About Ngilngig

The Philippines’ rich cultural diversity increasingly proves advantageous for the development of the nation’s film industry. Our ancient archive of written and oral stories has become a wellspring from which filmmakers draw tales and accounts that they can translate into cinema. These stories, told by various voices and experienced first-hand by other sensibilities definitely excite, if not satisfy, the cinema audience’s hunger for something fresh.


Ngilngig Asian Fantastic Film Festival Davao is the only fantastic film festival in Southeast Asia. It is an annual gathering of films and filmmakers organized by artists and filmmakers, who understand the struggles of filmmaking, who recognize the importance of a film as a voice to be heard or an experience to be shared, who value the disparity of audiences, and who celebrate a convening community of artists, film enthusiasts and filmmakers.

“Ngilngig”, or its derivative “ngiga” (from ngilngiga), has been more commonly used by the Bisaya-speaking population to refer to something that is “kuyaw” (awesome). But the word originally refers to something that elicits horror or alluding to the macabre. Here are some words that might define the “ngilngig” factor in you: Gruesome, awesome, dreary, dreamy, dread, eerie, scary, ghosts, fantastic, bombastic, grim, goosebumps, gore, horror, terror, amazing, fear, weird, smelly, spirits, legend, myth, punk, metal, experimental, fairies, memories, visceral, mind-fuck, macabre, town tale, superstition.

In 2010, the first series of shorts succeeded with an attempt of forging a filmmaking culture that would separate the regional film movement from the imperial Philippine cinema. Thus, creating the DAVAO NGILNGIG FILMS, composing of only then five films that stand on their unifying “ngilngig” factor, and presenting varying themes such as reliving a ghost story from the past, processing an occurring memory from childhood, identifying a town tale from a personal province, interpreting an enigmatic mesh of dreams, and recreating an unforgettable peculiar event.


“Ngilngig” may just be a concept of the mind, but since the mind, like the universe, is constantly expanding, so will the concept of “ngilngig”, and it shall continue to inspire filmmakers, artists and dreamers, to unite under the essence of “ngilngig” factor as a tool to create and develop voices through the different ways of seeing their own experiences, dreams, and imaginations, as well as, of archiving the vanishing oral stories into cinematic and other familiar and unexplored art forms that may anticipate or reflect social developments.


Ngilngig Asian Fantastic Film Festival Davao is organized by Pasalidahay, a Davao-based collective of filmmakers, curators and programmers, that fosters audience development for developing cinema from the Philippine regions. It will take place in Davao City, Philippines, from the 25th to the 31st of October 2019.