10 International Films Shot in the Philippines

Holly Bissonnette | September 6, 2016

Philippines may be a small country, but hidden in its numerous islands are lovely beaches, green forests, and feature-rich towns and cities. The country’s locations are not exactly unique but nevertheless interesting as it got some international film studios come running to shoot some scenes for their movies.

Have a look at some of the Hollywood films with scenes that were shot in different parts of the country.

1. Bourne Legacy (2012)


The film’s producer, Frank Marshall, toured in Bangkok, Saigon, and Manila to look for potential locations for the Bourne movie and eventually chose Manila. Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz shot some of the movie’s chasing scenes in the slums of San Andres, Marikina wet market, and Navotas fish port. Toward the end of the movie, the beauty of El Nido Palawan was also seen as Renner and Weisz rode a boat.

2. Born on the 4th of July (1989)


Since the movie is about a Vietnam War veteran (Tom Cruise), the production wanted to film this in Vietnam to make it look realistic. But because of the not-so-good relationship of the United States with the Southeast Asian country, they decided to film in the Philippine jungles instead, particularly in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.

3. Broke Down Palace (1998)


The movie, which starred two of Hollywood’s most beautiful actresses, Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale, made headlines in the country not because the movie is great but because of the Romeo and Juliet star’s comment about her experience. She reportedly told the Vogue that Manila “smelled of cockroaches, with rats all over and that there is no sewage system and the people do not have anything—no arms, no legs, no eyes.” This resulted in her being declared a persona non grata in the country and all her future films banned from being shown in the entire archipelago.

4. Amigo (2010)


This internationally acclaimed film, which tackled the war between Philippines and America in the 1900s, was mostly filmed in Bohol. The movie’s director, John Sales, was so enchanted by the beauty of the location that he mentioned it on his blog. Most of the casts were Filipinos, including award-winning actors Joel Torre and Rio Locsin.

5. Apocalypse Now (1979)


The film, which starred Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen, is regarded as one of the finest war films ever made. Though Apocalypse Now is an adventure film during the Vietnam War, the shooting was done in Philippine locations such as Baler, Quezon, and Pagsanjan.

6. Missing in Action (1984)


Another Vietnam war–inspired movie that was shot in various location in the Philippines is Missing in Action. The production used Cavite, Laguna, and Quezon as a replacement for Vietnam. Some Filipino actors were cast in the movie.

7. Thirteen Days (2000)


Once again, the Philippines was picked as a substitute, but this time, it’s not for Vietnam but Cuba.  The historical action-thriller film depicts the nuclear crisis between the United States and the Soviet Union. The film was based on the book The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis by Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.

8. Manila (2000)


In this German drama film titled Manila, German tourists experienced what it’s like to be stuck in Manila Airport. Anna Capri and Cez Quesada were the two of the Filipino actors cast in the movie.

9. Mammoth (2009)


Mammoth is a Swedish movie about a couple in New York living in a modern day. Some scenes in the movie were filmed in the Philippines because it also features the struggle of a mother working far away from her loved ones as a maid in order to provide for her family.

10. Cast Away (2000)


Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland, a logistics company employee who was stranded in an island after his cargo plane crashed. The isolated but beautiful island wherein Noland was stranded is called Monuriki, an island in the Pacific Ocean that is said to be part of the Philippine archipelago.

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