Underrated 2018 Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino entry ‘Signal Rock’ entertains and unexpectedly educates all in one sitting.
Signal Rock was named after a giant rock formation on the island of Samar where the only cellphone signal can be found and where locals would have to climb high up just to be able to communicate with the outside world. This is also the place where Intoy (Christian Bables) goes every morning to receive a call from his sister who is all the way in Finland.
The movie starts off uneventfully, with Intoy doing nothing unexpected of his provincial life, going to church, spending time with family, playing basketball, emceeing small town dances, and being an all-around errand boy for the community. Christian Bables makes a significant mark on the big screen with his role, which guarantees will not just make you forget how effectively he played Paolo Ballesteros’s gay best friend in Die Beautiful, but will also see him in an even more masculine light.
Trouble in Intoy’s family starts when his sister becomes a victim of domestic abuse and gets into a custody battle with her foreigner husband and Intoy must find a way to produce documents that prove she has assets on the island. This sets off a series of events that not only shows how much Filipinos value family, but also how a community, whether related or not by blood, can consider themselves as one big extended family.
Those who are used to watching Chito Roño’s films like The Ghost Bride, Feng Shui, and The Healing will not be disappointed as Signal Rock promises to be just as engaging, and evenly-paced, even if its set on a small remote island that still practices nightly lights out throughout the entire town. But to write Signal Rock off as just a family drama would be a misnomer as the film also manages to showcase to the audience the director’s home province of Samar. From the majestic rock formations, to the quiet lakes, and easygoing island life, Signal Rock shows viewers the beauty in that kind of simplicity.