“Saan Man Ngunit Dito” Review
Directed by Cheska Salangsang
Written by Cheska Salangsang and Renard Torres
CineFilipino Film Festival 2016
Carol and Pido are a married couple in the habit of mountaineering, and on this particular climb in Saan Man Ngunit Dito, opens with the couple having to cross a river, with Carol having difficulty doing so due to her wearing running shoes instead of trek sandals. Pido also mentions to Carol that he already purchased her a pair of trek sandals, but learns that Carol apparently lost them since she wasn’t very fond of them; she found them cheap, and would prefer a pair of Birkenstocks instead.
Before they reach the midway mark, Carol decides to stop for lunch in a hut by the pathway, and brings out sandwiches Pido is very fond of, with him commenting on the rarity of her making them. Pido brings up their failed dream of having a child of their own—a topic Carol is not exactly jubilant to discuss. Pido also asks Carol if she ever gets tired of climbing mountains, and who she’ll have for company when he’s gone.
Carol in turn asks Pido why they had such bad luck with their attempts at getting a child, and Pido argues that it doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad, it’s probably fate that dictates it. It was how their life was written. Near the summit, Carol turns to Pido and declares that she’ll never climb any mountain without him. Pido afterwards races Carol to the top.
As soon as they reach the top they find themselves both staring at the huge, white cross stationed at the summit of the mountain. While taking in the view at the summit, Carol admits her weariness and bids Pido her final goodbye. Pido disappears, letting the audience know that he has already passed, and his presence in Saan Man Ngunit Dito was nothing but a figment of her imagination, her own coping mechanism which she decides to finally let go.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with loss, most especially a painful one. As short as the film was (as it should be), it did a very good job of portraying a childless, middle-aged woman’s attempt at moving on from failure at becoming a mother, and finally the ultimate loss of the only person that was there for her through thick and thin.