Is Shotgun Wedding’s Mahal Island a Real Philippines Resort?


Prime Video’s ‘Shotgun Wedding’ follows the story of Darcy and Tom, whose wedding day is ruined after a group of pirates takes over the wedding. What starts out as just another romantic comedy soon turns into an action thriller that has many twists and turns to keep the audience on their toes. Location becomes an important thing in all of this especially when it comes to Darcy and Tom’s survival and their attempts to save their loved ones. All the events take place on an island resort in the Philippines, which, by the end, proves to be just as dangerous as it is beautiful. If you are wondering whether the place shown in the movie is really an island resort in the Phillippines, then here’s what you should know about it.

A Touch of Reality: How the Philippines Inspired Mahal Island

Image Credits: Ana Carballosa/Lionsgate

Mahal Island Resort shown in ‘Shotgun Wedding’ is not a real place. There is a real resort called Mahal Forest Resort in the Phillippines, which offers a beautiful setting for its guests, but it has nothing to do with the one in the movie. In fact, the filming for the Jennifer Lopez movie didn’t even take place in the Philippines. It was shot in the Dominican Republic over several locations. The ÀNI Dominican Republic in Rio San Juan was used to create the beautiful resort where the wedding is to take place. For the beach scenes, a different location, most notably, Playa Grande beach was used. Similarly, several other locations in the Dominican Republic were used to give the audience a sense of the Mahal Island Resort, presenting it as a single location to the audience.

The reason behind choosing Dominican Republic over the Philippines was the timing of the shooting. Most of the filming for ‘Shotgun Wedding’ took place during the pandemic. The crew needed something that was closer to home because a lot of travel restrictions were in place at the time. They needed a place that could double as the Philippines, giving them beautiful beaches and wonderful resorts for the movie. However, because the setting of the film was the Philippines, they made sure that there was a reflection of the Filipino culture in it, be it in the customs or the costumes.

The thing that kicks off the events in the movie is the arrival of the mysterious gunmen who target the wedding. The film references the threat of pirates in the Philippines, which is probably derived from the occasional struggle that the country has had with maritime piracy. According to Maritime Fairtrade, maritime piracy has been considered “a serious concern” in the country. The leaders of the Philippines, in collaboration with the neighboring countries, have been taking strides in combating the danger posed by pirates and protecting the people. Considering that ‘Shotgun Wedding’ is a romantic action comedy, one can expect that certain aspects presented in it have been exaggerated for dramatic effect.

With all this in mind, it is clear that the filmmakers created this fictional place as the setting for the story because it provides many elements that can be incorporated into the plot to make it an exciting watch. However, if you are interested in visiting Tom and Darcy’s wedding location, then you’ll have to travel to a completely different country and a couple of different locations to experience it all.

Read More: Where was Shotgun Wedding Filmed?