The Yaya as ‘Iloy’: A Short Film for Mother’s Day

By joseph batcagan

Harren Fegarido is many things: an advocate for cultural relics, a bedroom linguist, a guerilla traveler, and an all-around great guy (hey, who says I can’t give big-ups to my Project Iloilo colleague here?). Here’s another one you can also add to his ever-expanding street cred: he also makes short films too, and we’re featuring a work of his that we think is in line with Mother’s Day this Sunday… or at the very least, a basic concept of it.

Filipino culture is rife with references to mothers—Inang Bayan [Mother Country], Freddie Aguilar’s Anak [Child], and even the current plight of the country’s migrant workers, to take a highly contemporary and politically charged example—which is why it makes sense for us Ilonggos to latch on (pun not intended) to the concept of reserving a single Sunday of the year for commemorating for the mothers in our lives: literal, figurative, and everything in between.

Tagbanwa’s short film, which we have embedded below, attempts to portray the typical, daily life of an Ilongga as a “surrogate” mother by serving as a yaya [nanny] to a child that is not her own. The situations depicted in the short may vary in its “relatability” to you, but there’s no question that the traditional role of what a mother is supposed to be–indeed, the concept of motherhood itself– still remains as strong as ever, even if the person assuming these roles are not what you’d exactly call as your “mother” per se.

Okay, I soliloquized on long enough. We hope you enjoy this short film below, and better show your mother—either by blood or by affinity—some well-deserved love, I’ll certainly call mine after writing this; now, excuse me while I wipe the dust off my eyes as I look away from the keyboard.

And of course, Project Iloilo wishes you all a Happy Mothers’ Day! Hope you get to enjoy this weekend as a family!



Joseph Batcagan is the editor and a writer for Project Iloilo.