Allan Camarin dela Fuente, a visual artist based in Cebu City agreed to work with me for a project I needed for my Digital Film Production course. I have worked with Allan previously and really liked his style and his demeanour — he is humble and down-to-earth and his colors are bright and splashy-flowy.
I wanted to do a nude body painting documentary and Allan suggested Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary as the venue. I have never been to Olango Island, though I have followed news about it with interest, made several plans to go there but my commitment was lacking.
Now that this was an official project, all my vacillations disappeared and I visited the island the weekend after my meeting with Allan.
I am based in Mactan Island, staying in a student dorm called Casa Blanca Garden Apartments, pursuing my Filmmaking course in the International School of Film and Television (IAFT). Olango Island is about 25 minutes away from my dorm — a 5-minute jeepney ride, then a 20-minute boat ride; another 15-minute tricycle ride brought me to the gates of the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary.
Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary is a temporary home or re-fueling station of migratory birds coming from Russia and China on the way to warmer countries in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa when the seasons change. The facility is managed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. I arranged access to the facility, describing my project to the ranger in charge. They informed me that photographers have used the site but that I was the first one to do a documentary with a subject matter like mine.
I was promised a secluded spot (since the sanctuary is popular with Korean tourists) so we could work uninterrupted.
My production team consisted of Van Bomediano as my director of photography and Hari Raja Sankar as my soundman. Professional model Yen Rose flew in from Manila for the project.
It was a rainy day when we commenced work — Typhoon Queenie was set to make her presence felt on the island. So, the place was considerably empty of tourists; but the Philippines would not be complete without a Korean tourist, and we were not disappointed.
The typhoon was threatening us when we completed our work and we were advised to leave the island quickly since there was a possibility that the boat service would be cancelled due to the rough seas.