Mayohan

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Dan Villegas
Paul Sta. Ana

May is the month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Christ.  In Infanta, Quezon, locals turn each of the 31 days of May into a charming honor not only to celebrate good harvest in their agricultural setting, but also to pay tribute to the virginal virtues of the Mayohan.  Every month of May, a padasal or series of novenas commences to mark the beginning of Mayohan.  This will culminate in a Pasayaw or Tapusan in every purok of each barangay.  A system of ambagan or donation ensues for the festivities to take place.  In the hopes of keeping a tradition alive, the elders support its continued celebration; through the years, however, decadence has long taken over the Tapusan.  Proud  beauty queens, town officials, curious participants and passersby, intoxicated men with carnal needs all play roles in the midst of a spiritual undertaking.  Some have unwittingly tarnished the event’s reputation and essence.  Underlying values and tokens are lost in the turning over of tradition.

Amidst the festivities, a 15-year old young outsider becomes the focal point in  the preparation that the Pasayaw entails.  As this grieving young man comes of age and deals with the recent loss of both parents,  his attention shifts to Lilibeth, a 19-year old provincial lass, the elected presidenta of the pasayaw’s pamunuan, who, herself gets lost in the hoopla and hullabaloo that transpire before May ends. As the event underscores gender lines, generation differences, and class issues, they become entangled in an unlikely partnership,  in their own search for growth and acceptance.

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Lovi Poe as Lilibeth, Elijah Castillo as Nino, Ping Medina as Ruben, Lui Manansala as Chayong, Chiqui del Carmen as Ising, Dianne Laserna as Martha, Jill Palencia as Melay, Girose Lanot as Aida, Benedict Jhocson as Mayor

Director/Director of Photography: Dan Villegas
Writer: Paul Sta. Ana
Executive Producer: Dan Villegas
Producer: Aloy Adlawan
Co-Producers: Bobby Bonifacio Jr., Neil Eusebio, J-Ann Gauzon-Mirasol, RR Velasco
Supervising Producer: Tetz Salvador
Associate Director: Allan Forte
Production Designer: Bianca Gonzales-Dadivas
Field Sound Recordist: Mark Locsin
Editor: Jess Yap
Musical Scorer: Emerzon Texon
Sound Designer/Engineer: Joey Santos
Production Managers: Adi Lopez, Loren Rabadam


Average vote based on 1 review.
6
out of 10
User Reviews
6
out of 10
Mayohan - A Subtle Review

In an ideal world, a summer fling is with a sweet and innocent girl and a tall dashing boy. Add some Disney ears to it and call the girl Hanna Montana as she rediscovers her country roots and sheds her city folk ways. The boy in Mayohan is hardly dashing nor tall and while he is easily liked, the locals describe him as "di pa tuli". The girl is sweet but she's no innocent. Disney ears are absent here but the uncle does happen to be Goofy. A coming of age is afoot, and it's one that has a charm to it dashed with reality as we discover that in this town, the only virgins are the statues.

Set in Infanta, a town in Quezon province, Mayohan plucks a cityboy named Nino from his Cubao home and throws him into rural Philippines. No setup is provided as we first meet him on a bus headed for the province already. We don't see his city life that he would miss nor the death of his parents whose grave he is visiting. All we get for setup is when he utters the word 'Cubao' and we assume that's where he's from. Tidy. Nothing is spelled out for the audience here and it's all very subtle.

The province is gorgeous as provinces are but as gorgeous as the country scenery is, it's visuals are never fully exploited. The town is unfamiliar as are it's ways and the filmmakers considerately provide us with a tour guide in the form of the Goofy Uncle named Ruben who has magically drying jeans. It seems that in the provinces, after stepping indoors from a torrent, all clothes instantly dry up and your hair repels all rainwater without any dripping. That's just about the only glaring continuity error and while it jumps off the screen to snap at your nose, it ruins very little.

Much can be said of the actors of Mayohan but there is one actor who puts them all to shame and she isn't even on for very long, the lola. Every actor showing up onscreen is just that, an actor. When the lola shows up, she isn't an actor. She IS the lola and simply so. Unfortunately, I recognise her face but not not enough to remember her name. There are exemplary performances here, but it is that Lola and her simple truthfulness that I recall the most and the best. The other great performance comes from Mayohan's soundtrack. The music is relevant to each scene it found itself in and was always a welcome presence. Uncoincidentally, the music is an area uninhibited by the disciplined filmmaking. All the good scenes are the ones with music and it might've been the music that made them good in the first place.

Mayohan is a film student's wet dream as it is chock full of metaphors such as the crushed virgin mary and the dying chickens and several others in between. It would be a fun exercise to watch it like a cinematic "where's waldo" to find them all. That unfortunately is where most of Mayohan's fun is and it's not really what we watch movies for - most of us, anyway. The filmmakers make the attempt at making a feelgood film without going over the top. In avoiding doing too much, too much restraint was exercised and they wound up doing too little. While it does make it to that feelgood destination successfully, the journey was largely uneventful. It's still a feelgood coming of age film but it could've done with just a bit more of that feeling.


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