That Thing Called Tadhana

I am probably the last person who watched this film and the last to give my two cents but I want to write this anyway.

My office mates have wanted to watch the movie since it opened in cinemas again on February 4 but there seemed to be a few days where we can rush right away to the nearest theater after office. The day when we can watch after office was also the day when the last showing for the film  was at 2pm only, probably to give way to the new attraction, 50 Shades of Grey. And so I let go of the idea of me watching the movie on big screen but then the unexpected happened. One Friday, some bunch of girls asked me out for a pre-valentine dinner and we have decided to catch the last full show in a mall in Cubao. Yeah, amidst the long queues for the other movie, we got away victorious with our tickets.

The first clip of the closing billboard at the end of the film said that the movie was written and directed by Antoinette Jadaone. Well, before catching the film I know it was her already, the same person who wrote the screenplay for the movie that brought home most of the awards from the Metro Manila Film Festival in 2014, English Only Please. But finishing the movie and seeing her name when the screen dips to black made me say, “Awesome. Can I have her brain?!” The story of the arrow that woke up with a heart pierced through it is just a genius metaphor! As the closing billboard unfolds, I know the director gave away a part of herself in the movie, particularly in the scene where Mace (Angelica Panganiban) shouted her lungs out in the mountains of Sagada. I got you there direk! It must be a painful heartache for you. (Antoinette Jadaone talking about where she got her hugot in TedXUPM here.) Ito talaga yung part na tagos. In order to move on, you have to let go. Blurt everything out, cry or even weep, embrace your broken self then pick up yourself again because you don’t have to sink with your loneliness.

“Are we supposed to be great by now?”  The movie resonates the question we have asked ourselves (or will be asking) at some point in our lives. Anthony (the caramel skinned, next Piolo thing JM de Guzman) stopped painting for 8 years while Mace invested 8 years into a love that ended with 7 words. Life is not easy. It will knock you down; hit you hard… in the face. But no matter how much you’ve been knocked down, rise up and say, “Never say die!” Mace and Anthony may have felt that those 8 years of their lives have been put to waste, the dullest years in their lives but hey, we can all start again! Paint again, live again, do that thing again that you feel you were born to do! (Yes, Ninya, write again!)

The tadhana film started with Mace trying to lighten up her baggage by throwing some items. Excess baggage in airports, as we know can be expensive. The heavier the baggage, the heavier the plane becomes, the more fuel it consumes, thus making excess baggage economically unwise. I believe the same applies to life, when you have excess baggage of hate, bitterness and resentment, it cause you your life because the time you should be moving on and seeing more places is spent with you getting stuck in a corner, trying to unload. When you travel light in the first place, you get to more places and bring more things and memories back! 🙂 The next time you travel, may it be literally to the paradise islands in the Philippines or abroad, OR figuratively to a new job or new relationship, remember to travel light! 🙂

To end, I would like to congratulate the film for bringing more tourists in Sagada! Yes, I have seen a number of Sagada trips in my Facebook newsfeed since the movie’s first showing in 2014. I think we should really produce more movies like this, movies that encourages its viewers to go and see how the Philippines is blessed with wonder. If films abroad can promote the city lights of Las Vegas, the romantic Eiffel Tower, the busy streets of New York or the commerce in Mumbai, India, then certainly, we Filipinos can do that too! More than the lessons and laughs it imparted to me, That Thing Called Tadhana makes me believe that we are indeed entering into a new breed of film industry, something that goes beyond the worn-out love story of a rich girl and a poor boy or vice versa.

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When you don’t know what to write

Eight days have already passed since my first blog post in here and I am starting to panic because I haven’t written anything yet to back that up. The blogs I follow or read have published a minimum of three entries since then. Would you believe that I am this slow?! Anyway, I believe this is not a competition. I should take my time like how Harper Lee took hers! Yes, after 55 years, she has decided to publish her second novel and a sequel of To Kill a Mocking Bird. That book that was mandatory to read during high school! Haha!

I think it is part of a writer’s life to experience conquering enormous task that the blinking cursor or an empty notebook brings. It stares at you blinking and waiting for you to write. C’mon it says, DO-IT-NOW. Write away!

Today, it is the cursor that pushed me to write without any topic in mind. I just couldn’t think of anything to share. I wanted to write about my heart aches on the death of the 44 elite commandoes of PNP-SAF in the Philippines. They were killed in an operation that aims to arrest two of the most wanted terrorists in the country and abroad. But all I can say and write is how my heart was torn for their families and friends. I wanted to blame the President for his lapses but I don’t know the entire story. He might have other plans or other things / solutions in mind and a part of me tells me that I should leave a tinge of trust for him. I wanted to get mad at the MILF who were said to be involved in the clash but I can’t. I know I can’t because I don’t know anything about their history that spans since the oppression of the Moros during Spanish times. Actually, I think it’s a bit appropriate to blame my history teacher for not teaching that part of our history.

I just couldn’t think of anything to write. I wanted to write about avoiding the movie, 50 Shades of Grey. Almost every girl in my Facebook’s newsfeed said ‘Laters, baby’ with the photo of their movie tickets or that of Christian Grey. I must admit that Christian and Anastasia are hot in their own ways but I really believe that the book and so as the movie is porn. Pornography as Merriam Webster says is “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writings) intended to cause sexual excitement; material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement.” And pornography is like a thief in the middle of the night that steals what God has made beautiful and intimate and replaces it with something perverse and destructive.

I remember when my teacher taught us what to do if we don’t know what to write. This is also the tip I share to those people who wants to start writing. My teacher told us to write anything we could think of, regardless if the sentences or paragraphs or phrases are related to each other or not. He told us to let go of our minds and hands into the wilderness of our papers and write and write and write. The trick is to keep on writing until he tells us to stop. When you stop, you have already created a masterpiece that is called the stream of your consciousness. (I think I just did that.) Then you can begin with what you really wanted to write about. (That’s what you need to watch out:)

From the Start

I am writing this while my mind sings, “…and now I’m starting over again, it’s not the easiest thing to do.” With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it is easy to expect that what I will be writing next and what you’ll be reading in the succeeding paragraphs is about love and romance… or the lack of it. Haha! Wrong!

Today, I renew my commitment to my craft that is writing. I will begin to write everyday again just like before regardless of having an audience or not, whether I will get paid or not. I will just scribble away and let my mind traverse again the empty spaces of my notebook or the blank page of MS Word until it overflows with words.

Why will I do this? I am a writer. I have always been a writer. I will remain faithful to this commitment because I choose to break free from mediocrity, anxiety and despair.  They have crippled me in the past, always stopping me from moving forward and seeing dawn. But today, I choose to remove their shackles on my feet. I am no longer their slave. I am free again.

From this day on, I will write and write and write because everything is a practice. If I wanted to be where I want to be, I have to be committed to this. If I fall again, I will rise and do my stuff from the start. 🙂