It was also my first at the ecopark - 33 hectares located right outside the La Mesa watershed, which serves the water requirements of Metro Manila residents. I was thrilled by the natural greenery and all of the outdoor activities that could be had for a fee: picnics, swimming at the Salt Water Swimming Pool, paddle boat rides, fishing, biking, walking (there's a fitness trail with 17 exercise stations that also connects to a forested 1.2 km mountain bike trail).
Then there's the Shell Flower Terraces, built into the dam wall of the reservoir, a museum dedicated to environmental education and biodiversity conservation, a butterfly trail, etc. All revenues generated by La Mesa Ecopark are used for the continuous preservation and protection of La Mesa Watershed.
But we weren't there to enjoy the park. We went to the sites identified for the shoot and soon, we were perspiring heavily. Though we were blessed that the sky was overcast, the air was humid -- it was about to rain.
And it was taxing to go through the paces again and again and again. As one of the talents said -- "Mahirap pala maging artista." Our director, Manny Angeles, and his production staff, however, took everything in stride, patiently coaching first-timers before the camera, keeping things light on the set, having everything on hand and working so well together that there was no need for anyone to do a Christian Bale and lambast a soundman.
No trace of irritation even marked the face of Francis, the soundman, when the chug-chugging of motorbikes or the laughter of park goers occasionally interrupted the shoot. I even felt like I was the only one who wanted to shut all of them up :-).
But then I am not in the business of video and/or film. And we weren't really doing a full-blown production. And we were there at the courtesy of the La Mesa ecopark staff. My primary role, after all, was as producer (since I represented the company) and so I stayed within those bounds, trusting each one to do their jobs.
That, I think, is key to running things smoothly on any set, including the workplace. To trust that everyone knows what they are doing and that they will do it well. So that everyone can wrap up the day's work without any incident.
Of course, that isn't always how it goes. There will always be idiots. However, they were not with me last Thursday. I was with professionals, which was just as well since I have every intention of going back to La Mesa Ecopark one of these weekdays (not weekends when the park is full) with my family to enjoy nature in the heart of busy Metro Manila.