Journeys are favorite topics of books, movies, and other art forms. That's because they overflow with meanings.
Journeys may or may not lead somewhere. But it's the getting there that makes it worthwhile.
Directed by Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil, Erasto Films' Lakbay2Love latches on this premise. The film mines the journey aspect two ways.
One, it tells the story of two bikers who travel around nature destinations: Mt. Maranat, La Mesa Dam, Benguet, and Timberland.
Jay-R the forester (Dennis Trillo) is looking for someone to document his latest project involving Mother Nature.
Enter videographer Lianne (Solenn Heussaff), whose mounting bills make her more than willing to take a project that pops up.
They agree to be as hands-on as can be to give the project their best shot. So they grab mountain bikes to survey Mother Nature and what's left of it.
The film manages to sneak in big issues like global warming, the devastation of forests, and an Apocalypse scenario about the Philippines after 30 years of uninterrupted nature pillaging.
Coming from the mouth of someone as handsome as Dennis in his omnipresent biking attire, however, the blows are not as scary, even if you hear warning bells ringing in your head.
After all, Lakbay2Love is no documentary riddled with statistics and a harsh recital of facts. It's classified as a love story. It should give you a high right smack in the center of your heart.
The chance to do this comes along when Lianne relates her story of heartbreak to Jay-R, whose friend Macky (Kit Thompson) happens to be her ex-boyfriend.
Turns out Lianne herself is on a journey to self-discovery, and she needs to get away from it all to complete it. Figures, too why the movie's English translation is "Journey to Love."
SELF DISCOVERY. Like her biking adventures with Jay-R, which force them to travel over rough roads and unexpected bumps along the way, Lianne's personal journey is riddled with rants, tears and fears.
But journey she must because, like falling off a bike, she can only learn if she brushes the dust off her knees and moves on.
Solenn trades her sexy, glam roles to play the troubled Lianne and gets an A for effort. It's a first in the sophisticated Solenn's career, and the adjustment period shows.
Lakbay2Love isn't perfect. Sometimes you feel like grabbing the camera yourself to speed up the action a bit.
All that pedaling, scenic shots and snatches of drama could use more compelling visuals--like a dried-up river, skinny children running around typhoon-hit homes, etc.--to drive its environmental advocacy home even more.
In fairness to the filmmakers, Lakbay2Love lays its cards on the table. It doesn't pretend to move moviegoers to plant trees to avert forest destruction the very next day. That's impossible.
Instead, it tries to tell moviegoers to act and do their share for Mother Earth bit by bit.
They can mount that bike and spare everyone from horrible traffic, deadly car fumes, and illnesses. They can pedal away stress, burn unwanted fat and take the road to health and fitness.
That's because every journey has a destination worth reaching. And traveling that road that leads to happiness, well-being, and respect for God's gift of Mother Nature, is not easy.
Lakbay2Love tells us it is worth the long, arduous trip.
Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial staff.