Here’s how young team behind #FeelCamiguin viral video pulled it off

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The creative team behind Camiguin's "No Words" video campaign. Photo courtesy of James dela Vega.

The torrent of good reviews continues to be received by the Camiguin Tourism Office’s latest video campaign “No Words,” which quickly went viral after its October 22 posting and just in time for the province’s 38th Lanzones Festival.

The four-minute video, which has more than 800,000 views and has been shared more than 15,000 times, showcases the province’s breathtaking destinations.

James de la Vega, the video campaign’s producer, told InterAksyon in a phone interview that the intention of making a new campaign was to boost the tourism activity of the province, which has been affected by the crisis in Marawi and Martial Law in Mindanao.

He said that even though it is peaceful in Camiguin, fewer tourists are arriving because some countries have issued a travel ban on Mindanao.

After some brainstorming, they came up with the hashtag #FeelCamiguin for the campaign, which according to de la Vega, was pitched by a foreigner who drew inspiration from personal experience when he visited the province.

Pag-apak niya raw kasi sa Camiguin, na-welcome daw siya, so yun yung gusto niyang iparating (When he first stepped in Camiguin, he felt welcomed so that’s what he wanted to convey)—to feel the hospitality, joy, and warmth of Camiguin,” de la Vega shared, adding that the foreigner is currently a resort owner in the province.

After deciding on the hashtag and branding, de la Vega, a film graduate of UP Diliman then tapped his friends ER Alviz and Benson Logronio to work on the project as director and writer, respectively.

Unlike usual advertising campaigns that cost millions, the young creative team behind the campaign worked around a tight budget that is said to have amounted to six figures only.

According to de la Vega, “Maliit lang yung budget compared to the industry standard but we were still able to produce a quality video even with a limited budget, ” de la Vega said.

Since they were working on a tight budget, the team had to finish shooting in two days.

They got Marco Augusto Simene, a government employee, as the tour guide. De la Vega revealed they randomly spotted Simene practicing for a presentation for the upcoming Lanzones Festival. And unlike the character he plays in the video, Simene is not speech-challenged.

Theater actress J-mee Katanyag, who played the role of the tourist, happens to be a schoolmate of Alviz.

Ang naging puhunan dito talaga ay yung story. If you have a good story, lalabas at lalabas talagay yung message, We really invested in the story. If you have a good story, the message will really come out), ” de la Vega said.

Breaking stereotypes
While the video’s showcase of Camiguin’s breathtaking places captured the hearts of many viewers, netizens also gave positive remarks on the fact that the team also veered away from model stereotypes.

De la Vega said, “Naisip namin na (we thought) ‘let’s break the norm,’ na kailangan sexy ang katawan ng gaganap (that we need someone with a sexy body). Ang ibibida naman dito ay yung kwento at places at hindi yung gaganap (The highlight here is the story and the place not the person acting).”

Katanyag also shared through a Facebook chat, “The staff played with the idea of breaking from the usual things we see on ads. They played with a material that is fun and fresh, but at the same time, familiar and relatable.”

Alviz, Logronio, and Katanyag live in Manila and were all first-time visitors of Camiguin. De la Vega noted that they, too, were surprised at how beautiful the province is.

“First time ko sa Camiguin! Maliit yung island pero ang saya, malinis, at concerned sila sa environment (It was my first time in Camiguin! The island is small but it’s a happy place to be, it’s clean, and they are concerned with the environment),” Katanyag excitedly shared, and added that the shoot also paved the way for her to conquer her fears.

“I did things in Camiguin na hindi ko akalaing magagawa ko sa totoong buhay! The two-seater airplane na parang rollercoaster ride, and first time ko lumangoy sa malalim! Pati yung paghiga sa dulo ng bangka, scary! Pati ang motor! Isang beses ko lang na-try iyon, five years ago, and I have to review riding once again. But liberating ang experience. I have to conquer those fears for the project, and I’m happy na ang shoot na ito ang tumulong para ma-conquer ang mga takot ko na iyon.”

[I did thingsin Camiguin that I never thought I could do in real life! The two-seater airplane ride like a rollercoaster ride, and it was my first time to swim in deep waters! As well as the part where I have to lie down on the tip of the boat was scary! As well as the motorcycle ride! I only tried it once five years ago, and I have to review riding once again but the experience is liberating. I have to conquer those fears for the project, and I’m happy that this shoot helped me to conquer those]

The theater actress further shared that even though Martial Law has not been lifted, they did not feel restricted throughout their stay.

“Pre-fiesta celebration noong pumunta kamimay program, concert, inuman, malawakang party sa tapat ng munisipyo buong gabi. Masaya naman siya. Personally, wala akong na-feel na may nagre-restrict sa akin o sa mga tao doon (It was a pre-fiesta celebration, when we got there—there was a program, a concert, drinking, and a big party in front of the municipal office the whole night. It was fun. Personally, I did not feel anything that restricts me or the people there),” she said.

Katanyag also noted that like in any other parts of the country, the people of Camiguin are fun, diverse, and friendly to tourists like her.

DOT reacts
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) lauded Camiguin Provincial Tourism Office, and said in a text message to InterAksyon that “other local tourism offices are encouraged to do the same.”

DOT Secretary Wanda Teo noted, “The outstanding audio-visual presentation on Camiguin exudes the joy and pride with which the Filipino people welcome visitors to the Philippines. It simply and effectively makes one come and visit this remote province.”

The statement further added that the lady’s unexpected experience in the with Camiguin’s natural wonders is also true to each of the countless other fascinating tourist destinations in a country with 7, 641 islands.

Do you also feel like booking a ticket and flying to Camiguin? Here are some of the must-see destinations you shouldn’t miss as recommended by de la Vega and Katanyag:

1. Mantigue Island
Located three kilometers offshore across from Hubangon and San Roque in Mahinog, the four-hectare island has a white sand beach with coral offshore.

2. White Island
Located two kilometers across the sea from Agoho and Yumbing, White Island has a white sandbar with a spectacular view of Mt. Hibok-Hibok and Old Volcano. The island is also known for having a good view of sunrise and sunset over Camiguin.

3. Mt. Hibok Hibok
Located at the northwestern end of the island Mt. Hibok Hibok is an active volcano adjacent to Mt. Vulcan. Mt. Hibok-Hibok together with Mt. Timpoong or the Mts. Timpoong-Hibok-Hibok Natural Monument (MTHHNM) was declared an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2016.

4. Tuasan Falls and Katibawasan Falls
Located six kilometers northeast of Catarman is known for its unspoiled surrounding scenery, and for the clear pool of water below the waterfalls.

On the other hand, located five kilometers southeast of Mambajao, the Katibawasan falls is known for a clear stream of water cascading 70 meters into a pool below.

A dip in a warm spring #ardenthotspring #camiguin #philippines

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5. Ardent Hot Spring
Located in Mambajao, this frequently visited natural hot spring has different pools of clear water with varying temperatures. One of thosecan reach up to 40 degrees Celsius in temperature.