Cultural Center of the Philippines



1997 / Color / Drama / 130 minutes / Direction: Marilou Diaz-AbayaΒ /Β Screenplay: Rolando S. Tinio, based on his play Kalapati (Dove) / Cinematography: Eduardo JacintoΒ /Β Editing: Jess NavarroΒ / Production Design: Len Santos / Sound: Ramon ReyesΒ / Music: Nonong BuencaminoΒ / Produced by Merdeka Film Productions / Cast: Sharmaine Arnaiz (Milagros), Dante Rivero (Mang Nano), Joel Torre (Junie), Raymond Bagatsing (Benneth), Nonie Buencamino (Ramonito), Elizabeth Oropesa (Meding), Mia Gutierrez, Tanya Gomez, and Rolando Tinio

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Sharmaine Arnaiz and Dante Rivero in Milagros, 1997 (Cesar Hernando Collection)

Milagros, nicknamed Lagring, is a bar girl and dancer who is hungry for her absentee father’s love and remembers his promise to her that he will bring her to the mystical mountain of Banahaw. As the film opens, she finds out that her father has died, leaving her and her mother, Meding, in considerable debt. To pay for their debt, Milagros offers herself to work as a maid in the house of her father’s creditor, the widower Mang Nano, and his three sons. In this new life, she finds a family she has never had. To each man, the sensual and disconcertingly innocent Milagros provides understanding and sexual love. Mang Nano becomes fond of Milagros and her nurturing nature, so he ends up treating her as if she were his wife and mother at the same time. Junie, Nano’s married son, is attracted to Milagros for her qualities that his wife does not possess. Benneth despises Milagros for her relationship with his father and brothers and abuses her as the whore he believes her to be. Ramonito, the blind son, becomes the object of Milagros’s love. The complicated web of relationships causes strain in the family. But when Milagros unexpectedly suffers from leukemia, the men have to grapple with her impending death. In the close of the film, Milagros travels to Mount Banahaw to realize her dream of paternal love and die there.

Milagros won major awards in the 1998 Gawad Urian: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Bagatsing), Best Supporting Actress (Oropesa), Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Music, and Best Sound. Buencamino was awarded Supporting Actor of the Year in the 1998 PMPC Star Awards for Movies. The film also won Best Achievement in Cinematography and Visual Design, Best Editing, and Best Achievement in Sound and Aural Orchestration in the Young Critics Circle Film Desk Citations for 1997.

Written by Patrick Campos (2018)