A Woman Named Sheika
By Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera
Arnel Mardoquio’s investigation of the impact of war in Mindanao began in Hunghong sa Yuta which tells of a young artist from Davao City who volunteers as a teacher in a mountain community where children born at the onset of the war grew up deaf and mute.
Mardoquio’s seond film, Hospital Boat, narrates the story of two women friends, one a doctor and the other a religious sister, who together moves from one coastal community to another to bring medical relief to war refugees in the company of a young lumad boy. The film introduces us to a wider variety of characters—Muslim revolutionary leaders, a priest who runs a relief center for evacuees and war victims, and an abusive Muslim warlord and his sister who, beside him, stands as a counterbalancing figure, a Muslim lawmaker who takes the side of the oppressed.Read complete review
The New Land: A Place of Promise or Peril
By Mike Rapatan
Arnel Mardoquio’s Sheika recounts the harrowing story of Sheika (Fe Gingging Hyde), a Tausug mother who, together with her sons Mudin (Mark Anthony Perandes) and Alfad (Dan Lester Albarracin), flees the bombings in her war-torn village in Jolo for the urban comforts of Davao City. Her decision to move to Davao, a place she regards as a safe haven for Muslims like her family, is not merely a geographic relocation. At a deeper level, Shieka’s agenda for migrating is psychological. Her family’s transfer to Davao is a quest for catharsis from the traumas she has experienced. It is also a deliberate attempt on her part to escape the ruthless violence targeted at people of her kind by the diablo, her allusion to the military who, as implied, claimed the life of her husband in some bloody military operation. Hoping to prevent a similar fate, Sheika on the boat trip to Davao instructs her sons to avoid speaking in their dialect and abandon their Muslim garb and religious practices and assume new names in order to appear no different from the other city folk. Sheika becomes Shie while Mudin and Alfad respectively take the names of Dindin and Soysoy.Read complete review