BAKAL BOYS (CHILDREN METAL DIVERS)| 1hr : 33mins
Director: Ralston Jover | Producer: Bessie Badilla
Focus Years: 2010 | Country: Philippines
It is the story of 2 young boys, UTOY and his best friend BUNGAL. They usually go diving for scrap metals in the Manila Bay area where barges arrive full of imported steel and metal products almost everyday. Authorities prevent them from scavenging for scraps as it is dangerous. Instead, Utoy and Bungal go diving with the other children and gather scraps in the depths of the sea, coming from the barges.
BUNGAL always warns UTOY not to stray away from him whenever they go out in the treacherous sea. He believes that there are mermaids waiting for them in the deepest part of the bay area, who will lead them away. Utoy does not believe Bungal and does not believe in mermaids. Until one day, Bungal disappears during their diving expedition. Utoy fails to notice his absence as he and the other kids are so excited about their new catch, a huge and heavy anchor, and they immediately rush to the junk shop to sell it. Night have fallen when Utoy realizes that they have left behind Bungal swimming alone in the open sea. He looks for his friend almost everywhere and asks everyone in their coastal neighborhood if they have seen Bungal. It takes Utoy another day to proceed with his search, having a picture of Bungal in one hand showing it to even strangers. When Bungal's grandmother nervously asks him where her beloved grandson is, Utoy can only stare at the old lady with an anxious and embarrassed look.
Utoy joins Bungal's grandmother, together with a fisherman in an ominous search in the farthest part of the breakwater walls, until they reach the lighthouse amid the huge waves. Their desperate search leads them to nothing.
In the last few scenes, Utoy visits Bungal's grandmother in her home as she laments once more in prayer for the loss of her grandson. Earlier that day, a fisher man delivered a Styropore floater bearing Bungal's name; it was Bungal's floater that he used on their last expedition. Utoy quietly leaves Bungal's grandmother praying and proceed to the quiet, bay area's shoreline. He sits there alone staring at the dark and still waters of the bay. Dark clouds are preventing the moon to shine and there are no stars in the skies. A deaf rolling of thunder is barely heard overhead. Utoy suddenly dives into the ominous still waters and starts swimming away from the shore, towards the dark cove where mermaids use to rest when they are swimming at night. It was one of Bungal's crazy stories that he used to hate. Now, he is starting to believe it - and wants to find out if it's true. He is ready to save Bungal from the malicious mermaids.