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In the Navel of the Sea (1998)
"Sa pusod ng dagat" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 37 users  
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Pepito, growing up in a remote fishing village in the Philippines is destined to become the successor of his mother: the only midwife in the whole district, a job given from generation to ... See full summary »



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Title: In the Navel of the Sea (1998)

In the Navel of the Sea (1998) on IMDb 7.1/10

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5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jomari Yllana ...
Elizabeth Oropesa ...
Chin Chin Gutierrez ...
Mrs. Santiago (as Chin-Chin Gutierrez)
Pen Medina ...
Rolando Tinio ...
Mia Gutierrez ...
Tanya Gomez ...
Manjo del Mundo ...
Mr. Santiago
Ronnie Lazaro ...
Jhong Hilario ...
Luis (as Jong Hilario)
LJ Moreno ...
Nini Jacinto ...
Maya (as Apple Zuniga)
Lawrence Dilag ...
Young Pepito
Martin Estafa ...
4 year old Pepito
Glori-Anne Arigue ...
Young Sara


Pepito, growing up in a remote fishing village in the Philippines is destined to become the successor of his mother: the only midwife in the whole district, a job given from generation to generation. As Pepito's mother Rosa who is a widow, becomes pregnant she tries everything to abort the baby because of the shame this would bring. This fails and she sees the only way to protect her son is to commit suicide. After a while Pepito falls in love with a teacher from the capitol, Mrs. Santiago. But this relationship cannot have a future. Written by Marco Radke <>

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Release Date:

24 June 1998 (Philippines)  »

Also Known As:

In the Navel of the Sea  »

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Based on the 1996 Don Carlos Palanca Literature Memorial Awards grand prize winning piece in Screenplay division, "Mga Bangka sa Tag-Araw" by Jun Lana See more »

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User Reviews

Lush yet lacking
28 August 2002 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

It's a beautifully photographed film, resplendent with the wonders of nature and the shimmering shores of the islands. The story is simple, episodic, exquisitely told. Despite its length, it still engrosses.

However, some things did bother me. It didn't feel like the 1950s; somehow the atmosphere of that era was not captured. The costumes looked wrong (although I could be wrong), the manners and attitudes seemed to have come from the present. The sex scenes were mostly clinical (it seems hard to find Filipinas with no mustache these days for the kissing scenes). Hints of voodoo, adultery and needless deaths move the plot along, somewhat, but what annoyed me was the unconvincing scene where the main character, who's so enamoured of a teacher he followed to the city, managed to sleep with her after she had a fight with her husband (who left in an angry huff). It turns out she's still in love with her husband but wanted to be with someone that afternoon. So she sleeps with him. This is hard to swallow as I came from the same country and with the exception of prostitutes, I can't believe a married woman would do such a thing at the spur of the moment.

I still prefer Abaya's early efforts such as Brutal and Karnal, but this film looks like it had a bigger budget and worth watching if only for the cinematography.

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