Letters and Romance.
Since time immemorial the two have been intertwined like the hands of lovers, or in some cases, the fingers of a pleading man in heartbreak. It is through letters that romance can be sparked, it is through letters that said romance can survive or flounder. Of secret notes and Dear Johns, of tales of admiration or surrender, the fates of letters and romance go hand in hand. But like the old adage, some times exchanges are about the journey and not the destination. Discovery is alive and experiences live longer when we meander, and I think that’s part of Sakaling Hindi Makarating‘s charm.
Directed and with cinematography by Ice Idanan, Sakaling Hindi Makarting tells the story of the cynical Cielo (Alessandra de Rossi) whose recent heartbreak has led her to recluse herself from the world. After receiving a series of postcards depicting different scenes and scenery from around the Philippines along with matching love poems, she decides to visit each destination in the hopes of finding the mysterious “M” from whom which the letters came from and, as I said, it’s about the journey not the destination.
Journey not the destination, it’s an old cliché but one that is very welcome in the case of Sakaling Hindi Makarating. As Alessandra de Rossi’s Cielo goes hopping around the Philippines in search of her newfound admirer, we begin to get that her trip is not just about finding M, this is not a simple whodunit, but it’s about finding oneself along the ride. It is about getting past the feeling that life is at the end of the road after a break-up. It is about seeing past the pain and opening one’s self up to new experiences and the new people we are to meet along the way. It’s just about enjoying the journey and seeing where this new life will take you. In a way, you could say that the film is pretty much a microcosm of one’s world post-break up albeit with a dash of wanderlust and quirky characters.
As Sakaling Hindi Makarating takes its viewers on Cielo’s adventure, you begin to get that as much as it is a love story about loving yourself it is also one of loving one’s country thanks largely to director Ice Idanan’s own cinematography. Sakaling Hindi Makarating is the movie counterpart of postcards sold at an Island Souvenirs shop (or the beautiful painted ones made by Anina Rubio shown in the film, may I just say). It is a literally a welcome change of scenery compared to the poverty porn local indie cinema has been notorious for. The movie is filled to the brim with scenes that burst with color and awe. And the movie’s visuals are on the same level as its narrative in creating a delightful viewing experience. At a whole, this is a simple bittersweet story elevated by gorgeous shots and endearing performances.
Performances play a key role in Sakaling Hindi Makarating. What sets the movie largely apart from other wanderlust-after-heartbreak movies such as That Thing Called Tadhana and Eat, Pray, Love are the chance encounters Cielo has in each destination. There is a natural chemistry shared between de Rossi and the quirky characters she meets and behind this quirk you get that there is this feeling of loss, though in different forms, that bonds the characters together. Aside from de Rossi’s, stand out performances include that of Paul (Pepe Herrera) the neighbor/sidekick whose each scene never failed to put a smile on my face and the ever scene-stealing Therese Malvar whose coming-of-age arc has an integral part in the movie’s final act.
Over-all, there is an aspirational message behind Sakaling Hindi Makarating, its tell us that, you know, things happen for reason. You may not know it yet, but the dots will connect themselves in due time. Nothing truly ends, so chin up, and treat life like you would this film — sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.