I have seen Muro-Ami when I was in my junior year in high school. It was a requirement of our Filipino class to watch the film and make a reaction paper. At that time, I was not very interested to watch it. I am into fantasy films and thus a movie like Muro-Ami does not suit my taste for movies. But since it was a requisite for juniors, I did not have any choice but to watch it.
I expected the film to be boring and thought that I would fall asleep while watching it but while the film was rolling, I realized that I was gradually hooked up to it.
The film was about a fisherman named Fredo (Cesar Montano) who lost his wife and family by a boat accident and from that lowest point in his life, he developed anger towards the sea. With this anger dwelling inside of him, he wanted to make his revenge by destroying the sea and its splendid treasures like the fishes and coral reefs. Each year, he holds an expedition to the sea through his fishing ship, Aurora, and prepares for the trip by recruiting about 200 children to help him gather 300 baskets of fish using the muro-ami method, an illegal method of fishing that originated from the Japanese in the early 1900s and this fishing technology became widespread across southeast asia and thereby including the Philippines. In muro-ami, the divers who are mostly children make their catch by scaring the fishes and forcing them to go out of their corals and lead them into a net by pounding the corals which serve as the fish’ abode. These divers were commanded to dive into the sea at least eight times a day to meet the quota before Christmas. Whenever they dove into the sea, they do not use any protective gear and thus, endangering their lives.
There are a lot of things that happened in the movie but a few scenes struck me. I saw how the children were abused. They were asked to do an illegal job which endangers their lives and yet they were poorly compensated. Their health was also neglected because the ship where they were staying had poor sanitation and many of the children got sick and yet they were not given medication. This scenario opened my eyes to the abuses that children experience in the society and it was a shocking reality. I thought that the government must do something to prevent the deprivation of rights from children.
With what I saw from the film, I realized that I was fortunate in my own way and I should be thankful for a lot of things. Moreover, man should not allow himself to be consumed by his anger and anguish. Despite all the terrible things that he encounters in his life, he needs to do his best to mend himself and make himself whole again because life must go on.
To sum it all up, the movie was good and I recommend for people to watch it.