33 user 19 critic

The Debut (2000)

2:06 | Trailer
A young man struggles with his desire to study art when his family thinks he's headed for premed studies. Conflicts between Filipino traditions and expectations vs. personal dreams in the contemporary world erupt at his sister's debut.


Gene Cajayon
4 wins. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Dante Basco ... Ben Mercado (as Danté Basco)
Jayson Schaal Jayson Schaal ... Doug
Brian Card Brian Card ... Dave
Mindy Spence Mindy Spence ... Jennifer
Nicole Hawkyard ... Susie
Brandon Martinez ... Rick
Ernie Zarate Ernie Zarate ... Tito Lenny
Gina Alajar ... Gina Mercado
Emelita Moll Emelita Moll ... Tita Connie
Gina Honda Gina Honda ... Tita Florie
Tirso Cruz III ... Roland Mercado
Bernadette Balagtas ... Rose Mercado
Rawlins Apilado Rawlins Apilado ... Jun
Derek Basco ... Edwin Mercado
Joy Bisco ... Annabelle Manalo


The story revolves around Ben Mercado, a talented high school senior who has rejected his Filipino heritage. The long-simmering feud between Ben and his immigrant father Roland threatens to boil over and ruin the 18th birthday party of Ben's sister Rose. But to Ben's surprise, his sister's celebration challenges his sense of misplaced identity, and the way he regards his father and grandfather. In one night, Ben faces the true nature of his relationships with his family, his friends, and himself. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One night can change a lifetime.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Considered in the Philippines as the very first feature-length film to extensively show the Filipino-American experience. See more »


Spoofed in Lumpia (2003) See more »

User Reviews

Overall 8
24 October 2001 | by phoenixprimusSee all my reviews

Positives - My brother is in this movie. He's the Filipino guy with the white shirt and cream vest, listening intently to the conspiracy theory of Ben's cousin out with the tricked out cars. Side note: He also owns the Black CRX with the Red "Rush Factor" sticker on the windshield. The other nice things is that they did an excellent job of capturing the "you know you're Filipino when . . ." attributes. The film is quite funny and quite accurate.

Negative - While I let this slide because its the first fil-am movie, I'd like to see less ethno-centric films. Films where nationality isn't the focal point. I have the same complaint about most African-american films. Like say they made "The Fast And the Furious" but all the main characters are Filipino. The story itself could happen to anyone, it just so happened to happen to a Filipino. The other part is that it is too general, but again, since its the first, I suppose it was necessary.

Overall - an 8. For all its flaws, they were necessary for this film because one of the main objectives was to show what the filipino culture was, both the good, the bad and the typical. And my brother was in it. hah

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English | Tagalog | Filipino

Release Date:

13 August 2003 (Philippines) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mercado Family Debut See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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