“Camp Sawi” revolves around a fictional retreat resort located in Bantayan Island, Cebu wherein guests can stay and join in activities that can aide them from moving on from their heartbreak. The movie focuses on the heartbreak of five women namely Bridgette (Bela Padilla), Gwen (Arci Munoz), Jessica (Yassi Pressman), Joanne (Kim Molina) and Clarissa (Andi Eigenmann), their coping process and how they eventually moved on.
Going in, I was expecting it to be a tacky hugotfest; hugot lines turned into punch lines to romanticize heartbreak. Fortunately it wasn’t like that. Camp Sawi was honestly interested in exploring the grieving and recovery process of each of the camp participants. The movie spent time in expounding the backstories of each woman to make it easier for the audiences to understand their present coping mechanisms. Overall, the movie’s introspective intention was refreshing, even though it did make its tone heavy.
Peppered throughout the movie were laugh out comedy scenes that inject the needed energy to its somber mood. Jerald Napoles once again proved why he’s the most impactful comedian (scenes over audience reaction) in local film. The nuanced weirdness of his characters have always been scene stealers since English, Only Please.
Sadly, the focus on the five main characters came at the expense of fleshing out the other parts of the story. I was interested on Sam Milby’s motivations in creating Camp Sawi but it was not at all explained in the movie. Was Sam honestly concerned in helping the girls to move on or was he just in it to swoop vulnerable girls off their feet? That could have helped the audience to have a better appreciation of the context because, honestly, he’s basically the Professor X of Camp Sawi. (On second thought, was Sam the really owner of the camp? Maybe he disposed of the real owner to take advantage of the women????)
In addition, the film had difficulty in cleanly weaving the different storylines of the protagonists. Transition was sometimes abrupt and too often that made the flow incoherent. The last ten minutes were especially confusing as the film presented what happened to each character after the camp.
Overall, Camp Sawi’s concept and intentions were honest and refreshing, but just fell short with its execution.
Shout Outs, Call Outs and Watch Outs:
There were some promising movies based on the reel of trailers they showed before the movie
Alessandra de Rossi and Empoy Marquez’s “Kita Kita” seems to be an unorthodox romcom. I’ve been an advocate of Empoy for years to be the heir to the late Tado’s throne. I hope the film can rightfully showcase Empoy’s talent. Also, nice casting of Alessandra. She seems to be the actress that can manage and match Empoy’s alt-humor.
Bela Padilla’s “I America”also shows promise. A tale of a fil-am woman played by Bela Padilla who tries to connect with her absentee american father.
The Runner-up to the Jerald Napoles Scene Stealer award goes to Rico Blanco for his break-up song. He still has the moves!
I’m pretty sure some of the scenes were improvised. Gwen and Bridgitte’s drunk discussion was LOL-worthy
“Hindi lahat ng nag-eenglish taga-England, pwedeng taga-Makati lang.”
Kind of weird that they used Regine Velasquez’s “Dadalhin” as the sing-along song of the movie. Especially when you consider the scene where they used it to diffuse tension.
Props to music scorer Len Calvo! Background scoring was great throughout the film. Reminded me of longtime Jadaone/Villegas collaborator, Emerzon Texon.
Sponsor Spotting: Ginebra and San Mig Light, of course their endorsers Arci and Bela were in the movie.
Fun Fact: Kim Molina, Jerald Napoles and Sarah Brakensiek (Bebang of OTWOL) were all part of last year’s #Walang Forever
So if you want to be the very best like no one ever was without getting robbed, hitting doors or receiving the ire of non-Pokemon Go players, here are a few practical tips that I’d like to share with everyone.
If you’re planning to hunt Pokemon, make sure you bring the following
Smartphone – I’m adding this because I’ve seen people playing Go using their iPads and Samsung tabs. If both your phone and tablet can run the app, I suggest playing it on your phone instead. It’s easier to hide in your pocket and less effort in swiping to throw a pokeball.
Rubber shoes– It’s hard to walk around trying to hatch 5k or 10k eggs if you’re wearing uncomfortable shoes
Earphones– Keep in mind that you are going to play in public. We don’t need to hear you having trouble capturing a Pidgey.
Portable powerbank– I’m sure you’ve noticed that Pokemon Go sucks a lot out of your phone’s battery be sure to bring one. Bring a powerbank that can at least fully charge your phone twice (1 charge for an extra round of hunting, the other for you to get home). For Apple phones,a 5,000 mAh powerbank can already suffice.
Bring a windbreaker jacket with pockets– The weather’s still unpredictable so it’s better to bring one. Use the extra pockets to stash your powerbank.
TURN OFF AR MODE– It’s fine to marvel at the AR technology of Pokemon Go, but if you’re serious in getting into the whole catching business, it’s best you turn off augmented reality. AR mode “on” makes it hard to center a pokemon to throw a pokeball. In addition, it makes you look like a dumbass waving your phone around in public (more susceptible in hitting other people and getting robbed mind you)
This will sound odd but, as much as possible, avoid bringing out your phone from your pocket. Again this is more for your safety as you walk around in public. This is where your earphones will come in handy. Here’s what I do:
Turn off the music (you can do that buy tapping on the gear icon at the top-right of the screen and unchecking the music option) to lessen the noise. Less noise means less distraction, hence more awareness of your surroundings.
In case you haven’t noticed, Pokemon Go has specific audio cues when you’re nearing or exiting a Pokestop and when a Pokemon pops out. Turning off the music makes it easier to hear these cues.
I check my route to have a sense where the pokestops are.
Put back my phone inside my pocket, walk. I only take out my phone once I hear a pokemon or pokestop pop.
Last weekend, while at the mall, a teen girl while walking suddenly stopped in the middle of the walkway because a Koffing popped out. She stood there for five minutes with her mom peering into her screen while other people avoided them. Just an example of a few things us players do that gives us a bad rap from non-Pokemon Go players. A pokemon won’t run away if you’re within a considerable distance from it. Just avoid being a dick by tapping on the pokemon AND THEN MOVING TO THE SIDE OF THE WALKWAY.
PLAN YOUR POKESTOP ROUTE– If you’re planning on restocking on balls and potions at an area with a lot of pokestops, it’s best that you follow a route. Pokestops refresh every 5 mins, so having a route ensures that you have continuously fresh pokestops every time you pass by them.
If you’re planning to squat at an establishment near a pokestop, have the decency to buy from it. One time I went Pokemon hunting around our subdivision. After walking around for roughly an hour, I decided to buy a cold drink from a korean grocery with two pokestops beside it. When I arrived there, 10 – 12 teenagers were bunched around the grocery’s parking space playing. Upon entering the store, I asked the lady behind the cashier where their cold drinks are. She pointed where it was and asked me if I got tired from playing Pokemon Go. I said yes and told them a bunch of teenagers were also outside playing. She acknowledged that their parking slot has become a gathering place for players, though she also added that, sadly, they don’t buy anything from the store. I won’t be surprised if the next time I go there they’ll already have a sign shooing away Pokemon Go players. This again is another rude behavior that we need to avoid. The thing is, buying stuff from these restaurants or shops encourage them to embrace Pokemon Go and us players rather than driving us away. We can all enjoy Pokemon Go without spending a peso, so if you want to give back to the whole Pokemon Go ecosystem, buy a drink or two from a shop.
Don’t be choosy in catching Pokemon- yes it’s kind of boring when you always getting pidgeys, caterpies and weedles. You’d wish you can catch a Snorlax or a Venusaur in the wild. But really, the only way for you to catch them is if you level up your trainer. And it turns out, the easiest way to rack up levels is to mass evolve all the lowly pidgeys, caterpies and weedles you’ve been trying to avoid.
Avoid gyms until you’re at least level 20– The game gives you the ability to takeover gyms at level five. However, a quick check on a nearby pokegym would already show you that level five wouldn’t just cut it. It’s best that you focus on capturing enough common pokemon first and mass evolving them with a lucky egg. With that in mind, you can discard the potions and revives you get from pokestops and from leveling up. These just take up precious bag space that can be allotted to more pokeballs and berries.
The game is actually generous in popping pokemon. I’ve noticed that the game pops out a pokemon even when you’re stationary, as long as you properly shut down the app and wait for 20 – 30 minutes. This is perfect when you’re stuck at a place without Pokemon (i.e. like at work or at home).
Here are the tips I can share with you guys right now. We’ll continue covering Pokemon Go every time updates are added to the game (waiting for trading!). If you have any tips yourself, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.
After a month of waiting, Pokemon Go is finally released in the Philippines. To celebrate its launch, we decided to “Filipinize” the pokemon we caught by naming them after Filipino celebrities and characters. Here are some of our freshest catches from the game’s first three days!
Spunky Gara (Maine Mendoza) admits she has tough luck when it comes to her love and life. Her potential boyfriend came out of the closet and, for reasons not cleared in the movie, she also had to leave her family to work in Italy as a housekeeper and dog walker. Bad luck seems to follow her to Italy as she meets Andrew (Alden Richards), a brooding guy who’s probably suffering from untreated PTSD after his dad died in a car accident and his proposal rejected by her girlfriend, Isay (Jasmine Curtis-Smith). After starting off on the wrong foot, they eventually fall for each other. Will Gara’s self-fulfilling prophesizing get in between her and Andrew?
Imagine You & Me was okay. It had the Kalyeserye callbacks from the dubsmashing, the pabebe wave, the splitscreen romance and the lines (“grabe siya”, “Regine! woooo!”). It surprised me that these references were smoothly inserted in the movie and weren’t abrupt as they were in My Bebe Love. Photography was well thought out more than the usual GMA film (my previous experience were from MMFF films). They had a lovely tracking shot in the early part of the movie that was a good translation of their split screen style to film.
Although what was off-putting was how the writers had to include all the possible melodramatic tropes in the movie. Stepson hates his stepmother? check. A “mahirap man ako pero hindi ako magnanakaw” monologue? check. Drunk videoke? check. The confide something while the other person’s drunk or sleeping? check. A car accident? check. I have no issues with using tropes. They make it easier for viewers to establish a connection with the movie; helping in setting up the possible permutations of events that can happen in the movie. But using tropes just to have drama doesn’t cut it for me. SPOILER TERRITORY: What was the purpose of Gara getting hit by a car at the end of the movie? Car accidents in pinoy movies are used to enact a change of heart in a character. It’s basically: “dapat patawarin mo na siya dahil pwedeng mamatay siya”. In the movie, Andrew was already all-in on Gara. Did we really need that scene
Also off-putting was Gara’s decision in the end. The movie could have been 30mins shorter if she just decided to be mum about Isay being in Italy. She rationalized that her decision to meddle in the lives of Andrew and Isay was for their own good. But was it really for them or just so she can continue her “malas sa lovelife” narrative? Andrew and Isay were already done with their romance! Isay wanted to die alone. Gara already cured Andrew’s PTSD with her energy! Wala nang kokontra! But she just couldn’t help but self-destruct. And just to add, forcing a trauma survivor to revisit their trauma is so unnecessary.
But overall, it was an okay try for a first movie. It had high-level production value, strong supporting cast but muddled by story decisions. It reminded me of how the first full-length John Lloyd-Bea film was also just okay. It doesn’t stand out compared to the other films they had afterwards. Again, it’s good that they started on the right footing. Just a few more reps and they might eventually hit their own One More Chance.
Shout Outs, Call Outs and Watch Outs:
Unrelated to the film,shout out to the new anti-piracy video. I loved that Dan Villegas/Tonet Jadaone troupe mainstays like Jerald Napoles, Nico Antonio, Ruby Ruiz and Bebeng (can’t find her real name!)
Shout out to Como, Italy. Whoever thought of shooting the film there was a genius
Shout out to Cai Cortez and Kakai Bautista playing good cop and bad cop to Maine’s Gara
Shout out for including Mojofly’s “Mata” in their soundtrack
Spotted Sponsors: Magnolia, McDonald’s, Nescafe, O+. To be fair, McDonald’s was the only overt placement there.
What’s with Gara’s dog analogies when talking with Isay? Is it because Isay loves dogs? I dunno, it was just odd.
The Achy Break Hearts tells the story of Chinggay (Jodi Sta. Maria), a thirty-something lady bemoaning her apparent inability to settle down with a guy. It also doesn’t help that her other relatives judge and ridicule her for it (based on the laughs in the theater, a relatable experience I guess). After a seven-year dry spell, she suddenly gets attention from two strapping beaus: Ryan (Ian Veneracion), her work client who just came from a relationship and Frank (Richard Yap), her long-time ex-boyfriend who cheated on her seven years ago. Will she choose the broken guy? or the guy who broke her heart?
I had low expectations from the movie given the template romcom premise and that the three main cast members were part of Jadaone’s All You Need Is Pag-Ibig– the director’s weakest film in my book. But since it’s a Jadaone film, I had to watch it. I cannot turn away from the director that shined the spotlight on Lilia Cuntapay and Brgy. Captain Boy English.
The film did not disappoint. It had the Tonette Tropes (see below) that I always welcome; but most especially, it had a strong message to say. Given the popularity of her films, Jadaone has the right platform and connection with her audience to impart wisdom on society’s unfair expectation from Filipinas since time immemorial. Moreover, a round message such as what TABH has doesn’t have a place in a square genre like the romcom. The romcom is an archaic genre of film. Its roots can be traced back to old Disney fairy tales wherein the female protagonist is swept by her prince to live happily ever after. A message like this doesn’t have a place in a romcom film but somehow, Jadaone managed to fit it in.
And by managed to fit it in, I honestly meant that I don’t know how it got there. The third act was messy especially when the characters started their exposition on their understanding of what love is. A character early in the movie professed adamantly that people should fight for their love, but would later leave this person’s loved one because that’s how this character understands “fighting for your love”. I’m not sure how many mental flips you have to do to land that logic but “flight” is the direct opposite response of “fight”.
But even with that muddled end game, overall, it was still a solid romcom with a strong statement. I still have to give props for that.
SHOUT OUTS, CALL OUTS AND WATCH OUTS:
Shout out to Jodi Sta. Maria for really carrying the movie. She was evidently working on a different level. You know in wrestling when good established wrestlers like Chris Jericho have to carry and eventually lose in matches against new wrestlers to make the newbies look good (see jobbing)? That was basically Jodi Sta. Maria in this film. She had to work double, sometimes tripletime in scenes to make her two stiff beaus look good.
Shout out to the condom jokes scene! I couldn’t believe we have this on a mainstream film.
Watch out for the role of onions in the movie
Are onions also a metaphor for something? I’m not sure
Shout out the original Beauty Gonzalez (Denise Joaquin) and the new Beauty Gonzales (Beauty Gonzalez) in one film!
Shout out to the Donna Cruz reference
Shout out to the OTWOL easter egg. I had to watch the Most Approved Kiss video on YouTube to confirm this.
Use of animation to intro a film or episode: Not really animation but used toys and dolls for the intro. I’m not sure how you call this style but it’s similar to Digital5’s Dramalala style.
Women’s Issue Tackled: Society’s judgement towards relatively old single ladies (also had a Single Ladies reference in the movie)
Dan Villegas/Tonette Jadaone Stable of Actors Spotting: Ruby Ruiz (Ekstra, OTWOL), Phi Palmos (Always Be My Maybe, OTWOL),
Sponsor Spotting: Anlene, Victoria Court, Jollibee and Jollibee Spaghetti, Primera Light Brandy, Flanax
Most abrupt endorsement goes to Flanax, a sudden cut to the scene and wasn’t clear who was the person that needed Flanax
Runner-up award goes to Jollibee Spaghetti. Chinggay suddenly shared a fond moment with Jollibee Spaghetti
Dan Villegas/Tonette Jadaone 80s – 90s Song Soundtrack: Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko by Bodjie Dasig
Additional music: Sasakyan Kita by Gladys and The Boxers, One More Chance by Piolo Pascual (this song sucked so bad that Erik Santos’ I’ll Never Go became One More Chance the film’s theme song)
The Joem Bascon Award for Surprise Appearance In The Last 5 minutes Of The Movie: Michael Flores as the Singles For Christ guy of Desiree Del Valle and Bernard Palanca as Denise Joaquin’s baby papa.
Juan and Euge discuss the finer details of the awesome season finale: How was Varys able to teleport and Arya to fast travel? Why Doran Martell had to die? Why was Sam included in the finale? And so much more!
Juan and Euge break down this week’s phenomenal episode of Game of Thrones. They discuss the set pieces in the Battle of the Bastards, the misuse of Rickon, sexual tension between characters as well as micronutrient deficient dragons