#BuhayElbi: UPLB’s me_irl | Film Review

Hello! I’m back from an embarrassingly long hiatus and I’m bringing you my blog’s first review! This one is of UP Film Circle’s entries to #BuhayElbi.#BuhayElbi (Life in Elbi) is one of the categories in Pelikultura 2018, the CALABARZON Film Festival. This annual event is organized by PELIKULAB and it aims to showcase the creative work of filmmakers in the region. #BuhayElbi is the category which depicts the culture and life in Los Baños, Laguna (also called “Elbi” by students and locals).

This year, the UP Film Circle had six entries in the said category and I’ll let you know what I think about these short films. The UP Film Circle is a group of students who loves films and making them, too.

  1. #MyFirstVlog (Ana Salvador)

#MyFirstVlog - UP Film Circle

Candid, honest, and a fresh breath of air—these are the words I’d like to call #MyFirstVlog. Inspired by the flack of travel vlogs, the creators decided to make a faux vlog for Los Baños. The goal was to promote the campus of UPLB, but with the landmarks the students love.

What I adore about the film is how it incorporated clips which would be considered as bloopers, because this added to how genuine the film was. The lead character Rafa (Rafael Bolaño) was shown as awkward and imperfect. This made him very real and inviting to viewers like me.

The best bit about #MyFirstVlog is probably its awkward humor and how it’s like a parody of travel vlogs where online influencers have more run-time than the actual place they vlog about.

2. Homesick (Leo Diamante)

Homesick 2

This entry stands out from the rest because of its sadder tone. Homesick serves as a the filmmakers’ tribute to a friend who left the country. The film starts of with different shots of landscapes inside and near the UPLB campus. It doesn’t have dialog yet, but the only audio component was the music that played throughout the film.

Homesick is a quiet recollection of memories through the places in Elbi that made it “home”. The film was like seeing the scenes in the eye of the one who’s about to leave, and it was the last glimpse before leaving.

My favorite part of the film was the musical score. The synth track was able to deliver all the emotions of someone leaving their hometown and it tied the whole film together. Scoring was A++++!

3. Jeyl Breyk (Gil Angelo Bosita)

Jeyl Breyk - UP Film Circle

Jeyl Breyk is a 2.5-minute look at the life of Elbi dormers. The film’s characters is a version of the classic trio scheme where each persona possesses different struggles, perspectives, and personalities. Each one also tells a classic UPLB dormer tale—the cramming of papers, the late night laundry, the accidental eating of your dormmate’s dinner. Every Elbi student probably knows someone who did at least one of the mentioned.

A good quality of the film is its ability to tell so many relatable stories in 81 seconds only. One of the strong suits of Jeyl Breyk is its simplicity and effortless humor. Inspired by a true event, the film delivered a background to the supposed vine of a friend.

4. Kuwit (Mannielieen Cagatulla, Manuel Balmeo)

Kuwit - UP Film Circle

If you try to search “UPLB” or “elbi” on Twitter, there would be tweets saying that the campus is their home and they’d always want to be there whenever they can. But what actually makes Elbi our “home”? Kuwit tells us that a part of it are the places we go to.

The film is composed of an array of testimonials of the students on the absence of Ministop. The content of the reactions just proves that the convenience store is more than an establishment. It’s already a part of their culture and their lives.

I guess Kuwit is also a representation of the longing for something or someone we’re always used to having with us. I also miss Ministop (especially its Fried Chicken) and the staple Silog (sinangag at itlog) place, We Deliver. I can relate to most sentiments in the film…but I was confused on the ‘scammer’ thing. That one probably brought the most humor in the film.

5. Omads (Juan Magno Iya)

Omads - UP Film Circle

This film is described as a student film that is an integration of stigmatized film and music inspirations. In my opinion, it was successful in trying to incorporate all these different elements into a unique artistic work. The critics agree because Omads the brainchild that won the #BuhayElbi category.

Hulyo (Mac Andre Arboleda) is the epitome of the tired but persevering student who tries his best in achieving the day’s tasks. He is a relatable character (waking up four minutes before exam? ME). Don’t hate on me but the acting resembled Michael Cera’s awkward methods. The girls in onesies concept reminded me of those hallucination or dream sequence characters that are common in film and TV.

My fave bit about Omads is the character and the acting. Hulyo was such a real character, especially on the part that he seems so tired and the only reason why he got up and dragged himself out was his exam. Where can I find that shirt and cap, though?

6. Sunday (Mac Andre Arboleda)

Sunday - UP Film Circle

This last film is probably the one I relate to on a spirtual level. LOL. The struggle to get through an Elbi Sunday is real. I actually go home during most weekends, but when I stay through Sundays.

Sundays are when UPLB students ask themselves “Where did my money go?”. Cheap food is unavailable, streets are deserted, and friends to borrow money from are away. It is hell!!!

The film is an exaggerated and hilariously dramatic take on a very real moment for Elbi students. I, myself, have experienced the same problem before. But I opt to not eat the whole day. One notable feature was how the film showed the character’s hazy feeling with the editing and the musical score.


Of the six films, my favorite would probably be Homesick. What I loved about is the story behind its creation and how the scoring really became the beautiful gift wrapper for the film.

The #BuhayElbi category is composed of films telling the stories of UPLB students. Generally, UP Film Circle’s entries were a collection of very candid and honest tales of the students. They were a mix of humor, drama, and stories every UPLB student could relate to.

I can’t wait for next year’s entries and hopefully, I get to review them again for you! Comment down below which movies (old or new) you want me to review, too!

For more about the film entries and the UP Film Circle, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.


All images courtesy of Mac Arboleda and the UP Film Circle.

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