A Lebron James-hosted podcast (“Mind The Game”) described what was referred to as competitive stamina as the “ability to do something at a high level, wake up the next day and do it again.” 

This persistent act of constant reinvention and continued excellence in pursuit of what society knows as ‘greatness’ does not knock on one’s door or land on one’s lap out of nowhere. It takes a lot of commitment, and so much more deliberate decision-making. 

Isabela-born filmmaker Zig Dulay, the brilliant mind behind some highly acclaimed and culturally significant works in recent memory, is an enduring proof that being intentional with one’s purpose, percolating love into the craft, and possessing creative generosity are a perfect trio for a cinematically ‘competitive stamina.’ 


Zig Dulay, 37, starts any creative endeavor with the question of ‘why’. There is always an internal search for his work’s would-be purpose, probably more intensively than for what it promises, as he tries to lay the foundations of who he is and where he stands within the unique space where the story’s meaning lies.

“Iniisip ko muna bakit ko siya gagawin, tapos yung dahilan na yun, yung sagot dun sa ‘bakit’ na yun yung binabalik balikan ko every time pumapasok ako sa set, or everytime ginagawa ko siya,” explained the multi-awarded director during an interview with GMA Regional TV News. 

The long and arduous process of artistic expression takes more than just talent. It becomes a mission that Zig takes upon himself, so much so that he has a personal reason to go back to when the going gets tough.

“It’s really exhausting, hindi siya madali. It takes time and effort. Mapapagod ka talaga. Kung mawawala yung dahilan mo kung bakit mo siya ginagawa, mahihirapan ka magpatuloy. Lagi kong binabalik balikan kung bakit ko siya ginagawa,” shared the Manila International Film Festival Best Director.

A second critical element that needs to be present is Zig’s love, crucially for the story he’s working on.

“Pangalawa, hinahanapan ko lagi ng punto kung paano ko mamahalin yung proyekto… kasi kapag nagkaroon ng problema na at lahat-lahat, yung pagmamahal na yun yung magiging dahilan kung bakit ako magpapatuloy,” he said.

After locating his purpose and learning to love, he likes to imagine himself as a vessel through which that newfound purpose and love become a shared experience with those who will appreciate his work.

“Pangatlo… grateful ako na kung ano yung meron ako sa storytelling, nagagamit ko siya ‘di lamang para sa sarili ko kundi para sa ibang tao, kinukuha ko yung opportunity na magamit yung talent at kagalingan para lumikha at makapag-silbi para sa ibang tao,” said Dulay.


Asked about the importance of the auteur’s personal lens, Zig suggests that it’s always a balancing act between sharing the process with a team, and narrating the story from the unique perspective of his individual persona.

“Mayroong creators, creatives, writers, pero along the way, sa kasagsagan ng proseso ay nagiging personal na siya. Yun yung ginagawa ko, pag minahal mo na siya at nakita mo na ang purpose mo while doing it, nagiging personal siya.”

“Personal in such a way na ang magiging basehan mo lagi pag nag-didirek ka ng bawat eksena ay kung ano ang natutunan o naranasan mo sa tunay na buhay. Yung mga maliit na desisyon na kailangan mo pag-decide-an nanggaling yun sa kung sino ka - kung ano ka,” Zig noted.

What’s impressive is that a natural like Zig is also great at recognizing an entire ecosystem of creatives that function seamlessly when working together. He is an absolute proponent of giving all the necessary credit where it is due - a laudable trait that is distinctly, uniquely ‘Zig Dulay.’

In fact, during the grand media conference of his latest upcoming serye “My Guardian Alien,” he made sure to label the entire crew as his driving force in times of pressure and self-doubt. “Tinitingnan ko lagi na I am only as good as my team, hindi ko ine-equate yung sarili ko na ako lang yun. So hindi ako nape-pressure kasi alam ko na yung nakaka-collaborate ko… yung mga creatives, artista, cinematographer - lahat sila alam kong isinasaalaang-alang namin yung kagalingan at ikagaganda ng show.”

“So hindi ko nararamdaman yung bigat, dahil part lang ako ng isang team, nagkataon lang na ako yung direktor… pagsasama-samahin ko lang ang kagalingan ng bawat departamento,” he added.


Zig is a staunch believer that stories must strive for connection. This serves as his steady north star towards a cyclical purpose that he has standardized whenever stuck in his imaginative process as a storyteller.

“Everytime may ginagawa ako, mapa-series man yan o pelikula, sinisikap ko palagi na magkaron ng personal connection doon sa materyal,” said Dulay.

“Naniniwala kasi ako na kapag nakapag-create ng connection sa akin yung materyal, makakapag-create yung materyal na yun (ng connection) papunta doon sa mas nakararaming tao,” he added.

A slave to the idea that stories are shared pieces of culture, Direk Zig believes ardently that there is mutual beneficence in working on something that’s powerful and moving. “Kung ano man yung nasagap o nakuhang connection ng mga tao, bumabalik yun papunta sa akin.” 

The award-winning filmmaker puts on a pedestal the intimate bond he has with the stories he tells, as he hopes that every award, every commendation, every applause that marks his brilliance is a reflection of having found his ‘why’ anchored on the purpose to serve. 

“It is a cycle of service - iseserve mo yung kwento, yung kwento magsserve sa mas nakararaming tao, kung ano man yung nakuha nila, nagseserve yun pabalik sa akin,” he shared.