Ilocos Norte: Ultimate film setting?

Shielo Mendoza
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

Ilocos Norte wants to be known as more than just a tourist destination.

Now, the Ilocos Norte government wants film makers to make the province a prominent movie backdrop and is actually offering incentives to filmmakers who will help reach this goal.

The “Trimedia Incentives Act in Ilocos Norte” grants filmmakers and movie producers a discount on all permit fees and location charges issued by the provincial government. It also provides assistance in facilitating ground arrangements and provision of technical information.

“Ilocos Norte is endowed with fascinating and attractive tourist destinations that are ideal and perfect settings for trimedia projects. Through the incentives act, we will entice more filmmakers to shoot in the province which will benefit us from promotions and advertisements by media coverage and exposures,” Ilocos Gov. Imee Marcos said.

Among the Hollywood films shot in the province during the 1980s was Tom Cruise’s “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Platoon” as well as Mel Gibson’s Australian action movie “Mad Max.”

In the local scene, “Panday” films, including the original series starred by Fernando Poe Jr. and those revived by Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, featured the landscapes of Ilocos Norte. National artists Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala” also made the province an iconic movie location.

Most recently, Regal and GMA Films headed up north to shoot the remake of the comedy film “Temptation Island” starring Marian Rivera, Heart Evangelista, Lovi Poe, Ruffa Mae Quinto and Solenn Heussaff.

“Having these great films on the index of movies shot in Ilocos Norte, the province is definitely a must-see by movie producers, filmmakers and travelers alike,” Marcos said.

She added that while the provincial government is willing to help reduce a movie production’s transportation, accommodation, catering and rental expenses, it will, in turn, provide work for the Ilocanos and promote the regions without having to spend too much.

Ilocos Norte’s provincial tourism office recently launched a full blast media campaign with a slogan “Paoay Kumakaway!” in Metro Manila.

Promotional ads of Paoay Kumakaway! include billboards showcasing Ilocos Norte’s finest tourist attractions installed at the LRT 1 and 2 stations.

The launching of the tourism brand is one of the expansion efforts of the province to attract more visitors to travel north.