'Sa Layag ng Bangkang Paurong' wins best int'l documentary award in Irish film festival | Inquirer Entertainment

‘Sa Layag ng Bangkang Paurong’ wins best int’l documentary award in Irish film festival

By: - Reporter
/ 07:39 PM April 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A documentary made by young filmmakers from Alaminos, Pangasinan, has won the Best International Documentary Film Award in the Fresh International Film Festival in Limerick, Ireland.

According to the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom), the film “Sa Layag ng Bangkang Paurong” is a documentary created by students of the Alaminos City National High School which discusses the challenges facing young students who work as boatmen in the province’s tourist destination Hundred Islands.


The documentary was originally submitted for PopCom-Region I’s 4th Adolescent Health and Development Film Festival in 2019, the agency said.

“‘Sa Layag ng Bangkang Paurong’ (Boats that Sail Backward) — a documentary film produced by young filmmakers from Alaminos, Pangasinan — was declared Best International Documentary Film in the recently concluded Fresh International Film Festival in Limerick, Ireland on March 28, 2021,” PopCom said in a statement Sunday.


“The short film created by students of Alaminos City National High School (ACNHS) was a product of POPCOM-Region I’s 4th Adolescent Health and Development Film Festival in 2019 […] It depicts the plight and demographic issues of young students who thrive as boatmen working in the province’s Hundred Islands to support their education and family’s livelihood,” it added.

PopCom said it was the region’s representative for the agency’s National Film Festival in 2020 and has gained attention from other foreign film bodies as PopCom elected to submit the documentary as an entry for Bangladesh’s Children’s International Film Festival and 3rd Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival in Fukuoka, Japan.

It was also recognized as the Best Advocacy Statement as well as Best Documentary Film in the Streets to Schools National Film Competition of the Association of the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia which was held last March 21.

“We are overwhelmed to witness these young students’ mindsets evolve: from simple perspectives to gender and culturally sensitive, age-appropriate, and advocacy-worth films by way of their exposure to PopCom film festivals,” PopCom Region I Director Erma Yapit said in the same statement.

“Sa Layag… emphasizes issues and needs that beset young people of today, and the way they affect the country’s quest to achieve its desired demographic dividend: Meeting the needs of these young people contributes mainly to the attainment of their full development into adulthood,” she added.

People close to Alaminos, like Dr. Raquel Rarang-Rivera who coached the young filmmakers, said that students venturing into being boatmen for tourists have been a recurring problem. Currently, Rivera said at least 87 ACNHS students have been earning a living as boatmen.

This also means that boatmen-students are likely to miss classes and worse, drop out from their schools as they see the industry as a more profitable way to support their family.


This is despite an existing city ordinance that restricts minors to work in hazardous environments like sailing.

“At a young age, children like them learn the ways of their fathers’ work. They grew up in that kind of life where they have been deprived of their rights and liberty early on,” Rivera said.

The documentary, which can be accessed on PopCom’s YouTube account, centers on the life of Mark Milboy Bielza, who has chosen to follow the footsteps of his father, brother, and other relatives who work as boatmen for tourists.

Aside from the above-mentioned awards, Sa Layag ng Bangkang Paurong has been part of various international film festivals’ official selections, like the Newark International Film Festival in the United States, International Children’s Rights Film Festival in Istanbul, Turkey, Festival Film Bahari in West Java, Indonesia, Golden Tree International Documentary Festival in Hessen, Germany, and DYTIATKO International Children’s Media Festival in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

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TAGS: Alaminos, Alaminos City National High School, Best International Documentary Film Award, Commission on Population and Development, Documentary, Fresh International Film Festival, high school filmmakers, Ireland, Limerick, Pangasinan, Philippine news updates, PopCom, Sa Layag ng Bangkang Paurong
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