Love on the road

Patricia Esteves (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Dennis Trillo said the indie movie Lakbay 2 Love is somewhat special to him. Last year, in the middle of a busy schedule for the filming of Felix Manalo where he played the lead role, Dennis managed to squeeze time to shoot Lakbay 2 Love, offering his rest days for the movie. No matter how tired he was, he said he would directly go to the set of the movie to film his scenes.

“I told our director Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil that I really wanted to do this movie. So I told her, I can shoot some scenes during my days-off because for me I consider biking as a form of relaxation which I do during days when I don’t have work,” Dennis said during a recent presscon in Quezon City.

Lakbay 2 Love, produced by Erasto Films, will be shown in theaters on Feb. 3.

Dennis said the movie is not only a love story, but an eye-opener about the degradation of nature due to climate change and the seeming indifference of people toward the preservation of the environment.

“I am a nature lover, I love the outdoors and environment preservation is one of my advocacies. But I never realized how denuded our forests were until we filmed this movie. While we were biking up in the north, we noticed that there were few trees in the forests. It’s really saddening,” Dennis lamented.

He hopes that the movie will raise awareness about environmental preservation and climate change.

“For me, this is not just a love story, it is also about loving nature and doing our share for the environment,” Dennis said.

He also expressed his fondness for his co-star Solenn Heussaff, saying it was good to work with her again.

They’ve been together, first in a TV commercial and then in the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) movie Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Dennis only has the nicest words for Solenn.

“It’s been wonderful to work with her again because she’s so nice and professional. You can see that acting is her passion. Shooting the movie became a breeze because Solenn is nice to work with,” Dennis said.

Solenn, for her part, said Lakbay 2 Love was an acting vehicle and allowed her to display a gamut of emotions as a lovelorn woman dealing with a destructive relationship.

“I play the role of Li-Ann who is into a devastating relationship with her boyfriend Mackie, played by Kit Thompson, who eventually broke up together. Li-Ann came into a broken family and she is pretty messed up. She came from a broken family and has been alone all her life. When she and her boyfriend broke up, she became destructive and just stayed in her room, crying, but an assignment to cover a biker/forester played by Dennis became her saving grace,” Solenn said.

“It’s a coming-of-age film when all the three characters are at the crossroads of their lives,” said direk Ellen.

“Solenn is struggling to move on from her broken relationship with Kit. And then she met Dennis and they fall in love. Kit learned about this and wanted to win Solenn back so he joins them on a trail bike. Lakbay 2 Love chronicles the development of love and friendship between the three characters,” she explained.

Ellen said it took them seven months to finish but the movie only took 14 days to shoot because they had to adjust to Dennis’ filming schedule since he was shooting Felix Manalo at that time. The scenes were shot in Baguio.

She said there was even a point when she nearly gave up on the movie and wanted to look for a replacement for Dennis.

“But then I saw that Dennis really wanted to do the movie. In fact, he blocked his days for the 7-11 trail bike, yun yung malaking scene sa movie. Kahit pagod siya sa Felix Manalo, go pa rin sya sa set ng Lakbay and I told myself, Dennis is perfect for the role,” she said.

She also said the chemistry between Solenn and Dennis was too good to pass.

“They’ve been together in three projects and I heard that Dennis has a crush on Solenn and vice versa. So during the romantic scenes, I didn’t have any problems,” direk Ellen said.

She, too, could not help but swoon over Dennis.

“Now, I know why Solenn has a crush on Dennis because he is just so mysterious, he is not easy to decipher. Ako, hangang seven months na matapos ang movie, mystery pa rin sa akin si Dennis. Ang line ko nga sa kanya, ‘He’s the guy you can’t get but is always worth it,’” she said.

She said the movie was dear to her heart because of the three lead stars, who all gave stellar acting.

“I really fell in love with my cast and I always say kahit na gaano ka-importante ang material, it is always finding the lead stars that will make me commit,” direk Ellen enthused. 

She echoed Dennis’ views that Lakbay 2 Love is not just a love story but an environmental advocacy that all of them share.

“Personally, I wanted to do my share in preserving the environment and filmmaking is the only way I know how to raise awareness that it’s about time we do our responsibility for nature. We hope that the movie-viewing public will learn a lot from our movie.”

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