Film tourism was given recognition as the Tourism Promotions Board through Cine Turismo, awarded movies that highlighted the beauty of the Philippines. In the past, the country has been the backdrop of several foreign films. However, either there’s no mention about it in the movies, or the highlight is not favorable at all. At a time when we need to compete with neighboring countries when it comes to tourism, Cine Turismo is a good campaign by TPB.
The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) is an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DOT). Led by Chief Operating Officer Cesar Montano, 10 Filipino-made and 2 foreign movies were given recognition. The recognition were given to honor Filipino directors and their films that were shown in 2016 and 2017. The awarding ceremony also serves as the launch of Cine Turismo.
“Film tourism is a steadily growing industry in the country,” says Cesar Montano, Chief Operating Officer of the TPB. “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.”
This is a timely move by the Tourism Promotions Board in light of the pending Film Tourism Bill (SB 1330) sponsored by Sen. Grace Poe and introduced by Sen. Sonny Angara, which 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.
The films honored were Sakaling Hindi Makarating, directed by Ice ldanan and shot in Ilocos, Siquijor, Batanes, and Zamboanga; Director Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil’s Lakbay2Love, which showcases Timberland Heights and Benguet; Paglipay from Director Zig Dulay, set in the mountains of Zambales; Camp Sawi by Director lrene Villamor, set in Bantayan island; Patay na si Hesus, directed by Victor Villanueva; Director Mario Cornejo’s Apocalypse Child, set in Baler.
Also part of the list of honorees are Siargao by Director Paul Sorlano, 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.
Special citations were also given to South Korean films Mango Tree, directed by Lee Soo-Sung and shot in Cebu, and Romantic Island, directed by Cheol-Woo Kang and shot in Boracay.
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.
I Found My Heart in Santa Fe lead actor Will Devaughn as co-producer of the film was present to celebrate recognition. “I think it’s very important to highlight the Philippines in a positive light and I think that I Found My Heart in Santa Fe really achieved that. I’ve been in the country for more than 10 years. I absolutely fell in love with the country at nandito pa rin ako sa Pilipinas. I definitely know that the Philippines has so many undiscovered places…,” the actor shared.
The Philippines has a lot to offer when it comes to the beauty of the nature, exciting activities, and relaxing spots. If filmmakers could highlight these places, it will encourage local and foreign travelers to explore the country more. With interesting plots in the middle of breathtaking scenes, the moviegoing public will be drawn to visit the places highlighted. Kudos to the films given recognition in the first Cine Turismo as they were able to do exactly that.