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Life’s A Beach

The Philippines not only has a stunning array of beaches, it also has one of the richest marine environments in the world.

The Philippines is an archipelago in South-East Asia, of more than 7,000 islands located between the Philippine Sea and South China Sea, at the very eastern edge of Asia. The Philippines is a beach bum’s delight and has more than enough to offer in terms of tropical islands and pristine sandy stretches – from the craggy, windswept shores of Batanes in the North to the flawless white beaches of Boracay in the South.

Many wonderful beaches are just part of one of the world’s longest coastlines. There’s an island to suit every taste, from marooned slicks of sand in the middle of the ocean to mega-islands like Luzon, Mindanao and Visayas.

The Philippines is one of the most cost competitive production service centres in South East Asia. Local costs are relatively low and the exchange rate offers great value for money. A Manila-based fixer/service producer will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget. Foreign productions are exempt from the 12-per cent Value Added Tax. Otherwise there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shot in the Philippines.

When to shoot?

The cool, dry winter months extend from November to February. The summer months, from March to May, are the hottest. The summer rainy season starts in June and extends through November with strong typhoons possible. Underwater photography is possible year-round, with the best months for visibility being from December to April.

The Philippines attracts filmmakers and photographers from all over the world for its colourful festivals. Most are based on the Catholic calendar. January is a busy month for festivals with the Festival of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Ati-Atihan Festival in Kaliba, Sinulog Festival in Cebu City and Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City. The Panagbenga Flower Festival is held in February in Baguio City. The Moriones Festival is held in April on the island of Marinduque. The Masskara Festival is held in October in Bacolod City. Christmas is also a busy time with numerous festivals held throughout the Philippines.

Film Location Permits

Manila does not issue city-wide permits. Each location requires a permit from the municipality. Typically, it takes three days to process location permits. More complicated shoots that require shutting down roads, shooting in national parks or aerial filming require at least seven days for permits. Some areas on the island of Mindanao need clearance from the government before a foreign team can shoot there.

Jose Miguel De La Rosa, Executive Director, Philippines Film Export Service Office

What is the Philippines Film Export Service Office?

Our office is under the Film Development Council Of The Philippines, which is the lead government agency in the country in terms of films. We are in charge of different agencies in the country like immigration, customs, hotels and more.

What help does the Philippines Film Export Service Office provide to foreign filmmakers?

We invite foreign production companies to shoot in our country. We provide the right people to help you shoot and we also provide the right endorsements for film projects. We have partnerships with our immigrations and customs offices and they facilitate the entry of crew members, actors and equipment. Our office oversees the projects on the whole. It is okay to shoot in the Philippines and represent it as the Philippines or any other country; the only thing we look at is that the project doesn’t portray the Philippines or our people in a bad light. Once the film project gets clearance of our policies, it is very easy to shoot in our country. We also have our directory which can serve you with the right personnel, equipment rental, transportation and more.

What kind of locations does the Philippines offer?

We have all types of locations. You name it and we have it. Whether you require an island upbeat with night life, timeless and solitary, or something wrapped in mystery, you can count on finding the perfect setting to add texture to your story. The country also has some of the richest marine environments in the world. We also have production houses and local line producers with whom you can partner. Even our department of tourism helps foreign filmmakers in order to promote different locations. We can help find the perfect location for your film.

You said you can help with accommodation and transportation. How does that work?

Yes, we have credited hotels and transportation companies that offer discounted rates to foreign filmmakers. We are very open to inviting foreign productions to our country.

Is there any open window for a co-production?

It is actually very easy. An Indian filmmaker just needs to submit a proposal and we can look for matches as in which Philippines production company will be apt for your production or a producer who can best facilitate your production. In fact, the Film Development Council Of The Philippines has been co-producing with foreign producers.

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