Oligase is the story of a “no-read and no-write” Matigsalug girl named Laha who rebels against her tribe’s strict beliefs about a monster who attacks and eats school children – the Oligase. Convinced that the monster is a folktale, she begins to see backwardness and ignorance in her elders, village, and life. Driven by a stubborn desire to study, learn and gain knowledge, Laha runs away.
Unbeknownst to her, there are greater and darker monsters in her journey away from home. Laha begins to see that there are monsters in the city, a deep evil, waiting to devour and destroy in exchange for her dream. Will Laha be willing to pay the terrible price, or is there another path waiting for her?
“It was a challenge to shoot in the remote mountains without clean running water for many days but I count it as a privilege to bring the story of the Oligase to film. People should watch this film to know more of what some of our indigenous peoples are going through and hopefully, it will also speak to them about how our own fears can bind us. It feels great being able to finish the entire production after trying to put this film together for the last 3 years. I was blessed to work with amazing people, and this was an amazing journey." - John Valdes Tan
“Directing first time actors in very demanding roles can be quite challenging. But the enthusiasm and the hungry-to-learn attitude of the actors produced a believable ensemble performance. I hope – like I did – people worldwide would have a glimpse of the realities that the tribes face. They'd realize that we are all not that different from each other. They too have dreams that sometimes get stolen by circumstance, sadly by evil men who take advantage of their innocence, or consequently by the uninformed choices they make.” - Icko Gonzalez
“The spiritual attacks were the biggest challenges in writing it. After the book was published, I experienced bouts of fear and depression. I felt honored that they chose my book. I am thrilled with the potential that our message could be heard far and wide. It also gave me hope that many people will be aware of the needs of our indigenous and reach out to their needs.” - Pio Gabad Arce
“Oligase came to us like a providential assignment. When I read the short novel by Pio Gabad Arce, I was intrigued and became all the more curious about life in the mountains. I hope – like I did – people worldwide would have a glimpse of the realities that the tribes face. They'd realize that we are all not that different from each other. They too have dreams that sometimes get stolen by circumstance, sadly by evil men who take advantage of their innocence, or consequently by the uninformed choices they make.” - Icko Gonzalez
Oligase is a 1 hour and 40 minutes, full-length motion picture entirely shot in film in the remote villages of Marilog District in Davao City where the Matigsalug people live.
90 percent of the dialogue are in the unique local dialect of the Matigsalug tribe and 10 percent is in Filipino.
The film is available with English subtitles.
This film is not yet rated.
Lesslie Joy Pasandog as Laha
Samuel Lafuente as Salantay
Sunshine Mande as Malitan
Hazel Joey Apino as Nina
Teresa Mande as Magda
Alex Pasandog as Asit
Vivian Joy Goling as Young Laha
Ricaila Talay as Young Malitan
Rudy Mande as Datu Pinon / Storyteller
Marcelo Apino as Uminloy
Rosalina Andip as Ayuban
Maureen De Guzman as Mam Connie
Manuel Vallejo as Manuel
Janice Allunar as Stella
Hutch Perales as Putok
Jolina Daquipil as Mama Kring
Elden Karl Requilme as Pastor Omning
MAIN PRODUCTION STAFF
Directors – JOHN VALDES TAN and ICKO GONZALEZ
Screenplay – PIO ARCE and ICKO GONZALEZ
Executive Producers – PETER KAIRUZ and JOHN VALDES TAN
Associate Producer – IVY CATUCOD
Production Manager – ALICE LABAYDAN
Director of Photography – RAPHAEL METING
Production Designer – BUGGY AMPLAYO
Master Editor – TRAVOLTA HUBILLA
Original Music – JESSIE LASATEN
Colorist – MARILEN MAGSAYSAY
Sound Designer – RAFFY MAGSAYSAY
Wardrobe and Make up Supervision – CHRISTINE LIM
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