"Ito na ang huling mensaheng hindi ko ipapadala. Ito na ang huling dagat kung saan iiwan kita."
This was how I felt eleven months ago, in Caramoan, captured in a silhouette shot of me fiddling with my phone by the shore, the drama countered by a jokey "P.S. I was probably just playing Cooking Dash." But a girl can multi-task, so while I was, most probably, trying to get five stars in the game, I was also, most definitely, hoping the sea would wash away all the hurt and self-doubt that I had written about ad nauseam (see: Candy Magazine, Candy Feels, this very column) in the months leading to that Caramoan trip with friends.
The hugot phenomenon has made traveling to the beach a bit of a punch line, but to me, the sea will always be a safe space, where smiles come easier and tears dry faster. A place where you can shed your city armor, breathe deeply, and yes, find yourself—whatever that may mean to you.
For Cielo (played by Alessandra de Rossi) in the indie film Sakaling Hindi Makarating, it meant finding the mysterious sender of beautifully painted postcards with short yet gutting messages about a shared past. The postcards were meant for the previous tenant of her new place, and Cielo, devastated after an 11-year-relationship came to an end, takes it upon herself to find out who C and M are, and hopefully heal herself in the process, too.
Her journey takes her all over the Philippines, from Zamboanga to Siquijor to Marinduque to Ilocos Norte to Batanes, the sea almost always a calming presence in the background. She learns how to drive a motorcycle, how to survive with just the bare essentials, how to find shelter in towns that shut down at sundown. There are boys (hello, JC Santos), of course there are; don't they always seem to show up when you're not looking? But the real star here is Cielo and her self-discovery, the five stages of her grief, and the clarity that comes with time.
So how many beach trips will it take for you to get over that special person? You can't really say. Sometimes it comes as a blinding realization, sometimes it sneaks up on you in the form of a Facebook memory.
And that's fine. Because at the end of the day, what matters is not how many destinations you tick off, but how you get there, what you take with you, and how much you leave behind.
Catch Sakaling Hindi Makarating in cinemas starting February 1.