Inday Bote is values-laden
Amadís Ma. Guerrero (The Philippine Star) - March 13, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Imagine a peaceful community of dwarves (duwende) living in a mound (punso) in a once sylvan but now grossly commercial district in Manila. As long as they are not disturbed, they do not mind the humans living above them. Suddenly, their world comes crashing down upon them — literally. Their homes have been demolished to give way to more high-rise buildings; the small property they considered their ancestral land is no more.

This is the opening salvo in the ABS-CBN teleserye Inday Bote to be aired soon. It is a remake of a movie that starred Maricel Soriano.

Alex Gonzaga stars as Inday Bote, with Matteo Guidicelli as her love interest. Veteran character actor Nanding Josef is the head of the duwende community, an old wise dwarf. His immediate family consists of a daughter (Nikki Valdez), his son-in-law (Smokey Manaloto) and his grandchild (Alonzo Muhlach).

“As I read the script, it became clear to me that the immediate family are the only ones who are going to defend the small property that is their home,” says Nanding. “So there was parallelism with the marginalized communities who are always in danger of losing their homes.”

“So meron pinapakita ang taong salbahe, especially mga mayaman,” adds Nanding. But this is not a black-and-white situation, for there are also good humans, as the head dwarf reminds his family. He imbues them with his own values, telling them to do what is right, what is just.

With their mound gone, the odyssey of the dwarves begins. The family find themselves in a home where a good couple (Bobby Andrews and Carla Humphries) reside. They are, however, childless. So Nanding’s character, who is some kind of healer and has magic powers, concocts a brew which makes the wife pregnant and she gives birth to Inday Bote.

Several years pass. Inday grows up to become a sweet little girl and her parents, because of their good nature, prosper. This causes the wicked sister of the mother (Aiko Melendez) to become envious and she has Inday abducted and dumped in a squatters’ area. The nasty one also imprisons the dwarves in a bottle, although the apo manages to escape.

The family is now incomplete and cannot break free of the bottle, because it needs the powers of all four of them to achieve this. The parents of Inday, the good couple, perish in an accident.

And so begins a long journey for the three dwarves trapped in the bottle. They travel the seas and even reach China! Eventually the bottle makes its way back to Manila, in fact, to the squatters’ area where Inday lives. She is now a lovely and goodhearted young woman, and only a person with a good heart can open the bottle and set the duwende free.

This is as far as the script goes, at least the script given to Nanding for his evaluation.

“We represent the good dwarves, the marginalized people who found good people (humans),” he says. “Inday Bote will be their ally. I’m sure she will be some kind of superwoman.”

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