I WAS invited to an intimate press meet-and-greet with the stars and the director of the movie "Mr and Mrs Cruz" last weekend at the 97.1 Halo Halo Radio station.
Written and directed by Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo, who helmed the monster hit "Kita Kita", Mr and Mrs Cruz stars JC Santos and Ryza Cenon, both very promising film and TV stars. JC Santos starred as the stuttering Fidel opposite Bela Padilla in the blockbuster movie 100 Tula Para Kay Stella. JC who started in theater became a hit with audiences by his performance as Ali in the Jadine teleserye "Till I Met You."
Ryza Cenon is known for her role as Georgina in the GMA afternoon teleserye "Ika-6 naUtos." She is also well remembered for her role in the 2016 Q Cinema finalist, "Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B."
"The film is about love, marriage, commitment and finding myself," says JC Santos. Describing the film as different from other rom-coms because the narrative itself is unpredictable and exciting.
Direk Sigrid says the film was born after her trip to Palawan.
"Nabakasyon ako dun, sobra ako'ng natuwa, gusto kong gumawa ng pelikula (I went on a vacation there, enjoyed so much, I wanted to make a film) about two persons finding themselves," says direk Sigrid.
She says after Kita Kita which was set in beautiful Sapporo Japan, direk Sigrid wanted to promote another destination, this time in her own country, showcasing the beauty of Puerto Princesa and El Nido in Palawan.
Ryza says the film is very relatable particularly those who are dealing with their heartaches.
In the film Ryza plays Angela Cruz, a woman who leaves her husband and goes to Palawan for some soul-searching while JC essays the role of Raffy Cruz who was jilted by his fiancée on his wedding day, who also goes to Palawan to mend his broken heart. The two would eventually cross paths in the country's last frontier.
Perhaps a millennialesque phenomenon where if one gets broken-hearted one would trail off to a strange beautiful land to escape one's heart and pain ultimately discovering oneself.
We have seen the success of "Kita Kita", the broken-hearted character of Empoy going to Sapporo or the recent MMFF entry "Siargao", Erich Gonzales playing another broken-hearted vlogger going to Siargao to discover herself. Then there's another Alessandra de Rossi film "Sakaling Di Makakarating", another broken-hearted individual traipsing across the Philippine archipelago.
Other notable "finding-yourself" films include the KC Concepcion-Sam Milby starrer "Forever and a Day", where Milby a shoe designer, escapes career failure by vacationing in Bukidnon where he meets the character of KC Concepcion. While in 2008's Star Cinema flick "For The First Time" KC Concepcion escapes family problems and meets the playboy character of Richard Gutierrez in picturesque Santorini.
Here are some of my favorite "discover-myself" films where characters goes off to some strange land to heal, find something and subsequently find themselves and fall in love with someone they met there.
Langit sa Piling Mo (1997 starring G Toengi and Eric Quizon)
G Toengi goes to the United States to search for her long-lost father. There she meets the character of Eric Quizon who helps her in the search across the country. The film was inspired by Lotis Key's (Eric's mom) quest to find her father in the United States.
Kailangan Kita (2002, starring Aga Muhlach and Claudine Barreto)
Aga plays a hotshot chef in the United States who comes to Bicol to marry his Pinay model girlfriend in her hometown. While waiting for his fiancée to return to Bicol he meets his fiancee's sister played by Claudine Barreto. The chef rediscovers his Filipino roots and subsequently falls in love with his fiancee's sister.
Minsan Pa (2004, starring Jomari Yllana and Ara Mina)
Jomari is Jerry, a hardworking tour guide in Cebu, being the family's breadwinner. One of his clients is a comely young woman named Luna played by Ara Mina. In one of their trips, Luna's boyfriend, played by Christian Vasquez, follows her. The man proposes to Luna and they return to Manila. Luna then returns to Cebu heartbroken as her boyfriend has been blinded by an accident and withdraws the marriage proposal. Jerry falls for the conflicted Luna but his feelings are unreciprocated.
Close To You (2006, starring John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo)
Bea Alonzo is Marian who has a huge crush on Lance (Sam Milby), her former Kindergarten savior now the lead singer of a popular international rock band Orion. When she learns Orion is visiting the country for a nationwide tour, she drags her bestfriend Manuel (John Lloyd Cruz) to join her quest of reconnecting with her crush. Their adventures take them to Davao City, Dumaguete, Bohol and Singapore.
The Arrival (2009, starring Dwight Gaston)
Known for his gritty realist drama films and horror flicks, Erik Matti also directed this charming light drama about Leo, a middle-aged bookkeeper who keeps dreaming about a mysterious woman and a house facade. One day he sees the picture of the house in a barbershop where he learns is located in Murcia, Negros Occidental. Leo leaves his job and his home in Manila to go to Murcia hoping he could find the lady of his dreams there.
That Thing Called Tadhana (2014, starring JM de Guzman and Angelica Panganiban)
Mace (Angelica Panganiban) is a broken-hearted woman who meets Anthony (JM de Guzman) in an airport in Rome. Upon arrival in Manila the two decided to have lunch in a resto and both discover they are equally burdened by their failures and disappointments. During a drunken stupor in a karaoke bar, they decide to take a trip to Baguio eventually going to breathtaking Sagada.