Sundalong Kanin

Congratulations to my super friendship SHEILA AMBRAY of FRONT MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT for the successful gala night of Indie film, new breed (meaning full-length features for new directors) SUNDALONG KANIN! <3 It’s included in the CINEMALAYA FILM FESTIVAL.





The lovely executive producer, SHEILA AMBRAY, at the rightmost. <3


Admittedly, I don’t like period movies, and only watched to support her. But midway, I was surprised at how beautiful the script was & all the actors, although not well-known (to me at least), performed exceedingly well. I didn’t notice how engrossed I was until Kap tapped my mouth close because it was left hanging open the entire half-time. That’s how captivating it was!



There was a lot of swearing -both from children & adults the first 15 minutes which I thought the movie could have done without. My ears were ringing the whole time. :P But the story itself was really interesting. The plot had so many twists you wouldn’t have expected. At all!

Even Kap who normally doesn’t watch Filipino films agreed to watch it not once -but TWICE with me! One with the whole fambam, and the 2nd just the 2 of us. Now THAT says a lot! ;)


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SUNDALONG KANIN (or toy soldier/saling pusa -a term used in wartime for boys who have no use in fighting but always end up eating the rations of the entire unit) is a story set in the 1940’s & is mainly about 4 kids (Nitoy, Benny, Carding, and Badong) forced to grow up during the Japanese occupation in World War 2. It encompasses love, friendship, family, betrayal, murder, bullying, hatred, greed, power, hopelessness and helplessness.. a VERY interesting mix & play of emotions. It’s also something we experience day in & day out even in this modern time.



Nitoy – played by Nathaniel Britt. Nitoy shows love for, and dedication to, his family even at a tender age. He knows what his responsibility is as a Kuya & makes sure he does his job as a protector.

Benny – played by Isaac Cain Aguirre. Benny is the baby in the movie. Stubborn & hot-headed, the tag-along to his brothers’ many adventures and the pang-gulo.

Carding – played by Akira Morishita, Carding is a privileged boy from a well-to-do family who finds himself part of the group of kids from simple folks.

Badong – played by Elijah Canlas. Badong is a true & faithful friend, but turned renegade when he found out the people he was helping were actually the ones who hurt his mother.

Dado – played by Gelo Martinez. Like his father, too much power breeds contempt. But in the end, his goodness won out.

Without giving too much away, there were just so many scenes that affected me:

1.) When the tables have turned & the arrogant one in power had to eat humble pie while the person he mocked & ridiculed rose into power. It just proves that the world is round. Whatever rot you may be in now, there IS no other way but to go up. So there is actually hope -don’t be dismayed.

2.) How a once humble & kind man can turn evil when given too much power. The beloved underdog became the hated man in the end. Power invokes dominance which in turn invokes a god-syndrome. A feeling of entitlement with a notion that you can do anything without consequences.

3.) The helplessness of women during the olden times. They were seen as playthings & means to a sexual end. I think this scene tugged at my heart strings the most. Objectifying women. </3

4.) The betrayal of friendship. When family or your life is at stake, there is no such thing as friendship. To each his own. In the end, who must die must die regardless of the relationship, to save your own skin.

5.) That life is so fleeting. Whatever your hopes & dreams are, any man with a bullet can take it away from you in an instant. All you can do is to watch helplessly as your life falls in the hand of the wrong man.

I would have loved for this to have been the ending though: The last man standing now old, a survivor of war & life. Having lived fully, he has finally come full circle, telling the tale. I felt a bit bitin seeing BENNY standing in front of his fallen brothers & then just like that, end of story. Being a romantic, I needed a happy ending. </3I would love to know that he grew up, had a family of his own, was able to accomplish many good things in his life. Yez. I really connected with their characters. SUE ME! :P

As expected of Cinemalaya films, although not as big-budgeted as the rest, the participating actors are not ham at all. In most cases, the placing of actors is based on popularity or following even though they can’t act (sing, or even dance) to save their lives. But in this particular Cinemalaya movie, young or old, the people playing the characters are really such great actors that you can’t help but empathize.


You still have 3 days to catch it:

August 2:
12:45 PM | CCP MKP Hall
06:30 PM | Trinoma Cinema 1

August 3:
04:00 PM | Alabang Town Center Cinema 4
04:00 PM | Greenbelt 3 Cinema 4
09:00 PM | CCP Studio Theater (Tanghalang Huseng Batute)

August 4:
03:30 PM | CCP Little Theater (Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino)
04:00 PM | Greenbelt 3 Cinema 5
06:30 PM | Trinoma Cinema 4

August 5:
12:45 PM | CCP Main Theatre (Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo)
09:00 PM | Fairview Terraces Cinema 5

August 6:
06:15 PM | CCP MKP Hall
09:00 PM | Trinoma Cinema 1

August 7:
01:30 AM | Greenbelt 3 Cinema 5
06:15 PM | CCP Main Theatre (Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo)

August 8:
12:45 PM | CCP Studio Theater (Tanghalang Huseng Batute)
09:00 PM | Alabang Town Center Cinema 4
09:00 PM | Greenbelt 3 Cinema 4

August 9 SATURDAY:
01:30 PM | Fairview Terraces Cinema 5

August 10 SUNDAY:
04:00 PM | Trinoma Cinema 4

Click HERE to watch the official trailer of Sundalong Kanin


The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival is a film festival in the Philippines held annually during the months of July and August at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Its aim is the development and promotion of Filipino independent films.[1] The film festival is organized by the Cinemalaya Foundation, with the support of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Econolink Investments, Inc.

Each year, the Festival provides “seed investments” of Php 500,000 (USD 10,000~) to ten independent filmmakers. These ten “finalists” are culled from hundreds of submissions from all over the Philippines. Their films debut at the festival, together with in-competition short films, as well as various out-of-competition works.

The festival organizing committee is headed by veteran Filipino director and actress Laurice Guillen. The committee oversees the production of the films, sometimes interfering with filmmakers’ artistic decisions. The 10th edition of the festival was held from August 1-10 of 2014 at Metro Manila, Philippines.


PLEASE VOTE FOR SUNDALONG KANIN as BEST PICTURE (new breed) for the Cinemalaya entry 2014.

Here are the hashtags you can include when supporting SUNDALONG KANIN on Twitter and Facebook:

  • #Cinemalaya
  • #CinemalayaX
  • #Cinemalaya2014

Please don’t forget to hashtag SUNDALONG KANIN. You can also support Sundalong Kanin by voting for it for the Audience Choice Award. Cinemalaya hands out an Audience Choice Award every year and it is the only category that can be voted on by the audience.

Audiences are given the opportunity to drop their ticket stubs at designated drop boxes outside each of the CCP theaters after every screening. Each ticket stub serves as a vote for the film for the Audience Choice Award. This is only valid in CCP screenings, however, so hold on to your ticket stubs and don’t forget to vote for your favorite films.


DIRECTED BY: Janice O’Hara and Denise O’Hara

MAIN CAST: Nathaniel Brit, Ian de Leon, Marc Abaya, Gardo Verzosa, Via Veloso, Enzo Pineda, Paolo O’Hara, Che Ramos, Diana Alferez, Dante Balois, Elijah Canlas, Angelo Martinez


Director – Janice O’Hara
Producer – Denise O’Hara
Associate Producer – LA Dacula
Line Producer/Scriptwriter – Jerry O’Hara
Asst Director – Candy Nagrampa
DOP – Nelson Macababat
Prod Manager – Melanie Entuna
Prod Designer – Fiel Zabat
Art Director – Poly Garcia
Post Production – SQ Film Lab

Congratulations my super friendship! :-*


So very proud of you. And again, you have proven that you really have the Midas touch with one success after another. Yet you remain to be the same Sheila I have known more than 10 years ago! Love you!!! :-*



Denice O’Hara, Sheila & Nonoy Ambray. Producer & Executive producers respectively.



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