Shooting The End

by christinady

Two weeks ago, we shot our last scene for my friend Joel Ruiz’s short (?) film, with no title yet, but which we’ll call The End.  I designed Joel’s short film Mansyon for the first Cinemalaya ever (yes, we’re that old), and that experience I really loved because I got to make everything in the movie green.

We started filming  The End in January of this year, where coming from a wedding, I rode a bus with DP Ike to Baguio, to meet producer Toni, to go to Ilocos. Yes, we shot in Ilocos. My team– art director Popo and setman Manny– went a day ahead to prep.

I’m the production designer for this film, but as budget films go these days, that means we do: set, props, costumes, hair, makeup, and even some sfx. Imagine bringing all your props and costumes and whatever design thing from Manila all the way up north! (read: stress on a budget!)

But the north IS pretty, and the trip worth it. We shot a lot in the sand dunes. It was hot. And my team had to build a fire on top of that!

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yup there’s a fire beyond that sand dune


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the walk home after a long shoot day


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art director Popo Diaz romancing a prop

Because we had so much work, and I didn’t have an Android phone yet then, I wasn’t able to take a lot of BTS photos. Better I think, so the movie will be a surprise!

Headquarters was in this very beautiful and charming place called Sitio Remedios. It is a resort made up of a cluster of houses spaced around a church, like how old towns were built. The houses are all old– Spanish- ,American- era houses in Ilocos due to be demolished but was salvaged by the resort owner, neurosurgeon Dr. Joven Cuanang.

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Joel and producer Tracy

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our dining room/meeting area

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the church at the center of the resort

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a couple of houses and the outdoor dining area


We stayed in Ilocos for 9 days– the longest I’ve ever shot for a short film. Joel wanted an immersion– and he got it. We all bonded really well, shouted at each other, drank with each other, swam with each other, ate dragonfruit together .

My funniest memory of the shoot was this:  We had to shoot a sensitive scene, so everyone was outside the set. It was a long day, so I fell asleep. And woke up to– our lead actor Joem Bascon, naked, tapping my shoulder, asking me for a prop. Hahaha. Obviously, no BTS photo for that!