By Nonoy L. Lauzon/UP Film Institute


It may not rake in hundred millions in box-office receipts, but what it generates is a far more valuable portrait of slices of life and intimations of wisdom that certainly resonate in these precarious times.

12545851_10153395340102106_1266251897_oFor the forthcoming Valentine season, the perfect movie to catch in theaters may happen to be not one’s typical romantic drama. From the film’s title alone, one can easily surmise that Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil’s Lakbay2Love is about nothing but romance and falling in love. Fortunately, the film has a far different take on the topic. Its stars are no teenyboppers with trivial pursuits. And the dilemma of its characters lean more on the gritty realities of interpersonal relations and the larger social context of the human need for intimacy.
The film in a way is a story of a love triangle but of an unconsummated sort. And the journey it seeks to depict goes beyond the literal sense. Melodrama is ultimately shunned and is replaced in all the right places with the modest infusion of humor that functions as more than comic relief. For once, audiences get to see a big-screen love flick peopled by protagonists with actual concerns, stakes and preoccupations other than the anxious heart.
In the lead is the adorable Dennis Trillo as a forester and biking advocate fondly addressed as Alamat. He is the film’s true central figure and poster boy for the environmental cause that the film principally espouses. This alone constitutes the wisest move on the part of the producers. With Trillo thrust as the focal center of the independent feature, the aim to win adherents for the advocacy that the film upholds is best served.
Trillo’s character may be all too good to be true, but remains real and grounded. He’s all good vibes and positive energy – an added facet crucial to a film with a cautionary tale pegged on the future of the disintegrating world on the brink of unspeakable devastation.
Lakbay2Love is Ongkeko-Marfil’s third full-length feature. Like her two previous releases (Pusang Gala and Boses), her latest exudes the feel for the heroic and the noble that come with making of an independent film.

Other than Trillo, with co-actors SolennHeussaff and Kit Thompson, the film has found one more main star, namely, in the country’s biking community. They are all over the film imbued with much charm and inspiration. They represent a no-nonsense pitch for “Bike for the Environment” that runs parallel to a groundwork that has to be precisely laid such that cinema of the indie variety can be sustained in the country as a matter of course.

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