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Philippines

Philippines Film & Photography Production Services

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in the Philippines? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in the Philippines? See below for an introduction to Philippines locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, fringes and premiums, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Philippines Film Locations

The Philippines is an archipelago of over 7,000 islands.

The capital Manila, located on the island of Luzon, is one of the most densely populated megacities on earth. Locations of interest in Manila include modern office towers, SM Mall of Asia, Chinatown, Baywalk, Rizal Park, Spanish colonial architecture, and urban slums. Manila is heavily congested, which restricts the number of locations moves you can make in a day.

Other locations of interest on the island of Luzon include Vigan city colonial architecture, Banaue rice terraces, coconut and pineapple farms, whitewater rapids in Kalinga and Cagayan, Hundred Island National Park, Mayon Volcano, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, Pagsanjan waterfalls and Batangas white sand beaches. Tagaytay mountain offers views of Taal Volcano which is an island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island.

A short flight away are the Visayas and Mindanao regions comprising of thousands of islands including the famous Boracay. These areas are known for their rich biodiversity. Palawan Island is famous for underwater photography looks. The Philippines is one of the best places in the world for underwater photography offering WWII wrecks, coral gardens and a variety of wildlife including manta rays, whale sharks and dugongs.

The Philippines has hosted international productions including The Bourne Legacy, Brokedown Palace, Platoon, and Apocalypse Now.

The Philippines Film Location Permits

Manila does not issue city-wide permits. Each location requires a permit from the municipality. Typically it takes about 3 days to process location permits. More complicated shoots that require shutting down roads, shooting in national parks or aerial filming require at least 7 days for permits. Some areas on the island of Mindanao need clearance from the government before a foreign team can shoot there. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

The cool, dry winter months are from November to February. The summer months from March to May are the hottest months. 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. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

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.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in the Philippines.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. 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. Our Manila based fixer / service producer will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. Foreign productions are exempt from the 12% Value Added Tax. Otherwise there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in the Philippines.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. The Philippines have a small but good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. A vibrant local industry has created a decent pool of technical and creative crew. English is the second language in the Philippines so all key crew speak it fluently. The Philippines has experienced crews so there is typically no need to bring in key crew.

Contact us if you are looking for a Manila based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew in the Philippines.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiated on a personal basis. Most Filipinos are of Austronesian descent with the largest of these groups being the Visayan, Tagalog, Ilocano, Bicolano, Moro and the Kapampangan people. The Philippines are also home to minority indigenous groups.

Premiums. Infants and young children can work a maximum of 4 hours per day. The Philippines has a 16 hour working day (including 1 hour for lunch / dinner). Anything over that, our producer would package a rate that is fair for all. No extra charges for weekends and holidays. Out of town rates are usually 50% higher than metro Manila rates.

Philippines Film Equipment

The Philippines has a good stock of locally available camera, grip and lighting equipment. Up to date digital camera options are available as are 35mm cameras (although there is no telecine in the Philippines). Underwater cameras and housing is available.

For productions intending to bring in equipment the Philippines is not an ATA carnet country. Contact us for advice on bringing in your own gear.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction. Art department is very good for local looks. Construction crews (set men) are also experienced and hard working.

Studios. Recommended studios in Manila include CMB Films and Videosonic Studios. If you are looking for sound studios you need to travel out of Manila to Cebu. Bigfoot Studios offer good facilities. They have all of the equipment but only a basic in-house crew so main crew needs to be brought in from Manila.

Post Production. Some facilities. Better post options in Bangkok and Hong Kong.

Visas & Work Permits

Most passport holders can enter the Philippines visa-free for stays of less than 30 days. Journalists / camera crews must first apply for a media visa at the Philippine embassy in their country. Allow two weeks for processing. Our local producer then endorses the team at the International Press Center and foreign crew media cards are issued thereafter. Producers, directors, agency, clients can enter on tourist visas with business as the purpose of travel, as long as they are not bringing in equipment and staying less than 30 days.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Road conditions vary from the paved multilane expressways of Luzon to unpaved, narrow mountain roads. Manila is a heavily congested city that can take over 2 hours to cross. Rural areas are slower going especially during the rainy season. Our Filipino service producer / fixer organizes safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Travel between islands is best achieved by boat or plane, depending on the distances. Several international airlines service flights to Manila.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly Manila hotels include:

Mandarin Oriental
Dusit Thani
Intercontinental
Shangri La

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in the Philippines, please see below:

Hire Philippines Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in the Philippines, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in the Philippines, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.