San Juan, La Union
A Production by Organic Cinema | Directed by Carmen Del Prado
The reason for our trip to La Union was simple at first. We wanted to see our friends; one in particular, Raffy Castillo, who we had been keeping touch with throughout the lockdown. What was La Union like now? How has it changed? It was something that had come up often in our conversations with him. The calm, the quiet, the sudden lack of tourists—all things that were hard for us to associate with the beloved surf town, the place that so many Filipinos living in Manila gravitate to.
"There is something about La Union that draws people in, whether for life or for a weekend: the allure of sand under their feet, the sound of the wind day in and out, the crowd of like-minded people. For years, it didn’t seem like anything would get in its path. Like Raffy says in the film, “We really thought we had everything figured out,” and then, “like a curve ball, Covid-19 happened.”
When we arrived in La Union to see the stillness for ourselves, we quickly realized that this wasn’t just Raffy’s story. Amid the quiet, the sentiment that things have changed echoed through the air and then in the conversations we had with the people that lived there. Slowly, the company we kept grew. Our four-day trip became a five-day trip. Our short interview became a dialogue among five people, a family of friends. Because that’s what La Union does—it brings people in, and then it brings people together.
There were no waves while we were there, not until the last day when five o’clock hit, and the famous La Union sunset spread throughout the sky. We spent that afternoon among friends, in the water, and in that one moment we let our troubles pass us by. The next morning, we packed our bags and head back home to Manila to make this film, to let you know that although many things have changed in La Union, many things are also the same.