1. Except for Camp Aguinaldo, I’ve shot in all these places. The U.S. Embassy doesn’t allow you to shoot on the grounds without an escort (& I can relate to that). But Rizal Park? I was once chased off a wall in Intramuros by some guy – not in any kind of uniform or showing any tags or badges that made him some “official banner of photography – but I was new here so I complied. I guess they would rather we take pictures of squatters and farmers to showcase the country… As my friend always says, “ahhh, Paradise!”

  2. Thank you for putting this list together. I pauses me to think about restrictions that are imposed in the U.S. The first that comes to mind are merchants/stores because they think their products and displays will be used as intelligence by competitors.

  3. I’ve taken a lot of pictures in Intramuros, Rizal Park, shopping malls and Makati CBD . . . but the strictest places i’ve experienced regarding taking pictures are in Toys’R’Us and Toy Kingdom . . . I always got scolded whenever i took a photo of me goofing around in silly poses with toys or even just taking a picture of some toys i needed/wanted to buy and thought it would be good idea to take a picture first so i can decide if i’ll buy it later, or, if i’m buying the right toy for a gift . . .

  4. there is a reason @ Rizal Park,it is a form of collecting money from photograpers in a form of “Hold-up” or a “Tax” whatsoever…

  5. The restriction baffles me. Especially for non-commercial use — all for the purpose of hobby and practice — that it frustrates me so to be called out by the authorities whenever I hold my camera to shoot. As I tried to explain my reasons, they’d still just shoo me away. I do understand the whole “security purpose” or that “protecting the establishments’ images” thing but I got angrier that they were lenient to tourists and foreigners and stricter to locals? The logic escapes me!

    There are so many pretty places here in Manila to shoot — the urban life and all. But sadly adventurous photographers are not having it… unless with permits, with money and with connections.

    (I may have a different experience among others. I’m just sharing my own.)

  6. Thanks for sharing a list of these places.

    A few years ago during the xmas season, I wanted a simple photo of me, my wife and son at the xmas lights display in Ayala Triangle that we can send to my wife’s family in NZ. Since Im barely in any photos and cant rely on anyone to photograph the scene the way I wanted to, I decided to bring along a tripod. The place was not too crowded so I chose an area where I cant block anyone and asked my wife and son to stand in one spot as I composed the shot. A security guard approached me and told me not to take any photos, I told him I was merely taking a portrait of me and my family. He said it was not allowed since I was using a professional camera. Then I pointed out that the lady a few meters away was also holding a a professional camera (though hers was smaller). Guard still wont budge. So I told the guard if he can be the one to press the button so that I will stand with my family….he said its still not allowed. What an idiot. Yes, I occasionally do get paid to shoot, but these people are so narrow minded.

    1. Just one of the oddities. They don’t want people setting up tripods especially in crowded places or photographers spending huge amounts of time trying to get a good composition. They try to set up a ban on things they are unenlightened of. The mother of which is the HB4807 where they didnt even think about consulting the photography community. You know what they say, you cant fix stupid.

  7. You can take pictures at BGC and some of the other places listed here as long as you don’t have a tripod. 😛 Once they see a tripod, they go bonkers. hahaha XD Pero at BGC, I just ask permission from the guards and they let me use a tripod. I usually shoot there for my school projects. 🙂

    I’d say mas strict sa malls. Me and my friend once took a picture near some shops, the guard immediately ran up to us and told us to delete the picture in front of her. 😛

  8. Why would you want to take photos in immigration anyway? NAIA isn’t the only airport to bar photography in this area. it’s standard procedure.

  9. About NAIA Terminal, it took me 6 months just waiting for the approval of our photoshoot permits for an Airline related industry. It was all worth the wait, had a grand tour of the entire airport from the inside out. It took me and my team 7 days to finish the photoshoot and everything was properly coordinated so that we wont be having any problems from security personnel.

  10. I’ve had bad experiences in most of these places on the list. Also I’ve had several confrontations from the Security Guards at SM Novaliches & SM Fairview. on both malls they were rude when asking me not to take photos, don’t get me wrong I take photos when there’s no security guards around and I take the opportunity and chance when I see an interesting subject/scene. guards from the SM Fairview have no manners at all and one of them even raised his voice over me, I showed him my photograph of the old man I was taking a picture of outside of the Mall. take note of that, I WAS FCKING taking a photo of a person outside of the Mall and the background is only a dull place where the other road can be seen (Fairview Terraces) and he insisted to stop taking photos which I responded of deleting the image and said “Happy now? on a provocative tone. I’m not afraid of having my ass kicked off in the Mall if they do it to me, that’ll show them a lesson on how rude their security personnel are. I also remember during my visit at SM Novaliches when I was told off not to take photos I got myself being glared by the guards as if I am a criminal (the stare they give me as if I’ve just stole something) while talking to his radio with his fellow guards to keep an eye of a guy with a camera. I may come off as an asshole but there is no stopping me from taking the chance when a scene is in front of me. I can always delete the photo to these people but I can always recover it through a recovery software (Recuva anyone?)

    I want to add that BGC’s security guards are quite nice. I had a photoshoot nearby a restaurant and there’s one guard that was probably guarding the whole side of the area and I was just told not to take photos of the name / logo of the restaurant only, even adding “Have a good time!” with a smile after the confrontation. I am nice to people who will ask politely, but to those who will bitch out I’ll give no respect at all.

      1. That is one nice Museum guard 🙂 I’m having a photoshoot again this afternoon somewhere in BGC and Highstreet – Fort Strip and hope no one would interrupt the session by a Sekyu.

  11. I’m a visitor in the Philippines. I found it quite unusual that throughout the Philippines permits are required. How does this country promote its history and culture? Don’t they know word of mouth is the best advertisement? Keep pushing this issue. What would be great is that all the photographers who commented should submit photos of things that happened that should be a community concern. When the public sees this there would be an outrage. Remember Rodney King in L.A. being brutally beaten? Police corruption? The freedom of the press and the camera is the forefront of a free society. If only the Government can realize that. The Philippines have always had a distaste for corruption, but it takes photos and courage to reveal it.

    1. Right now there’s a big issue regarding history and culture here in Manila. How are we promoting history and culture? Pls google for Army Navy Club and Admiral Hotel and Anda Circle.

      If our officials can bear the sight of these historical structures being crushed, banning photography would be like a coffee break to them. The problem in this country is, the government wont hear you unless the issue gets full blown. Unless the issue blows right in their faces. Like a Rodney King alright. And so, yes we’re pressing this matter in any way we can because unknown to many, photography ban is just a microcosm of how bad the policies and how bad the state this country or this city is in. Your opinion is of big help. Thanks Joe.

  12. I agree, no photo taking in public places is sometimes such a absurdity.
    I have been shooed away quite a few times, in Quiapo, around the Muslim area or
    As I was taking sunset shots along the bay, i was standing near the US embassy,
    when two security guards appeared within seconds and told us to stop taking photos and leave the area,
    I wasn’t even focusing on that, I was searching for a perfect angle.
    talk about Paranoid?!
    and that was not a weekday it was Sunday.
    In Ayala Makati, I could never understand the logic either,
    I was outside the ayala museum,
    taking the exterior shot of the edifice, then a guard came and told us pls stop, it’s prohibited.
    and yes, churches pati,
    Quiapo church security said i need to ask for a permit to shoot the interior?!
    I wasn’t even carrying a dlsr or any high-end equipment.
    It’s just a point and shoot camera, no flash, and it was after the mass.
    while at Binondo church, After I said a prayer and took a few ceiling shots,
    the mr. curious security approached and asked: why are you taking photos?!

    I guess, Sometimes, you do need to be subtle and have quick reflexes and accept that these people are just doing their job
    whether they’re just too antipatika or not. ^-^

  13. I was looking for areas in Manila where you can freely take photos and stumbled upon this article. Thanks for sharing this, we will be in Manila next month and I’d love to get together with our meetup group. Good to know and avoid this areas… 😀 I guess, we can explore somewhere else. I’d love to know if you have a list of photographer-friendly places?

  14. I found your blog while I was searching about street photography and this article really caught my attention, thanks for the advise, I just feel sad that we are not allowed to take photos in Rizal Park I was planning of going there and take some photos.

  15. Can students take pictures at the rizal park? or is it still not allowed? We use dslr because it is required in our course subject (I’m an Multimedia Arts Student)

    1. As per the National Parks Development Committee: “Only shoots for commercial advertisements, videos, infomercials, events such as prenuptial, and other commercial productions need permission.”

  16. Not sure if you know about this yet….But BGC is now photo friendly, a hobbyist photographer recently had a similar issue with the guards there last year(I think it was last year). So he talked to “upper ups” and some fixed the issue…

    1. Thanks for the update. Keep it coming pls. We really need to hear it. When everybody’s saying the same thing, we will scrap BGC from the roster. Because what we really pray, is to scrap this whole post one day.

    2. This is great news indeed. I will put this to test. I’ll bring along my tripod dolly. Will see if there’s any negative reaction.

  17. I think any military installation has the right to bar photographers and amateur shutterbugs to take pictures inside their camps, especially if the camp contains the higher echelons of the military (or some top secret project). Also, Bilibid should be included in this list I suppose.

    1. Not only a right. It is a rule. Which makes it understandable. But a lot of people say this is no longer the case in Camp Aguinaldo. Either the place has chilled out or it’s no longer strictly a military installation

  18. WHOA, was planning to do a photowalk in Rizal Park this Friday and I didn’t know it’s not allowed. Can I just clarify, is it only imposed in the Rizal Shrine or it’s for the whole of the Rizal Park? Thank you.

  19. Two places I recently got stopped by security guards were at the Farmers’ Market and in one of the underground pedestrian walkways on Ayala Avenue. It does all seem a bit arbitrary, and utterly pointless. While they are telling me to put my camera away, all around people are shooting and videoing with their cell phones.

  20. Fascinating. Is a security guard in Manila the same thing as a police officer?

    I live in Canada, and I’ve never been to Manila. In Canada, security guards and police are not at all regarded as the same thing. Over here, many citizens assume that it is against the law to photograph a police officer carrying out his or her duties but it’s absolutely false.

    Some police officers have been known to take advantage of public ignorance on the matter. When caught by someone photographing or video recording them abusing their authority, they often confront the photographer threatening to charge them with obstruction. This is a very serious crime. They typically back off; however, if a citizen — professional photographer or not, is able to express that they know their rights on this.

    This statute in Manila, seems to give what you call security guards power that I know is given to police officers in other countries. That’s why I ask if a security guard and police officer are regarded as the same thing there.

    1. In the minds of security guards, yes. Especially in big business districts. Sometimes they behave worse than police scalawags. There are power trips. But of course they are not to be regarded as lawmen. In Manila it’s not an offense to photograph policemen. But I dont think its a good idea.

  21. Hello. I just want to ask if shooting at ayala triangle needs a permit? A very simple photoshoot. No props or what. And how to get a permit? With fees?

  22. Hi! As per Ayala Triangle’s guidelines it read:

    “The following acts are PROHIBITED within the premises….taking photographs, videotaping, recording, broadcasting or transmission of any material for commercial purposes”

  23. Hi, my friend and I are planning to visit Intramuros come January. Is it allowed to take pictures there? You know, just for OOTD. 🙂

  24. Man, seeing this post sure brings back some bad memories.

    Just a few weeks ago I was over at Ayala Triangle, shooting some pictures for a Journalism class. I was using a DSLR camera with stock lens, no tripod; at one point I was even shooting photos in front of two security personnel, who never so much as looked at me bad or something. Lots of people around also taking pictures and all with cellphone cameras and even some with digicams, and not any of us were reprimanded. Finished with my stuff in 30 minutes. Still no reprimands from any security personnel.

    Went back there a week after for the same purpose, this time with a tripod and a bigger lens, though the same DSLR camera. Didn’t even get far into setting up the tripod before I was approached by the same security personnel that I saw the week ago (I know they’re the same because I remember their nametags and faces), who told me that shooting around the place was forbidden for commercial purposes. Went on to explain that I was shooting only for my Journalism class, even showed them my ID and university registration form, but was told to go over to the Ayala office and have them issue a permit. I went there, told them the same things I told the guards, but was told no, even if you’re a student, you can’t shoot unless there’s a permit.

    Lesson learned: Never bring along professional-looking equipment (tripods, big cameras, big lenses, etc.) when shooting in business districts because everyone automatically assumes that you’re some kind of pro photographer.

  25. I shoot around ccp… will try rizal park soon. Parang pwede naman ata. …. ATA baka pwede ba.. BAKA haha…

    What blows my mind is when i was shooting the moon from the grounds of makati circle ba yun… the guard told me not to.. the moon guys… the moooon…

  26. And yung malls. Haha. I was like.. man you guys have camera shops that sell these cams .. why shoo me away? Cellphone allowed. Some cellphones are powerful and clear as “professional” cameras

  27. Nice topic! Ingat kay Kuya guard, they were given great powers by the Gods! LOL! I think they are more lenient on girls, especially moms who pose, or their children. I only experienced being restricted to shoot inside a bank, as proof sana that there was a long queue, and tinatamad kasi ako pumila. Hahaha!

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