Film Detail

Sampaguita, National Flower

Francis Xavier Pasion / Philippines / 2010 / 78 min / US Premiere


The sampaguita may be the national flower of the Philippines, but it’s a source of shame in this beautifully shot docu-drama concerning the difficult lives of children who ply the delicate flowers for survival. Opening in the lush pre-dawn fields where the sampaguitas are harvested and then moving to the teeming streets of Manila where they’re sold late into the night (once cut, the flowers only hold their fragrance for a short time), director Francis Xavier Pasion uses the flowers’ journey to delve into poverty’s bitter divide. The serene repose of the sampaguita harvest dissolves when we migrate to Manila alongside Ronalyn, a young girl forced to leave her sick mother. Here the visual and editing aesthetic becomes as frenetic as the city itself, following its young “sampaguita orphans” as they dart through crowded city streets, crying out to motorists to buy their flowers, running from the police and others, and otherwise attempting to survive through quick steps and a quiet dignity. Working with a group of street children who sell the flowers in real life, Pasion adapts their actual stories into contained dramatic episodes, some heartbreaking, others euphoric, but all wisely avoiding any sense of resolution or finality. Woven through the dramatizations are excerpts from the original interviews Pasion conducted with the children prior to filming, which make the film’s themes of abandonment and abduction even more vivid. Besides highlighting the collaborative nature of SAMPAGUITA, these direct encounters are a testament to the street children’s surprising resilience to deplorable circumstances. Max Goldberg


  • Director: Francis Xavier Pasion
  • Executive Producer: Josabeth Alonso, John Victor Tence
  • Producer: Francis Xavier Pasion, Chuck Gutierrez
  • Cinematographer: Neil Daza
  • Writer: Francis Xavier Pasion
  • Editor: Chuck Gutierrez


Sun 03.13 915pm

Mon 03.14 630pm

Wed 03.16 900pm

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