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.