Explore these must-visit places from your favorite Filipino movies

Maira-ira beach, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte/ Source: Blue Lagoon Inn and Restaurant
Press Release

As we step into the new year, it’s the perfect time to map out your adventures for 2024. If 2023 was all about Revenge Travel to make up for lost time, 2024 is being hailed as the year for more personal travels. Booking.com’s Travel Predictions for 2024 suggest a shift towards journeys motivated by a quest for deeper connections and self-discovery.

If you’re already planning your travels to find love or find yourself and need a little inspiration on where to go, here are some Filipino films that not only brought compelling stories of love but also highlighted how the destination itself (and the journey of getting there) is sometimes all that one needs to find what they’re looking for.

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Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte – Broken Hearts Trip (2023)

One of the entries for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), Broken Hearts Trip, is a story about five LGBTQ individuals who are given the chance to heal from their heartbreaks as they journey across the Philippines. One of the spots they explored is Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte, often referred to as the “Boracay of the North.” Accessible via land and air, Pagudpud is famed for its stunning beaches, including Maira-ira (commonly known as Blue Lagoon), Saud, and Pansian. These beaches boast white sands and emerald waters, making them an ideal retreat for those seeking solitude with their thoughts or desiring more intimate moments with loved ones as unlike other Filipino beach destinations, Pagudpud tends to be less crowded, offering a tranquil escape.

Fujiyoshida City, Japan – When I Met You in Tokyo (2023)

Another entry from this year’s MMFF brings us not only a tale of finding love at the most unexpected times but finding love in some of the most beautiful places in the world. In When I Met You in Tokyo, two old hearts–one battered and bruised and one lonely and seeking comfort–find each other in Tokyo. While much of the story took place in the Japanese capital, the film also took its audience to Fujiyoshida City and the famous Chureito Pagoda, basking in the majestic view of Mount Fuji. A 2-hour train ride from Tokyo, the city offers spectacular views of the mountain. The best time to visit is either during the cherry blossom season in mid-April or in the first half of November to experience the changing colors of autumn. Here, like the stars of When I Met You in Tokyo, you may be able to find healing from past hurts and discover new beginnings against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful sights in the world.

Sagada, Mountain Province – Write About Love (2019)

In Write About Love, an aspiring writer sought help from a veteran yet disillusioned indie film writer to complete an unfinished script for a love story. Their collaboration eventually led them to a pilgrimage to Sagada, where upon seeing the magnificent sunset and sea of clouds, allowed the two writers to reconcile their personal issues and figure out the ending for their own love stories. For travelers who want a little more adventure and don’t mind putting in the work just to experience breathtaking views, there’s Sagada. A small town in the mountains of Mountain Province, Sagada requires more than a half day’s ride from Manila and another couple of hours trekking to get to the top of Marlboro Hills, the highest point of the town and provides an unobstructed view of sunrise and a sea of clouds.

San Juan, La Union – I’m Drunk I Love You (2017)

A beloved romantic drama film, I’m Drunk I Love You is all about taking the chance before it’s too late. The movie revolves around two college best friends who embarked on a final road trip to San Juan, La Union, aiming to determine if their bond will remain platonic or evolve into something more. While La Union, also known as Elyu, has earned its reputation as one of the Philippines’ top surfing spots, “I’m Drunk I Love You” shines a spotlight on the town’s laid-back yet vibrant atmosphere. Here, bars resonate with reggae beats, serve delectable food, and are adorned with eclectic decorations reflecting both local and foreign influences.

Beyond the shoreline (surprising as it may sound), you can explore more of La Union’s natural beauty by trekking to the impressive 40-feet high Tangadan Falls. With its unique blend of attractions, it’s no wonder La Union has become a go-to destination, providing a comforting retreat for many travelers.

Barcelona, Spain – Barcelona: A Love Untold (2016)

Set within the romantic and vibrant city that is Barcelona, Barcelona: A Love Untold is about two people each carrying their own emotional baggage, viewing the city as either a distraction or a chance for a fresh start. Amid the colorful ambiance of the capital of Catalonia, it becomes the setting for two people seeking different things but irresistibly drawn to each other. With Barcelona’s vibrance, it’s no wonder that so many people come to immerse themselves in its rich culture. From the stunning mosaics of Park Güell to the timeless art at the Picasso Museum, there’s an abundance of beauty to explore and enjoy. Barcelona is not just a city to appreciate art and culture; it’s also an ideal place to discover love or realize that, like Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, you’re also a beautiful work-in-progress.

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