Hi all, Bayley here to reflect on another week full of pleasant surprises and endless rewards. It’s starting to set in that our time in El Nido is nearing its end…which is all the more reason to take advantage of every crazy opportunity that comes our way.
This week, Brian and I were lucky enough to join the BBC Earth crew’s commercial shoot in our local community of Kiminawit. This journey spanned across two long days of scouting, shooting, and very little sleeping. Not only were Brian and I able to utilize our time in Kiminawit to carry out a project of our own, we watched experts work their magic in making a vision come to life.
This project highlights El Nido Resorts’ cultural sustainability efforts through our “FromHooks to Book” initiative. Fishing with the community, an activity offered at all the island resorts, allows guests to experience cultural fishing with local fishermen from the Kiminawit community. Beyond that, we support and educate the children of the community through school building, donating supplies, and educating.
Wednesday, July 10th
1:00PM Our journey begins with the initial trip to Kiminawit for location scouting and sequence planning. Choppy waves make the boat ride a bit more difficult than anticipated, but gives us ample opportunity in getting to know the team onboard.
2:30PM We arrive in Kiminawit, greeted by a warm welcome from the community as always. Brian and I break off to work on our project while the team explores. After stopping by the school and saying hi to the kids, we sit down at the production meeting. They decide on seven main sequences and time out the shooting schedule. Conversations grow rapid as they discuss logistics such as lighting, location, and angles. We find out at the end of the meeting that we are departing from Lagen at 2:00AM the next day—I could not be more excited.
4:00PM After a successful production meeting, we head to Miniloc Island for drone shoots followed by a delicious (and much needed) Merienda. Another boat ride, this time much calmer, to return to Lagen.
7:00PM Everyone unwinds at a lovely dinner bursting with conversation and reflections on the day—while secretly dreading the impending 1:30AM wakeup.
Thursday, July 11th
2:00AM We congregate in the departure area, barely awake but full of excitement. We board the boat under the most beautiful night sky I’ve ever seen in my life. While everyone slept, I listened to the waves and watched the sky as we glided through the water. I counted four shooting stars.
3:30AM We arrive in Kiminawit in the dark of the night. The crew leaves to set up equipment and lights for the first shot of the day. Brian and I stay on the boat to nap.
5:00AM I awake to the sound of GAMS supervisor Chad calling us to transfer. Brian and I stumble onto the pier and enter Kiminawit in the dark. Despite it being 5AM, the town is somewhat awake. The fishermen get ready for their day out in sea, and the rest of the community gathers curiously around our camera crew. We walk to the director who is monitoring different camera screens stationed elsewhere on the island.
Eager to see the actual filming, Brian and I make our way to the lead videographer, crossing the main bridge during sunrise. The serenity and beauty of our walk resulted in stopping every other step to document it. The sunrise and the night sky that preceded it were two of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. We watched the town come to life with the backdrop of a beautiful sky of light pink and blue and its reflections in the water. At the end of our walk, we watch the ending of the first sequence on the camera, astonished by the outcome.
6:30AM After regrouping briefly, the second sequence is in full swing. Brian and I walk up a balcony for a better look. The film crew is shooting our lead actor run down the street. Cameras are stationed at two different spots and the director gives directions to the actor. We gather more of an audience as children watch the action before heading to school.
8:30AM Feeling like the whole day has gone by, I look at my phone astonished at the fact that it’s not even 9AM yet. We relocate to the library for the next scene. In order to better capture the light beams in the shot, the crew burns baby oil and cotton swabs to create lasting smoke. Brian and I watch in awe as such a simple scene is portrayed so artistically on the director’s screens.
9:30AM The town congregates for the shooting of the big scene involving more of the community. Four visits to Kiminawit later, I see the entire community as a whole for the first time. It is heartwarming to see how the school has become a spot for community gathering. Brian and I sit with the women and the children as the men are filmed on the basketball court. A mixture of excitement, pride, and appreciation creates an unforgettable energy.
12:00PM The women prepare for us the fish caught from the morning trips. A delicious lunch takes place in the courtyard of the school, surrounding us are classes in session. After a morning that felt like an entire week, we pack up and leave Kiminawit.
1:00PM We stop by Pangulasian—my former home that is now under construction—for more drone shots. Despite the tarp and cluttered inventory, the beach is breathtaking as ever. Under the blazing sun, we watch the crew operate the drone with dexterity—taken aback by their expertise once again.
2:00PM We arrive back on Lagen. Despite the early wake up and long morning, Brian and I head straight to work. The lack of sleep certainly did not stop us from fully appreciating our day. Reflecting this crazy opportunity in my daily check-in, I find myself at a loss for words for the experience I just had.
Everyday spent here in El Nido is one full of adventure and opportunity. Not only did we watch experts conduct a legit filming process, immersion in the Kiminawit community is a unique experience. Nothing makes me happier than walking through town and hearing shouts of “Ate Bay!” from the kids. I’ll conclude this blogpost by expressing my endless gratitude for these experiences. To all who are reading, keep an eye out for the commercial when it comes out!