizal and on the streets of Manila, we weaved together an original modern-day folktale.
Looking back at it feels like a dream. It just so happened that we filmed in the very mountains that mark the myth of Bernardo Carpio, the beloved giant. Shackled underground by the Spaniards, he shook the earth and caused the mountains to split apart centuries ago – so the villagers told us.
Working in a big city, one can often forget where one comes from. We Filipinos come from the stories we tell.
No matter how fantastical, they are made real with each spoken word. – Paolo Bitanga
Paolo’s sci-fi short film was featured at Nitehawk Shorts Festival, Sinehan Sa Summer Shorts Fest both in 2014, and the Pagdiriwang Festival in 2015.