Pop Culture Round-Up: 10 Pinoy Rom-Com Film Locations You Can Actually Visit

Can you believe we’re already halfway through summer? We can’t either. Which is why it’s high time to maximize the days we’ve got left before the rain starts pouring in like crazy. And because we want your summer days to be extra memorable, we’re rounding up some noteworthy local destinations you might want to add to your summer bucket list—courtesy of your fave Pinoy rom-coms!

1. Baguio – Labs Kita, Okey Ka Lang? (1998)

Dubbed as the original friendzone tale, this iconic movie has been immortalized in Filipino pop culture. With the beautiful pines of Baguio as its backdrop, the setting gives life to the movie’s sawi element. Frequently known as the country’s “Summer Capital”, its year-round cool is bound to draw you in (what with this insane Metro heat). Re-live the Bujoy-Ned magic by touring some of the locations where the scenes were filmed. Revisit Camp John Hay with brand new eyes as you stroll amidst the pines and ride on horses. Enjoy the city’s seemingly centralized aircon as you pig it out at Camp John Hay’s picnic groves for lunch. Round it out with a visit to a flower farm—you know, the setting for those unforgettable kulitan scenes from our OG friendzone heroes, which looks a whole lot like Bahong Flower Farm in La Trinidad.  

2. Banaue – Don’t Give Up On Us (2006)

This blockbuster Juday-Papa P reunion movie is a romcom institution of the time-tested career versus love formula. In the film, Abby (Judy Ann) goes on a journey to search for her bestfriend who walks out of her own bridal shower. In her search, she stumbles upon Vince (Piolo). They hate each other’s guts at first, but you know how boy-meets-girl stories usually end. While the movie was shot in various locations in the Mountain Province area, we’d like to put emphasis on Banaue and the epic proportions it served. Make sure you head over to the scenic Banaue Rice Terraces, and allow it to knock the air out of your lungs—just like it did when we first saw the trailer open with a glorious aerial shot.

3. Bohol – Close To You (2006)

This Cathy Garcia Molina-helmed flick catapulted the Lloydie-Bea tandem to new heights. Close To You tells the story of how Manuel’s (JLC) secret feels for Marian (Bea), threaten to tear their friendship to smithereens, especially when a budding romance begins to develop between his bestie and Lance (Sam Milby)—a guy Marian has been crushing on since childhood. The movie takes rock star Lance on different locations when his band goes on tour, and one of those locations is Bohol. So behold the Chocolate Hills from that viewing deck and go on a lunch cruise in Loboc River, all while reminiscing how painful it must be for Manuel to see Marian and Lance go on full couple mode. If the memory serves us right, they even go tarsier viewing for one of their dates. You can do that too at the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary.

4. Bataan – Maybe This Time (2014)

Aptly labeled as the film that is bound to make summer the new Valentines, Maybe This Time is a rom-com that deals with second chances. Steph and Tonio were once two young sweethearts who didn’t have a care in the world. Unfortunately, Tonio leaves without saying goodbye, bringing a sour halt to their fairytale-like rendezvous. Fate brings them back together many years after, but under different circumstances. Their first meet-cute happens in a pristine beach in Morong, Bataan—just about the perfect compliment to this heat. While not exactly the top of mind choice to head over for the summer season, it’s one to definitely consider if you’re not a fan of those throngs of people that come hand in hand with beaches. Make your stay memorable at Anvaya Cove while you’re at it.

5. Sagada – That Thing Called Tadhana (2015)

One of those films with scene-stealing lines that would go down in history, That Thing Called Tadhana is arguably one of Antoinette Jadaone’s best works. In the film, Mace is forced to nurse a heartbreak when she meets Anthony, a seemingly happy-go-lucky dude. Together, they journey towards the path of healing and undergo heartbreak’s many cycles. Their random road trip takes them up north, with Sagada as their last stop. Even if your heart ain’t broken, you can still scream at the top of your lungs and let go of the stress the city life has brought upon you as you catch the sun rise among the sea of clouds at Mt. Kiltepan. Then, warm yourself up as you recollect your thoughts and revisit the kilig you felt during that akbayan scene at Gaia Café and Crafts—all while drinking a hot cup of cocoa.

6. Zambales – Crazy Beautiful You (2015)

KathNiel fans sure loved this crazy-tug-at-the-heartstrings ride of a film. In the movie, Kathryn Bernardo plays wildchild Jackie who’s got her parents dismayed over her reckless antics. In one of her attempts to escape her folks’ efforts to tame her, she meets Kiko, portrayed by Daniel Padilla, the good responsible kid and her complete opposite. There’s those touching scenes shot in Zambales where they get to immerse themselves with the indigenous Aetas, and you could do this too to give back to the community. For your free time, you could live it up a la Jackie and Kiko by riding a 4x4 and just being in awe at the picturesque beauty that is Mt. Pinatubo. We can’t wait for you to bask in the ambiance of those crystal clear waters and those inviting green slopes.

7. Batanes – You’re My Boss (2015)

The unexpected twists and turns of the summer of 2015 gave us the unlikely silver screen pairing of Toni G and Coco Martin. You’re My Boss delivered quite the number of hugot lines and tons of laughs. It also brought upon lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” with those breathtaking Batanes scenes. To relive Pong (Coco) and Georgina’s (Toni) moments, first book your stay at Octagon Bed and Dine (make sure to be clear if you’re booking two bedrooms, and not just two beds). Then when you’re all settled, take lots of selfies and groufies at the rolling hills of Marlboro Country. You can stay there for as long as you’d like, and just sit back, relax and enjoy perfect solitude. Then, watch the sunset at Chamantan-Tinyan Viewpoint, and just fall head over heels in love with Batanes like Georgina did in the same spot. As Pong would say, “Ang Batanes, ineexperience, hindi ginu-Google”. So go on and hop on the next flight, you won’t regret it!

8. Palawan – All You Need Is Pag-ibig (2015)

If you enjoyed the flick Love Actually, where all of UK’s big movie stars join forces in one film and the characters have mini sub-stories that all align in the end, All You Need Is Pag-ibig is kind of like its local version. In true Jadaone fashion, she once again uses a Philippine destination to develop her plot line. This movie in particular harnesses the beauty of Coron as one of the key settings to two sub-stories interwoven into the movie. Go ahead and book your stay at the Club Paradise Resort in Dimakya Island, where most of the Coron scenes were filmed. The resort could also be your jump-off point to other filming locations. One is Isla Walang Lang-aw, which literally means “an island without trees”, a small sandbar in the vicinity. And another is Siete Pecados, one of the most recognized snorkeling destinations in Coron.

9. Bantayan Island – Camp Sawi (2016)

Camp Sawi is a bootcamp for the brokenhearted. The hope is that, by the end of your stay, you would have found yourself and mended your pains. This is the camp where we meet five girls with different backgrounds, who each have their share of relationship woes. Bantayan Island in Santa Fe, Cebu serves as the jaw-dropping backdrop for the film. And while we feel for the girls, we can’t help but momentarily be distracted and feast our eyes on the paradise-like scenery. For your stay, head on over to Kota Beach where you’ll even find the “Camp Sawi” signage upon entering the premises to this day. Beach getaways are the perfect way to unwind and leave your worries behind, and we’re pretty sure Bantayan Island’s got everything you need in a nutshell.

10. La Union – I’m Drunk, I Love You (2017)

Since we started the list with the OG friendzone tale, we’re ending it with a much more updated take on the friendzone—hence IDILY. We’re pretty sure you still remember all of Carson, Dio, and Jason’s playful and painfully raw banter by heart. Time check, it’s just about right to pay a tribute to those pure unforgettable cinematic moments with a road trip to ElYu. First things first, book your stay at Urbiz Garden, a quaint laidback boutique hotel that has great access to the beach. Yup, this is the exact place where the trio stayed for the night, and also where (spoiler alert) Carson drunkenly confesses her feelings for Dio. Don’t forget to get yourself a bagnet, bagnet, bagnet—we just chanted that in our heads—at Tagpuan. Then at night, make like Carson and gang by rounding up the beer and talking about your feelings, while feeling the cool breeze and chilling by the beach. Who knows? There might even be a band playing so you can have your own OST.


Homestream image from Layka Valencia

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