Runtime: 84 minutes
Genre: Drama and Fantasy
A Bikolano devotee of Ina, Virgin of Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bikolandia, will find himself lost in the middle of the forest. He will get injured and will fall unconscious. When he wakes up in the middle of the forest, it is already night. Then he hears a woman singing in the forest. He follows the voice. He meets this mysterious girl singing in the forest in the middle of the night. The girl takes care of the devotee’s injury. She nurses him to health in the forest. This is the love story of Maria Makiling, Daragang Magayon, and other goddesses of Philippine folklore falling in love with injured and lost young men in the forest.
The devotee and the mysterious girl fall in love with each other. Diverging from the folklore of Daragang Magayon, the devotee invites the girl to come with him to the plains. He wants to marry the girl. But they will have to leave the forest and live in the plains. The girl refuses, saying she could not leave the forest. She is cursed to stay in the forest. She is barred from leaving the forest. The young man does not understand. It is then that the girl reveals her true identity to the young man. In the part of the forest where they first met, the girl reveals herself as Oryol, the mythical snake woman in the epic Ibalong. She is a creature: half-woman, half snake, which is why she cannot leave the forest. She is enchanted.
In fear, the young man leaves her. But as he reaches the plains, he realizes that he does love her. So he fetches an albularyo to help him free Oryol from her enchantment. When the albularyo, however, confronts Oryol, she does not find anything wrong with her. Albularyo tells the young devotee that he has to find another way to convince her to come out of the forest. The albularyo advices him instead to pray before the Virgin of Peñafrancia, since he is a devotee to the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary. He should pray for a miracle before the Virgin of Peñafrancia.
Thus, the young man joins in the fluvial procession during the Feast of the Virgin of Peñafrancia. During the procession, as he struggles to get near the image of the Virgin, he comes face to face with the miraculous Virgin of Peñafrancia. He becomes stupefied with what he saw in the face of the Virgin.
Enigmatically, the young man returns to the forest to look for Oryol, who is surprised to find him returning to her. The young man and Oryol in the shape of a half-woman, half-snake make love to each other. Man and beast join their bodies together. Lying beside each other satiated, Oryol asks the young man what made him decide to come back. Young man answers, “I saw your eyes in the eyes of the Virgin.”
Director & writer Alvin B. Yapan
Producer Alemberg Ang
Director of Photography Dexter Dela Peña
Editor Chuck Gutierrez
Production designer Dennis Corteza
Sound Andrew Milallos
Music Fr. Charlie Cenzon & S.J. Jireh Pasano
- Cinemalaya review: ‘Debosyon’ is more than a love story
- Faith as a Public Spectacle or an Intimate Union with God
- Honorable Mention, ReelWorld Film Festival, Toronto 2014
- Top 10 Under the Radar Asian Films for 2013 by Variety Magazine’s Maggie Lee, Head Critic for Asia