In Focus: Siargao

Two soul searchers meet in Siargao, the surfing capital of the Philippines, to get away from their troubles in Manila. Their time in the island and with each other help them rediscover love.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: The film captures the island’s pristine beaches and picturesque landscape in every underwater and drone shot. What a sight to behold! After watching this film, everyone would place Siargao in their bucket lists. Expect Cloud 9’s nickname to change from “Crowd 9” to “Coldplay Concert 9” or “Papal Visit 9.” Perhaps the post-credits PSA anticipates this pandemonium.

The story at the heart of the film feels personal and relatable. Indeed, the need to escape and find one’s peace hits close to home for many of us Millennials. Though cliché, there is value in breaking the monotony of daily life from time to time. By trying new experiences and meeting new friends, we learn and become better.

Our main characters Jig (Jericho Rosales) and Laura (Erich Gonzales) are both at their lowest points. He’s just broken up with his band, while she’s just broken off her engagement. They develop a natural connection and help influence each other’s realizations. He teaches her to live in the moment, and she teaches him to right his wrongs. Jericho, Erich, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith (playing Jig’s ex Abi) play off each other well and keep their performances subtle, which add to the low-key, intimate vibe of the film.

But what I like the most about Siargao is that it brings its characters toward an unexpected conclusion. The choices they make in the end are somewhat anti-climactic and disappointing, but I think it all adds to the reality of it all. After spending a week in paradise, it’s up to you what to make of it. Isn’t that what always happens? The ending offers itself up to fun discussion.

Random Notes (SPOILERS BELOW)

  • I love Erich in this role. She’s ditzy, awkward, vulnerable, frustrating, and lovable all at the same time!
  • Not to nitpick, but Jericho’s shifting intonation from English to Tagalog to Bisaya sticks out a bit. Jasmine also doesn’t sound like a local.
  • Happy to see Will Devaughn and Roxanne Barcelo. Is Siargao in the same cinematic universe as I Found My Heart in Santa Fe? That would be awesome and could tie to Boracay and Caramoan sequels!
  • So much fan service here for surfing enthusiasts: Luke Landrigan, Wilmar Melindo, and Ikit Agudo appear in minor roles.
  • Although it’s hinted as a big part of the story, the whole “father issues and inheritance” subplot for Jig goes absolutely nowhere. It confuses Jig’s reason for leaving. Is it because of his father, Abi, or both? Is it just there as a career fallback option?
  • I respect how local environmental initiatives (e.g., a cleanup drive and an eco-awareness fair) are tied to the narrative. It’s done tastefully so it doesn’t feel at all preachy or lose the important message.

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