I realize that statement alone shows the depth of my ignorance. I had assumed that having once been a part of the Spanish Empire, like Mexico, Filipinos spoke Spanish. I realized within a few minutes of viewing the film they do not. I was baffled by what they were speaking only understanding an occasion word in English or Mexican Spanish.
A quick Google search taught me the official language of the Philippines is Tagalog, along with English. OK, that explains part of my confusion and why English phrases like “Comfort Room” were being used, but why were common words heard in Mexico used in the movie like hija and mercado?
Why is this? The answer is geographic. It was simply easier for the Philippines to trade with Mexico than Spain itself. During the Inquisition’s three centuries a boat voyage from Acapulco to Manila took 4 months. Arriving from Madrid to Manila took up to a year. So, for practical reasons, the Philippines belonged to New Spain/Mexico and was officially ruled from Mexico City.
Named for the King of Spain, the Philippines were conquered by Spain in the same year, 1521, Cortez conquered the Aztecs. Spain kept the Philippines isolated from their neighbors, but not from New Spain/Mexico.
Until 1811, large cargo ships called galleons traveled between Manila and Acapulco, Mexico. Most years one or two separate galleons from Acapulco would carry large amounts of Mexican silver to Manila to pay for all the exotic goods that would be brought to Manila from throughout Southeast Asia, especially China.
Sidebar: Chinese porcelain shipped from the Philippines to Mexico came wrapped in thin tissue paper still called paper from China. The paper was collected and used to make the Day of the Dead flags in factories on Barranca and streamers reminding Mexicans of the paper thin line between life and death.
So if you opt to watch Eerie, a thriller set in a 1995 nun-run boarding school, it is best to watch the subtitles unless you happen to be fluent in Tagalog. It is an interesting flick, similar to the 1990’s The Others and The Sixth Sense but don’t make my mistake. I noticed the third billed actor was a man. The few male parts in the movie were tiny with the priest’s being the biggest. Normally if a name is high up in the credits of a thriller, but the actor is not seen much, he or she will be the big reveal in the conclusion as the killer.
However I was wrong twice over. Turns out the actor (ish) lad was the cop and he’s a big Filipino soccer player rarely featured with a shirt on in social media so he was the eye candy to bring the ticket-buying ladies to a movie featuring nun-killers. It’s up to you watch the movie and decide if I mean folks that kill nuns or nuns that kill!
by Joseph Toone
- TripAdvisor’s top tour guide in San Miguel de Allende with History and Culture Walking Tours and Joseph Toone Tours.
- Amazon’s best selling author of the San Miguel de Allende’s Secrets book series on making your adventures around town unique.
- Creator of the Maria Dolls coloring book helping indigenous doll makers.