The story is about three persons, Fiesta (Eugene Domingo), Caloy (Enchong Dee), and Tonio (Leo Martinez), impaled (natuhog, as in fishball tuhog) by a metal pole when the bus they were in met an accident. The three were brought to the hospital, still with the pole sticking through them. It served as a tamponade (tapal) on the wounds, keeping them alive. The ethical dilemma comes in when they need to decide who, among the three, are wheeled into the only two operating rooms in the hospital and who’s the other one who’ll be left to bleed to death. As the medical team figure it out, the lives of the three flash back to where the interconnection began even before the accident.
Tonio, a retiree, knew that his days were numbered since he was advanced in years. This sinking reality pushed him to pursue a long-buried dream to become a baker. With his three friends’ support and against his family’s advice, he pursued this dream capitalizing on his retirement pay.
Fiesta, a spinster bus conductor, was wooed by Nato (Jake Cuenca), the bus driver. Exasperated with care-giving to her alcoholic father, she found a glimpse of hope in the affection Nato offered. So, she left her hell-like life with her father (as she puts it) to cohabit with Nato. But a turn of events make her decide to leave Nato and back to her father’s house.
Caloy, a college student, was working out a long-distance relationship with Angel (Empress Shuck). Despite his peers’ pushing to cheat around, he struggled to remain technically a “virgin” for the love of his life. It turned out that Angel was first to break their covenant.
These circumstances intertwine to put them in one bus together. Then, the timeline goes back to the emergency room as it was decided who lives and who leaves to die.
Bitin di ba? That’s exactly how I felt. Of course, the aftermath of the survivor/s and how they had their own share of happily ever after caps off the film. But I won’t tell you who survived because that will make this officially a spoiler.
Hats off to the actors and actresses. I admire Ms. Eugene Domingo for another well-played role. Even Mr. Leo Martinez hasn’t lost his acting powers. He was an effective middle-aged father. Amusingly, I remembered a real person in his character. Cinematography was good. Even the “tuhog” special effect was somehow convincing. And “Scared to death” by KZ Tandingan was a good choice for the soundtrack. (Maybe because she’s one of my favorites).
However, the credits rolled but I stuck to my chair with arms crossed. I wanted to get more out of my P 180.00. I wanted something else. The writer in me raced through all the alternative endings. I thought of something that will suit my taste, something that will make me go giddy with glee. I want that moment when everyone sighs “Awwww” afer a feel-good-life’s-perfect movie.
But there’s a reason why it didn’t end the way I hoped it will.
God wanted me bothered.
The Rated 13 portrayal of suppressed ambitions, anecdotes of a dementing senior citizen, alcoholism, cohabitation, lust, road rage, the constant struggle to finding love, and yes, lack of medical facilities (I noted that, too) made me REALLY uncomfortable. It made me want to change the ending because deep down, I believed there’s a better twist to that.
And what better twist than to intertwine–scratch that–immerse their lives in the blood of Jesus. The blood that paid for our sins, turning scarlet to snow. (Isaiah 1:18)
As Christians, we shouldn’t be comfortably sitting pretty in our Christianese couches, popcorn in one hand, and watch the world drown in hopelessness, desperation, depression, unforgiveness, and the list goes on.
Someone who has truly experienced the fullness of the love of Christ can’t just sit back and wait for the “happy ending” to unfold.
Last Sunday’s message by Pastor Lee Concepcion was very timely. I was reminded that everyone is important to God. Whoever is lost, He seeks out to find. And I pray that I will grasp that same heart.
The characters portrayed are not mere products of a wild imagination. They exist. You and I– we used to be one. Apart from the grace of God, we still are. Today, Fiseta, Tonio and Caloy could be our relatives, friends, or office mates. If they are the ones impaled, hanging on a lifeline, could you watch one of them bleed to death? I can’t. Let’s go and fight to get them a second chance to LIFE and have it to the full. (John 10:10)