Curiosity, Adventure & Love Offers a Glimpse of Philippine History Through a 106-Year-Old Woman's Extraordinary Life


This weekend, the story of Jessie Lichauco, a Cuban-born American woman who left her country to start a new life in pre-war Manila, will be shown at Ayala Malls Glorietta 4.

Curiosity, Adventure & Love is told from 106-year-old Jessie Lichauco’s perspective. In it, she muses about brotherhood, Filipino independence, mixed marriages, and technology. She also tells stories about surviving the Second World War, the Japanese occupation, and a number of her best memories.

Freelance journalist Sunshine Lichauco de Leon, Lichauco's granddaughter produced Curiosity, Adventure & Love. The project was in the works for over eight years. De Leon started collecting her grandmother’s stories and recordings back in the late 2000s with the thought of writing a biography. After a chance encounter with a documentarian friend, de Leon realized that Lichauco’s colorful life could instead be turned into a documentary.


The film is de Leon’s first independent documentary. It has already won five awards at festivals around the world, including Soho International Film Festival Winner, Best Documentary, 2017; NYLA (New York Los Angeles) International Film Festival Winner, Best Documentary Feature, 2017; Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards (LAIFFA) Winner, Best Documentary Feature for April; World Premieres Festival Philippines where Curiosity, Adventure & Love competed in the “Filipino New Cinema” category and was awarded a Special Jury Prize for documentary. 

Jessie Coe Lichauco with husband Marcial, the first Filipino to attend Harvard.

“I believe it’s important to share stories and insights of the generation that lived through the pre-war world and survived World War II. I made this film because I wanted to inspire people to learn more about Philippine history,  and the detail with which she remembers history brings it to life,” de Leon says. “The wisdom she has accumulated over a century of life has tremendous relevance in today’s fast-changing world, where people are more connected and yet more isolated from each other, perhaps now more than ever. It is my hope that her story will remind people of what we have in common and inspire them to be more compassionate to each other."

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The award-winning documentary will be shown at Ayala Malls Glorietta 4 on Friday, June 29 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m. as a tie-in to Philippine Independence Day. After the one hour screenings, there will be a question and answer session with director and producer Sunshine Lichauco de Leon.

Watching the trailer for Curiosity, Adventure & Love below:

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Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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