An ex-prostitute and her daughter try to escape the lure of the "easy" life of Pampanga's Red Light District.
At a young age of 16, Amy was already dancing in the clubs of Pampanga, the Red Light District of the Philippines famous for its worldwide sex tourism. A year later, Amy met a German customer and became pregnant with her first child, Tisay (Blondie). Now 34 years old, Amy has 9 children (all not under her care), jobless, and struggling to have a better life. Trying all her might to stay away from the red light district and drugs. Meanwhile, her daughter Tisay just turned 18 and is excited of her future. She plans to find work (any work) after she graduates from High School. She hopes to marry a foreigner at the age of 20 just so she could easily escape poverty. We see two women trying to get out of the invisible trap they’re in. What does it take to get out of the trap?
Currently, she’s 34 years old, jobless and very much in-love with her “manipulative” boyfriend. She has eight children but none of them live with her. Her eldest daughter Tisay just turned eighteen and hopes to see her German father. Amy, aware of her mistakes and shortcomings as a mother, decides to find Tisay’s father. With no other clue except the father’s nationality and first name, Amy reconnects with her old workmates—Bar DJs, waitresses, the Mama San, cashiers, bouncers, and prostitutes— hoping they’d lead her to Tisay’s father.
Tisay lives on her own, on the other side of town. Her auntie gave her a small space to live in. Trying to budget the little money that her aunt gives her, she also works part-time at their town’s public market, selling vegetables and washing dishes for other people. Throughout the 18 years of her life, Tisay has never considered anyone as her family. She’d give anything just to get a glimpse of her dad- even if it’s just a photograph. On her last year as a high school student, she plans her future. Of course, prostitution isn’t part of her plan but she casually says “If life gets tough, I’d rather dance in bars than steal.”
What will happen to these two women? Through the course of the film, we follow Amy as she struggles her way out the world of prostitution and end destructive habits- like drug addiction and being in a toxic relationship. We also follow Tisay’s journey as she becomes a full-grown woman, finding decent work and trying to reach her dreams.
Through our lens, we will try to answer questions such as: What are the traps we are in? How can we get out of our traps? Do our small choices matter? What are the roles of women and how can we be “wiser” with our choices? How much of our environment affects our choices?
Pabelle Manikan is a documentary filmmaker based in Manila, Philippines. After college, she made her first documentary short Dawn of Hope(2012) that was funded by the Goethe Institute in Manila and was part of the DocNet Summer School workshop. She has made projects for both local and international TV stations such as ABS-CBN, Al Jazeera, Thomson Reuters. She has also edited On the Brink and Crescent Rising both full-length documentary full-length that are awarded and recognized internationally.
Wena Sanchez graduated from UP Film Institute in 2008. She is the resident producer of Hiraya Pictures, a production company that specializes in documentaries. In 2014, she made a documentary titled Nick & Chaiwhich was awarded Best Picture at Qcinema and Best First Feature by YCC Film Desk. It was screened at big festivals such as IDFA, Busan IFF, TRT, and many others. She is currently making her own documentary as well as producing other documentary projects for Hiraya Pictures.