The movie tells the story of Abigael Edades who returns to her Philippine hometown from her five-year stint as a nurse in Canada. Her town mates rousingly welcome her as a hero, the crass moniker ascribed by the government to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos working abroad. She finds her family in tatters, her parents estranged and living apart and her brother Jepoy living the life of drugs. But she basks in the welcome of her mother and youngest brother Noel and the devotion of her boyfriend, who proposes marriage. Her happiness is short-lived. She is diagnosed with SARS and contaminates Noel. They cause a national scare, are quarantined in Manila and are shunned by their own townspeople and the municipal government. Even her boyfriend leaves her. The hero becomes a heel. "Just a month after my return, my views on life and the people around me have irrevocably changed," she says at the start of the movie.