Now Showing: Jay Abello’s Flotsam and 5 Things We Learned From It

1 surf town, 8 love stories, and 10 original songs are some of the many things that Flotsam has in store for us. Its director Jay Abello, main casts Solenn Heussaff, Rocco Nacino, and Carla Humphries, and original compositions by local artists Bo Bismark, Marcus Adoro, Mia Sebastian, and Kiddo Cosio to name some, brought the La Union magic through Flotsam’s setting and musicality that makes us want to go and live in La Union.

Cast of Flotsam at the premiere night on Oct. 28


Rocco and Solenn on set. Photo Courtesy of Flotsam

The indie film may be perceived as a typical surf movie but this one’s poles apart as its focus is the life of the locals and tourists when the waves are flat. “It’s what happens when Surf Town is flat, meaning there are no waves,” begins Abello. “When there are no waves, it’s based on a lot of real people in San Juan, La Union… That’s why I wanted to do this film also, because people think all you do is surf in Surf Town pero hindi eh, there are so many things going on.”

Jay Abello, director of Flotsam

Significantly, Flotsam is mostly based on real stories of the people in La Union. Some of which are Mia Sebastian, played by Carla Humphries; Kiddo Cosio, played by Marc Abaya; and Lemon Surfstar D Dines as himself. “I remember distinctly there was a time when we [Mia and Kiddo] were chatting about leaving Manila and moving 100 miles away, and looking back three years ago, may movie na ngayon about people who have done just like that,” recounts Cosio.

Here, we listed down five things we learned from Flotsam:

1. Locals are the important focal point in every destination.

Locals of La Union. Photo excerpted from Flotsam trailer

You see, most, if not all, people turn out to be tourists instead of being travelers when going around places. Tourists tend to be vacationers, while travelers tend to live and be like locals. Breaking away once in a while from the hustle and bustle brought about by the stressful scene in the Metro is a must, and involving with the locals would definitely make your break worth the take.

2. Apart from surfing, music is also a thriving element in Surf Town, La Union.

The cast happily poses as they record and jam to the soundtrack of the film. Photo Courtesy of Flotsam

It’s not a secret how strong surfing is in La Union, but little did we know, music is also a thriving element in the place. Not only does the legend Marcus Adoro reside there, but people also just gather and whole-heartedly jam in La Union not for the money or the fame. “The soul of what it means to be in Flotsam is the ‘Kubo jam.’ Before there was a hostel and a movie, there was a kubo and a barkada, and they sang in that kubo. There’s nothing more Pinoy than singing with your barkada in a kubo,” says Cosio.

3. Children imitate what adults demonstrate.

Angelo and Marie, played by Adrian Cabido and Barbara Miguel respectively

The film emphasized that children tend to do what they see and think of as right from the adults around them. In the film, the two kids Angelo and Marie observe what the elders do in Surf Town when the waves are flat.

 4. There’s a hidden waterfall in La Union.

Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel, La Union. Photo excerpted from Flotsam trailer

Yup, and it’s waiting to be chased. When the waves are flat, you might want to jump over the 40-feet waterfall in San Gabriel that’s only few minutes away from Surf Town. Though getting there requires an hour trek, we bet the hike is worth the sweat as the sight to behold is rewarding enough to check.

5. Flotsam.

Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel in Surf Town, La Union. Photo excerpted from Flotsam trailer

By now, you must be wondering what Flotsam means and why it was titled as such. Well, Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel Owner Mia Sebastian says, “It’s actually a maritime term that refers to the debris in the ocean that you can salvage after the ship goes down. It’s like the travellers are floating on the tide of circumstances, getting washed up on the shore or somewhere.” Like that in the movie, the characters have their own stories floating, waiting to be heard and understood.

Flotsam is showing on Nov. 4-6 in cinemas nationwide. The film needs support for audiences to watch it on its first three days of screening or else, foreign films will take the spot over.

See you then, yes?



Our journey began with an idea to discover what it means to travel the Philippines, beyond the alluring images of sparkling blue waters and powder white sand. We seek to share travel stories to inspire the wide-eyed traveler, moving them deeper into the destination with stunning images and narratives about its sights, tastes, textures, smells, and local life.

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