BOSES: A Tagalog Indie Film about Child Abuse Every Filipino Parent should Watch! @BOSESTheMovie

We watched the homecoming screening of BOSES at Cinemalaya, and Wolverine last Sunday.

Wolverine was visually entertaining, but we never talked about it after the movie. BOSES, on the other hand, kept us reflecting on child abuses at home or around us and what are we doing about it.

  • During the times when you become a “monster” parent, do you verbally and physically harm your kids?
  • What will you do if you heard of a child abuse from your neighborhood? Will you just ignore it and mind your own business, or will you help stop it?
  • Do you bully your own kids or tolerate bullying in any form?

This is the movie that every Filipino parent should watch! 

Boses Cinemalaya After 2
BOSES was very touching and most people who watched it were crying after the show. I appreciated the world of Violin music by Maestro Coke Bolipata and how cool it is to be able to play it.

Onyok at the cabinet 2 (brightened)
The acting was just OK, and there was an old-school treatment feel to it. But the message it aims to communicate was loud and clear, and deeply felt in our hearts.

Boses Cinemalaya Julian
It was independently produced in 2008 and finally after 5 years, it will be shown commercially nationwide to spread the message of love to all Filipino parents.



reconciliation last part


Cramp and dark, the kitchen cabinet has become Onyok’s only solace from his menacing and abusive father.  This is where concerned neighbors find him with a fresh cigarette burn on the palm of his hand.  Onyok can neither speak nor cry out the injustice done to him by his own father.  He has not spoken a single word in many years.  They take him to a shelter for abused children where he meets Amanda, the charitable and kind-hearted administrator of the shelter; Shirley, a plucky young girl who, like Onyok, is also a victim of parental abuse; and Ariel, a reclusive concert violinist guilt-ridden over the death of his girlfriend. 

When Onyok hears Ariel playing the violin, he is immediately drawn to the music.  Before long, Ariel discovers that Onyok is a natural at the violin.  He begins to teach the boy.  Ariel’s initial cynicism over Amanda’s, his sister, commitment to care for abused children slowly melts away as he becomes witness to Onyok’s talent.  Little by little and quiet unexpectedly, the music they make forms a unique bond between teacher and student.  Ariel learns to open his heart again and begins to care not just for Onyok but for all the children in the shelter.    

All this is happening while the shelter prepares for the reconciliation between Onyok and his rehabilitated father.  Will Onyok find it in his heart to forgive and forget?  Can Ariel bear the pain once again of letting go?

Ariel realizes that he does not own the child. And their friendship will have to encompass both their individual issues — hardly similar and yet, resonant to both of them.  Nobody knows whether Onyok’s reconciliation with an abusive parent will succeed. But one thing remains inevitably clear: he has regained his voice.



1). Coke Bolipata as Ariel 


Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata is the one of the country’s leading artists, a seasoned performer, teacher, writer, and administrator, earning him wide recognition for his performances and efforts in cultural development, including the 2000 TOYM Award (Ten Outstanding Young Men), the Katha Award for his recording “Pelikula,” the 2001 Aliw Award as Best Instrumentalist for his performance of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the 2002 Gawad Ng Maynila Award, the 1997 National Book Award (Book Design) for his children’s book Water In The Ring Of Fire, and the NCCA Alab Ng Haraya Award.

Mr. Bolipata started the violin at the age of 8 with Oscar c. Yatco as a scholar of Stella G. Brimo, and continued with Basilio Manalo and Rizalina Buenaventura. At 12 he won First Prize in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists, subsequently leaving to study at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. His teachers include Dorothy Delay, Jascha Brodsky, Felix Galimir, and James Buswell. He has performed worldwide as soloist and chamber musician in the major halls in America including Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, and Kennedy Center, as well as numerous concerts all over America, Canada, Munich, Frankfurt, Paris, St. Nazaire, Japan, and Indonesia. He has performed with the Beijing Philharmonic, the Nagoya Philharmonic, and the Bulgaria Radio Orchestra, and a regular soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. He has recorded the Mozart Concerto #5 and the Kasilag Concerto with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, and Saint-Saens Rondo Capriccioso with the Sophia Philharmonic of Bulgaria.

In 1990 he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Art (Washington) and Artists Affiliates (New York) to bring culture to the rural areas of America. Shortly thereafter, he returned to the Philippines and established CASA San Miguel, a community-based arts center in Zambales that integrates arts and the rural community, working with over 100 gifted children from the community. In 2000 he co-founded the Metro Manila Community Orchestra, and the Symphony By The Sea Community Orchestra in Subic SBMA. Mr. Bolipata served as a Trustee of the Cultural Center of the Philippines for 18 months, served as Executive Director of Miriam College’s Music Center for Applied Music, and is currently a commissioner to the Philippine National Commission of UNESCO.

2). Julian Duque as Onyok 

Julian and Ellen

He may be silent and a little gloomy in the only movie he starred in, but Julian Duque in fact has a shining star inside him.

Duque starred in the Cinemalaya entry Boses five years ago under the direction of Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil. He played the role of Onyok, a boy made mute by his experiences with his abusive father and later on finding recovery in music and in his mentor, Ariel. His performance in the movie was outstanding and got him the best child actor trophy at the Star Awards, and his co-stars are witnesses to his talent.

Looking up to a great actor

Playing Onyok’s father was veteran thespian Ricky Davao. During a recent reunion of the cast and the production team, Davao jokes that Duque still has his charm even after five years. “I remember back then, when we were doing screening tours, he always upstages us veterans,” says Davao. “Parang mas sikat pa sa amin eh (Seems like he is more famous than us),” he says, laughing.

During the same evening, Duque shared that he admires Ricky Davao for his incredible talent in acting. “I want to be like him. Gusto ko marating yung narating niya (I want to achieve what he has achieved),” says Duque. Davao answers that it is possible, since the boy has gifts in acting and in music.

Real-life connection

As portrayed in the film, Onyok finds healing through music by violin. His equally troubled mentor, Ariel, played by real-life violinist Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata, gives back the emotion and finds healing as well in his experiences with his student.

Bolipata and Duque not only shared moments on tape. In real life, they share a mentor-student relationship, which started in CASA San Miguel in Zambales where they met. CASA San Miguel is a foundation that supports financially deprived children who have talents in music. It is managed by the Bolipata family.

Duque and Bolipata also share relevant experiences. Bolipata, as a student at the famous Julliard School in New York, experienced the loneliness of being away from home and the feeling that he is ‘out-of-place’. As if in a movie, Duque experiences the same thing, only in a different setting.

Duque is currently a scholar for music at the De La Salle Zobel School. As he is from an underprivileged family in Zambales, the culture in his new environment proved hard to grasp. In an interview, the boy shared that the university, his dorm, everything was new to him, and that he was experiencing homesickness. However, he shared that he would not let it stop him and that he still dreams big.

Growth as an artist

Duque, in his audition for Onyok, stood out from the rest of the hopefuls. As Boses Director Ongkeko-Marfil said, “the boy had so much emotion and passion that when he was cast, they had to shoot the scenes with Onyok crying last, as Julian won’t stop crying once he did.”

“The viewers would realize that in Boses, Onyok doesn’t utter a single sound and yet his face and his eyes show emotion,” says Bolipata of Duque. Truly, the violin prodigy’s brilliance in the film, which will be shown in SM Cinemas nationwide on July 31, seemingly levels to the acting of Ricky Davao and other veteran casts Cherry Pie Picache and Meryll Soriano.

Boses is a poignant story of hope and inspiration, revolving around Onyok and Ariel. The boy’s introduction to violin transforms his life, as well as his mentor, leading them to find their voice through the music they make.

Just like Onyok, Julian Duque is slowly creating his own harmony to brighten his star.

Boses cast

3). Cherry Pie Picache as Amanda

4). Ricky Davao as Marcelo

5). Meryll Soriano as Ariel’s girlfriend

6). Tala Santiago as Shirley

7). Directed by Ellen Marfil

Ellen Ongkeko- Marfil. Believing that art can be a tool for reform, she moved from theater to TV and film in search of a bigger audience. As director and producer for drama and documentaries, with themes focused mostly on the marginalized, she got rave reviews and won awards in local and international programs (“Walang Bakas” (Without A Trace), a docu-drama on Filipino desaparecidos, GMA TV, best drama program, Catholic Mass Media Awards, 2004. Finalist, Asian TV Awards; “Is your gender an issue?”, documentary for Asian Social Institute, 1st prize, Gawad CCP Awards; “Luha, Pawis at Tuwa: Kasaysayan ng mga Babaeng Maralita” (Tears, Sweat and Laughter: A Story of Urban Poor Women) finalist, GAWAD CCP awards.) 

Her first full-length digital feature is the critically-acclaimed “Angels”,a Star Cinema production which tackles the true-to-life story of a blind couple’s struggles to raise a family amidst an uncaring society. It was made available in vcd format and it is still being shown on cable tv. 

With digital technology, she decided to become an independent filmmaker with the goal of pushing alternative filmmaking –which espouses more liberative themes and equitable business relationships – into creating mainstream impact. Her first venture,” Mga Pusang Gala “(Stray Cats), a story of bonding –in oppression and liberation- between a middle age-woman and her gay landlord, won the first feature award at the San Francisco LGBT film festival in 2006, and picked-up for distribution in the U.S. It also screened in mainstream theaters locally and won various awards. Her second venture, Boses (The Voice) is about an empowering friendship between a reclusive violinist and a battered child.

8). Written by Froilan Medina and Rody de Vera

BOSES opens today July 31 in SM Cinema Nationwide 🙂

Thank you to Ellen Ongkeko- Marfil for producing a powerful timeless film!  


  • NORTH EDSA  Cinema #6
  • FAIRVIEW Cinema #1 
  • MEGAMALL Cinema #11          
  • MARIKINA Cinema #8
  • MANILA  Cinema #12          
  • STA. MESA   Cinema #8
  • SAN LAZARO  Cinema #5
  • MALL OF ASIA  Premiere Cinema#8
  • SOUTHMALL  Cinema #2
  • MOLINO  Cinema #1
  • BACOOR Cinema #4
  • DASMARINAS Cinema #3
  • ROSARIO Cinema #2
  • CALAMBA  Cinema #1
  • STA. ROSA  Cinema #1
  • PAMPANGA  Cinema #5
  • CLARK  Cinema #4
  • SAN FERNANDO  Cinema #3
  • ROSALES  Cinema #3
  • BAGUIO Cinema #3
  • BATANGAS Cinema #2
  • LIPA  Cinema #1
  • CEBU  Cinema #6
  • ILOILO  Cinema #2
  • NAGA  Cinema #2
  • DAVAO  Cinema #3
  • CONSOLACION Cinema #4

BOSES THE MOVIEProduced by Erasto Films
Origin8 Media Corporation (Distributor)
85G Araullo St., Addition Hills, San Juan

Telefax: 632 7269645
Mobile: 09166445806 (Tammy B. Dinopol), 09177100110 (Ioni Ofrasio)

Erasto Films (Production Company)
Philam Homes, Quezon City
Telephone: 632 3327485
Mobile: 09178888550 

For more information about Boses, please go to:
Facebook: BOSES The Movie
Twitter: @BOSESTheMovie


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Full Disclosure: We watched the show courtesy of Tammy of Origin8Media. I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions. 

P.S. What other indie movies in Cinemalaya that you would recommend?

3 thoughts on “BOSES: A Tagalog Indie Film about Child Abuse Every Filipino Parent should Watch! @BOSESTheMovie

  1. I watched this in our school,Letran Calamba and it was amazing and touching.I always like movies made by Filipinos especially the ones from Cinemalaya.And its also true to life!

    1. Its one of a kind obra..😍🤩👏👏👏
      Its super wonderful and amazing.
      Congratulations to ALL the artist who made this film/story possible.And choosing each artist so so great.
      Wow. I watched it twice😍!that i cant wait to relay and share it to all my friends as well my family.
      Keep it up and more power
      Looking forward for more films and talents you will gonna perform and God bless🥰🤗

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