SAN JUAN, LA UNION — In response to the Provincial Government of La Union’s call for local documentaries about the province, filmmaker and Municipality of San Juan resident Michael Eijansantos has come up with “Ang Dagat Ang Pinagmulan,” (The Sea is the Source) a documentary about the life, both of people and of the environment, in the surfing capital of the Northern Philippines.
This twenty-minute film is centered on how, during the community quarantine lockdown, a family whose main livelihood is surf instructing had to go back to their roots: fishing. From there, it discussed the community and the municipality of San Juan, its history as a fishing village before becoming a tourism hotspot. It tackles not only the changes in the residents’ livelihood when surfing became more and more prominent in the area but also the changes in the ecosystem in the area’s waters. While exploring the effect of the lack of tourism during the pandemic in both the community and the environment, the documentary presses a very important question: is it possible for both tourism and nature to thrive at the same time?
“We chose to focus on the Ebueza family and what they remember from growing up in the town of San Juan. Jose “Manyong” Ebueza is one of the cornerstones of the town; he is considered as one of the local legends here because he was one of those who first surfed in San Juan. He is still a fisherman today. His sons, Jomarie and Justin, are also excellent surfers. Kuya Manyong also passed on his knowledge of fishing skills to them. Before San Juan was dubbed as “Surftown,” it really was a fishing village first. Life was simple here, and fishing was the primary source of income here way before San Juan became popular with tourists,”
said Michael Eijansantos, Managing Director of My Life on Board and the director of Ang Dagat ang Pinagmulan (The Sea is the Source).
When asked what he learned while filming this short documentary, “I learned that you don’t need a lot of material things to be happy. Life can be simple yet satisfying, as long as you are with your family. We moved here in 2019 to work during the SEA Games, but we’ve been traveling to La Union frequently before that. With our work in My Life On Board, we’ve been coming over to cover surfing events since 2011. My mother is from San Fernando, La Union, so every time we’d travel here, we would visit my mom. Life is simple here in San Juan. We commune with nature, which I believe is the most important aspect of us moving here, especially for my children. I want them to grow up here in La Union and I want them to learn how to fish, to farm, and to live simply,” Eijansantos added.
“Ang Dagat Ang Pinagmulan” (The Sea is the Source) is the official entry of Eijansantos and his team for Inaig: Dokyu-Kalikasan Fest, the local government’s effort to showcase the beauty of La Union in its natural splendor, in celebration of Philippine Environment Month. “Ang Dagat ang Pinagmulan” (The Sea is the Source) will be released via the Provincial Government of La Union Facebook Page and Youtube Channel.
Here’s the link to the official trailer: