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The society defines women as mothers. Surely, nothing is wrong with choosing to raise your children, setting aside your own career, and staying inside the house to do the “dirty” works. But, when you choose otherwise, you are seen as useless, incompetent, and un-womanly. This 2014 film talks on how being a wife and a mother are more often than not prescribed roles. It is a story on how a woman courageously left the situation she thinks she does not deserve. Her tale is told on a backdrop of the dying shoe industry of Marikina.


As the daughter (named Imelda) of a famous Marikina shoemaker arranges the wake of her father, she makes amend with the past and looks back to their family’s most difficult years. She visits her memories with her absentee mother and a psychologically detached father. She then resolves within herself questions that have been bothering her for the past years. Why did her mom leave their family? Why do her parents need to separate? Why has her father unable to make their family intact?

The film beautifully integrates the local shoe business in its plot. It provides a timeline of events using the economic and political history of the Philippines. In its story, the Marikina shoe industry eventually failed when foreign investors were scared off by Marcos’ Martial Law declaration. When the economy fell down, many family-owned small businesses suffered. This style of story-telling is necessary for a nation that often times forgets its history. Context of events is important in the plot.

Although Mariquina was subtle in its discussion of maternal affairs, it is a good text to examine the growing debate of whether women necessarily need to be mothers. It offers an example of a woman’s dilemma whether to choose her own happiness or to continue serving her child and her husband.

The acting of strong women cast namely Mylene Dizon, Barbie Forteza, Che Ramos, and Bing Pimentel gave depth to the feminist nature of the storyline. In this film, Forteza showcased a mild yet powerful acting (to be seen again in 2015 film Laut) which won her Best Supporting Actress award in Cinemalaya 2014. Their performances were supplemented with equally superb acting from veteran actor Ricky Davao.

The film’s screenplay (written by Heneral Luna Director Jerrold Tarog) made the sequence of events easy to follow. Its subtle treatment made the merging of the past and the present natural.

In the latter part of the movie, it was revealed that Imelda also left her family in Hawaii to start her own business in the Philippines. This resembles the situation of her mother as well as many Filipinas today. They have to enter the working force in the hope of delivering better lives for their children. When fathers choose to focus on their careers, they are lauded for being good providers. In contrast, mothers who choose the same are thought to be selfish and irresponsible. We dream that one day, the Filipino society comes to terms with these inequalities.

Mariquina speaks of a multitude of issues. From microeconomy to adolescence, it was able to join together various topics in its one and a half hour narration. For a movie crowd who is not always given with a discussion focusing on women, the film is a chance to step into women’s shoes.

4 stars

Mariquina can be watched on iflix. Avail of their  monthly or annual plans now and tell them we sent you!

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