We went at Bicol for two things: swimming with the whale sharks locally known as butanding, and getting a good view of Mt. Mayon, one of the country’s active volcanoes.
More photos after the jump. ^_^
Mt. Mayon in Albay, Philippines. Less clouds mean a better view of this active volcano.
Camera used: Blackberry 8520. Zero post-processing.
I had the privilege to fly to Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan two weeks ago. I wasn’t exactly a tourist there; I came as the family photographer of a friend to document their first out-of-town vacay together. My landscape photos are very few because I kept my D40 mostly in the bag to keep itself from getting splashed with sea water.
More photos after the jump. ^_^ (more…)
I did mention that I’ve been to Club Balai Isabel for the second time, right? Well, I don’t feel like writing a review about it now since I’ve already done that last year. So instead of boring you all stupid with my lame writing, I’ll just show you some pictures. :))
Black and white photo of the sea with Taal Volcano on the other side. The sky colors aren’t flattering so I converted it to grayscale instead.
Sunset with Christmas lights(?) in coconut trees. Kinda like a silhouette too, no?
I woke up at 3 AM and thought it’d be great to take a photo of the moon. Result: creepy!
This photo has a 30-second exposure. It was also shot at 3 AM, and I’m telling you, the surroundings weren’t this bright. It’s my first time to take an exposure this long, hence even if the photo makes no sense, it’s still one of my favorites from the set.
Butter on a breakfast bread.
Sun rays through coconut tree leaves. I’m trying to recreate the lens flare effect from an old photo, but I guess I just got lucky then.
These are the type of street shots I love taking, the sort that can give different meanings to the viewer. Mine, for instance, is that of a simple life, back when things were so much easier.
Towering coconut tree. We have a local song about coconuts and it goes like this:
The coconut nut is a giant nut
If you eat too much, you’ll get very fat
Now, the coconut nut is a big, big nut
But it’s delicious nut is not a nut
It’s the coco fruit (it’s the coco fruit)
Of the coco tree (of the coco tree)
From the coco palm family!
I just got back from an out-of-town relaxing at Club Balai Isabel… no time to post a review, but I promise to do so on the weekend. :)
The photo above was taken at CBI during sunset. Won’t say anything else here, I don’t wanna disturb the tranquility… *wink*
The photo above was taken last year at Club Balai Isabel Resort, Batangas Philippines. I’ll be coming back at CBI this weekend and so I was rummaging my digital album for some photos I took of the place when I saw this.
It never got around to being published because it didn’t have an appeal to me back then, which struck me as kinda weird now because the vibrant blue, green and red colors are amazing. There really is something about nature, is there? :)
Note: that blue circle in the middle is a reflection of the sun’s rays on the lens. Lens flare, perhaps? I dunno why it’s blue, though…
As part of the upcoming first official Shutter Slacker photowalk (read it HERE), Affordatours head Tin Ocenar and I did an ocular of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar to get an idea of how we’re going to facilitate the photowalk there. Here are some photos I got:
Pretty cool, eh? Register for the photowalk now! Click HERE! ;D
Goodbye summer, hello beaches!
Summer in the Philippines officially ended in May, but beach bumming for me didn’t come until the first week of June. But hey, it’s definitely worth the wait! Day three of our Coron, Palawan trip was full of awesome scenic beaches, it’s hard to believe that our country had this kind of sea beauty.
The following photos were taken from three different islands: Malcapuya, Banana, and, umm… I forgot what the last one was, sorry!
No captions will follow anymore. Let the photos speak for themselves.^_^
Our second day of the Coron tour started at 9:30 AM. It wasn’t a very nice start of the day because of the strong rain, but an hour later, the pouring subsided. Hooray!
We’ve been to seven different islands on this tour, but I only got very few pictures because I need to prioritize protection of my camera against the seawater. My friends either have Dicapac or waterproof cameras (Sony TX5 is wonderful!) and could take photos without worries, but not me. :-(
So here’s some of ‘em shots I got. They ain’t bad.^_^
Vertical framing of the sea, the boat, and the blue sky. :))
It’s my pair of Havaianas!
It’s Darren’s Sony Cybershot S930 on a mini tripod. Nobody brought the normal-sized tripod so this is the only way we can take group pictures with everyone present in the photo…
Dusk. We’re on our way back to the main island. Exhausting, as always!
The main road to Coron Public Market. No, we didn’t buy anything. The market is just beside the boat docks so we have to pass by it on our way back to the lodging house. :))
You see? Very few pics! The next time I’m gonna go on some island-hopping tour, I’ll make sure I have an underwater gadget with me:(
I know I’ve been MIA for quite some time now, but part of my no-show was spent bumming with college buddies at one of the snorkeling capitals of the country: Coron in Palawan, Philippines.
Our itinerary, accommodation, and tour package was made by DIY Coron. We opted for a third-party vacay planner because none of us have been to Coron before. They’re very professional in their services and every centavo is accounted for; no hidden charges.
Beachfront accommodation in Coron seemed non-existent because we weren’t offered one, but beaches are included in the island-hopping tour on Day 3.
Anyway, I could write more about our first day of the trip, but a better idea is to show, not tell. ;)
Airplane blades. We’re riding the Cebu Pacific Airlines and it’s my first time to use them as a carrier.
I’m seated near the wing. The takeoff was smooth! :D
Busuanga Airport in Coron, Palawan. During my first plane ride (March 2010, Boracay), I was surprised to know that not all airports are as big and grand as NAIA. I learned later that airports in the provinces are really small.
No conveyor! Luggage and bags are hand-carried on a conveyor-shaped wooden thingy. It’s faster, though. :D
I wasn’t able to take a picture of our lodging so we jump right next to the tour. This church (I forgot the name, sorry!) is included in our itinerary, although to be honest, I dunno what’s so special with it.
After the church is a trek to Mt. Tapyas. It’s a 720-steps high mountain overlooking the sea and Coron islands. The climb is so damn exhausting!!! >:(
Just some red-colored leaves I saw along the way.
This is the view 400 steps later…
I hate this dog. He’s very quick at ascending the steps even if we had a greater headstart. I wish I could’ve been a dog for 30 minutes on that day; I was so tired! :’(
Some “cottage” near the edge of the mountain.
This is what you see at the peak of Mt. Tapyas: a metal cross (it looks like Christmas when lighted) and a tower. I’m not sure if the tower is for a cell phone signal or cable TV signal or electricity…
Just one of my friends. They’re playing “rebels” by tying a piece of cloth around their heads.
Us @ the peak. Photo taken by Shiel. :)
We had a very exhausting descend on the steps at around 6:30 PM. My lower legs were in pain. After dinner, I crashed on the bed and was down less than a minute later.
See yah in Day 2! :)
Pampanga is one of the places which was greatly affected when Mt. Pinatubo, an active volcano in the country, erupted on 1991. Today, it still bears the sign of that destructive event.
Mt. Pinatubo stands calmly in the background, its peak covered in green trees as if it’s just one of the many harmless mountains in the region. But the people who live to tell the tale knows better than to trust its feigning innocence.
Last summer, my life was a beach—Boracay in March, Anawangin Cove and Stilts Batangas in April, and Puerto Galera in May. This year, i experienced the sand and sea a little too late.
May 8th was our company beach outing at White Corals Resort in Morong, Bataan. The place is huge, ideal for a big group getaway. I don’t usually count company outings in my list of “places i spent my summer”, but this year i don’t have any choice. It’s the only beach i went to.
Tropical storm “Aere” was forecasted to hit the country on the same day, so no blue skies here. I was not in the mood to swim, so i just took a photo of things while sitting on the sun and hearing the mixed sounds of sea waves splashing on the shore. The Pacquiao-Mosley bout was scheduled that day and our management said that there would be a live streaming. I think i expected too much; i thought they’re gonna put up a projector and we’ll be watching the fight while sitting on the sand (that’d be cool!). To my dismay, there was no projector, just an LCD screen set up on a billiard table. The result? We all had to crane our necks to see it.
OK, i’ll just go back to the beach. :)
I know all about the Rule of Thirds, and i know that i just broke it in the photo above. Oh well, that’s fine!^_^
No new exercises posted since my last one ‘cause i lost my SD card (of all things!), and i won’t be able to get a new one ‘til Friday. So instead of having my daily dose of photography practice, today i’m just gonna share my first out-of-town for this year, a weekend vacay at Lima Park Hotel.
Thanks to my friend Jo who had free passes, i was able to step foot at this luxurious hotel. Judging by its looks, i know i could never afford an overnight stay without pulling some strings.
Anyway, this is her… thanks buddy! ;)
FEBRUARY 26th SATURDAY.
3:00 PM. The hotel is located inside Lima Technology Center, a large private industrial estate. As soon as we alighted the bus, i immediately took out my camera and had a few shots of my buddies. Unfortunately, the entrance guard was quick as well, and he told us that picture-taking is not allowed—at least, at the entrance. Woof, loser.
We rode Lima Park’s guest shuttle and it was a 3-minute ride to the hotel, where we were greeted with a lavish atmosphere. From the lounge, you’ll easily conclude that this is the type of accommodation fit for businessmen. Good grief, we get to be upper-class people for two days and a night!
Filipinos love to travel, especially when they do so at discounted prices!
Travel Tour Expo is one of the most anticipated event by Filipino travelers because leading airlines, hotels, and travel agencies offer the most amazing deals and tour packages. Many go as low as 70% off their normal rates, a really tempting treat especially to those who go out of town often.
I dunno if these rates are cheap ‘cause i’ve never tried booking for international destinations before. There are a lot of all-in-one travel packages which include accommodation, tours, land transport, and foreign tax. Excluded from these fees are food, airfare, and Philippine international travel tax amounting to more than P2,000.
Not sure if payment is strictly dollars only, or if you can pay in peso based on the current exchange rate. Unfortunately i only have $100 in my wallet, ouch!
Because it is one of my country’s natural wonders, i know Chocolate Hills practically all my life. Its photos are plastered in my history books since Grade One, although back then i had no idea of its beauty.
Seeing the place with my own eyes, i realized for the first time that the Philippines is indeed a beautiful country.
The Chocolate Hills is a mesmerizing collection of hundreds of mini-mountains shaped like Hershey’s Kisses, and they were named “Chocolate Hills” because they turn brown during dry season (although many people say that it’s best to see ‘em green). The sight of the Hills is captivating. Don’t attempt to count how many hills there are because they stretch as far as your eyes can reach, 360 degrees. How they were formed as such, nobody told me, and i wouldn’t mind not knowing anyway.
If you’re an inter-country traveler or backpacker, i assure you that Chocolate Hills is worth checking out. They’re really, really worth your while.
I think—and i’m talking about personal experience here so you may or may not agree, it’s really no big deal—the title goes to Canon Powershot SX120 IS.
I don’t own one, but my best friend Shiel does, and i’ve used it for myself countless times. Well, with all the advanced compacts out there like the S95, G12, LX5, etc., you’d find yourself thinking if the SX120 is really worth it. I won’t claim that SX120 is better than those models ‘cause that would be an awful exaggeration, plus they’re in an entirely different league. But if you’re looking for a bang-for-the-buck type, then the SX120 might be the one for you.
Dumalaun’s free breakfast was, once again, beyond satisfaction. After eating, we did an hour of swimming and splashing. Well, my friends did, while i become their photographer.
Low tide isn’t nice in some beaches, but it fits perfectly in Panglao. The sea water is very clear, the sand so fine and white. With a beach like this, i guess me and my friends could stay at the water for hours.
Experiencing Bohol: A first timer’s tale Day 1 -> Click here
It was already 6 AM when we said good morning to our free breakfast buffet—which tastes really good by the way, unlike other complimentary breakfasts out there—and we ate it with speed because we were due for Dolphin Watching at, well, 6. We embarked on our first activity an hour later… and that’s the start of the very long day.
Not what i was expecting.
I thought this activity will be like a circus show: dolphins in a pool, guided by a trainer, and flaunting their swimming and flying skills off bleachers full of people. I wasn’t even close.
It might have been an hour to eternity—i wouldn’t know because i didn’t have my wrist watch with me—from the time we left the shores of Panglao to the place where the dolphins were supposed to be. Several boats with excited guests were there as well, and we all hovered close together, waiting for dolphins that didn’t seem like coming.
Suddenly, people from a nearby boat screamed excitedly, and we turned our heads to their direction. There—ONE DOLPHIN! It was like seeing a Hollywood star. But the dolphin only stayed visible for two seconds. Then it was gone.
Aha, i know what you’re thinking—Chocolate Hills! Yes, thanks to elementary Sibika (or HEKASI) textbooks, i can forget my own name but i don’t think i can ever forget that Chocolate Hills is in Bohol. Like who doesn’t know? :)
As i promised in Facebook, here’s a written account of our 3-day adventure, complete with photos grabbed from three other cameras (I hope you won’t get bored with all the details). I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my dear travel buddies Shiel Gonzaga, Dah Agaton and Jeanielyn Lajara for uploading the pictures pronto. Jo Luna, girl, any chance we’ll see yours within this year? :)
We arrived in Bohol after a nasty flight courtesy of Air Philippines. The sky was cloudy with more Nimbuses than we want to see, and we took it as a dim sign of a rainy vacay. The good news however was that we didn’t need to endure raindrops on our head if ever it did rain. Dumaluan Beach Resort’s airport shuttle was punctual, and several minutes later, me and my best college buddies were on a road trip to the beach as the sun blazed in its 2 PM glory. (Yes, the weather cooperated!)
Because of our delayed flight, it was impossible to follow our original itinerary. To make the long story short, every activity in our package was crammed in a single day: Day Two. Hence, we had Day One freestyle.
Batangas, Philippines is always a favored destination for short getaways by the locals because of its proximity from the country’s capital and the many choices of pool resorts and beaches. Club Balai Isabel is not the brightest star among Batangas’ beach market, but it’s steadily making a way up the ranks of its industry.
Our trip at Balai Isabel last October 3 and 4 was greeted with a very peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. It seems that Balai Isabel is made for unwinding and peeling away the accumulated stress from work. It’s a place where time passes slowly and you wouldn’t mind slowing down with it.
(originally written on April 21, 2010)
To compare Anawangin to Boracay is like pitting J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series against Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. I’ve been to both locations and the best statement of comparison between the two is that Anawangin is the lifestyle counterpart of Boracay, from the expenses to the experience itself.
Me and my friends opened the summer season early when we packed our luggage to Boracay on March’s first day. In the past, i’m already fortunate to experience one beach per summer. Having another getaway after Boracay is certainly unheard of in my history, hence never did i thought that a month later, i’ll be off to this place i’ve only been hearing and reading about before.
(Originally written on February 24, 2010)
Because me and my friends are tired of Jollibee, KFC, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut, we decided to treat ourselves to a unique Filipino dining with style. Pan de Amerikana, suggested to us by Meg, is an amazing haven for food trippers wanting a place with variety, quality, fun and ambiance. Located at Concepcion, Marikina City, Pan de Amerikana offers local dishes combined with the place’s cultural flavor, making our experience (especially as first timers) memorable.
(Originally written on February 21, 2010 — photos to follow)
Every time we go on vacation at Mariveles, Bataan, my attention is always caught by this giant cross (very visible from the main road as we travel by car) which i’ve always thought as an old church, or else some people just decided to build it there for a kick. Not until i went to the the place did i remember what Philippine history says about Bataan, and that the mountain housing the cross is actually a historical site.
Mount Samat at Balanga, Bataan is a good place to go for shoestring travelers/travel beginners (like me). It is very accessible, only 3 hours away from Manila by bus. Its proximity won’t burn a hole in your pocket and is an ideal destination for a weekend getaway sans the sand and sea.