'Minsan Pa' too long of a romance

LIZ BRAUN - Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:24 AM ET

PLOT: A tour guide in Cebu falls in love with one of his clients, but the course of true love never does run smooth. It takes too long to establish that fact.

Minsan Pa (One Moment More) is the contemporary drama that last year won all the movie awards worth winning in the Philippines.

The leads -- Jomari Yllana and Ara Mina -- were an item in real life; the couple split shortly after Minsan Pa was finished, drawing even more attention to the movie.

In Minsan Pa, Jomari Yllana plays Jerry, a tourist guide in Cebu who knows all the angles. Jerry takes a bus load of Japanese tourists out golfing, boating and to strip clubs. Jerry is the oldest of three children, so his divorced mother and younger brother and sister rely on him. Their father is a musician who has left the family for a younger woman.

During one tour, Jerry notices a beautiful young woman named Luna (Ara Mina). She is travelling with her boyfriend, and in the course of the trip, these two become engaged. Tragedy will change their plans, and Jerry continues hoping that he might end up with Luna after all.

Minsan Pa has all the requisite tears and drama and reconciliation to qualify as melodrama, but there is a lot more going on in the film about relationships in general and the passage of time.

"What makes you happy?" Jerry asks his mother, and he seems surprised at her reply -- that she still has the strength to serve her family.

The film also looks at what various characters must do to survive, so never mind about love. All the characters talk about work and love, and love and work and how to find their way in both.

Minsan Pa is beautiful to look at, and not just for the cinematography. Most of the movie was shot in the actual Cebu tourist spots, including the Argao Church, scene of an unexpected wedding at the end, as well as at Kawasan Falls and the amazing dive sites of Moalboal. Minsan Pa is in Tagalog and Japanese with English subtitles.

(This film is rated PG)


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