Thelma was the first movie filmed and produced in the Philippines I’ve watched in a very long time. I’ve not really been a fan of Filipino movies because of the very predictable storylines. But Thelma was different. Not only did it give the viewers a different storyline. The keen eye award-winning Director of Photography Odyssey Flores combined with the vision of the film’s director, Paul Soriano, provided viewers spectacular scenes showcasing many of the beautiful places in the Philippines.
Synopsis of Thelma
Thelma tells the inspiring story of a simple girl from the province with a gift of speed. Her remarkable talent in running paved the way for her to not only help her family deal with struggles, but also changed her life in a way she had only dreamed.
Beauty of Ilocos Norte, Philippines
Most of the scenes in the movie Thelma were filmed in Ilocos Norte, a province located north of the Philippines. Although it’s just an hour’s flight away from Manila, you’d feel that you have traveled back in time with the many cobbled-stoned streets, Spanish houses, and laid-back way of life here.
While watching the movie, I found myself planning out a trip to visit Ilocos Norte one of these days. The cinematography here highlighted three reasons why:
The Windmills in Ilocos Norte, Philippines
One of the prominent landmarks in Ilocos Norte featured in the movie were the towering windmills that lined the beach of Bangui, Ilocos Norte.
The 15 towering windmills that stand by the shore like towering guardians are used by the North Wind Power Plant in Ilocos Norte, Philippines, to bring electricity into the homes and establishments to the entire province via TransCo Laoag.
The Bangui Bay, where the windmills can be found, are also considered to be a rich fishing ground in the area.
In one article about Ilocos Norte, TIME.com mentioned that one of the reasons to visit Ilocos Norte is the allure of the architecture predominant here. The province boasts so many churches and ancestral homes that date back to the time when the Spaniards ruled the country. Many of the old buildings are still in use and have been transformed into museums filled with artifacts dating back centuries.
Ilocos Norte is also home to the St. Augustine Church in the town of Paoay, one of the many historical landmarks featured by Choose Philippines in their music video. Recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines since 1993, the church is built with the use of coral blocks and stucco-plastered bricks. The architectural design of the church is a blend of Gothic, Baroque and Oriental designs.
Paoay Church also played an important role in Philippine history. During the revolution that led to the independence of the Philippines from Spain, the Katipuneros used the bell tower of Paoay Church as their watch post. It was used again as a watch tower by the Filipino guerillas during the Japanese occupation.
White Sand Beaches and Secluded Waterfalls
During the movie of Thelma, there was one scene where Thelma’s aunt was walking along the shores of a white sand beach with her boyfriend with the waves crashing in the background.
Ilocos Norte is home to a lot of beaches lined with powder white sand. I’m not really sure which beach it exactly was, but I have a few guesses. The first is Pagudpud Beach. This heart-shaped bay is located some 2.5 kilometers outside the town’s proper, and is considered to be one of the most popular white sand beaches in the northern part of the Philippines.
Another possible beach is Mairaira Point in Malingay Cove. Hailed as the Philippines’ very own ‘Blue Lagoon,’ this is a beach that is void of the bars and modern establishments you’d find in many of the white sand beaches in the country. With only a few sheds, towering old trees, and wild vines, you can easily get the feeling that you’re stranded in some remote island far, far away that could very well be paradise on earth. In reality, this wild beach is just a short 30-minute walk from the National Highway that cuts through the entire province of Ilocos Norte.
More than an Athlete’s Story
When director Paul Soriano made this film, he envisioned it to be a movie with a message. Initially, it is a movie about the determination and spirit within each and every athlete in the Philippines. Beyond that, it’s a beautiful movie that showcased a different side of the Philippines very few have seen. From the beaches to the rolling hills, director Paul Soriano’s film captured the beauty of this northern province in the Philippines that would make anyone want to go and visit.