This long form piece was published on Written by Stories Beyond’s Jean Claire Dy after the first part of shooting House in Pieces in Iligan City. Read the entire article HERE.

Documentary: A MEMORY OF EMPIRE (work-in-progress)

Directors: Jean Claire Dy, Manuel Domes


Set against the backdrop of Mindanao conflict history interconnected with migration narratives from the Visayas, A Memory of Empire explores the epic life history of Norma Limoso, a 75 year old woman from Iloilo, Panay, Philippines.  In 1960, Norma became part of the state-sponsored resettlement from Panay towards Mindanao, the then Muslim-dominated “land of promise” in the Southern Philippines. She and her companions settled in the former Empire Province of Cotabato, where traditional Muslim clans ruled over social and political life. At 23, Ms. Limoso married Datu “Boy” Dilangalen, a Muslim royal leader, without the approval of her Christian relatives in a Muslim rite deep in the mountains. Her husband would later on become influential in the founding of the Moro National Liberation Front, the first Muslim armed group openly rebelling against the rule of the Philippine central government.

The presence of Christian settlers, like Norma Limoso, was one of the key reasons for the rebels to take up arms. Ilonggos from Panay in particular have been associated with landgrabbing and violence perpetrated against Muslims by vigilante groups such as the ilaga. Ms Limoso gave birth to her first child in her hometown Iloilo, where she had relocated at the outbreak of the war. Believing her husband dead after an encounter with government soldiers, she later re-married. Years after, a knock on her door brought the Memory of Empire back into her life.

Documentary: HOUSE IN PIECES  (work-in-progress)

Directors: Jean Claire Dy, Manuel Domes


In May 2017, war broke out in Marawi City, Philippines. It resulted in the displacement of almost half a million people who mostly ended up in evacuation centers in Iligan City, a town away. Most of the evacuees are children and women.

In their first encounters with aid workers, the children evacuees drew shelters. A humanitarian group headed by Maranaos, saw the need to use culturally sensitive toys in their activities with children.

The first puzzles were produced a few year ago, before the war broke out. Its creators in Davao City didn’t know then that they would eventually be used in the context of recovery from conflict.

Marawi City is known for their traditional woodcarvers who create furnitures and other products that represent the unique Maranao okir designs. After the war in Marawi ended, the puzzles were turned over to Maranao traditional woodcarvers who trained selected internally displaced individuals from the evacuation centers in the production of more puzzles.

The film will then follows  Yusuph, a carpenter whose family is one of evacuees staying in the Toril compound, an informal evacuation center in Iligan City, his journey back to Marawi in efforts to rebuild his physical home.

The cultural memory embodied in the puzzles links the story to the larger context of destruction and preservation of cultural heritage in the Marawi conflict.

Piecing together a puzzle is like piecing back together what was lost due to war.


(A 5-minute cut of the film is now available for screener purposes)

Narrative Short: PAGLUBAD  (UNRAVEL)


Ligaya, a filmmaker, stays with her uncle Primo in Iloilo, to finish a documentary film about her roots. Motivated by the need to understand why her family in Cotabato resists her plan to marry her Muslim boyfriend Malik, Ligaya is determined to find answers from her uncle. Malik is an orphan whose parents were killed in a fire during one of the massacres perpetrated by the Christian militia known as the ilaga during the war in the 1970s in Central Mindanao.

Ligaya seeks to find answers from her uncle about his past life in Mindanao during the tumultuous 1970s. Armed with her camera, she doggedly observes her uncle doing his rituals, practicing arnis martial art movements, persistently pushing him to answer the questions about the past. Primo, on the other hand, resists Ligaya’s questions. When finally Primo agrees to a video recorded interview, Ligaya is faced with the weight of the wartime secret she unwittingly unravels.

Written and Directed by Jean Claire Dy, Cinematography and editing by Manuel Domes, Musical Score by John Diagoras of The Good Friday Experiment


Directors: Jean Claire Dy, Manuel Domes
Producer: Lendz Barinuque, Jean Claire Dy
Pagrara Sang Patipuron follows a group of indigenous Aeta women weaving artists in Nagpana, a sitio up in the mountains of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. The film explores their artistic processes and products, reflecting negotiations between tradition and modernity. The Nagpana community is home to weaving artists that traditionally make crafts (purses and bags) that answer to a saturated market of woven crafts. This circle of women weaving artists are going beyond the products the Aeta are known for, by weaving jewelry with designs inspired by their environment and the people they live with. For these women, to weave from the center, to weave a circle, is to weave a life confronting realities of lack and insecurities brought about by poverty. With the help of two young artist entrepreneurs in the community, the women were empowered to explore their artistic imagination and extend the limits of their design process in the hope of transcending their present realities. The Aeta are considered the first inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago, but they are also one of the most marginalized indigenous peoples in the country.

Nominated in the documentary category of the 2017 Sinag Maynila Film Festival.