TV host and model Phoemela Barranda gets her first lead acting role in a co-production of Philippine and Canadian film companies—the suspense thriller Ang Pamana (The Inheritance).
Phoemela portrays the role of Vanessa, a drug-crazed society girl who, together with her balikbayan cousins from Canada, will experience unexplained occurrences that relate to their family’s dark past.
Johnny (played by newcomer Darrel Gamotin) is a Fil-Canadian teenager who comes to the Philippines for the first time and shares Vanessa’s taste for drugs and trouble. He and his sister Anna (Nadine Villasin) represent their parents in the reading of their Lola Nena's (Caroline Mangosing) last will and testament.
Lola Nena’s last will awards the three grandchildren—Johnny, Anna, and Vanessa—the deed to the family farm in Bulacan. They travel to their rural estate and discover that supernatural forces are at work in the land.
Phoemela’s character gets into trouble by planting marijuana on the land. Two of her friends later urinate on the mounds of soils that are said to be the homes of the dwende—vengeful elves whose demeanor can be discerned by their color.
Johnny then has sightings of Lola Nena’s ghost, which he dismisses as an effect of his drug dependency. But the recurring events would make them think twice about the estate—why neighborhood farmers have stayed away from the property and why a “dark secret” that Lola Nena brought to the grave becomes a telling factor behind the gruesome events.
The film is based on traditional Filipino folklore, and mentions supernatural creatures such as manananggal (winged, half-bodied vampires), aswang (blood-sucking monsters disguised as humans), and kapre (tobacco-smoking giants).
Other cast members include Victor Neri, Cholo Barretto, and Ketchup Eusebio. The film also features cameo roles from noted Filipino artists, such as Tirso Cruz III, Jaclyn Jose, Angel Aquino, Susan Africa, and Noni Buencamino.
This modern-day Filipino folktale—filmed in Canada and the Philippines—had its world premiere at the Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival last October. Directed by a Fil-Canadian, Romeo Candido, and boasting of musical scoring by Gerard Salonga, the movie was rated “A” by the Cinema Evaluation Board.