Filipino movies

Revisited: ‘One More Chance’

Jason Tan Liwag

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Revisited: ‘One More Chance’

Photo from ABS CBN Star Cinema

We revisit the cult classic and assess its impact on Filipino culture

The democratized media landscape gives us a level of access we used to only dream of. However, this comes at a price: this age of consumption provides little time for reflection and critical thinking. Capitalism encourages us to be gluttonous with media, wolfing down content passively to be able to keep up with online buzz before spoilers ruin our experience.

Still, it must be said: younger audiences are now being reintroduced to older Filipino films, some in their restored versions, through streaming services such as iWant, iFlix, and through film festivals. Important discussions about film and filmmaking history are now possible. But because older film reviews don’t have accessible print or online equivalents and because retrospectives are rare outside of Filipino academic writing, these discussions are difficult to have.

I have always said that to be a young Filipino film critic meant some kind of time-traveling. It is a process of rediscovering the images that precede what we see today. Films may not necessarily change, but we do. This Revisited series is a small attempt at that: to look at things again from our current understanding and see what they are saying; to assess the cultural impact of films because, in reality, change takes time.

There is no better subject for examination than the Filipino romantic comedy. Kilig endures and the existence of love teams is a testament to this. Each decade was marked by the rise of onscreen it-couples: from Gregorio Fernandez and Mary Walter in the silent films of the 1920s to the JaDines and KathNiels in the digital era of the 2010s. 

The early 2000s scene was dominated by one unlikely onscreen couple: Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz. Their onscreen chemistry, acting skills, and wide audience appeal is irreplaceable. First paired in Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay and reuniting in another movie again later this year, their onscreen love story has taken different shapes across three decades. However, the couple is most known for One More Chance: which has effectively constructed lasting ideas of Filipino romance, sparked discussions on gender and space, and evolved into one of the best examples of a modern cult classic.

One More Chance follows college sweethearts Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) and Basha (Bea Alonzo) on the verge of a breakup after 5 years of being together. Basha is unhappy in the construction firm, feeling her creativity as an architect being stifled.

With his eyes set on a future, he has decided for the both of them, Popoy urges Basha on without listening to what she is not saying. Basha inevitably breaks up with Popoy and we, as an audience, are forced to make sense of what it means to love and let go.

Rediscovering kilig

Up until this point, romantic comedies had largely revolved around lovers’ class differences or disapproving societies that separate star-crossed lovers as in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Surpassing the demands of their external circumstances presented love as an act of defiance, and this was the key to kilig. But as these formulas became populated screens, there needed to be a new obstacle; a new face to the struggle towards love.

After a brainstorming session, director Cathy Garcia-Molina and writers Vanessa Valdez and Carmi Raymundo created an “anatomy of a breakup“: with external conflicts now exchanged for internal storms. As we are presented immediately with an image of their fallibility as individuals and together, the likelihood of their relationship reforming to its previous form becomes less likely. The complexity of the film demands that we root for the relationship while acknowledging the flaws in it; the promise of a non-zero sum game growing impossible as the film progresses.

One of the reasons why the film works so well is that the process of rediscovering the self is paralleled with this process of rediscovering kilig. It treats this rediscovery with both regret and humor: perfectly encapsulated when the song Nanghihinayang” plays as they talk to each other for the first real-time post-breakup.

As Popoy and Basha learn to be their true selves and unlearn their codependency masked as relationship rituals, they start to communicate properly and fall in love with one another again.

Revisited: ‘One More Chance’
Challenging gender expectations

But more than just a break-up story, it’s also a story that attempts to grapple identity and individuality independent of gender norms. The breakup starts the film off as a first attempt at challenging these constructs: by having the female lead question the power dynamics of the relationship and, later, initiate the break-up.

Gendered expectations box Popoy and Basha in and suffocate them unknowingly. Individuals are often pressured to stay in relationships despite the codependency because love is treated as a rare find rather than a conscious choice or act of loving. Promises of marriage (without a ring!), male-dominated decision-making, and even the idea of the ‘three-month’ rule are all abandoned later in favor of emotional honesty and compromise. These gendered ideas of successful relationships are unlearned by our protagonists in the process of growing up. Popoy learns to let go of control and to give space, while Basha learns to speak up and fight for herself and her dreams.

It also reveals how competition for affection within the same sex can be rooted in insecurity. As Popoy learns that Basha and Mark (Derek Ramsay) were never together, Anj (Bea Saw) makes him look silly for not asking. As Basha begins to blame herself for breaking up with Popoy, Mark reminds her that the dissolution is what allowed them to mature. Even Trisha (Maja Salvador) acknowledges that she cannot compete with the spectre of Basha and leaves with dignity instead of begging for him to stay.

Reclaiming spaces

The film intelligently treats the upheaval of the relationship as a disruption in the friendships that support it as well. It’s a form of breakup that everyone has gone through and it allows more audiences to deeply resonate with what they see mirrored onto the screen. In uprooting one node of grass, it essentially displaces the entire barkada.

The process of reclaiming spaces entails abandoning and returning to relationships that exist within these spaces. Previous discussions seem to undermine the role of friendship and family in recovery. But throughout the film, Popoy and Basha are continuously guided, brought together, and separated as necessary by friends and family who know their needs and desires before they do. The banter and quick actions of those around them create an environment where they are allowed to heal in their own ways, unapologetically.

The specificity in the story is what makes it so universal — a rarity in modern cinema as we struggle to craft narratives and reinvent images. While quotability is one of the many reasons why this has remained in the minds and hearts of Filipinos, watching it reveals that no singular quote can possibly sum it up.

In refusing confinement and by challenging expectations of love and friendship, One More Chance has created a space for itself in the collective memory of Filipinos everywhere for years to come. –

One More Chance is available for streaming in the Philippines via Apple TV and iTunes for 149, or via rental from iWantTFC. It is available in other regions globally through iFlix, iWantTV, HOOQ, and Amazon Prime, as well.

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Avatar photo


Jason Tan Liwag

Jason Tan Liwag is an openly gay scientist, actor, and writer. As a film critic, he is an alumnus of the IFFR Young Critics Programme 2021, the FEFF Film Campus 2021, the Yamagata Film Criticism Workshop 2021, and the CINELAB Workshop 2020 and has served as a jury member for film festivals locally and internationally.