Thoughts on Sinepanghalina’s Award-Winning Short Films – Ma?, Dungaw and Bisperas

Though only 20.31% of my blog posts are related to film reviews, I 100% love films. It doesn’t matter if it’s an independent film or mainstream. As long as my interest is piqued, I’ll watch it like these three short films I am about to share.

A Digital Creator friend of mine shared with me a passion project she’s part of called Sinepanghalina. This a group of young and passionate filmmakers led by the creators of the multi-awarded short films – “Ma?”, “Dungaw” & “Bisperas” that strive to continue making quality socially-relevant horror content for Filipino viewers.

Hearing and researching about Sinepanghalina reminded me of my college days. I’m a Communication Arts graduate and I took whatever film class in available in our school. I even joined a film organization in our school which unfortunately dissolved early in the process. It was sad but I did enjoy writing scripts, location scouting, and everything!

Going back, the three films I reviewed are available for streaming on Sinepanghalina’s Facebook Page and Youtube Channel. *Don’t worry I’ll hyperlink the sites!

Ma? (2017)

11min | Short, Horror
Directed by: Ralph Quincena, Patricia Ramirez

This is a story of Andre, who finds himself alone in their home after having revealed his true self to his mother. In search for his mother, and with no electricity, he tries to look around in the dark but secrets will be revealed as to why the turn of events has developed and more so, what is lurking within the shadows of their house.


The moment I hit play I started getting nervous because the mood was being set from the opening credits. When it finally reached the first scene, I was so frightened that my nervous system almost broke down. A child alone in the darkness is not a great sight nor experience. But with so little light Andre did what he can to add more brightness in the dark house.

The way I see it, the storm and darkness in the house represent Andre’s worries and fear. The need for light is him looking for someone to show him that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being who you are. Like any person, you will think that the closest person in your life will be the one to guide you. In Andre’s case, it should be his mother but sadly it might not be her. IMDb 10/10

Dungaw (Look Through) (2017)

13min | Short, Drama, Thriller
Directed by: Ralph Quincena

One school night, a problematic nursing student named Lea (Dennise Concepcion) struggles to contain her misery at the girl’s restroom after class. As she tries to pull herself together, she is surprised by the presence of a professor (Trechelle Ras) in the same comfort room. She then hurries to leave but her feet were stuck in the ground as she is startled when the professor voices out and questions her deepest secret.


Honestly, this film got me thinking for a few seconds then it suddenly hit me hard. The title is translated as look through which means to read or briefly examine some of the pages of (a book, magazine, etc.).

Now at the beginning of the film, the audience sees a girl rushing to one of the cubicles in the ladies room. From what she did next, we can conclude that she’s pregnant. Being pregnant at a young age is scary. But if you have the right people around you, you’ll get through it. That is what the professor tried to say to the student.

Now their entire conversation was set in the ladies room. Included in the frame are the two ladies and a large mirror, a very common setting in a comfort room. But if you look closely, the mirror gives you a reflection. The professor was in the same situation as the student. She was a reflection of her. And if you look through it, you can also see that there are regrets within that is why she appeared and approached the student when she was about to leave.

In the end, the student seems to have collected herself. But the professor wanted to show one last thing, her side of the story as promised earlier in the film. What’s that, you ask? You have to see it for yourself. IMDb 10/10

Bisperas (Eve) (2019)

12min | Short, Drama
Directed by: Ralph Quincena

An hour before the new year comes, a family’s year-ender celebration gets disrupted by an unexpected, tragic incident.


Eve is one mysterious period, dangerous even. I’ve heard many warnings from my grandparents not to do something huge or go somewhere on the eve of my birthday or any special celebration. I understand they want me to be safe but I never really understood the idea surrounding it.

Is there a force during that period that is set to harm people? Watching Ralph Quincena’s Bisperas, I had an epiphany. As the countdown to the new year or new life begins, a clock stops for another. It’s a tragic but it’s a reality. IMDb 10/10

Final Thoughts

I left my rating after each reelview. As you can see, I gave them all a 10/10 simply because they deserve it. Each film tells a different tale. Though their running time is short, the films did not fail to convey their message. In fact, I heard them loud and clear. Moreover, the actors, as well as the techniques they used, were also great. I was pulled in their world even for just a few minutes.

I really miss watching films that make you think; not to mention, films that interconnect like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Come on, now. That’s a huge masterpiece difficult to recreate. Going back, films like what Sinepanghalina is making should be glorified more. I don’t mind if a plot is simple or complex as long as you’re telling a story in a short or long time frame and you put your heart into it, it should be known.

If you have suggestions or recommendations on what I should watch and review next, let me know, okay? I haven’t been in the loop for a long time but I heard some film festivals are showing films on YouTube and Vimeo. You can leave a comment below or message me on my socials. Lastly, I urge you to watch Sinepanghalina’s films and hope you support the local industry may it be food, film, clothing, etc.

As always, stay safe, healthy and happy! 🙂

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