Sanglaan (The Pawnshop)

Aug 12, 2010
*Special to asia!

“Are you willing to lose what you value most?”

Set in the heart of Tondo, a rough neighbourhood in Manila, “Sanglaan” is an uncomplicated story about four individuals losing and redeeming parts of their identities in a pawnshop.

Directed by Milo Sogueco, “Sanglaan” is a film about what people will give up to get some semblance of happiness and satisfaction in life.

It’s also a compelling picture of reality in the Philippines – where there are over 12,000 pawnshops – and sacrifice is a constant. When left with no choice but to close her shop because of rising overhead costs and a burglary, Olivia (Tessie Tomas) gives up the only thing that gives her purpose. When confronted with the possibility of romance with a seaman, and independence from a monotonous and bleak life, Amy (Ina Feleo) eagerly jumps at that chance. Kanor (Jess Evardone), a security guard, suffers the loss of his son to militants in the south and sees his wife falling ill. Things get bad and he ends up selling one of his kidneys. David (Joem Bascon), a seaman stuck in the port town, waits for his papers before sailing to the Gulf; he attempts friendship with the three.


Sanglaan (The Pawnshop)


Central to the story is shy and obedient appraiser, Amy, who finds the promise of new life in a man, who ironically is as fleeting as the jewellery pawned in Olivia’s shop. Feleo’s raw and stellar performance reminds viewers that we realise ourselves only through conscious choice. There may be a pause, a gathering of will in that moment of indecision. A suffering there, a struggling here. But a choice made not perfunctorily but with commitment – that, we can live with.

“Sanglaan” is a movie that demands very little and delivers as much as you want it to. With too much commercialism and artistic decline in often-formulaic films in the Filipino movie industry, Sogueco’s work is refreshing and worth watching.


Director: Milo Sogueco

Cast: Tessie Tomas, Ina Feleo, Joem Bascon, Jess Evardone


Silver in New Asian Cinema, Lyon Film Festival

Bronze in Grand Prix du Public, Lyon Film Festival

Inalco Jury Award, 16th Vesoul International Film Festival

Certificate of Merit Award, Shanghai International Film Festival

Ina Feleo for Best Actress, Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival

Tessie Tomas for Best Supporting Actres, Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival



Sanglaan was shown during this year’s Singapore International Film Festival. It will be screening at Singapore’s Sinema Old School from August 6, 2010.

Screening dates and times are as follows:

13.08.10 | Friday | 6.30pm & 8.30pm

15.08.10 | Sunday | 3.00pm

20.08.10 | Friday | 5.00pm

27.08.10 | Friday | 5.00pm

Carmela Mendoza runs everything "behind the scenes" at asia! She's also a content creator for mobile phone books and applications. She previously worked for education and ICT initiatives in the Philippines.

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