MANILA, PHILIPPINES, – As the TV and film industries become more globalized, production has also become peripatetic, travelling place to place, claimed Variety a couple of years back. In the recent years, the world has seen either the massive upgrades or rise of new studios and soundstages that offer state-of-the-art technology, enticing the world of creatives to look into other neighbors’ backyards for options, even as they continue to explore and maximize local opportunities to keep in step with the world’s top entertainment companies.
Making its presence felt in this game is ABS-CBN Corporation, the world’s largest Filipino media and entertainment company. As it marked its 65th founding anniversary, the company inaugurated its brand new soundstages in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan – about 16.5 miles from Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
Present at the inauguration of the soundstages were: ABS-CBN Corporation Chairman Emeritus Eugenio Lopez III; Chairman Mark Lopez; President and CEO Carlo L. Katigbak; board member and former president and COO Freddie Garcia; board adviser, former president and CEO, and current Chief Creative Officer Charo Santos-Concio; COO of Broadcast Cory Vidanes; ABS-CBN Film Productions Inc. Managing Director Olive Lamasan; Congresswoman Florida Robes representing Lone District, City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan; City Mayor Art Robes; and some members of the ABS-CBN community.
The soundstages represent the beginning of a plan to establish a world-class production hub that includes soundstages, backlots, production and post-production facilities and offices that will allow both ABS-CBN and Philippine-based productions to match production facilities found elsewhere in the world.
Phase 1 of the production hub includes two 16,000 square-foot soundstages with a floor to grid height of 30 feet, a breezeway with dressing rooms and various support rooms and the technical facilities in aid of production. Sitting on over 19 acres of land, the facility includes a visitor’s center, parking facilities and various support buildings. The soundstages also boast of solar panels that help support the energy requirements of the whole facility.
Designed by California-based architecture firm Bastien and Associates together with Filipino firm AIDEA and consultants from Hollywood-based Manhattan Beach Studios, these represent a new wave of soundstage design customized for the Philippine climate.
Following the intensive training camp for production staff and crew, the studios will host the productions of upcoming teleserye, “The Faithful Wife”, and the much-anticipated updated film version of Filipina super comic hero, “Darna”, in the second quarter of 2019.
Work on the soundstages started as early as 2010 with various members of the executive and production teams visiting facilities in South Korea, Mexico, North America, Europe and Asia to understand the nuances of soundstage work. The project proper started in Q1 of 2014 with construction commencing May 2017.