Loving the Filipino, Leaving the Philippines: A Review of “English Only, Please”

Bashing the featured films in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 1 has become a tradition as time-honored as the event itself. Most of the films, if not all, are often dismissed either as shoddy filmmaking or as shallow entertainment.

Against such opinions, I want to show how one featured film in the 40th MMFF (2014), English Only, Please (EOP), is far from being brainless entertainment. The film is certainly entertaining, but being a Filipino romantic comedy does not keep it from impinging on critical issues in Philippine society: the meaning of Filipino, the intimate link between language and identity, the hopelessness and lack of prospects in the Philippines, and Filipinos’ dreams of a better life. It also captures the ambivalence that many Filipinos feel towards their homeland. EOP speaks of loving the Filipino, but also portrays Philippine society in a negative light, offering good reasons to leave the country.

Read the full commentary: Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia

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