A week after the death of her parents, a woman shows up at her brother’s house in rural New Zealand where he lives with his pregnant wife.
The woman, a Kiwi-Filipina doctor named Gloria, has been estranged from her family for some time.
Gloria, played by New Zealand-Filipino actor Charisse Uy, left her family to study medicine in Auckland.
But after reuniting with her brother Robert (Marwin Silerio), Gloria is troubled by the spirit of her dead grandmother.
“I dreamed that my grandmother turned into a monster,” she tells her partner Rolly (Luciane Buchanan), who accompanied her on the trip.
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It’s the basis for the fourth installment of TVNZ’s local supernatural anthology series. beyond the veil.
The series is a collection of stories inspired by Maori, Pasifika, Filipino and New Zealand Chinese.
Albularyo is the title of this episode which is a Filipino term for “quack doctor” (as Uy refers to it) or wizard.
“So they often sort of like the magic that runs in their family and they may have the potential to turn into a manananggal (a scary mythical creature that has a torso and wings) if they used their magic to, I guess, swear and all that while they’re the albularyo,” Uy explains.
“Often it is passed on. And so in the story that we tell in our episode, the albularyo starts off as Gloria’s grandmother, her Lola.
“Sa Lola basically worked closely with Gloria when she was younger, to sort of make her the next albularyo.
“But Gloria decided to turn to Western medicine instead. I guess it created this rift in his family. So in folklore an albularyo has the potential to be really good or really bad.
When asked if she has anything in common with Gloria, Uy reflects on her own family.
“Gloria is an older sister to Robert and the episode highlights, I guess, the rift between the two siblings,” she says.
“It was really special to play because I left the Philippines when I was young. When my own family came to join me here, there was definitely a lot of rebuilding of the relationship.
Uy moved to New Zealand when she was eight and lived with her grandparents.
It wasn’t until middle school that her parents and three siblings, including her brother who was 10 years her junior, joined her.
In her youth, Uy acted in church plays and was involved in the performing arts in high school.
She also had a brief stint on Shortland Street playing Lovely Rivera, a nurse and friend of Madonna (Marianne Infante).
“It was super fun to be on such a big, renowned and enduring soap opera as Shorty,” she says. “I learned a lot. It was really quick.”
Uy hope people take the time to watch Albularyofor several reasons.
“I think people should watch this episode because it’s a great way to learn about Filipino culture and folklore,” she says.
“It’s a great way I guess to see and support Filipinos on New Zealand screens. It’s only recently that we’ve started seeing them on TV.
“So I think it’s really great to support that and I also think it’s a really nice family story that will give you goosebumps.”
Beyond The Veil, TVNZ 2, Mondays and TVNZ OnDemand. (Albularyo episode screens on TVNZ 2, Monday, March 28.)