Paolo, Kaye and Patrick reunite and rekindle friendship in Netflix’s ‘A Journey’

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Paolo, Kaye and Patrick reunite and rekindle friendship in Netflix�s �A Journey�
In ‘A Journey,’ lead stars Paolo Contis, Kaye Abad and Patrick Garcia are lifelong friends going on a life-changing roadtrip. Kaye’s character decides to opt out of a cancer treatment and travels to Tasmania to tick off items from her bucket list, bringing along her husband (Paolo) and bestfriend (Patrick).
Photo courtesy of Netflix

MANILA, Philippines — Nearly a year ago, when Netflix’s “A Journey” was just coming together, its lead stars — Paolo Contis, Kaye Abad and Patrick Garcia — promised their film about lifelong friends going on a life-changing roadtrip would be a homage to where their friendship in real life began.

Indeed, it’s an unabashed tribute to “Tabing Ilog,” with all the references to the ABS-CBN teen-oriented drama that aired from 1999 to 2002. From the theme song performed by Barbie’s Cradle, to plot details of childhood spent by a river, to an unexpected cameo at the end of the film, “A Journey” honored their shared history on the show that first brought them all together and helped their showbiz careers claim pop-culture status.

For the fans, it’s not just a nostalgic journey; it’s also the closest they can get to having a “Tabing Ilog” reunion on screen.

Talking about the story behind the intentional references, Paolo said that they first thought of acquiring the theme when the cast was completed.

“I think it’s just right to use the song with the location and everything. So talagang ginawa namin ng paraan na makuha yung kanta (we really made an effort to get the song),” Paolo, who also served as a producer in the film, explained.

As for the special cameo, the actor added, “Feeling ko, it’s the exclamation point for the ‘Tabing Ilog’ fans, right? Parang wow, alam naman natin kung sino-sino yung nasa cast so I think pandagdag lang siya (We already know who’s in the cast, so I think it’s just an added appeal).

“And I think, it lightens up the whole story so as to give a bit of hope in the movie.”

Directed by RC delos Reyes (“I Love Lizzy,” “Unravel,” “Mary, Marry Me,” “Love The Way You Lie”) under Mavx Productions, the film outfit that has given us such destination films as “Unravel” (Switzerland), “Doll House” (The Netherlands), “A Faraway Land” (Faroe Islands), among others, “A Journey” takes viewers to another overseas setting in Tasmania, an island state of Australia.

It tells the story of three childhood buddies who find themselves dealing with another of life’s hardballs together. Kaye’s character decides to opt out of cancer treatments and travel to Tasmania instead to tick off items on her bucket list. She brings along her husband (Paolo) and best friend (Patrick) on this bittersweet journey where it’s not the destination, but the people you are with that matters, to paraphrase Kaye’s line in the film.

No spoilers here but watch out for these favorite scenes of the cast. Paolo cited the emotionally-charged church scene, wherein “it was just very hard to say something, na iba yung meaning na nasa puso mo. Alam mo yung sobrang positive yung sinasabi mo, but deep inside, the meaning is different? Hirap niyang ipakita.”

Kaye’s favorite scene was a touching conversation with Patrick, wherein she was telling the latter’s character “that your track in life is right, that I’m happy that okay na siya sa life niya.”

Directed by RC delos Reyes, ‘A Journey’ is another destination film from Mavx Productions, featuring beautiful Tasmania — a major highlight for the stars during the entire filming process. The friendship-themed roadtrip film is now streaming on Netflix.

As for Patrick, he chose the tabing ilog scene “because the last time three of us were together in a river was 20 plus years ago. And to see us back together, some 25 years later, almost in the same set-up, it’s nice and we were having fun.”

He added, “Who would have thought 20 years ago na mauulit ‘yon? So, for me, it was like my ‘What?’ moment.”

The Philippine STAR had a brief exclusive chat with Paolo, Kaye, Patrick along with direk RC to discuss their experiences filming “A Journey.” Below are excerpts:

What were the most memorable moments for you while working on this film?

Paolo: “Ako pinaka-highlight talaga was Tasmania when we did our shoot there. Actually, more than the scenes, yung talagang samahan namin bilang mga artista (our bonding as actors), with the staff and crew, it was such an experience. It was fun, it was hard, it was cold and we all got close because of Tasmania.”

Kaye: “For me, it was the ‘Tabing Ilog’ scene because the feeling was nostalgic. Parang nabalik talaga sakin yung 1999, tapos sila pa yung kasama ko.”

Patrick: “I would agree with Pao, Tasmania. It was really nice, medyo malamig lang (it was just a bit cold) but more than that, siguro it’s nice also to rekindle our friendship. You know, we brought our friendship back from the early 2000s to now. And no awkwardness. We just clicked right away. So that was nice to see.”

Direk RC: “I think the biggest highlight for me, aside from Tasmania, was working with these three remarkable actors.”

On the note, what was it like directing them?

Direk RC: “Very collaborative. Dumadating nga ako sa point na hindi ko alam kung ginagawa ko bang tama yung gagawin ko kasi parang kaya naman nila. Pero kasi magagaling lahat sila. ‘Pag dumadating sila sa set, hindi sila mabigat. (I reach a point where I don’t know if what I’m doing is right because it seems like they can handle it. But everyone is really good. When they come to the set, they’re not difficult to work with.)”

“I saw how they support each other and even in difficult scenes. Like, when it’s Kaye’s difficult scene, Pat and Pao are there. Or when it’s Pao’s tough scene, Kaye and Pat are there. You know, I saw how their friendship is in real life.”

To Paolo, you’re both the producer and a lead star on this film, how was the experience?

Paolo: “Ever since ‘A Faraway Land’ (I’ve been a producer). I’m just very lucky with the Mavx group that they allowed me to be part of the team also. I don’t do it with others. I just feel safe with them. We were able to do the projects that we wanna do and work with the people we wanna work with.”

To Patrick and Kaye, on your return to acting — Kaye last acted five years ago, while Patrick, four years ago — how did it go?

Kaye: “It was nerve-wracking because I didn’t know if I still knew how to act, if I could still memorize everything, the whole process, how to be an actress again.

“But then, they made me feel comfortable on set, the staff, si direk, they didn’t make it difficult for me. They really scheduled it well, filming the lighter scenes first para makabuwelo muna ako (so I could ease into it). So everything, everyone helped, and everything became smooth.”

Patrick: “Same thing. It’s nice to, you know, work with friends that I’ve worked with before. That alone, it was a plus because they are not strangers to me.

“But to go back in front of the camera… maybe on the first day, nangangapa pa (I was feeling my way around) but as time went on, filming became easier. And si direk masarap katrabaho, light and madaling lapitan yan (he’s so approachable).”

“A Journey” is now streaming on Netflix.

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