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Folklore puts the spotlight on Sorcery in the Philippines

By Tricia Quintero
December 27, 2021

While the world continues on in technological advancements, there are some beliefs and practices that persist especially in rural parts of the country. The belief in albularyo (folk healers) and mangkukulam and mambabarang (sorcerers) are some examples based in the Philippines. The fourth episode of the second season of Folklore puts the spotlight on these rural beliefs.

Folklore is a horror anthology series by Singaporean director Eric Khoo which features stories based on Asian superstitions and national folklore and myths. Each episode focuses on folklore from a specific Asian country and is led by a director from the country of focus. 

The second season’s Philippine-focused episode titled “7 Days of Hell'' is directed by Erik Matti, known for his acclaimed works in horror and suspense genres. Some of his works include Honor Thy Father (2015), Buy Bust (2018), Pa-Siyam (2004), and Seklusyon (2016). The episode’s storytelling is aided by Michiko Yamamoto who helms as the story writer.

The episode revolves around the story of Lourdes (Dolly de Leon), a policewoman and mother, on her pursuit of saving the life of her son Eugene (Roshon Barman) who encountered an unknown illness. Along the way, she discovers that her son’s illness is caused by a sorcerer’s curse, and the only way for Eugene to survive is for him to make things right with the sorcerer. Thus began Lourdes’ journey, together with her colleague Jong (Mon Confiado), in discovering what her son could have possibly done to warrant such a curse. 

“In the episode, [they were] confronted with something they couldn’t explain. And as policemen, they rely mostly on evidence or proof, on nothing ambiguous. But then they end up thinking [that] maybe this is the work of the supernatural,” said Mattu during an online press conference. 

“In this episode, more than the mambabarang, we wanted to do a police crime story. Michiko and I love crime stories, especially police stories. And Lourdes and Jong represent the detectives that we always love in the film,” he added. “It starts out with a crime, and you will see how the kind of corruption in a small-town police station started it all.”

Folklore’s “7 Days of Hell” premiered on HBO last December 5 and is now available on HBO GO. Download HBO GO from the App Store or Play Store in order to stream or download the episode. HBO GO is also accessible via Cignal or online.

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