5 remarkable places where FPJ shot his iconic films

Every generation definitely recognize our revered National Artist for Film Fernando Poe Jr., since we all grew up watching his work on cinemas, and then eventually on home videos, free or cable TV, or lately on streaming sites.

In his almost five decades in the entertainment industry, he starred in nearly 300 films, in which some of them were also produced and directed by him, earning him the moniker “King of Philippine Movies”. Going through his masterpieces, it’s not hard to notice how all of those generally mirror the ordinary lives of Filipinos and the roles he consistently portrayed were virtuous and unbridled authorities and rugged underdog heroes who didn’t only possess admirable attitudes, but also unbelievable skills in fistfights and gun-handling.

Another noteworthy element in the projects he did were the picturesque backdrops that truly made every scene very realistic and more pleasurable to see. While the long-running primetime series FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, which is based on his 1997 classic action film bearing the same title, is shot mostly in Manila and nearby provinces such as Rizal and Pampanga, the illustrious action star’s movies were shot in the following locations, as featured in Choose Philippines:

Tondo, Manila


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If there’s one place that could completely depict the lives of ordinary or impoverished Pinoys, this popular yet humble district in Manila would possibly be the first thing that comes to mind. In some of his flicks, particularly those that have “Tondo” on the title, FPJ stood as the local version of Robin Hood – undermining the tyrannical affluent rulers and redistributing their fortunes to the underprivileged – who resided and the peacemaker at Tondo.


Paoay Sand Dunes, Ilocos Norte


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This is probably the most remarkable setting among the FPJ films because this was where the four installments of Panday were shot. It was in this vast dry land where his iconic character Flavio usually had his epic clashes with the dark forces of Lizardo (Max Alvarado), such as the moment when his hunting knife magically transformed into a sword.

Now, it’s one of the most visited destinations for those who are up for some adrenaline rush through the exhilarating activities sandboarding, taking the 4x4 ride, and riding an ATV (or all-terrain vehicle).  

Vigan, Ilocos Sur

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Famous for its cobbled streets and old Spanish houses, this is the only Philippine city hailed by UNESCO as a World Heritage City because the residents are able to maintain or restore its pre-war beauty and give us a glimpse of our heritage through the antediluvian structures, museums, antique shops, and the activities that can be done there.

Unbeknownst to us, several movies of Da King were filmed here, such as the fourth book of Panday and Ang Alamat.

In Panday 4, he reprised his most iconic role Flavio with Marianne Dela Riva as his leading lady. 
On the other hand, in Ang Alamat, he took on the role of a World War II veteran who assumed the identity of his fallen soldier friend to stand as the father to the latter’s son who wasn’t able to know him personally since birth. Pilar Pilapil stood as his leading lady while Paquito Diaz and Nello Nayo as his mortal nemeses. The gun battle scene on the closing part was shot in Vigan.

Sta. Maria Magdalena Church, Laguna
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This quaint and historic parish situated in the meek town of Magdalena in Laguna is said to be the most favorite church of the premier action star, in which some of his movies like Santiago (1970) and Sanctuario (1974) were shot.

Hailed as the “The Little Hollywood of Laguna”, it also served as a shooting site for other flicks and series that starred some of the country’s superstars and seasoned artists, such as the historical blockbuster Heneral Luna in 2015 and the Poblacion Ardiente of the top-rater Wildflower. Thus, they put up their own Walk of Fame at its plaza with the names of celebrities who set foot on the small yet beautiful municipality engraved on its pathwalk, spearheaded by FPJ, Eddie Garcia, Bong Revilla, Sharon Cuneta, and Susan Roces.

Another town in Laguna, Kalayaan, became the filming site of FPJ’s 1971 movie, Asedillo. With FPJ portraying the titular role, the movie is a true-to-life-tale of public school teacher Teodoro Asedillo who defended the poor during the American occupation.

Baclayon Church, Bohol

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Founded by the Jesuit priests in 1596, La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church, or commonly known as Baclayon Church, was acknowledged a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

In 1973, it was chosen as the setting of Esteban, which followed the story of a man who got blind because of an injury inflicted by marauders, led by the character of Max Alvarado, who attacked their home in retaliation for his rescuing their captive. The church served as his refuge until he regained his sight.

It was not only the place in Bohol where Da King used to film, but also in the white sandy beach in Tawala, Panglao. This was where some of his scenes with his leading lady, Alona Alegre, were shot and is said to be named after the prominent sexy star.

Indeed, “Da King” chooses his locations well that serves as fitting, breathtaking backdrops to his iconic films, heralding the best sights and places the Philippines has to offer.