‘Bourne’ location manager: Manila is gritty, El Nido a paradise

Dow Griffith raved about how "hospitable" Filipinos are

MANILA, Philippines – The man behind the choice of filming “The Bourne Legacy” in the Philippines said Manila is ideal for an “urban and gritty” kind of location and described El Nido as a “paradise.”

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Dow Griffith, a renowned location manager who specialize in “remote, foreign locations motion pictures,” also raved about how “hospitable” Filipinos are.

When asked how it was like scouting locations for the latest installment of the spy fiction thriller “Bourne” series, he replied that Manila fits the film’s requirements.  

“The “Bourne” movies are known as a more urban and gritty kind of product, and that was certainly true of Manila. It is congested, with the highest population density in the world. But the people are the best thing about it…you couldn’t meet more hospitable people.,” he told NYT.

He made special mention of how the film’s crew enjoyed the Filipino touch at the hotel in Manila where they stayed.  

“We put our crew up in the Manila Mandarin Oriental. Sometimes, when you are traveling, no matter how much you spend, you can’t buy good service. At the Mandarin we enjoyed personalized service at very affordable prices,” he said.

Paradise El Nido

When asked if he would return to Manila for vacation, he replied, “Manila served our purpose, but for the casual traveler, it’s a good place to go to get somewhere else.”

He then went on to rave about different destinations in the country.

“The real reason to go to the Philippines is to explore its more than 7,000 islands, from the heights of the rice terraces of Banaue to dives with the whale sharks in Donsol — and that’s just on one island, Luzon.”

He made special mention of El Nido, where the “Bourne” crew also filmed.

“El Nido, on Palawan Island, is paradise, and for a family trip, you are very well looked after at any of the resorts.

The crew stayed at the high-end El Nido Resort, now controlled by Ayala Land Inc.

The cast of “Bourne Legacy” paid a courtesy call on President Aquino in February capping their weeks-long shoot in the Philippines. The team, which included lead actor Jeremy Renner, said they did not regret choosing the Philippines over Vietnam and Indonesia.

Griffith has traveled to 86 countries as a location manager for the film industry since the late 1970’s. His search has led him to different locations in Asia.

He also worked on the “Avatar, The Last Airbender,” which filmed in Thailand, Vietnam and China. – Rappler.com

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