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STA Travel Blog

Reel Philippines – Island Hopping

This year, as part of our groundbreaking Reel Philippines series, we sent Adelaide film-maker Ben Dowie off to The Philippines to hop around some of the 7000 islands and bring back stories of early morning misty haze, back-lit by soft sun rays through lush palms on white beaches. It’s a tough life isn’t it?

Watch Ben’s director’s commentary below, read about his amazing experiences, and discover why you should probably hop over there yourself (spoiler alert – because it’s beautiful).


This was my first taste of the Philippines and my first impression was…how are there not more car accidents? Jokes. Other than the crazy traffic/drivers, I found the people to be very genuine, friendly, and interested in what we were doing. The beaches were really beautiful, and there were hardly any tourists around – massive plus in my opinion!

I loved hooning (Ed note: this means “driving quite fast” in Australian) around Siargao Island on a motorbike. Big wide empty roads, coconut palm jungle on one side and pristine coast line on the other. Wind in my hair and my soul smiling. It does you good.


Another really special moment was having a classroom of school children sing for me when recording the audio for the song in my film. Oh and jumping off the jetty with the kids was loads of fun too! Such happy little munchkins with not a care in the world!

Although they’re all beautiful – the islands are actually really varied. They all had their own atmosphere and vibe about them, and very different landscapes too. My favourite would be Siargao, which was very laid back and relaxed, I think due to the influence of surf culture. That had some of the best beaches too.

Anything else I’d like to add? I think I’m about due to go back..

Check out the other videos in the series, including Maggie’s insights into Social Tourism, Mollie’s brilliant Beaches film and Josh’s simply stunning look at Volcanoes and National Parks featuring Jack Harries from JacksGap!

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Showing 2 Comments

  1. David

    Enjoyed the video but the narrator sounded flat, depressed and like he wanted to commit suicide. Needs to sound brighter, more enthusiastic. Then it might just actually make me want to go there!

    917 days ago
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    321 days ago