Employer of "Sunday Beauty Queen" star 'happy, proud'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — After Metro Manila Film Festival underdog "Sunday Beauty Queen" bagged Best Picture last Thursday, one of its unexpected stars shared her employer's relentless support for her love of beauty pageants.

Caregiver Mylyn Jacobo has been taking care of the same elderly man for three years. They are both lucky to be a good match, she said on Monday.

"Every time na nagjojoin ako ng beauty contest, pag umuuwi ako sa bahay na may crown akong bitbit, trophies, yung feeling na (sinasabi ng) matanda, 'I like that!'" Jacobo shared on The Source.

"He was so very excited about ano yung natatanggap ko, yung crown ko. Parang proud na proud talaga siya sa akin, kaya tinutuloy tuloy ko," she added.

[Translation: Every time I join beauty contests, whenever I go home with a crown or trophies, (there is) that feeling when the old man says, 'I like that!' He was so very excited about what I receive, about my crown. It's like he's very proud of me, that's why I continue.]

Sunday Beauty Queen, directed by Baby Ruth Villarama-Gutierrez, follows the lives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong and their participation in beauty pageants. The documentary also won Best Editing at the MMFF awards night.

Related: 'Sunday Beauty Queen,' 'Seklusyon' emerge as big winners in MMFF 2016

Jacobo added that with his family gone, her employer--who is also interviewed in the film--treats her as one of his own children.

"Walang family na nag-iisip sa kanya. Because of me, parang naiinspire pa siyang mabuhay nang matagal kasi nga napapasaya ko siya," Jacobo shared. "Tinetreat niya ako as (a) daughter, na parang yun nalang yung naging family para sa kanya."

[Translation: There is no family that thinks of him. Because of me, it's like he is inspired to live longer because I make him happy. He treats me as a daughter, like I have become family for him.]


Aiming for policy change

According to Villarama-Gutierrez, the documentary aims to discuss some OFW policies and "promote empathy" for these real life heroes.

One of the policies they seek to improve is the 14-day rule in Hong Kong, which sets a two-week deadline for terminated domestic helpers to find new employees.

"If you don't find a new boss within those 14 days, you become an illegal alien, so you have to go back the Philippines and then pay another placement fee and look for another recruiter to work you up," Villarama-Gutierrez explained on The Source.

"Once you become a domestic helper, you cannot move on from that status. You are forever a domestic helper, you cannot even apply for a citizenship in Hong Kong or resident permit," she added.

Jacobo explained that their visa is specifically for domestic helpers and the 14-day provision is also stipulated in their contract.

"So if you are under the green contract, which is for domestic helpers, hindi ka puwede magwork ng ibang job [we can't work another job]," she explained. "Otherwise, makukulong ka [you'll get jailed]."

Appeal to theater owners, moviegoers

While Sunday Beauty Queen enjoys a spike in ticket sales after its Best Picture win, Jacobo's own family has still been unable to watch it. The film trailed at the bottom four in the box office last week.

"Ayaw daw tanggapin ng sinehan doon. Kailangan daw nila ng maraming manonood," Jacobo explained.

[Translation: The local cinema won't screen it. They say they need a lot of viewers.]

Villarama-Gutierrez, on the other hand, believes that the only way to find out if this viewership is possible is to "open the cinema."

"Our appeal is Hollywood can wait, it's just four days... and we're doing good in the box office," said Villarama-Gutierrez. "So let's give chance to people to watch Sunday Beauty Queen, especially in the provinces."