It WAS a nice day indeed.

Behind the Scenes: My Short Indie Film

Last month, we spent two days filming my new indie film, Habhab a Nice Day! in Tanay, Rizal. It’s only two hours away from Manila, but Tanay’s makes a great escape from the woes of the metro.

We were there for business over pleasure, but I managed to snap a lot of photos. And it wasn’t just because my character is a budding photographer.

Water lillies show up sporadically, so the fishermen would just push them around to make way for the boats.

No signs of rain that day in May.
My character Misha is a budding photographer. Her best friend Patty takes her to Patty’s hometown in Tanay, Rizal, where she can take photographs for her college exhibit.

T.Q. Bernados Park in Baranggay San Isidro
This curious dog dropped by the set to see what the fuss was all about.
The dog’s master wasn’t home, so he was in charge of watching over his home.
A rainbow always brightens up my mood.

This is the spot where we shot my dramatic scene. I could have stayed here all day, just gazing at the clouds and mountains.
Daranak Falls is a famous spot for shooting movies, TV shows and advertisements. You can add our short film to that long list.
Work and play. The fun crew of Arkeo Films goofed off between takes.
The locals take their chess games seriously. Tanay Park is the venue for their afternoon tournaments.

We made a few friends while shooting the street food scene.
I ate about a kilo of mangoes for one scene. A tummy ache soon followed.
A hilltop tree photographed using the rule of thirds on a bright sunny day. 
The cast, L-R: Elora Españo as Patty, Joshua Deocareza as Dumbo, and Kate Alvarez as Misha

The wonderful crew of Arkeo Films
Practicing my lines
My costar Joshua Deocareza shows me how to eat habhab, a popular Filipino pancit dish from Lucban, Quezon.
There really is a restaurant in Lucban, Quezon, called “Habhab a Nice Day!” We just recreated the set in Rizal.

It WAS a nice day indeed.
Director Joel Ruiz with Director of photography, Alma dela Peña
The locals take their chess games seriously. Tanay Park is the venue for their afternoon tournaments.
That’s a wrap! L-R: Director Joel Ruiz, Elora Españo who played Patty, Joshua Deocareza who played Dumbo, myself (I played the artsy college photographer Misha), and producer Rhona Agtay.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, you have two days left to catch it on Philippine TV. Scroll down to see the schedule and info.

A 10-minute short film for Alaska’s Cinemainit Series, Habhab a Nice Day! is about a poignant summer weekend of two college best friends, Patty and Misha.

7 p.m. nightly from May 29 to June 4 only on Cinema One (Philippine cable)


Client: Alaska Milk Corporation
Agency: Lowe Philippines
Production: Arkeofilms

Director: Joel Ruiz
Producer: Rhona Agtay
Associate Producers: Tracy Sarte and Gianne Bernabe
Writer: Raymond Lee
Director of Photography: Alma dela Peña
Production Designer: Popo Diaz
Editor: Lawrence S. Ang
Music and Sound Design: Ryan Gil

Patty: Elora Españo
Misha: Yours truly
Dumbo: Joshua Deocareza

Photos by Additional photos by Arkeo Films.

August 5 update:

The film is now on youtube. Watch it here and tell me what you think.