Looking for a quick getaway? Catch the first-ever Montañosa Film Festival in Baguio City

Published March 16, 2021, 3:44 PM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

Oh, and you can watch some of the films while enjoying Burnham Lake onboard one of its swan boats

In an effort to establish itself as a cultural hub for independent filmmaking, Baguio City, the country’s first-ever UNESCO Creative City, launches the Montañosa Film Festival (MFF). 

With the theme “Crossing Borders,” the MFF will run from March 20 to 28, 2021. It will feature more than 25 films under four different categories. 

“We collaborated with the Film Development Council of the Philippines for this festival,” Ferdie Balanag, the festival director, tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle during a one-on-one phone interview. “Aside from the film screenings, we have [a] workshop series—the Montañosa Film Festival film lab.” 

Unlike other film festivals, the MFF offers a different experience for its viewers. Due to the continuing COVID-19 threat, the film screenings will not take place at a single venue. Instead, these will be held in different outdoor-screening areas across the City such as the Loakan Aiport and Burnham Park. 

OFF TO THE SWAN! MFF viewers will have a new experience watching a movie while on a boat at Burnharm Park in Baguio City (Zaldy Comanda)

Loakan airpot is turned into drive-in cinema, which will offer a relaxing and romantic sunset viewing experience for the movie goers from March 25 to 28. What is festival without food? On mornings, this venue will also host Musiklamon, a food and music festival headed by Chef Chavi Romawac. And the fun won’t end there. In Burnham Lake, moviegoers will enjoy films in a socially-distanced set-up, aboard one of the swan boats.

Other venues include Baguio Country Club, The Manor, Le Monet, Grand Sierra Pines, and Solibao. 

Yung mga major hotels in the city, kanya-kanya ng gimmick (Major hotels in the city have their own gimmicks),” Ferdie says. “Some are selling dinner tickets. Some are selling bonfire tickets that include hotdog and popcorn [at] a minimal cost.” 

To ensure the safety of everyone and to control the influx of viewers, strict health protocols will be implemented and all streaming venues will be available for pre-registration reservation. 

For those who will not be able to go up in the mountains, the MFF will also be streaming online via KTX.ph.