Benguet town opens door to film crew
BAGUIO CITY, Benguet, Philippines — After being barred from entering two Cordillera towns, the team of movie director Joyce Bernal finally managed to briefly film in La Trinidad, the capital of Benguet province.
La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda on Sunday said he allowed Bernal’s crew to take some footage in the town, known as the “Strawberry Capital,” on July 8 for 15 minutes.
Salda said the team’s visit to Barangay Bahong, where roses and cut flowers are raised, also had the permission of Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas and Regional Director Mario Iringan of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
According to the mayor, the shoot “[focused] on capturing the scenic landscapes of Barangay Bahong” and would be used as background for President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 27.
Salda said he received phone calls from Assistant Secretary Maria Rafael Banaag of the Presidential Communications Operations Office and Director Jovi Ganongan of the Department of Tourism in Cordillera about the group’s trip.
“The production team [of Bernal] underwent proper medical tests and did not experience symptoms related to the coronavirus,” Salda said in a statement, citing Bernal’s letter.
Bernal also assured the local government that the venues for the filming would be quarantined “before, during and after the shoot.”
“At no point did the crew interact with the residents,” Salda said, adding that the visit was for “official purposes.”
Last week, Bernal’s team, including actor Piolo Pascual, tried but failed to film video materials in Sagada town, Mountain Province, and in Banaue town, Ifugao province, after they were denied entry.
Both towns had been implementing strict health protocols to keep their status as virus-free.
The group also failed to shoot in Tublay town, also in Benguet, after the local government turned down their request, but was briefly allowed to film at the Kiangan National Shrine in Ifugao.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.