Ilo Ilo goes to Ilo Ilo

Ilo Ilo returned "home" to Ilo Ilo, the Philippines, over the weekend.

Last Sunday, the Singapore-made movie premiered in the city after which it is named, the home of the real-life maid on which the story is based.

Madam Teresita D Sajonia, affectionately called Aunty Terry by the film's director, Anthony Chen, attended the screening and the premiere in Manila the following day.

The Ilo Ilo screening was so popular that additional chairs were set up in the aisles of the 700-seat theatre to accommodate the crowd.

"It was lovely, like a second homecoming for Ilo Ilo (after Singapore)," said Chen, who also received a certificate from the governor of the municipality of San Miguel, the town in Ilo Ilo where Aunty Terry lives.


"People were very moved, I think, because in Ilo Ilo they don't speak Tagalog, they speak Ilonggo, and in (one scene in) the film, the maid (played by Angeli Bayani) speaks Ilonggo when she's calling home.

"I think they felt very proud that the film gave them a voice, and the world finally knows where Ilo Ilo is."

Proceeds from that screening were donated to people affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which left almost 4 million people displaced and over 7,000 dead or missing. It also hit parts of northern Ilo Ilo, a coastal region in the Philippines.

Aunty Terry's home, thankfully, was unaffected by the typhoon.

"She told me her house is not destroyed at all. She has chickens and ducks, not one chicken has died," said Chen.

"She said, 'God is watching over me'."

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