Dear Young Storytellers: An inspiring letter from Jason, Emil, Sei, and Jadelyn

Updated: Sep 7



Dear fellow storytellers, I am Jason, director, and writer of Gawad Alternatibo's Curated Section entry, Ningas-Kugon. On behalf of the whole crew, Emil, Sei, and Jadelyn - the Bolo Production, I would like to share with you our journey in making our craft as students of Broadcasting in Letran.


It all started merely as a requirement from our professors in Letran. They wanted us to think outside of our comfort zones, and what they meant with that is a story that will not only feature common issues as seen by most and what's on media but something beyond the mainstream concepts and ideas.  We were grouped randomly and since then, the four of us, now called Bolo Production, were kind of confident that we were going to make a great team. But the turn of events happened weeks before our given deadline. We were actually going to pursue a story for an old business industry in Manila, however, we encountered difficulties in communicating with our subject. Given the fact that we were loaded from academic tasks and tight schedule, our group was urged to continue looking for a worthwhile story. Despite the heavy rainfall that day, two of our teammates, Jason and Emil, tried to travel from Cavite to Manila but ended up going back to Cavite because of the persistent and heavy rainfall.  We were left without any progress.


However, it was during our journey going back home, while sitting on a bus on a gloomy weather as seen from outside the window, that struck our curiosity. Despite the bad weather, we thought of visiting a known pandayan in Kawit, Cavite. We met and chatted with some shop owners until they directed us to Nanay Mennie's house. She invited us inside and welcomed us - instantly, we felt like we were family. We promised to go back and invite her for an on-cam interview. She agreed without any hesitation. She wanted to share how remarkable and important blacksmithing is in their hometown and to her family.

After three days, the four of us -- Jason, Jadelyn, Sei, and Emil, visited the pandayan in Kawit. Nanay Mennie introduced us to the origin and history of their blacksmith shop, her family, and the current situation of the considered 'dying tradition'. It was amazing to see how the bolos and goloks were being made by Kuya Waldy, one of the oldest workers in the shop. The making of the film was a two-way learning process for us. We might consider practicing blacksmithing, too, in the future.

Ningas-kugon was made possible because of a collaborative effort. Every part of the creative process was done with the help of each one of us. The goal was to present a worthwhile story, a quality film made by students, and most especially, a material that will make the viewers realize that there are still stories like these that are meant to be told, shown, and not to be forgotten.


Ningas-Kugon is a history film meant to create awareness, promote Filipino customs and traditions, especially about a dying industry. In this case, the Filipinos' very own way of blacksmithing. It is with pride that we present one of Caviteños long-lived tradition despite the threat of modernization.


As Nanay Mennie says, traditional blacksmithing will continue as long as people are willing to try and give their interests in the art of blacksmithing.


Hence, a tradition that was once flourishing should never be forgotten as this is a part of our being Filipinos.


Follow other young filmmakers inspiring stories, click here.