In case it’s still unclear from the song “Dati-dati” alone how terribly Sarah Geronimo misses her estranged mom and dad, she has visualized it in the accompanying music video that she conceptualized herself.
You can’t miss Sarah’s sadness, even melancholia, in the video’s first half alone. It’s there in how she moves rather listlessly as she makes her way by her lonesome through an empty mall at night. More crucially, it’s in how there’s no spark of joy on her face as she reminisces on times gone by, what could otherwise be a source of warm and fuzzy (even if schmaltzy) nostalgia:
“Parang kailan lang, tayo’y magkasama / Nakahiga’t minamasdan ang mga tala / Tinatangkilik ang gabi / Tayong dal’wa’y magkatabi / Walang makakasira sa ‘ting sandali,” before the wistful chorus, “Dati-dati / Ating mga nakaraan / Dati-dati / Inakalang walang hanggan / Dati-dati / Ano ba ang mga paraan? / Upang maranasan ang mga araw tulad ng dati-dati.”
Things switch up in the video’s second half. Set on the performance stage-cum-dance club where she is surrounded by dancers decked out in color and glitter, she ditches her sneakers, jeans, long-sleeve checkered polo and plain tank top for knee-high leather boots and a sexy, shiny silver two-piece outfit. She has transformed into the pop star dance goddess: glamorous, nimble, lithe, even sensual. But even here, there’s still no glint of glee in her eyes.
That’s Sarah G for you—the quiet, unassuming, ordinary girl in private and the glamazon woman artist onstage.
But it’s the video’s final moments that plug us into where she’s at emotionally and psychologically at this time. After her “performance,” she is beckoned by the bright light she sees peeking through the club doors. She makes her way towards it, slowly if not tentatively, as though unsure of what she’ll find on the other side. She looks both excited and scared.
Once she’s out, she’s back to her private self—jeans and all. And again she finds herself alone. This time, though, she’s in the middle of some post-apocalyptic urban wasteland which is ultimately revealed as a floating piece of land that’s been uprooted from the ground.
Estranged from her parents for almost three years now, Sarah comes across as desolate and empty, with her professional life providing only temporary and intermittent relief.
There hasn’t been a sadder portrait of celebrity loneliness committed to film by a superstar in Philippine showbiz. Which is also to say that there has never been a major artist of her stature who has turned her pain into art in these terms. That she is one of the biggest, most beloved stars makes it both devastating and awe-inspiring at the same time.