More than a love story, ‘Siargao’ is an environmental call to action

Erich Gonzales romancing the waves of Siargao island. Instagram photo

Erich Gonzales romancing the waves of Siargao island. Instagram photo

By Angelito Cabigao

Reminiscent of the gorgeous beach views in Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Beach,” this is one movie that embraces the beautiful culture of the Philippines.

In a country notable for its more than 7,000 islands – with many beaches showcased in international magazines like Conde Nast — it is only fitting that a movie like the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival entry, “Siargao,” be made. Directed by Paul Soriano, the film promotes the beautiful culture of the Philippines and makes an impact statement on environmental awareness.

Jericho Rosales plays the musician Diego who finds fame in Manila but is overwhelmed by it. He escapes the destructive music culture in the city and returns to his hometown Siargao. There, he meets Laura (portrayed by Erich Gonzales), a fashion blogger, and reconnects with Abi (Jasmine Curtis-Smith), a love from his past.

I have never been to Siargao island, but this movie had me looking for tickets right after. Fascinating choice of a location. You will see plenty of crystal blue waters and white sand throughout the movie. Unlike El Nido in Palawan and Boracay off Panay, Siargao is not well known to many people. However, you will see how Siargao, which is a surfing destination in Surigao del Norte, also has an abundance of beautiful resources.

Views of the island range from narrower focused views of the waves crashing on a particular beach to underwater views of the clear waters, to wider scope viewpoints of the entire beautiful island. After you see these clips in the film, you will agree why it won Best Cinematography.

A different love triangle: Diego (Jericho Rosales) and his two loves – Laura (Erich Gonzales) and Abi (Jasmine Curtis-Smith).

A different love triangle: Diego (Jericho Rosales) and his two loves – Laura (Erich Gonzales) and Abi (Jasmine Curtis-Smith).

The main characters Diego, Laura and Abi — played competently by Jericho Rosales, Erich Gonzales, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith, respectively — are all able to capture specific personalities that differ from each other. The plot strays away from the monotony of a romance flick.

Furthermore, the individual stories of the characters deal with relationships, family, and self-reflection. The cast boasts cameo roles by personalities such as YouTube sensation Wil Dasovich who grew up in San Francisco, swimmer Enchong Dee, E-Sports gamer Ann Mateo, and singer Mica Javier. Professional surfers Luke Landrigan and Wilmar Melindoare allowed to shine in the film, the better to promote Siargao as a surfing paradise. To capture the authenticity of the island, the characters can be heard speaking in English, Visayan, and Tagalog.

Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of this movie is showcasing action plans towards preserving the environment. Environmental awareness in movies is quite rare to see. “Siargao” provides multiple scenes of a community embarking on waste cleanup. More than a movie, it is a call to action on caring for the environment.

The film won six awards in the Metro Manila Film Festival: Best Director, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Curtis-Smith, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Editing, and Best Theme Song.

© The FilAm 2018

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One Comment

  1. Patti wrote:

    Siargao also won “2nd Best Picture” so that’s a total of 7 awards ;)

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