Manang Biring: Expect the Unexpected

Manang Biring is a dark comedy-drama about a feisty, terminally ill old lady who has long accepted her imminent passing due to stage-4 breast cancer but then receives unexpected news from an estranged loved one announcing their return for Christmas.

Manang Biring is directed and written by Carl Joseph Papa. The film is one of the entries at the 2015 Cinema One Originals Film Fest where they won three awards: Champion Bughaw Award, Best Music, and Best Film.

I wasn’t able to catch the film at the said festival but I am glad that Hooq, a video on demand streaming service recently added this in their list. Why you ask? Well, this film wouldn’t be named Best Film for nothing, right? So I grabbed the chance to watch it!

From the synopsis you can conclude that this is a story that would certainly touch your heart. I have to agree with you on that; however, that is not the only reason why this is the best entry. Manang Biring is a great film because of three other reasons.

One, the film is presented in a black-and-white animation format. I see this as an advantage because it sets itself apart from the rest. And though it’s not colored, the characters and story didn’t fail to make us laugh and cry.

Two, Manang Biring is a protagonist that’s familiar and very likable. We have to thank actress Erlinda Villalobos for this. I just wish she bagged the Best Actress award because of her dedication and portrayal.

And three, director Carl Joseph Papa gave us a fresher take on such a depressing topic. You see though terminally ill and perhaps should be sad all the time, manang Biring’s personality shined throughout the film. You know, the type of feisty grandmother that stands her ground?

Moreover, the story was just so unpredictable. Every action the characters makes especially our protagonist surprises and amazes me. In order to raise funds, she and her friend and also new found friend – Terrence (the mail man who tried to rob her) played by Alchris Galura do whatever they can.

They sold manang Biring’s antique furniture and other pieces. In fact, they even stole drugs and sold them which was the turning point. Things went south for Terrence especially for manang Biring prompting her to change her approach in achieving her goal.

Now whether she lives to see that special day or not, she decides to hire a look-alike and gift her daughter the best Christmas. She wants her daughter to come home to a place that’s bright and filled with happiness – which is a complete 180 degree turn to what they were used to.

Again, her friends helps her by putting up Christmas decorations and preparing a hearty Noche Buena. But based on the ending, I think her friends told Biring’s daughter the truth or she herself figured it out.

Well, that’s MY interpretation. If you get the chance to watch “Manang Biring” on Hooq, let me know what yours is. 🙂 IMDb 9/10


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