“Where do broken hearts go nga ba talaga, tita Whitney (Houston)?” If the movie That Thing Called Tadhana were to answer this question, the response would be Sagada, specifically to Mount Kiltepan where their Mace (Angelica Panganiban’s character) could receive very special attention from their very own Anthony (JM de Guzman) and feel kilig all over again. They could stare at the sea of clouds in solitude, basking in the golden rays of the sun god, while only a few inches from one of the cutest and definitely talented actors in Philippine showbusiness.
Mace and Anthony are fictional characters, and their version of Mount Kiltepan is romanticized so much so that the reality could not be further from the truth.
On paper, Mount Kiltepan is synonymous with a spectacular sunrise over a sea of clouds that hovers over or gently kisses the surrounding mountains. It is about a 10-minute drive from the town center, with mostly paved roads leading to circumscribed by pine trees imbued by the morning dew. The truth is, in order to witness the sunrise over the sea of clouds, one has to wake up at 330am, be prepared to leave by 430am and make one’s way through at least three layers of people who are already in the area because they wake up earlier than 3am and arrive at Kiltepan at 330am.
By 5am, the sea of clouds is replaced by the sea of people with their selfie sticks ready to capture every inch of ascent made by the sun. This reminds me of a trip called “Borobudur Exotic Sunrise at Setumbu Hill” in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where I had to wake up at 210am because we had to leave by 3am, travel for 90 minutes hour, hike Setumbu Hill for more than half an hour in the dark, hustle to the front of the line with no trees to obstruct the view, gaze at a sea of clouds, and wait for the sun to make an appearance and lord over Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. I wore a Thai skirt that morning, and it goes without saying that that part of my morning did not end well (but Borobudur and Candi Prambanan were jaw-droppingly gorgeous). I digress.
Going back to Kiltepan, where I was dressed properly, the hundreds of people around me were quite restless for the sun to finally rise, so they posed for selfie, horsed around or had some hot drink or soup. Virg and I stayed at the back of the pack and tried to take an usie, urban dictionary defined it as a selfie of two or more people. Do not worry, you are not alone; this is the first time I have heard of this word. The usie was a failure because we do not even take seflies, and an usie was too complicated for our brains and the musculature of our fingers. We gave up after two tries.
At 548am, the sun deemed it appropriate to show itself to the worshipping masses, and everyone found their second wind to elbow their way to the foremost part of the ridge to take photos of the sun, the sea of clouds, themselves, and themselves with the sun and the sea of clouds, as if it was their first time to witness the sunrise. At this point, I decided to screw it and walked down the path that led to our waiting van.
It was not what Mace and Anthony experienced, where they were alone, with only the sun, the sea of clouds, and the pine trees as witnesses when they put their thoughts into words, and everyone in the theater sighed, including moi, and wished that they were with them or could replace Angelica Panganiban as Mace. 🙂
To read my review of That Thing Called Tadhana, please proceed here.