”Look at that baby, maybe it’s yours. It’s the only unidentified baby here”. This is what the nurses tell a mother who has lost her newborn baby. The baby’s name tag has been found on the floor.

This might not happen in a Finnish maternity ward, but in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, conditions are different. In one hall-like space lie dozens upon dozens of mothers, sharing wide beds, each one with one or two babies beside her. Here a hundred children are born every day.

Filipino-American documentary filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz has captured everyday life in what has been called the world’s busiest maternity ward. Some mothers are giving birth to their seventh child, while others are having their first – at 17. In the Philippines there’s often not even enough money for diapers, let alone hospital bills, and advice on birth control is routinely ignored.

Motherland shows a cross section of the poor population in the Philippines, but the film also depicts the joy of motherhood and their sense of community. At times the humour is hysterical, even vulgar: some of the mothers joke about wanting a full-grown man at their breasts instead of a baby.

Kaisu Tervonen / Translation: Ulrika Sundelin

Language: English, Filipino
Subtitles: English

  • Name in Original Language: Bayang Ina Mo / Motherland
  • Director: Ramona S. Diaz
  • Country: USA, Philippines
  • Year: 2017
  • Length: 94 min
  • Age limit: null
  • Cinematography: Nadia Hallgren, Clarissa De Los Reyes
  • Editing: Leah Marino
  • Production: Ramona S. Diaz / CineDiaz Inc


  • Cinema Artis, hall 1: Sunday, 04.02 - 14:00