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Why ‘Encanto’ hits a little too close to home for Filipinos

If you still haven’t seen Encanto, rethink your life decisions now because you have been missing out on all the fun, drama, and bangers that this animated film delivers.

Currently, the film has grossed $223 million at the worldwide box office, which shows how known it is, more so internationally.

Encanto centers on the lives of the Madrigals, a Colombian family who possess powers aside from Mirabel, making her unique from the rest of them.

And although the Madrigals are not Filipinos, we can’t help but notice the similarities from our family culture and traditions, given that Colombia and the Philippines are both colonized by Spain, which explains the uncanny resemblance. But there are more reasons why the film hits a little too close for us Filipinos.

(Warning: Contains minor spoilers!)

The Madrigals are family-centric just like us.

via Disney

Just like how the Madrigals are all under one massive casita, Filipino households are not at all unfamiliar with the concept of the extended family in which we’re most likely to live with our titas, titos, lolos, or lolas – or at least live close to them – at one point in our lives. 

Because of that, we tend to be tightly knitted to our families and since then, we have been taught to value and treasure our family and to always give back when we reach the point of our success.

To us, it is family over everything.

There’s a notion insinuating that ‘elders are more superior than the younger ones’.

via Disney

In Encanto, it is shown how Abuela holds her position as someone who controls how the casita and the family should do their duties and roles in the household. But when Mirabel tried to help and accidentally crossed a line that Abuela warned her not to step on, all her reasons and efforts to lend a hand were invalid. Because apparently, she’s the one who knows what’s best for the family.

It is engraved in our culture that we need to be highly respectful of our elders, most especially those from our family. So whenever there comes a moment when an argument between an older and a younger member happens, it is most likely not going to end up well when the younger one speaks their mind and tries to prove their points.

The way Abuela invalidated Mirabel and how she did not even give her a chance to explain herself was just painful to watch considering that most of us have encountered that same situation.

There’s unresolved family drama and misunderstandings.

via Disney

Bruno Madrigal hid for years within the dark, sullen walls of that casita just for using his gift, which is knowing what the future holds for everyone – a gift that is indeed powerful. And because of that, the family decided to disown him for causing ‘chaos’ and even ceased acknowledging his existence. He’s literally dead to them.

Well, it’s not that most of us encountered this heavy of a misunderstanding within our own families, but we can’t deny that there were some instances when we would hear whispers or chismis from our families about our kamag-anak and would badmouth them even without knowing the whole truth, creating a gap that gets harder and harder to cross as time passes.

Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to talk it out, you know.

The pressure on children to be someone ‘great’.

via Disney

In the first part of the film, Antonio, Pepa’s youngest child, is expected to find out what his gift was. But Antonio was anxious because he was scared what the gift would be like – which is either going to be something or nothing. He was afraid that it might be a gift that could disappoint the family.

When we were younger and still clueless about how the world works, our parents built their own dreams for us. We were always made to believe that certain dreams were higher than the others – like how they want us to be doctors, lawyers, or engineers because these are occupations that they perceive as ‘successful’.

But all of us are different and have dreams of our own. We can’t always take the path that was made by others for us. It’s important to us to make our own, even if it isn’t always easy.

The most important thing in a family is to support and respect each other’s happiness, even if it doesn’t suit your taste sometimes.


Encanto is one of those films that you need to watch with your family and bond over some pizza and drinks on a weekend night at home. 

It’s the perfect film for everyone because the characters are easy to relate to, especially for us Filipinos.

And maybe – just maybe – it’s what we need to understand one other more.


Other POP! stories you might like:

Lin-Manuel Miranda didn’t write new songs for Sebastian in ‘Little Mermaid’

Filipino cosplayers win as Disney, Marvel characters in Korean contest

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