- Won first prize at a national art contest in Grade 6; used to draw religious pictures on the back of cigarette cartons.
- Rejected a high-paying job in advertising and worked as a wardrobe assistant for director Marilou Diaz-Abaya's Muro-Ami (1999).
- Founded the Loyola Film Circle, a filmmaking club, at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1997.
- Made his directorial debut with Jay (2008) that premiered at the Venice Film Festival; won three awards, Best Film, Best Actor and Best Editing, at the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.
- Directed Sampaguita, National Flower (2010) that was Philippine's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2011 Oscars; won the Special Jury Prize at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.