Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human


Olympus Tough TG4 Above Water

After posting several pics taken underwater or using super close macro, I am now posting above water regular photos taken with Olympus TG4.  Acceptable quality if taken at low ISOs and because of raw, sharpening and noise reduction is given to the user.  Photos of Oyet and Felix in Punta Malabrigo, Lobo, Batangas.


Body Parts (Not for Everyone)

After my losing the charger for my Panasonic TS3, then having my Olympus TG2 flooded (the door suddenly opened) and the TS3 suddenly stopped working (after buying an alternate charger), I bought an Olympus TG4.  The biggest thing about this underwater compact is its ability to record raw files.

One of the coolest thing I found about this compact is its super macro mode.  I guess the TG2 also have this but I never explored this.  Anyway, here are some pictures of my body parts.  In order to achieve these pictures, the camera have to be really really close to the subject.  The pictures are not very clear (especially when ISO is bumped up), however, because of the pictures are shot in raw, it can be sharpened and edited much better than a jpeg shot.

And as I said, this post is not for everyone, especially those who feel iffy about body hair.

My left thumb.

A mosquito bite.

The mole on my right forearm.

My knee.

Left knuckles, the knuckle at the base of the fingers.

The skin on the back of my left elbow / Skin on knuckles

Pinto Art Museum – Sanitarium Bed

Pinto Art Museum has this type of bed scattered around its ground.  The bed’s design and location made me think of an old haunted sanitarium.  This type of picture immediately went into my mind.  I think I nailed it though the buildings in the background sort of ruined the effect.

Callao Cave

Our First Time Scuba Diving

On our last day in Moalboal, Cebu, we did something we haven’t tried before – scuba!  We’ve snorkled and freedove on several beaches, but this  is our first time to actually use scuba gear.

Main reason why we haven’t done scuba before is the cost.  Whereas freediving costs include mainly transportation and bringing our freediving/snorkling gears (mask, snorkel and fins), scuba costs a lot more – gear rentals, instructors, boat to scuba site, certification, etc.

It was amazing!  Depths we haven’t been down to (16 meters in my case) at longer times (about 45 mins compared to just minutes in freediving).  At first, I felt claustrophobic being strapped to a tank, vest and others and just breathing under water but once I got to breathing normally, it was fun.  Since this is a non-certification dive for beginner, each of us has a guide who takes care of the BCD and all we have to do is look and fin.

Elaine, holding her breath while underwater (shot by Oyet).

Eman and his guide following a turtle with Oyet snorkling above.

Myra and her guide with a group of squid.

Eman and his guide on the way back to the boat.

Maji, Elain, Eman and a guide being a papparazi and fans to a turtle.

Flowers and Dew

My friend, Felix, and I went to Baguio City last month just to tour this city.  I’ve been there before and though I don’t find it particularly to my taste (I like beaches and sea more), he’s never gone around the city (and he’s not a water person).

Baguio is a city situated in the mountainous part of Luzon and due to its high altitude, climate is much cooler than the other towns and cities.  It is also for this reason that it is a favorite haunt of those who want to escape the heat of Metro Manila.  It is also famous for its flowers (celebrated annually with the Flower Festival).

We arrived early and after breakfast, we went around Burnham Park.  This park is designed to have lots of flowers and since we were early, I was able to capture dew drops on the flowers.


Green Fields

I’ve not posted in quite a while and I’ve also not climbed in almost a year.  Luckily, two weekends ago, I got to exercise my legs and climbed a relatively benign mountain trail of Gulugod Baboy (Pig’s Spine) to see this beautiful scenery.


The Roof

I’ve always liked slightly overexposed photos, one where majority of the details can be seen.  However, this year, it seems that I’ve taken a liking to darker and moodier photos.  This picture is one of those photos.  A very simple picture of the roof of the charming chapel on top of a hill in Batanes.  A very simple photo processed to look more dramatic.

Oh, and I’m missing travelling already.

Ellidel Underwater

This post has been in my saved drafts for a long time and only now do I get to publish it. It shows Ellidel under the sea in Fortune Island.  This is one of the deeper dives we’ve been to (around 8m) and probably second only to El Nido.  For scuba diving and experienced freedivers, 8m is shallow but for us, it is already lung-busting.freedive fortune island

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar Workshop Tour

One of the highlights of a visit to Las Casas de Acuzar is the workshop tour (the others being the Heritage Tour and the houses of course).  At the time of our visit, construction of additional houses is in full swing and the workshop is in full work mode also.

The first stop of the tour is a visit to the brick and roof tile workshop.  All bricks and roof tiles are made in the property (except for those that came with the original house).  They are hand-made (using clay from a farm) and fired in an oven using the wood shavings and other wood discards from the other workshops).

Bricks being hand-pressed then dried before being fired in the oven.
Roof tiles being laid out to dry.

In another workshop, murals are made by workers from the community.  They are made from thin strips of PVC colored in different shades.  They are cut into small strips and small shapes and pasted onto a backboard with outlines.  They are designed by the property’s in-house artists and are based on famous Filipino paintings.

A local cutting tiny PVC strips (on bottom right) and pasting them on the board.

A wide view and detail shot of the murals. At these levels, you can see the big picture and the level of details.

Wallpapers are another old luxury item produced inside the property.  The big details are silkscreened onto PVC boards while the smaller details are handpainted.  Because of the high level of manual effort required to produce just one panel of wallpaper, they are only used on the most opulent rooms in the resort.  In the past, only the very rich can afford these wallpapers as they were imported from Europe.

Clay ornaments usually used outside houses due to rain and as bas-relief on walls are carved by woodcarvers and then air-dried and oven-dried similar to the process for bricks and roof tiles.

Clay ornaments air-drying.
A head and a hand clay sculpture.  This reminds me of Greg Heisler’s photo of Muhammad Ali’s massage therapist.

Wood details on celings are also done here (again other than those coming from the original houses).  In this picture, the design is made by cutting different colored wood into appropriate shapes and then gluing them together.

Wood detail to be used on one of the new constructions.

Finally, the property prides itself in having very good woodcarvers.  The senior woodcarvers come from the town of Paete, Laguna, a town famous for its long tradition of wood and stone carving.  They produce scuptures, corner and door details, etc.

A sculpture of girl on the shop floor and a woodcarver intensely doing his work.

If you’re going to visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, be sure to join their workshop tour.  You’ll surely learn a lot and it’s free (included as part of resort accommodation rate).