Around Metro Manila in “Bourne Legacy”

Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz in Marikina Public Market

(Photo from

Much has been said and done about “Bourne Legacy”, especially it was shown for more than two weeks ago. I only got the chance last Saturday to watch it, together with Mon and my almost-8-year old nephew who was a big Jeremy Renner fan. When he watched “The Avengers” last time, he was hooked in the Hawkeye persona to the point that he was hinting on wanting bow and arrows for his birthday two weeks from now. Not gonna happen.

Well anyway, my dear nephew fell asleep for about 15-minutes when the scenes were all talk and I can’t blame him. It was a PG-13 movie but I think if it were not for Jeremy Renner, he would not be happy to go with us to see it. But upon the mention of Manila, there was a progressive murmur of excitement among everybody inside the cinema, in anticipation of how the Manila scenes would be depicted in the movie.

The bulk of the action scenes were shot around Metro Manila, not just in Manila. Of course, the whole sequence might seem to take place in a single city, but everybody familiar with Metro Manila in general will know where were the scenes taken. I recognized Taft in Pasay City, Pasig River near Intramuros Manila, Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City and our very own Public Market in Marikina City (which, mind you, is one of the cleanest markets in the country!). If you look at the map of Metro Manila, you will see how far apart these places are from one another, so do the math.

See how far apart each cities are from one another? - Metro Manila Map, Bourne Legacy

(Photo from

The Navotas Fish Port leading to El Nido, Palawan was one big laugh because Manila Bay won’t be able to provide the crystal blue water shots they needed for that epic ending with the epic Lou Veloso. But wow, I’ve been to several beaches here in the country but those shots of El Nido were really breathtaking! I now feel so envious of my friend, Faye, who will be going there this weekend. Pfft! =P

But from what I’ve gathered online, not a lot of Filipinos were happy with the depiction of the Philippines in the movie. And what can I say — utter rubbish! The aesthetics (or the lack thereof) of the slums scenes were necessary for the production value, of how labyrinthine the place were to frame the proceeding parkour-like scenes, followed by the motorcycle chase.

What’s wrong with the slums? They are basic realities of what several places in Manila currently are and to neglect them is like brushing dust under the carpet. And besides, Manila do not necessarily embody the meaning of slums because even films like “Slumdog Millionaire” had their share and the more intricate favela of Rio as scene in “The Incredible Hulk” and the animated feature “Rio” had showcased them.

Nothing wrong with that. Besides, I did not hear anybody from the movie or the crew went as far as defaming Manila the same way Claire Danes did in 1999 (calling Manila a ghastly place — but it was and is still half-true; but the subsequent comments were, of course, foul). If it were any consolation, the El Nido scene at the end can surely neutralize the grittiness of the earlier scenes.

Ali Mall after Bourne Legacy

So did we like the movie? My nephew, albeit sleeping for a quarter of an hour, was very pleased with what he saw and basically because he was hero-worshipping Jeremy Renner. LOL I personally think that the movie was good, not great nor excellent. Would I be watching it if it were NOT shot in the Philippines, most likely yes.

And one last thing: Manila is NOT the Philippines. The last scene of the movie alone can attest to that. So everybody should take a chill pill to snap them out of this (Metro)Manila-centricness.


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