A nursing school student (Joash Balejado) discovers the gay spa he moonlights at is actually run by a dangerous crime syndicate. Working at a massage parlor is a great way to make ends meet, and when Rodel (Paolo Serrano) discovers that his former crush Jonard (Joash Balejado) is hunting for a job, he pulls a few strings to get his buddy hired. When Rodel and Jonard uncover evidence that the spa is a hotbed for drugs, prostitution, and other deviant behavior, they hatch a plan to expose the establishment for what it really is.
Films from the Philippines all too often arrive with a repetitive masseur theme to them and this sensuous tale from director Joel Lamangan of No Way Out fame, is no exception. But putting that aside, this is actually a sweet story of gay love; that of two young men who when not servicing strangers in the night, come to find true friendship and more in each other’s arms.
Sure, there’s overacting in parts, in particular from Jim Pebanco as the Madam of the piece and yes, and like many a work from this part of the world, it underlines the desire for so-called easy money; in this instance Rodel, for his education and Jonard, for a mortgage missing one too many payments, a need that comes to find them offering “extra services” to their clients, including trying to satisfy the sexually insatiable, mistress Sheila. Yet it is the sequences of the two young men, naturally played by Paolo Serrano as Rodel and newcomer Joash Balejado as Jonard when seen outside of the masseur environment that cuts to the romantic heart of the film, including a beautifully playful scene between the two on a beach at sunset.
Sexy, homoerotic and gay to the core, goes without saying. Yet this is equally a film that alternates its “when you’ve found the right person, you don’t want to let go” theme with a telling depiction of the violent underbelly of massage parlour life, courtesy of gun-trotting heavy Tong. That it comes complete with a happy ending, is a spoiler, but given the plethora of bleak gay films of late, frankly that’s something of a welcome relief. And boy, how these boys do kiss.
Director: Joel Lamangan (as Joel C. Lamangan)
Writers: Manny Valera (story) (as Manny A. Valera), Joel Lamangan (story) (as Joel C. Lamangan)
Stars: Paolo Serrano, Joash Balejado, Marco Morales
Language: Filipino | Tagalog
Release Date: 13 May 2009 (Philippines)
Filming Locations: Cavite City, Cavite, Philippines
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media / Version 2
Codec ID : mp42 (mp42/isom/avc1)
File size : 904 MiB
Duration : 1 h 29 min
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 1 421 kb/s