By Tor White. Global Creative Director STA Travel.
Last year, STA Travel and Tourism Philippines embarked upon a pioneering new project. Philippines Unplugged would document the journey of British band Skinny Living as they traveled through the island province of Palawan. Raw, unscripted and all-access, this film series would show the beauty and honesty of the Philippines. The footage and photography would capture a world of authentic people and unfamiliar places; and the lyrics would tell their story, with Skinny Living writing an exclusive track for us on the road.
Here are our highlights from behind the cameras and the music. “Don’t stop till’ we reach the highest high”
No travel company had ever done anything like this before, or told the story of a destination in this way. This was our opportunity to show how travel inspires us creatively. For the band, this would be their songwriting. For you when you travel, it would inspire something different. But the process is the same.
And our muse? Our muse was the Philippines – one of the most fascinating, truthful and staggeringly beautiful landscapes on the planet. And we had just landed.
The reality was wilder than we could have ever imagined. It’s hard to pick out the highlights, but here are a few:
Travelling as a creative team is a different type of travel
You experience each moment, while at the same time seeing it with a wider sense of storytelling – of how you can bring it to life for the audience who aren’t there with you yet.
Sleep wasn’t as important as capturing sunrises
Getting back to the hostel to change wasn’t as important as sending the drone up for sunset. But in that, there was also music and hilarity. And as always happens when you travel, family.
The landscapes of Palawan were extraordinary
Mountains that were lush, green and alive. Fishing villages with coloured weatherboard houses, peeling paint and huge smiles. And beaches that had the whitest sands, greenest lagoons and clearest seas we’d ever seen.
The island life
Even though we were “working”, the Philippines is so chill, the islands so stunning, the people so friendly – and with our incredible guides Joe and Dusty – everything was just in flow. Between charging cameras and planning shoots; we washed with salt water, camped under the stars, climbed coconut trees, ate fish off the beach, and didn’t wear shoes for days.
The dream team
A vision made into reality… it really was the highest high. Go out there into the world and create yours.
Check out the Philippines Unplugged here.