The Philippines is known for its scenic spots. But did you know that aside from topping lists of the world’s most beautiful locations, there are places in the country that were featured in world-famous video productions?
If you’re curious, take a look at these 7 international video productions that all fit the bill!
7 International Video Productions that Featured the Philippines
1. Back to Bataan (1945)
Summary: American colonel Joseph Madden is tasked with organizing Filipino guerilla fighters to fight off an imminent Japanese invasion.
Back to Bataan was the only film on the Battle of Bataan that was actually shot in the Philippines, even though several other Hollywood films tackled this battle as well.
Another interesting fact about Back to Bataan is hidden in its release date. This film first came out on June 25, 1945, but World War II itself officially ended on September 2, 1945. Yes, the film was produced while WWII was in full swing! The crew actually had to rewrite the script two-thirds of the way through production because of the American invasion of the Philippines in 1944.
For all its accuracy, Back to Bataan also took some creative liberty regarding the lineage of Andres Bonifacio. One of Col. Madden’s officers is the Filipino Cap. Bonifacio who shares his name with his revolutionary grandfather. In reality, Andres Bonifacio did not have any grandchildren.
2. An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
Summary: The young Zack Mayo enters Aviation Officer Candidate School, where he meets his first girlfriend and endures training under a hardened drill instructor.
At the beginning of the film, Zack lives with his Navy chief father after his mother’s death. He eventually grows up as a military brat who aspires to join the Navy himself as a pilot.
It just so happens that Zack’s father stationed in Olongapo, the site of the U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay. As a result, there are scenes early into the movie which are really set in the Philippines.
3. I Come With the Rain (2009)
Summary: A traumatized ex-cop from Los Angeles is hired to find the son of a powerful pharmaceutical conglomerate boss, last sighted at an orphanage in Mindanao.
The part of the film set in the Philippines was shot specifically in Diwalwal, Compostela Valley. Interestingly, the crew was initially advised against filming in Diwalwal because of security reasons. In the end, soldiers from the 28th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army provided security when filming eventually pushed through.
At the same time, a Philippine Star article from 2007 revealed that barangay officials did not demand any set payments from the crew. The producers had to decide the payments for themselves.
4. Amigo (2010)
Summary: American soldiers settle down in a small barrio while the Philippine-American War is in full swing. The locals are divided into two groups: those who befriend the Americans and those who view them as mere colonizers.
All of Amigo was shot in Bohol over the span of eight months, although the barrio in the film is stated as being somewhere in Luzon. The titular amigo is actually the protagonist Rafael, a barrio captain torn between helping the American soldiers and assisting Filipino guerrillas. Critics have applauded how Rafael and the other Filipinos abandon English in favor of their natural languages.
5. The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Summary: The previous actions of Jason Bourne result in the public exposure of a series of genetic enhancement programs. Enhanced black ops agent Aaron Cross is forced to run for his life after all agents connected to the programs are ordered to be killed.
The climax of The Bourne Legacy sends Aaron and scientist Marta Shearing fleeing through the streets of Manila to escape capture. Aaron and Marta ultimately wind up in Marikina, where they ask a fisherman for help to escape to El Nido.
Media outlets posted periodic updates on the progress of the shoot. Reports included news of shootings starting in this or that location, a stunt double getting injured, and a lead actress leaving behind playground upgrades for local kids.
Filming wrapped up in El Nido, where the crew held a farewell party.
6. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Summary: The Avengers battle against the evil Thanos, racing across countries and planets to collect the six Infinity Stones.
During the closing scene of the film, Thanos emerges from a hut and watches a sunrise on what is described as an uninhabited planet. However, Marvel’s Filipino fanbase was quick to notice the incredibly familiar rice terraces surrounding Thanos.
It’s worth mentioning that the Infinity War cast never actually set foot in the Banaue Rice Terraces. Instead, Thanos was digitally added to footage of the famous tourist spot.
7. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Summary: After Thanos wins in Infinity War and successfully wipes out half of all life in the universe, the surviving Avengers reunite in an all-out attempt to reverse the damage.
Early into Avengers: Endgame, the remaining heroes fly to the “uninhabited planet” from Infinity War to try to get the Infinity Stones from the retired Thanos. The scene features aerial and ground shots of the Banaue Rice Terraces, as well as Thanos’ unused armor hanging next to his nipa hut.
Like Infinity War before it, however, Endgame mostly relied on drone footage of the terraces for its scenes in the Philippines.
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You’ll want to watch (or rewatch) these movies in your spare time, if only to admire how the Philippines fits as a backdrop. It turns out that Pinoy pride can find its way into international films, too!
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