A film on Filipino expatriates shot in the emirate

"Quiet!" said Rory Quintos as she shot a scene with Raffy, played by Aga Mulach and Andrew, played by John Lloyd Cruz.

The director was shooting for Dubai, the first Filipino film to be shot in the Middle East.

They were on their third take, thanks to the people on the sidelines.
Quintos seemed exasperated as she stopped the cameras from rolling … again.

It was 7.45pm and traffic was slowing down near the creek as passers-by stopped to watch the shooting.

Mervin Brondial, assistant director, said the scene was shot, but the meticulous Rory Quintos decided to do it again.

I joined the crew at about 1pm near the Abra Creek on their 13th day of shooting.

Quintos, a couple of crew members and lead actor John Lloyd Cruz were having lunch before the shoot.

"It's been a hectic week," Quintos began.

Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News
Aga Mulach and John Lloyd in a scene from the film at the Umm Suqueim beach.
"There have been times we had to shoot until the wee hours just to complete this movie. We have a lot of things to shoot and we have very limited time," she said.

More than 60 per cent of the movie was shot in Dubai — at the creek and other places, besides the lifestyle of Filipino expatriates in the emirate.

The movie aims to give viewers in the Philippines an idea of how OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) live in Dubai.

As the director began explaining another scene, the production crew started moving the camera for a shot at the creek.

Quintos focused on a minaret of a mosque in the old souq, then continued to take shots of the old architecture and eventually focused on the actor staring at the moving abras (boats).

The group headed for the Deira side of the creek. Another van of crew joined Quintos's unit.

This time they were shooting a scene with the lead actress, Fay, played by Claudine Barretto.

As the production crew set up the camera in front of a stall selling sheesha pipe, Mervin began haggling over the price of a silver-coated sheesha pipe.

"This is one of the reasons I came here," said Mervin, as he paid Dh100 for the silver-coated pipe.

Mervin was not the only one fascinated by this Arabic delight. The staff took turns to smoke a sheesha.

It was past 6pm when the crew returned to Bur Dubai, at the Madina Bader, to shoot the last scene of the day.

After a quick dinner of rice and adobo (a Filipino delicacy) at the street side, they decided to call it a day for an early start to the next day's shoot.

Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News
Rory Quintos, director of Dubai.
The shoot began early at the Umm Suqueim Beach Park.

The set was half empty when we came in but soon visitors from the Philippine business community and from the movie's mother company ABS-CBN Middle East joined us.

Onlookers, mostly Filipinos, thronged the beach waiting in the distance to get a glimpse of the stars.

The details

Movie: Dubai.

Synopsis: It is a story of two brothers and their search for their dream in Dubai.

Director: Rory Quintos — One of the most prolific directors in the Philippine movie industry. She directed Anak (2000) that won Star Cinema Best Screenplay (FAP Awards), Best Actress and Best Picture (Star Awards) and Best Film (Catholic Mass Media Awards). She has directed the successful fantasy teleserial Krystala with Judy Ann Santos as lead star. She was the director for the hit soap opera Esperanza in 1997.


Aga Mulach — One of the highest paid actors in the Philippines. Acted in more than 100 films, including TV serials. He stars in the hit movie All My Life as Sam and is also a member of the top rated sitcom Ok Fine Whatever.

John Lloyd Cruz — Star of the popular TV soap opera It Might Be You with Bea Alonzo. The 21-year-old actor is already one of the most bankable stars in the Philippines. He is also currently doing the TV series Vietnam Rose with Maricel Soriano.

Claudine Baretto — Dubbed as the Philippine's Soap Opera Queen because of her unforgettable portrayal of Olivia Pereira in Mula Sa Puso, Rosenda, Rosario and Rosemarie in Saan Ka Man Naroon and hit fantasy series Marina. She is also a lead star of the two most successful movies released internationally namely Anak (with Vilma Santos) and Milan (with Piolo Pascual).

Production: ABS-CBN Star Cinema.

Expected release date: Third quarter of 2005