ANTONIO “TOTO” ESTARES comes from Tacloban, Philippines, a place ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda. His mother has cancer. He works at a hotel in Manila, and tries every which way to get to the U.S. so he can support his family – which he’s been doing since his father died and left them penniless. His father had made it to Las Vegas to become a stage act and promised to petition his family, but he ended up a dishwasher who drank and gambled away everything. The only thing Toto inherited from his father is the obsession of the dream, which he has forged into his own, and is intent on fulfilling it, because it was also once his mother’s hope.
Toto makes one failed attempt after another to get a U.S. visa, risking friendships, his job, a lot of borrowed money, his dignity, and his heart. What he doesn’t realize is that, in a way, he’s already made it to America. The hotel is America. Its U.S. guests represent the good, the bad, and the ugly of America. After Toto meets the bad and gets ripped off, he loses hope. Yet it’s a good American that helps Toto, in a most unexpected way.
TOTO is all about the power of the dream. Although the failures of his father haunt him, it’s the power of his father’s dream that fuels him, not just for himself, but for those he loves, to help better their lives and achieve their own dreams. Some call it the American Dream, but for those beyond the U.S. it’s simply “the dream”. After all, there’s a TOTO that resides in all of us.
Sid Lucero, Thou Reyes, Liza Diño, Blake Boyd, Bibeth Orteza, Rafael Roco Jr.
family, immigration, american dream, lgbtq