'Survivor' creates jobs in Cagayan
MANILA, Philippines - Reality TV show "Survivor: Blood vs Water" may be making its contestants rough it up in the wild but it is also helping residents of their tropical location more than get by.
The hit American show, now on its 27th season, has created hundreds of jobs and boosted business in Cagayan province since April 2013 when the planning stage for the show began. It is currently being filmed in Palaui Island, Anguib, Pozo Robo and Gotan, all part of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport Zone in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.
According to Rachel Rabanal, a community leader from Sta. Ana, more than 140 were initially hired for the planning stage. Of these, 48 employees had monthly contracts while the rest were hired on a daily basis. The number shot to 245 last May including 136 with monthly contracts and is expected to increase until August.
The local support group of the show's production crew hired locals to become watchmen, guards, drivers, marine guides, suppliers and catering personnel, among other roles.
Rabanal says they are fairly compensated.
"Employees are given above-minimum wage salaries plus a meal and two snacks. They are being treated warmly by the management crew and even receive additional rewards like material gifts useful in their everyday lives."
Businesses in the area also booming.
Restaurants, sari-sari store owners and market vendors report higher sales while the show is being filmed. Eight resorts saw their occupany rates go up as the large crew — which includes cameramen, audio personnel, art, medical and transportation teams — have to be accommodated near the filming location.
These resorts are Sun City, Costa Rina Resort, Orchidia Beach Resort, RBC Transient Homes, Costales Transient Inn, Jotay Resort and Jerolynda.
Rabanal says the local community welcomed the filming of the show in Palaui Island after the show's organizer, Reality TV Asia, Inc., conducted consultations with various stakeholders, including the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).
PAMB is a multi-sectoral body that decides what activities can be held on the island.
Palaui is a declared protected area under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) law. It was also recognized as one of the 100 best beaches in the world by CNN, one of only 3 Philippine locations in the list.
Palaui is also not the first Philippine location for "Survivor." Seasons 25 and 26 were shot in Caramoan Island in Camarines Sur. - With reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com