You’re already familiar with Victory Liner as a leading bus company offering routes across Central and Northern Luzon, as well as cargo delivery services. What you may not know, however, is that they also promote safe and sustainable travels through the medium of film. Since 2016, Victory Liner has produced its own travel documentary series called Know Your North, which puts a spotlight on the northern provinces of the Philippines.
Currently on its ninth season, this long-running series tells uplifting stories of Filipino culture and heritage. More than that, Victory Liner’s short films also offer a welcome break from pandemic fatigue. From the historic buildings in Vigan to the refreshing mountain views in Sagada, they’re a stunning reminder of what awaits us in the North.
Victory Liner’s Ilocos heritage documentary film wins award for Best Film on History and Heritage
Just recently, the Know Your North series participated in the 2021 Croatia Tourism Film Festival, where it earned two nominations and won an award. The episode on Steve Rogers was nominated for Best Story, while the Ilocos heritage tourism documentary film was nominated for Best in Cinematography and awarded Best Film on History and Heritage.
Titled the Know Your North Special, the award-winning short film offers an unforgettable journey through the UNESCO Heritage Sites of Ilocos Region. It takes viewers past Spanish-era houses and cobblestone streets to show the ancient monuments that are still standing to this day, from the Baroque churches of Paoay and Santa Maria to the Historic City of Vigan.
“As the UNESCO sites in Ilocos are of a shared heritage, we thought it would be interesting to project it from the Spanish point of view,” says Gabriel Malvar, the acclaimed director and filmmaker behind the Ilocos heritage documentary film.
Since the Croatia Tourism Film Festival recognises films and audiovisual productions that promote tourism in all aspects, the award for Best Film on History and Heritage is a huge win not just for Victory Liner, but for the local tourism industry as well.
“The awards validate that both the Know Your North advocacy and the presentation style are relevant and worthwhile,” says Malvar. The global recognition also speaks to the universal appeal of Victory Liner’s travel film series, particularly “that it can be appealing to both Filipinos and foreigners alike,” he adds.
Highlighting human stories and documenting Filipino culture
Aside from the Know Your North Special on the UNESCO-designated sites of Ilocos Region, the episode on Steve Rogers was also nominated for Best Story at the 2021 Croatia Tourism Film Festival. This 11-minute film tells the story of an American traveller who fell in love with Sagada many years ago. Now, he spends his days hitting the epic trails on a mountain bike and guiding tourists around the mountains of the Cordillera Region.
Over the course of the episode, Steve reflects on living harmoniously with the community, what has changed in Sagada in the past few years, and how the locals have come to embrace him as their own. Learn about his personal journey by watching the full video below:
With its moving and heartfelt story, it’s easy to see why the film has resonated with audiences — thousands of people, if we count the number of views on Victory Liner’s Facebook post.
From a director’s point of view, sharing and producing these deeply personal stories about the Philippines can be just as enlightening in its own way. “As you curate and film different features, you get to know more about the people and places that are covered,” Malvar says.
Championing responsible and sustainable tourism in the Philippines
Besides making Filipinos’ lives easier one trip at a time, Victory Liner is also committed to advocating for heritage conservation through their documentary series. One of their short films that best exemplifies this is Know Your North: Sustainable Tourism in Batanes, which addresses the issue of sustainability in the local tourism industry.
“In Batanes, there is a delicate balance between development and conservation,” says Genes Galarion, who is an Ivatan and a member of tourism and heritage councils in Batanes.
While tourism activity is beneficial to Batanes, the province runs the risk of encountering food and water shortages if there are too many visitors. For this reason, Galarion supports a different approach to travel — one that favours “low-volume, high-value tourism” instead of overcrowding.
“When we look at Batanes, we always have to consider it as a delicate island,” he adds.
“We welcome everybody in Batanes, but our island is so small. It cannot fit the entire Filipino people. If you come to Batanes, you have to help in our efforts as a community in keeping our island as pristine as it has always been.”
More than your average travel film series, Victory Liner’s Know Your North series doesn’t just romanticise Northern Luzon destinations for marketing purposes. Rather, these short films are very much a reminder for tourists to travel responsibly and sustainably — making sure that we respect the local culture and leave a positive impact on the places we visit.
“Know Your North is an invitation to learn. To expand knowledge. To dive deeper. To understand,” Malvar says. “That is the starting point before preservation, conservation, and promotion efforts can take place.”
Whether you want to travel vicariously to Calle Crisologo, learn the craft of Sagada pottery, or gain insight into the creative process of renowned filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik, Victory Liner’s Know Your North documentary series is a cinematic journey that inspires awe and adventure.
Let these videos take you to Northern Luzon and beyond.
Brought to you by Victory Liner.