Digital short films from Sun Life inspire financial freedom

Great story plots have a way of motivating and moving people to act. And storytelling through short videos can be quite effective because of its ‘hugot’ (heartpulling) effect. Combine this with the viral potential of social media and these digital films can go a long way towards reaching more Filipinos. This is the strategy chosen by Sun Life to spread its financial literacy and inspire more Filipinos to seek financial freedom.

Five years ago, I was present at Sun Life’s event that launched the first generation of Sun Shorts. Recently, Sun Shorts 2 was launched, featuring another three (3) new digital shorts.  Like its predecessor, Sun Shorts 2 focuses on themes that have to do with relationships and how they inspire us to seek financial security for our loved ones.

Each of these Sun Shorts will be released in the succeeding weeks. The first one, “Waves”, is already out and features a story about enduring love that will tug at the heartstrings of millennials. In this film, Marco is a surfing instructor who lives a carefree life until he falls in love with Amanda. The film shows their developing relationship and the challenges that both face with Marco being carefree and Amanda being more business-minded. Will their love endure?  “Waves” by Zig Marasigan gives a peek into the lives and hearts of millennials.

Watch Waves here. It affected even me.


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Friendships span a lifetime under the sun

It is not the number of friends that you have; it is the quality of the friendships.

This is a beautiful lesson in life that I have picked up after looking back at the friendships I have had for decades. Some friends come and go — acquaintances, childhood friends, classmates, officemates, sports buddies, and other friend connections. These are the ones you meet along the way as you grow up. During periods of your life, friendships with them can be strong. But as you move to another phase of life, they somehow get disconnected from you and fade away. They are there only for a season or two.

But if you really think about it, there is a special class of friends whose connection to you knows no bounds – beyond space or time. These are the friends that come into life, sometimes on purpose, others by accident, and even rarer, by destiny. But the difference is that they make such a mark in your life and stay there, regardless of whether they are physically near you or distanced from you by miles or circumstance.

I call them my soul friends.

I don’t have many soul friends and I prefer it that way because I want to cherish the quality of their precious friendships. The circumstances under which I met each of them are in themselves quite serendipitous because it is as though the universe conspired to weave them into my life. As I look back now, I know with certainty that they were meant to come into my life at that particular point in time and even now, as they continue to bless my life with their presence, I keep thinking how lucky I am to have friends who stick by you through thick or thin; don’t mince words when they need to ground you; support and pull you when you fall down; act as your sounding board, shoulder to cry on, and stress deflector when you need them; don’t judge you; and basically are just there at the right time and moment. It helps that the internet connects those who are far from me.

Sun Life Financial recently sought the skills of 5 renowned film directors in the country to produce Sun Shorts, film clips that are not more than 5 minutes long each. My previous post on that is HERE. These videos can now be found on YouTube and each one, while different, all portray how life is so much brighter under the sun.

The video that I was asked to view and write about focuses particularly on friendships like those I wrote about above. Sun Dance, a film brief by Jerrold Tarog, is a celebration of friendships won and kept and reminds us how important it is to keep those friendships alive and vibrant. Sun Dance features the lead girl (played by Ina Feleo) whose two friends always caught their accident-prone friend and saved her on more than one occasion from harm. As you watch this film short, you will see how these 3 friends stuck together and were there for each other through different circumstances including a heartache. The whole film is done in dance, which really interested me because of my ballet experience. And Ina Feleo is such a natural dancer — just right for this film!

Who makes your life brighter under the sun?

Watch the video below. I think it will make you remember all the special people in your own life who have been there for you through good times and bad – family, friends, mentors…

SUN DANCE (Director’s Cut) from Jerrold Tarog on Vimeo.

Even the words in the film resonate so strongly with the meaning of friendship:

I am fragile
I am accident prone
But you are my guide
I am never alone
When I stumble
When I miss a beat
You pull me up
Till I’m back on my feet
At times I push you away
When my mind’s occupied
But when I need you
You are there by my side
Whatever the weather
in triumph or tragedy
we stick together
like words and melody
when hope seems out of sight
you are a true friend
your love is my light
we’re in this together
for the long run
with you, life is brighter
under the sun

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sun Life Financial pioneered life insurance in the Philippines in 1895. In 2011 it was ranked the #1 insurer in the country based on total premiums of P14-B. If there’s another friend that Filipinos can consider, it’s Sun Life, whose robust role in the financial services industry is coupled with its team of advisors who are not just there to give financial advice but can also be counted on to “bring the check”, so to speak, when times turn for the worse.

To know how life can be even brighter, visit Sun Life’s website at

And…you still have a chance to be chosen as a winner in Sun Life’s Fly to Singapore promo. Click HERE for the mechanics/details.


Sun Shorts: A Preview from Sun Life

Consider this a heads-up!

Beginning July 25, 2012, Sun Life Financial and five Filipino filmmakers will showcase five (5) short films. The series is the Philippines’ installment of a regional film project called Experience the Sun, a collaboration of Sun Life Financial and film makers in Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Philippine installment, entitled SUN SHORTS, features the way the chosen five filmmakers interpret how life is brighter under the Sun.

The filmmakers involved in Sun Shorts

I was fortunate to sit beside Sun Life’s lady President & CEO, Riza Mantaring. Actually, I saw her featured by Ces Drilon in Pipol. At that time, I was already very impressed by her achievements. At the event, I got to talk for some time with her.

Riza Mantaring, Sun Life President & CEO
I may be tooting the female psyche but having a woman at the helm oftentimes makes a difference in the creativity of an organization. Sun Life, as far as I know, is the first insurance company to break out of the conservative and traditional mold to try a bold and different venture like going into digital media for their campaigns.

Beginning July 25, 2012 and every few weeks after that, one Sun Shorts film (about 5 minutes max) will be featured in

Here’s a sneak peek (photos and teaser captions, in quotes, taken from Sun Life’s website).


Unitel’s veteran producer-storyteller Jun Reyes (The Last Journey of Ninoy, Crying Ladies) makes a trip down memory lane to tackle a love that transcends the test of time and shines brightly amidst the darkness of war in ‘1945’.”

Life in a Day

“Most sought-after commercial director Jolly Feliciano departs from light-hearted themes to posit a lifetime of possibilities thru the eyes of a sick young boy whose hope burns brightly as the sun in ‘Life in a Day’.”

Oh My Goth!

“Director-playwright Chris Martinez (Here Comes the Bride, Kimmy Dora, 100) takes on the humorous side of the generational divide as an old woman’s faith and penchant for superstisions clashes with a young man’s cool confidence in a future well planned in ‘Oh My Goth!’.”

The Debt

“Up and coming filmmaker Nic Reyes follows the travails of a young man whose penchant for “quick fixes” led him into tight-hole situation and finds enlightenment and redemption from a surprising character in the action-packed ‘The Debt’.”

Sun Dance

“Multifarious artist Jerrold Tarog (Senior Year, Nino, Shake Rattle and Roll, Aswang) lets his “Sun Dance” pump up the beat of friendship that empowers three young women to tackle life’s ebbs and flows with grace and elegance. These shorts show how much friends bring the brightness of sun into our lives.”

Sun Shorts Promo

Everyone who watches Sun Shorts films online get a chance to win a trip to San Francisco, USA. All you need to do is like the video and post a comment.

Sun shorts digital films are produced by Sun Life Financial Philippines in collaboration with Unitel Pictures and supported by Star Magic, Cinema One and Sun Life Foundation. More details may be found at