Oh, to be a Filipino–hectic family gatherings due to the overly-extended family tree, the undying love for karaoke, the constant chismisan of the aunties, basketball, the big tummies of the uncles, the all-purpose Vicks vapor rub, inumans, the boxing fights, the doing whatever it takes to ensure the safety of our family despite all odds… you know, the usual Filipino things.

Filipino culture is not an unknown topic to those in the other parts of the world since Filipinos are literally everywhere. With the thousands and millions of Filipinos who reside abroad also increase international awareness of Filipino culture. It is for certain that anywhere a Filipino goes also comes to their culture since Filipinos are known to be really proud of where they came from. One such medium they show their pride in their culture and heritage is through art. Specifically, films! Films revolving around Filipino culture have played and continue to play a big role in the increased awareness of the ins and outs of Filipino culture. One such film is The Fabulous Filipino Brothers, directed, written, and starred by Filipino-Americans; that is available on Netflix!

The Fabulous Filipino Brothers is a film about, you guessed it, Filipino brothers residing in Pittsburg, California–who have come together for a wedding despite all the shenanigans they are currently going through personally. The film was directed and starred by Dante Basco, in which he plays the role of Duke Abasta. However, Dante is not the only Basco that appears in the film. In fact, all the main characters in the film are Dante’s siblings. Namely, Dionysio Basco as David Abasta, Darion Basco as Danny Boy Abasta, Derek Basco as Dayo Abasta, and Arianna Basco as Dores Abasta. Despite the on-screen siblings being real-life siblings, the film is actually fictional–just inspired by real and personal experiences.

(Credits to the Los Angeles Times)

Having scenes shot in California to scenes in the Philippines, some would say it is quite an ambitious project or an indie film. In addition to that, the film also stars big-shot Filipino celebrities such as Solenn Heussaff and Tirso Cruz III as supporting characters. However, despite the murmurs of the film being ambitious, it is fair to say that the film managed to get the job done. Perhaps their toughness to push through the film is reflected in the surname of their main characters: Abasta–a play with the Filipino saying “Ah basta,” which roughly translates to, whatever happens, happens!

(Credits to the Los Angeles Times)

Since the film is also written by the Bascos, specifically Arianna, Dante, and Darion, Filipino-Americans who will watch the film can somewhat relate to some if not all the experiences of the characters since the Bascos are Filipino-Americans themselves. In fact, it is certain that they will easily relate to the main gist of the film: family. Filipinos are known to be really family-oriented compared to those belonging to other cultures. Filipinos will literally do anything for their family, which is mainly highlighted in the film.

“Family is what anchors us and is there to support us…So, through all of our calamities in life, there’s always a leaning on family.” Dante said in an interview.

(Credits to That Shelf)

The film’s way of telling a story is unique in a way since it backtracks the events leading up to the aforementioned wedding that made the brothers get together, through the respective perspectives of the brothers; and narrated by a woman with an unknown identity (which will be later revealed…you probably already know where this is going, right?).

Dayo Abasta, played by Derek Basco, is the first in line to be introduced in the film. He is the eldest among the Abasta siblings, which is why he thinks that he should shoulder all the responsibilities and expenses for the food to be served for the wedding. This is despite the fact that he knows that he would not be able to afford it, a point that was also raised by his Chinese-American wife. However, Dayo still insists and argues that the whole scenario is a part of being a Filipino. Due to this new self-inflicted problem that Dayo now has, he will need to do something extra in order to pull it off.

(Credits to Celpox)

The next story to be told is Duke’s, played by the film director Dante Basco. Duke is considered by the family to be the most successful and has the most money by being a businessman. Duke’s segment was filmed primarily in the Philippines, where he had to travel for the first time for a business trip. However, his trip to the country went a little hotter than expected as he reunited with a past fling, played by Solenn Heussaff. The only problem here is that they are both married. Will both of them manage to resist temptations? Who knows! Go watch the film!

(Credits to Vox)

Next up is Danny Boy Abasta, played by Dionysio Basco. For this section of the film, it is more on the lighter side of things as it is almost acted out as a skit. However, the segment could also just play as a reflection of the personality of Danny Boy, as he is known to be a happy go lucky party animal who likes to fool around from time to time.

(Credits to Elcinema)

David Abasta, played by Darion Basco, is the last of the brothers to be introduced. David is the shy, introverted type of family member who will be alone inside a room while playing games on his phone during family reunions. It is said that David is always alone in his room because of a break-up he had with a previous girlfriend. However, since we have previously mentioned how happy-go-lucky Danny Boy is, he tried to help David get out of this situation in the best way he knows how: posting David’s profile on a dating app (unsolicitedly).

(Credits to Darion Basco/IMDB)

After all the brothers are introduced, the brothers’ only sister will be introduced in the film. Ariana Basco plays Dores Abasta, the brothers’ youngest and only sister that works as a nurse; it can not get any more Filipino than that, right? A Filipino working as a nurse abroad?

(Credits to Ariana Basco/IMDB)

While the film shouts Pinoy pride and Filipino representation in the western world, it can not be denied that the film also contained a lot of stereotypes about Filipino-Americans, or Filipinos in general, which are translated through comedy. It is almost as if all films about culture and heritage must possess some sort of stereotype to get the message across. On the other hand, some may argue that stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason since it is the reality. After watching the film, let us know what you think!

(Credits to the Los Angeles Times)

Family always comes first for Filipinos. This is why it is no surprise that almost all movies tackling Filipino culture and heritage revolve around family-oriented angles. In a generation wherein Asian minorities are still going through injustices and inequality, movies such as this are crucial in raising awareness about the culture of Asian minorities residing away from home. While people will have conflicting opinions regarding the technicalities of the film, one thing is for certain: brothers who work together for their family are definitely fabulous.

Watch The Fabulous Filipino Brothers on Netflix!

Written by Lawrenze Empleo

Christian Lawrenze Empleo is currently a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise, and a 4th year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student of Colegio de San Juan de Letran Calamba.

Ray Christian S. Lopez

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