Ligaya leaves her countryside for Manila, hoping to find a better life there. Having had no news from her, her young fisherman fiancé Julio sets out to find her. To survive in this sprawling capital, he finds a job as a construction worker, but soon discovers the exploitation of human beings, the slums, prostitution networks… A long descent into hell, in search of his missing fiancée.
“There are undoubtedly some people left who still remember that day at the 1978 Cannes Festival, when rumours began to circulate of a low-budget film from the Philippines. Lino was one of the most physical filmmakers that the cinema had ever had. A real fireball. He knew all the arteries of this teeming city, and he penetrated them just as he penetrated the veins of the outcasts. When you watch Manila, you are burnt by a flame that never dies” (Pierre Rissient).
The film was restored in 2013 by the World Cinema Foundation and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, at the Cineteca di Bologna / L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, under the experienced supervision of Mike De Leon, the film’s director of photography.