The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DOT), recently mounted its first Cine Turismo---a campaign to honor Filipino directors and their films that have showcased the beauty of the country and have promoted Philippine tourism through film.
Now, Cine Turismo recognized 10 Filipino-made and two foreign movies in an awarding ceremony held at the Diamond Hotel Ballroom last March 15, 2018 to give recognition to those that have showcased the beauty of the Philippines, helped promote Philippine tourism through film that have boosted interest in local tourist destinations.
“DOT seeks to honor the efforts of Filipino filmmakers and producers to display the country’s vast beauty,” said Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo.
The awarding ceremony is part of the launch activities of Cine Turismo. The event were attended by directors and producers of the selected films, TPB Chief Operating Officer Cesar Montano, DOT Secretary Wanda Teo, and other special guests.
Thanks to social media we are now made more aware of all the beautiful places and destinations here in our county, with more new discoveries being shared by some adventurous travelers every single day. Now, even local filmmakers have been inspired to feature these hidden wonders in their films which in turn spurs more interest and eventually helps boost the tourism industry of the place.
This is why Tourism Promotions Board Chief Operating Officer Cesar Montano, came up with Turismo campaign that brings together two of the things he loves most–Tourism and Film making.
“Today is a good day to make them more together to help in the progress of our country,” he said. “Film is a medium that has always inspired me. … It will be an honest statement to say that I am totally in love with the film industry,” Montano said at the awarding event held at the Diamond Hotel Manila.
“Film tourism is a steadily growing industry in the country, this project is created to acknowledge the many films and filmmakers that, through their wonderful portrayals of the Philippines, have aroused interest and boosted tourism in local tourist spots.”
Honorees have been chosen based on the following criteria: 1) made by a Filipino production house; 2) is a full-length film (minimum of 75 minutes); 3) commercially released within the last two years; 4) was shown in the Philippines or at international film festivals; 5) showcases the destination extensively or must be a setting for majority of the scenes; 6) portrays the country in a positive manner, provides a general awareness of the locale, and has created a positive impact on the community and perception of its people; 7) has promoted and preserved culture and heritage and reflects the country’s history; enriches Filipino values and traits such as resilience, the Bayanihan spirit, hospitality, and patriotism; 8) has inspired and excited the viewer to visit the country, and must have induced travel among moviegoers; and 9) has generated revenues and created jobs in their locations, as well as new trade and businesses.
Films that were honored are Sakaling Hindi Makarating, directed by Ice ldanan and shot in llocos, Siquijor, Batanes, and Zamboanga; Director Ellen OngkekoMartil’s Lakbay2Love, which showcases Timberland Heights and Benguet; Paglipay from Director Zig Dulay, set in the mountains of Zambales; Camp Sawi by Director Irene Villamor, set in Bantayan island; Patay na si Hesus, directed by Victor Villanueva; Director Mario Cornejo’s Apocalypse Child, set in Baler; Siargao by Director Paul Soriano, which showcases the island of the same name; Director Bona Fajardo’s I Found My Heart in Santa Fe, set in Santa Fe in Cebu; Requited by Director Nerissa Picadizo, which features Mt. Pinatubo; and Director Thop Nazareno’s Kiko Boksingero, filmed in Baguio.
For lce ldanan, whose protagonist for Sakaling Hindi Makarating goes on a journey around the Philippines, there was an intention to display these places. “l’ve been to those places and l chose locations that are hard to go to at bihirang-bihirang puntahan ng mga tao dahil hindi sila sikat like Cebu, Boracay, or Palawan.”
For Nerissa Picadizo, who directed “Requited,” the location was a reflection of the film’s protagonist. “Matt’s personality is like that of Mt. Pinatubo. He was once a beast of nature, yet he matured into a beautiful soul at the end of the story where he learns to redeem himself,” she related.
More than understanding characters, films also help in a deeper appreciation and understanding of a place. Mario Cornejo, director of “Apocalypse Child,” said Baler is “a beautiful, magical surf town where Francis Ford Coppola shot the surfing scenes of the classic film ‘Apocalypse Now.’
“Local legend has it that when that film wrapped, they left a surfboard prop behind floating in the ocean. Five local boys used that board and taught themselves to surf, becoming the first Philippine surfing champions,” he explained.
“Kiko Boksingero” director Thop Nazareno said locale was important in setting the right mood for his film. “Baguio is very cold; walang masyadong tao. Tahimik. Nakadagdag sa longing ni Kiko ‘yung lamig, and isolation,” he related.
Bona Fajardo of “I Found My Heart in Sante Fe” discovered more than beautiful spots – he was amazed by the locals.“Namangha po kami sa talent ng Cebuano,” he recalled, “Lahat po sila sa Manila nagtataka bakit dalawa lang ang artista. Pero hindi nila nararamdaman na dalawa lang ang artista. Ibig sabihin, nagbe-blend nang tama.”
“Lakbay2Love” filmmaker Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil hoped that the audience would want to preserve the beauty that they see on screen. “It is awesome when we hear people recommending the film to those who want to see how beautiful the Philippines can be. Along the way, we hope the story communicates to viewers the need to take care of such beauty.”
Special citations were given to South Korean films “Mango Tree,” directed by Lee Song-Sung and shot in Cebu, and “Romantic Island,” directed by Cheol-Woo Kang and shot in Boracay. Film Tourism Bill
The TPB also reiterated its call for passage of the pending Film Tourism Bill (SB 1330) sponsored by Sen. Grace Poe and introduced by Sen. Sonny Angara.
The Film Tourism Bill recognizes the “potential of international and local motion picture production to create jobs, grow the economy and raise the nation’s international profile” and seeks to offer incentives to production companies who choose to showcase Philippine destinations and the nation’s historical and cultural heritage, or champion Filipino film practitioners and artists in foreign productions.
“Film tourism is a steadily growing industry in the country,” says Montano. “We’ve seen how wonderful portrayals of the Philippines in various films, local and international, have roused interest and boosted tourism in local tourist spots.”
The passage of the Film Tourism Bill will facilitate the promotion and marketing of the Philippines as a location through a website or manual, providing easy access to information on how foreign productions can shoot in the country. It will also assist in the implementation of reward and incentive packages for foreign productions planning to shoot in the Philippines, as well as the processing of documents and permits.