Movie Review: Siargao

23 December 2017

This may sound cliché, but reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love was life-changing for me. It helped me get over my broken heart when I first read it seven years ago. It was not an instant fix, mind you, but it reminded me that "You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight." I yearned to go on the same sabbatical as Liz did and travel and experience new things alone, but frankly I didn't have the funds nor the guts. I lived vicariously through her memoir and escaped my then reality through her inspiring story and then one day I just woke up, felt my heart, and went, "Huh. Finished with that."

Such is the the theme of the MMFF 2017 entry Siargao starring Jericho Rosales, Erich Gonzales, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith: escape peppered with romance and a healthy sprinkling of environmental awareness and tourism promotion. As you can already tell, I loved that little nod to Eat, Pray, Love inserted in one of Jericho's lines.

I joined a special preview of the movie the other day and felt I was transported to the Surfing Capital of the Philippines. I felt the itch to go to the beach right after and even though I have zilch knowledge about surfing despite going with my friends a lot of times before, I felt like I can paddle out to the line-up and pop-up. I mean, I'm a city girl but I do love the beach and getting sand on my toes and swimsuit.

Jericho plays the role of Diego, the Siargao native who went to Manila to follow his dreams of becoming a musician, but then goes back when things in the city get awry.
Erich plays the role of the brokenhearted video blogger Laura who travels to Siargao alone to try new things after turning her boyfriend's (played by Enchong Dee) marriage proposal down.
Jasmine plays the role of environmental activist and Siargao native Abby. She turned Diego down five years ago, resulting to Diego leaving the town.
Seriously, these three are so nice to look at on the big screen, they should star in more movies. They're so beautiful and golden and glowing, I held my breath at almost every scene they were in. Bonus: they're also very good actors!

I wish I can tell you the plot but I don't want to spoil the movie for you. You have to catch it on the cinemas when the Metro Manila Film Festival opens on December 25 because not only are we treated to a not-so-typical romance with characters that make you want to root for them AND an ending that's not a cheap cop-out, we are also blessed with great aerial shots of lush greeneries and sprawling seas. Cinematography is A+++ but I guess if you're shooting a place as beautiful and as picturesque as Siargao then the job just became 100% easier.

All the actors gave excellent performances but Erich was a standout. I loved her in her show Katorse before and this movie just cemented her status as cinema's sweetheart. She lends such a vibrant electricity on screen and the camera just loves her, her pretty face, and her flawless delivery of her lines. I truly believed she was really a vlogger and it made me want to follow her Youtube channel and see what she's been up to after her trip to Siargao.

A friend in high school told me before that you can never get lost so long as you know how to read. That almost became my mantra when I decided I wanted to travel alone, but then I realized I couldn't get through with it because I was too scared. I'm thinking if I would still want to give it a try. Who knows, maybe I can still try it someday.

As compared to other movies' blatant promotion of sponsors, Siargao's approach is very methodical and understated. References to eco-awareness events and cleanliness drives were subtly inserted into the film, and I also loved the environment PSA at the end.

I hope you can catch Ten17P’s latest opus, the Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 entry Siargao by Direk Paul Soriano. Treat yourself and your loved ones with this beautiful movie starting December 25 and who knows, you might just be inspired to escape to Siargao yourself.

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