Film ‘Spring by the Sea’ Tells the Story of an OFW’s Family Through Their Personal Home Videos

Written by Mia Abigan

Overseas Filipino Workers (or OFWs for short) are arguably some of the most selfless people. They would often leave for extended periods and work in a foreign land just so they can provide for their family back in the Philippines. Most of them spend such a significant chunk of time away that they are unable to witness some of the most important milestones in their loved one’s lives. It’s extremely tiring and painful, to say the least, but these unsung heroes endure it all just so that their family can live a good life. 

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But life as an OFW is far from comfortable. More often than not, they feel alienated. They are not always treated fairly by their employers. They work long hours and barely have anything left to themselves as they send a majority of their earnings back to the Philippines.

Similarly, Spring by the Sea by Aleia Garcia is a testament to just how magnanimous a father’s love is for their family. 

An entry to the 2019 QCinema International Film Festival, Spring by the Sea is actually the English translation of Yanbu-Al Bahr (Saudi Arabia), the place where the director grew up in. This is where Garcia witnessed the sacrifices her father has been making since he started working there at the age of 21. Having to support all 12 children  is no easy feat, especially when placed in an unfamiliar location. But Garcia’s father is a fighter and that is exactly what this film captures.

Juxtaposed with personal home videos shot by Garcia’s father while working in Saudi Arabia, Spring by the Sea is a time capsule that lovingly contains their unguarded moments—breakfasts, birthdays, and travel. 

By the time Garcia is 17, she moves back to the Philippines to pursue a degree in film. It was an extremely difficult decision to make, according to her, because in doing so, she’d be separated from her family. But she persisted. 

Originally, the film (then a collection of home videos) was submitted as her film thesis in college. But even after the years spent in university, she decided to keep working on it until she—with a little help—was eventually able to let the story fully unfold to the touching film it is now. 

“Making a film about your personal life can be challenging because there are a lot of voices you will hear. Your job is to hear your OWN voice and trust the vision that God gave you.”
—Aleia Garcia

You can watch the trailer for Spring by the Sea here:

Catch Spring by the Sea in selected theaters around Metro Manila starting October 15. Find the schedule below. For more info and screening details, visit

Spring by the Sea

Twitter: @springbythesea
Instagram: @sbtsfilm


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