Sheryl Rose Andes‘s Pandanggo sa Hukay is a story about Elena (Iza Calzado), a small-town midwife, a single mother who dreamt of working abroad to provide a better life for her son. However, the night before her final job interview, an unfortunate turn of events occurred.
Adrian Legaspi‘s screenplay painted how ordinary the life of Elena with her two friends at Divine Maternity Clinic–her fellow midwife Leni (Diva Montelaba) and the utility woman Rose (Star Orjaliza).
Amid the simplicity of its story, it foreboded something and hinted possible disruption in the lives of the three women especially Elena.
A scene showed the three as they rehearsed a popular Filipino folk dance. It will be their entry to the upcoming company Christmas party. Despite the unfavored suggestion of Elena, both women still gave in and agreed to do the said dance. Leni even joked that it might be Elena’s last dance.
True enough, the night before she was scheduled to be in her interview, the Etibak Gang took Elena away and asked her to perform what she does for a living, to help deliver a baby from a pregnant woman Shalimar (Mercedes Cabral). From her usual day-to-day activities, her life suddenly tumbled before her. She feared for her life and to leave her son EJ.
Beneath her ladylike traits, she is a headstrong woman. The actress Calzado exhibited a much relatable behavior as opposed to her previous roles in films and television series. She effectively showcased her vulnerable side especially when the gang was harassing her with gunshots.
The tension was easily established when Elena was already with the Etibak Gang. Though the gang members were all convincing, particular with Shalimar, Tisay (Charlie Dizon) who exhibited that spunk in her character, was gullible to be convinced by Elena’s bluff.
I expected that there’ll be a catfight between her and the midwife, but it didn’t happen. It was just too convenient for the lead character to go home after Tisay walked away with the baby. Unnoticed by the law enforcers when she passed by the clinic, Elena was able to go home and prepare for her interview in the city.
I understood how the story was intended to run in three days, but my only concern was the screenwriter and the director’s call to end up the film, unconventionally. As a whole, there was nothing spectacular about it except that Calzado is in the cast as well as Cabral.
Perhaps the only clear thing I got in the film is that a mother will always make good choices for her children, no matter what.