Debosyon: Of Religion and Folklore

Synopsis: A Bikolano devotee of Virgin of Peñafrancia finds himself lost in the middle of the forest. He gets injured and falls unconscious. When he wakes up, he meets a mysterious woman singing in the forest in the middle of the night. This is the love story of a goddess of Philippine folklore falling in love with injured and lost young men in the forest.

The film (directed by Alvin Yapan) had me at Paolo Avelino having sex with a babaeng-ahas (Mara Lopez), the embodiment of the cursed goddesses of Philippine folklore. I was half-expecting that the babaeng-ahas would squeeze Paolo to death, then swallow him whole only to regurgitate him. This would be a great tragedy for the cursed babaeng-ahas/ Daragang Magayon/ Mariang Makiling/ bakunawa/ aswang/ mangkukulam.

The final scene, the abrupt ending, has Mara asking Paolo why he came back. He answers, “Dahil nakita ko sa mga mata ng Birhen ng Penafrañcia ang iyong mga mata.” Blackout. Genius.

4.3/5 stars

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