Jolo actress wins in Asean-China fest
Laila Ulao won best actress for Sheron Dayoc’s “Women of the Weeping River” at the recent inaugural Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-China Film Festival in Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Dayoc accepted the trophy for Ulao, who was in Jolo, Sulu, at the time of the ceremony set at the Putrajaya International Convention Center.
Ulao told the Inquirer: “At first, I was surprised because I didn’t have any idea that there was a best actress category.”
Needless to say, she was ecstatic to learn about the startling victory. “I am super happy. It’s my first international award, and I was the last one to know because I had slept really early the night before.”
She’s currently on vacation in Jolo, she explained.
“In the morning, upon waking up, I saw that there were lots of missed calls and congratulatory messages on my phone,” she recalled. “I woke up hearing good news, for a change. It’s a great feeling. Ang saya!”
She shares the honor with her family (particularly, her “Kuya RM, Kuya Mad, Mami and Khai”) and closest friends. “I went through a roller-coaster ride this year, but they’ve remained by my side. I am also forever grateful to Direk Sheron, my TBA family, Ate Honey Alipio and Direk Aedrian Araojo.”
She never imagined she’d win an international award, after bagging the best actress prizes at the QCinema fest in 2016 and the Young Critics Circle this year.
“I never expected to win abroad,” she owned up. “I brought my father’s name [to a foreign land]. That is a huge thing for me. I’ve always dreamed of making my family proud. Finally, here it is … it’s happening. Alhamdulillah! (Praise be to Allah!)”
Dayoc’s film is the acting debut of Ulao, who trained and worked as a nurse in Mindanao. She was born in Jolo and studied nursing in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. She portrays a woman caught in a bloody clan war in the internationally acclaimed film, which won best picture at this year’s Gawad Urian, as well.
The Asean-China Film Festival was mounted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Asean.
A total of 11 films from China and 10 Asean countries vied for major prizes at the fest which screened 31 films—eight from China and 23 from 10 Asean countries.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.