Three weeks after the entire cast of the tentatively titled “Land Down Under” movie arrived here in the Province of Bukidnon, the Piolo Pascual and Angel Locsin Bukidnon cowboy movie fever is still on.
Several exciting tales, funny anecdotes and clearly soon-to-be urban legends/tales have begun to sprout.
From university students who still seem to be tickled pink because Piolo smiled at them to teachers who pretended not to care when they saw Piolo at a restaurant (but excitedly shared their experience with fellow teachers and to their eager students) to a local family that got a substantial amount of money in exchange for his humble bahay kubo, the tales have spread and the locals merrily discuss the stories every single day.
Naturally, the Municipality of Impasug-ong, noted as the “Home of the Country’s Finest Cowboys,” is the main/top beneficiary of all these. Impasug-ong, which, by the way, was initially wrongly referred to as “Pasugong,” plays host to the cast and provides most of the scenic shots for the film.
ABS-CBN’s movie outfit, Star Cinema, paid local taxes. A lot of local residents and even students from the City of Malaybalay, some 15 minutes away from Impasug-ong, also got the chance of a lifetime to work as extras and doubles.
“Kuyawan gyud ko kay Piolo and Angel gud na. Sa Lobo…sa TV ra ko makakita nila before but karon nahatagan ko ug chance na makit-an sila up close (I was really very nervous because it meant working alongside Piolo and Angel. Before, I only watched them on TV, on Lobo ["Lobo" was Pascual and Locsin's teleserye via ABS-CBN], but today I was given the chance to see them up close,” bared a Bukidnon State University student named Loida, who considered herself very lucky to have been cast as one of the extras.
A farmer also divulged that he was paid a substantial amount in exchange for his shanty. The farmer said that the Star Cinema production team had to “renovate” his shanty and would need to use it during their stay in Bukidnon. The farmer said that his shanty would serve as the main bahay kubo for the film. He said that he’s very excited to not only see his “renovated” home on the big screen but to stay in his new home as well, which now reportedly looks new and has a lot of concreted parts.
The movie was also shot in Barangay Dalwangan, Malaybalay City, where the Northern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center is located.
A clearly mesmerized NOMIARC employee shared that she did not expect to see her idols that day. “Guwapa kaayo si Angel and Piolo is so handsome! They looked down to earth and wala gyuy kiyeme (Angel is so beautiful and Piolo is so handsome. They looked down to earth and wala talagang kiyeme),” she said.
She even regretted not being too alert that day. “Wala nako nadala ang akong digicam!”
The owner of Rey’s Grill and Barbecue (located at the corner of Tabios and Don Carlos streets in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon) also shared that a supporting actor also ate at his restaurant.
The presence of the Star Cinema production team and celebrities clearly boosted Impasug-ong’s tourism. A lot of Bukidnon residents from other municipalities and areas took the time to travel all the way to Impasug-ong just to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars. Even die hard Pascual-Locsin fans (some of whom call their favorite loveteam as “GELO”) from Cagayan de Oro (some two hours away), Davao City (roughly 5 hours away), Iligan City and Butuan City traveled to Bukidnon just to watch the shooting.
Sheena, a resident of Butuan City, said that she used up all of her savings just to go to Bukidnon. She said that she didn’t know anybody in Bukidnon but that didn’t stop her from coming over. “I know I will never have this chance to see Piolo and Angel again. Thankfully, my parents let me travel,” she said.
Another fan from Cagayan de Oro City, Mai, said that she and her friends staked out at the local hotel where the cast stayed. “We ate breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant just so we can catch them,” she shared.
She said that she and her friends were able to see Piolo that day and have their pictures taken with him. “Bago pa siyang gising but he readily accommodated us,” she said.
This week will be the “Land Down Under” cast’s final week in Bukidnon. They arrived last August 28 and is only set to stay for 28 days. The cast will then fly to Darwin, Australia.
This Rory B. Quintos-directed film is set to open in theaters nationwide this November. (Original work by Mindanaoan, previously published in BukidnonOnline.com)