Imagine powerful waves crashing into a steep hillside, lush hills that stretch as far as the eye can see, and traditional stone-and-cogon Ivatan houses—all these and more are just some of the images that are wonderfully captured by the tandem of directors Adolfo Alix Jr. and Dave Hukom. For their full-length feature film Batanes, they tapped the beauteous Iza Calzado to play the leading lady of Ken Zhu, a member of the popular boy-band F4.
Ken played the role of Xi-Men in the hit television series Meteor Garden and its sequel Meteor Rain. He stayed in the Philippines from December 1-5 to promote his movie and meet his admirers during the fans day held at the Trinoma last Monday.
Batanes is told from the perspective of Pam (Iza Calzado), a Filipina who has a love-hate relationship with the ocean. She meets an Ivatan, a local of Batanes, named Rico (Joem Bascon) and decides to settle in the northernmost province of the Philippines. They get married but their love story comes to an end when Rico gets lost at sea.
Pam is distraught and becomes resentful of the ocean. She is still grieving for her loss when she meets Kao (played by Ken), a Taiwanese who is mistaken to be an illegal fisherman. He is washed up onshore where Pam finds him injured and running a fever. Kao is the second man in Pam's life but he has secrets of his own.
The cast and crew of Batanes shot this film for 19 days on the islands of Sabtang and Basco. The staff brought their own generator to Batanes so they could shoot scenes even when electricity was switched off from 12 midnight to 12 noon the following day.
When asked about her kissing scenes with Ken, Iza responds by saying, "Okay naman. Actually, first love scene niya ito. Kinakabahan siya. Natatawa nga ako, e. Feeling ko, hindi ba dapat ako ang kinakabahan?
"Parehong leading men ko sa film, parehong kabadong-kabado. Si Joem mas hindi ako kabado kasi Filipino pero kay Ken ang kaba ko dun, kailangan mag-connect talaga kami. Ako rin kinakabahan ako kasi first love scene niya ito, baka habulin ako ng mga fans at baka awayin ako.
"Yung kay Joem, very gentle kasi gusto namin ipakitang innocent. Si Ken ang character niya is married na at pareho na kaming married. So pareho na kaming may karanasan," Iza divulges.
PREMIERE NIGHT. PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was present when the stars of the film attended the premiere night last December 4 at the Trinoma, Quezon City.
Iza addressed the crowd first: "Magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat. I would like to thank everyone for all the support. Sa lahat po ng nagtiyagang pumila sa labas, maraming salamat po. We greatly appreciate the presence of all our guests. We would like to thank Ignite Media and GMA Films for doing this film....our directors Adolf Alix Jr. and Dave Hukom. And to Ramoncito Redoble for being an excellent cinematographer. To Ken, thank you so much for doing this film. We really hope you will enjoy this film."
After Iza's lengthy acknowledgment, Ken Zhu gave his own thanks. "I think
Iza has said it all. Anyway, thank you all for coming tonight. I do hope you do
enjoy you the movie. Everyone who participated in this movie put their best
effort in it."
Director Adolf told PEP how they managed to get such a good view of Batanes. "Gumamit kami ng 8-seater plane so we were able to get aerial shots. Nagdala rin kami ng stage man na may wind blower at may lightning effects." They also asked the help of the firemen of Batanes to provide the rain effects of the film.
He also explained that they wanted to capture the rugged seascape and dramatic view of mountainsides, which is why they decided to shoot the film using Cinemascope, a widescreen movie format.
Completing the cast of Batanes are Sid Lucero, Coco Martin, Mike Tan, Glaiza de Castro and veteran actors Bembol Roco, Daria Ramirez, and Julio Diaz.
Also on board are screenwriter Arah Badayos, line producer Arleen Cuevas, cinematographer Ramoncito Redoble, editor Miren Alvarez-Fabregas, sound recordist Mark Locsin, sound engineer Ditoy Aguila, production designer Cyrus Khan, and music composer Jesse Lucas.
Batanes is rated "B" by the Cinema Evaluation Board. It is now showing in cinemas nationwide.
Trailer courtesy of Ignite Media