‘Tagpuan’ review: Alfred Vargas, Iza Calzado, Shaina Magdayao find self-love, take second chances

Tagpuan successfully brings hope, love, humanity, and identity in a world of pain and suffering.

Official poster of the #MMFF2020 entry TAGPUAN.

Ever since the community quarantine was implemented in the country, movie theater operations become very limited, that is why the annual Metro Manila Film Festival has decided to go digital this year. MMFF makes use of the newest video-on-demand platform, Upstream.ph, where families can enjoy watching in the comfort of their own homes. Not to mention, the online edition of this film festival is not limited to Filipinos residing in the country but will allow Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)—and even foreigners—to enjoy the festival in a legitimate platform, wherever they are in the world.

One of the 10 film entries this year is Tagpuan, a story that talks about much more than love. It scales the spectrum of joy and pain, success and failure, acceptance and rejection.

Tagpuan takes us to the world of Allan, Agnes, and Tanya. Allan (played by Alfred Vargas) is a rich businessman who deems to find purpose again despite his broken past. Agnes (Iza Calzado), a simple ex-wife to Allan, wants to follow her dreams by studying arts and design in New York. Tanya (Shaina Magdayao), on another hand, is a go-with-the-flow girl, who is stuck as an immigrant in Hongkong but wants to go to New York for opportunities. All three of them are trying to find themselves and looking for second chances in life and love.

Tagpuan is the only romance-drama entry in this year’s lineup. The story and pacing is a bit slow at first but then you’ll realize that these characters are telling you their life stories in an intimate manner. They are simply people who have fallen in and out of love—fighting for love after the romance is gone. A simple story, yet a reflective one, it also manages to bring us a closer look at what life looks like as an immigrant and as an OFW in Hong Kong and New York City. The film simply puts the characters’ struggle and plight with the mix of social and economic forces that reflect and shape reactions to love and relationships.

Director McArthur C. Alejandre and writer Ricky Lee remarkably shaped a world that easily showcases love towards other people as well as self-love. It’s something that we often forget: finding ourselves amidst the noise and chaos—and losing ourselves in the middle of the silence. It is a process of reflecting in those experiences for the sake of our own second chances in life.

This romantic-drama showcases Alfred Vargas, Iza Calzado, and Shaina Magdayao as they put themselves in their roles with much grace. No doubt that these three equally give amazing performances in showing their emotions and fierceness throughout their respective acting careers.

Tagpuan wants us to find ourselves again this Christmas. It presents itself forward for viewers to have self-love and second chance in life. It is indeed a relatable film for Filipinos all over the world this holiday season. You want a film where you can have a contemplative takeaway? Then this is the MMFF entry film you don’t want to miss!

Tagpuan is an official entry to the 46th Metro Manila Film Festival. Starring Iza Calzado, Alfred Vargas, and Shaina Magdayao. Directed by McArthur C. Alejandre and written by Ricky Lee. Produced by Alternative Vision Cinema, Inc.
Streaming starts this Christmas on www.upstream.ph.

Derek, Iza, Shaina give romantic twist to election season in ‘My Candidate’

Showbiz hunk Derek Ramsay, Iza Calzado and Shaina Magdayao give us a different tale of love and romance this election season via “My Candidate” from Quantum Films, MJM Productions, Tuko Film Productions at Butchi Boy Films, producers of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed romantic-comedy films, “English Only, Please” and “#Walang Forever.”

The film is set against a political background and so, it is timely as today’s headlines. Derek plays Congressman Sonny Suarez, now seeking a Senate seat. He may be a perfect candidate but is painfully shy and a bit withdrawn. Iza, meanwhile, is Vera Sanchez, Sonny’s erstwhile girlfriend and arch rival in his senatorial bid. She possesses strengths lacking in Sonny. She’s charming as well as engaging but is not able to relate to people from the grassroots.

On another hand, Shaina is Billie Pono, a life coach and communications trainer. Sonny’s campaign team hires her services to help polish their candidate’s public speaking skill and innate charisma. Billie succeeds at turning Sonny into the dream candidate and the two become close while at work. In turn, Sonny is able to unleash some unresolved issues in Billie’s life, including her insecurities thereby making her a better version of herself.

The movie’s teaser immediately earned almost a million views, shares and likes the minute it was posted on the My Candidate Facebook page. Netizens swore by Derek, Iza and Shaina’s outstanding performances.

Shaina held her own against Iza in the film, and this may be considered as her biggest break as a lead actress. Shaina definitely gave the role her all, especially in scenes where her character finds herself slowly falling in love with Sonny.

Take note, Derek and Shaina also register very strong positive vibes on screen. Their romantic scenes together are neither hard sell nor put on, so, their pairing is indeed one of today’s freshest, newest romantic-comedy tandem.

No wonder, Direk Quark Henares is satisfied with his three main stars plus the support cast composed of Al Tantay, Nico Antonio, Ketchup Eusebio, Ricci Chan, Jun Sabayton and Tirso Cruz III in a special role.

The movie imparts all these funny situations during election time coupled with the resounding message that it must indeed be: “Bayan Muna Bago Puso.”

Also part of the movie is box-office director Dan Villegas, who serves as Creative Producer. Direk Dan is the genius behind such award-winning and blockbuster films as “English Only, Please” and “#Walang Forever.” His latest hit project is “Always Be My “Maybe.”

Fresh concept. Hilarious story telling. New screen combination. “My Candidate” gives the election season a romantic twist starting May 11, 2016 in theaters nationwide.