Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human


Boracay – My Father on the Beach

Another photo taken in Boracay.  This is my father frolicking in the beach.

I overexposed this photo intentionally (I wanted to use f1.8) and thought I’d do exposure correction in post.  However, I did not know that I accidentally set the camera to JPEG only by fumbling through the flash setting the previous night.  I could not recover the correct color of the highlights! (hence, the conversion to black and white).


Basco Lighthouse

Lighthouses used to be a guide to fishermen and sailors in olden times.  Its light guides seafarers through treacherous storms or gives a reference on where it is safe to land where the coast is full of big or sharp rocks.  Batanes, by virtue of its location (surrounded by big waves) and its rocky coast was in need of a lighthouse.  As such, Batanes, particularly Basco, has its own lighthouse.  Located on top of one of Basco’s magnificent hills.

With the advent of modern technology, particularly GPSs, lighthouses aren’t that necessary anymore (except for local fishermen) and have become more of tourist attractions, a reminder of days past.

Because of the booming tourist industry in Batanes (facilitated by the cheap airfare), the Basco lighthouse is in relatively good condition.  I don’t remember seeing it with light but at least the structure is in good condition – painted and maintained.

My sister and my father outside the top of the lighthouse * Me and my father on the same location.

My mother on a bright blue bench inside the lighthouse.  She was too tired to go up the stairs to the top.

I just have to post this photo of me.  I have very few (and I mean few) pictures of myself that I’m satisfied with so when I have one, I just need to share it.  🙂

The lighthouse taken with a 14-150mm lens (then cropped).  This was taken on the rooftop of our hotel at dusk.

A Wedding of Two Close Friends

January 5 was the wedding of two close friends.

Reinier, the groom, was a close friend since college. I first met him on the very first day of college since he is a classmate (our blockhead or head of our section/block). We’ve been friends since and got closer during our later year in college and got closer still during review for CPA board exam (where he got the 2nd highest rating while I got the 12th highest rating). We also went to the same audit firm for our first job and that’s where he met the bride, Bless.

Bless is a graduate from another well-known university and like many of us in our batch in audit, she was also a topnotcher in the CPA board exam that year (November 2003).  She and Rein have been friends since and I along with them (though of course they were closer since they belong to the same audit group).  I guess nobody expected for them to get together as they are just really good friends then.

About 6 or 7 years ago, they, along with many other auditors, emigrated to UK (London) to work there and that’s where the romance started.

Fast forward to that afternoon on January 5th and they got married in one of the oldest churches in the country.  I was part of the wedding entourage (a frist time for me) and didn’t bring my camera to the church.

Due to limited time alloted for each wedding in the church, many of their pictures were taken outside in the streets of the old city of Intramuros.  These are just two of my shots (where I just took shots while their official photographers are also taking shots).

Below is a slightly pudgy looking me in a barong (national costume for Filipino men).  Barong is made from pineapple fiber (or silk or other fiber and synthetic material).  The more formal barongs (from jusi or pineapple fibers) are worn at formal events while those made from cotton or combination are worn everyday at work.

This being a wedding, I got to see again very close friends from college, Lourdes, Maris and Manny, as well as other college acquaintances.



Maris and her family (top).

Myself, Maris, Lourdes and Evan (middle).

Rem (maid of honor) and Manny.

Really nice name holder for place settings.


To Reinier and Bless, Congratulations and Best Wishes!

2 is the Magic Number

Today, a new notification from wordpress says that it is my 2nd year anniversary here.  It has been 2 years since I started writing this blog, initially with the intention of sharing my adventures and thoughts on photography, mountain climbing and other similar stuff.  About a year ago, the blog has focused almost exclusively on sharing my photos – whether on the beach, mountain, at home, in the office or somewhere else.

I also noticed that a day ago, I had my 200th follower for this blog.  For that I am thankful to all those who read my blog, especially to those who frequent it and those who comment.

Thank you and I hope that my posts and images brings inspiration, happiness or whatever it is you are looking for when looking at a blog.  🙂

Celebrating My Parent’s Wedding Anniversary in Batanes

Last Saturday, my parents celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary and the family went on a trip to Batanes, the northernmost province of the Philippines.

Here they are posing in one of the many rolling hills of Basco, Batanes.

I hope that they’ll be able to reach their 50th wedding anniversary.  Happy anniversary Nanay and Tatay!

CORON, after Yolanda (Haiyan)

Have not posted in a while.  Last weekend, my friends and I went to Coron for a 4-day trip.

Coron was the last landfall that Yolanda made before exiting the country (the very reason why our scheduled trip there was postponed).  The people of Coron are slowly rising up and moving on with their everyday lives.  The tourists are also starting to come back.  On land, the damage to Coron is visible due to uprooted or de-leafed trees and destroyed houses (mostly the nipa hut houses).

On sea, the damage is much much worse.  Most of the areas we went snorkeling are tear-inducing.  Corals damaged!  If you’ve seen the damage to Tacloban city, you’ll have a good idea of the damage on corals.  Corals, the houses and food source of most fishes, are cracked, uprooted, felled and broken.  To me this is the greater tragedy in Coron (after the loss of some lives).  Trees will grow quickly, houses can be rebuilt with the right assistance but corals will take years to grow back.  Such a tragedy!

Anyway, as a starter, here are my friends doing their best to spell CORON.  More pictures to follow in coming blogposts.

Haiyan (Yolanda), Strongest Typhoon in Recorded History

This weekend, we were supposed to go to a beautiful island (Coron, Palawan).  However, Haiyan happened and all domestic flights (except those going north) and many international flights were cancelled.  Furthermore, Coron was in the path of this destructive typhoon.

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).  Image from Huffington post but I’m sure, it’s been shared in many other websites.

Days before Yolanda (international name – Haiyan) made landfall, many news sites, not only in the Philippines but also abroad, have been monitoring its progress as it is expected to be the strongest typhoon on the planet this year (many say this is the strongest typhoon in recorded history).

On the morning of the typhoon, news from Tacloban City, Leyte still came and the impact is really strong.

BYggM_8CUAI7cGz.jpg largeThese pictures are stills from news reports of ABS-CBN taken 30 minutes apart.  The first one at 6:58 in the morning where the rain and wind was strong but the streets are still passable.  Thirty minutes later, the streets are already heavily flooded with lots of debris.

News coverage indicates that the impact of the storm is similar to a tsunami with the sea (not waves) comes in to land at a smaller height bet repeatedly.  After that, all communications with Tacloban was cutoff as infrastructure was battered.

Yolanda swiftly cut a path of destruction over central Philippines and exited in one day (thankfully if left Saturday morning, the original forecast was that the typhoon will exit the Philippines on Sunday).  Its first landfall was made in Leyte (where Tacloban is) and continued westward.  Thankfully, it weakened a little as it made landfalls on the subsequent islands on its path.

Only today are news coming in that show the effect of the devastating typhoon.

Ted Failon, a reporter of ABS-CBN, who was in Leyte during the typhoon recounts his experiences after the typhoon with some video clips.  There is a clip of the news team helping a teenboy lift the body of his father from the wreckage of a house.  He also informed of an evacuation center that withstood the wrath of the wind but the storm surge of the sea (which reached several meters high) drowned the refugees inside and when they got there, some still have foam on their mouths.  Reports are coming in that at least a 100 people are dead (numbers will inevitably rise as reports come in from areas cutoff by the storm).

I wanted to post pictures of the devastation but this is already being reported by all the world’s major news network (CNN, BBC, etc.).

Such a sad day for the Philippines.

And as one CNN comment that went viral said, we will survive!  The Filipinos in the affected areas badly need help now but we will survive and rise again.

Time to get to the know the hardy Filipino people…unbelievably resilient, long suffering, good natured, uber friendly, loyal, ingenius, and a bunch of survivors.

At the end of the day the Filipinos will just shake off the dirt from their clothes and thongs and go about their business…and SMILE. They do not complain much, they will bear as long as they can.

Maybe this is why they were given the “privilege” of bearing the burden of the strongest typhoon ever recorded.

The indomitable human spirit at its finest.

Random Photo: Remembering Tondol Beach and Fuji X10

I remember with fondness our trip to Tondol Beach.  It was a long travel from Manila to Tondol but it was worth it.

Since at the time, I did not have a DSLR yet (the 60D was broken due to seawater), it was the Fuji X10 that I used.  This is the first release of X10 with the sensor blooming but it took wonderful pictures (loooove the lens on that camera).

This is also the first time I learned about highlight-shadow toning and graduated filters in Lightroom so every shot was made colorful.

My Fuji X10 continues to take pictures (now with my sister) but the viewfinder is broken (no longer focuses/zooms) but it was and still is a great camera.

Holy Week in the Province

During this holy week (Maundy Thursday, March 28, to Easter Sunday, March 31), we went home to my province in Quezon.  The traffic near my town was terrible and we arrived after about 6 yo 7 hours of travel (on ordinary days, this would have taken only 4 to 5 hours).

The plan was to go on a road trip to Bicol (my father, mother, sister and I).

Black Saturday, we went to Bicol with the intention of going to Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC) in Pili, Camsur.  It is a very famous wakeboarding place in the Philippines and one of only two famous spots in Camarines Sur (the other is Caramoan Islands where many Survivor seasons were shot).  We were supposed to go there and see the place, swim and spend the whole day.

My parents and sister in CWC.

My sister with a view of the Mayon volcano in the background (taken in Camalig, Albay).

My mother and father in Lake Buhi.

My parents in Mayon Rest House and Planetarium.

When we arrived in CWC, we were very disappointed.  There’s not much to see and the only thing worth doing is wakeboarding and we’re not into that so we just took some pictures and decided to see Mayon Volcano (a good 3 hours drive more down south).  Other people who also visited appear to be disappointed as well and just took pictures.  There weren’t that many people in the place considering that it is holy week vacation.

On our way to Mayon volcano, we passed by Lake Buhi.  Lake Buhi is at the foot of Mt. Iriga (a beautiful extinct volcano) and is the only place where sinarapan (Pandaca Pygmaea) is found.  Sinarapan is the second smallest fish (previously smallest until it was dethroned).  We did not spend much time there either and went back on the road.

The road from Buhi to Albay is through a dirt road passing through some ricefields (ready to be harvested so beautiful to behold).  The road is cemented on some parts and dirt on other parts.

We arrived in Albay province and saw the Mayon volcano from afar – its cone perfect but most of the time covered by clouds.  We couldn’t find a nice viewing deck to see the mountain and when we asked a local, he told us to go to Tabaco City, which is on the other side of the mountain.  Hence, we had to go around the volcano until finally we got to the Mayon Resthouse and Planetarium which is situated about 1/3 of the way up the mountain.

After that, we went back to Quezon and arrived very late in the evening.

A visit to Quezon is also an opportunity to visit my beautiful dogs.  There are now four dogs in Lopez, (two shih tzus, a Labrador and a mongrel).

Kylie and King are my first two dogs and they are inseparable now (though for some reason they can’t or don’t want to breed).  Hector (the Labrador) is a gift and he’s gotten too big for my city apartment and he’s doing very well in the province.  Keana is a mixed breed dog and the oldest at almost 8 years old.  She has cataract on her right eye (the cataract seemed to have gotten smaller in size since my last visit).

My two shih tzus – Kylie Tzu (white and brown) and King Tzu (black).

Our other two dogs: Keana (brown) and my Labrador, Hector Labrador.

Other than the road trip, I didn’t get much of a chance to take pictures as I was in the house all of the time (too hot).

I hope that this coming weekend, Lake Mapanuepe will provide photo opportunities.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my 32nd birthday so “Happy Birthday to me!” I’ve been really blessed with family friends, career (so far), health and other things so thank you God for all of these. I wish they’ll keep coming. 🙂