Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

Travels

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.










Callao Cave


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.

 


Freediving in Moalboal

It has been several months since my last post here in my blog.  As a return, I feature our latest underwater adventure in Moalboal,Cebu.  Moalboal is one of the towns in the province (and island) of Cebu.  It is very famous for its underwater marine life treasures.  Lots of our people (particularly foreigners) come here to dive (freedive and scuba).

Bea and her bubble ring.

This was our second time in Moalboal.  The first time we went there, only Elaine knew how to freedive.  The rest of us were either wearing lifevests or are just floating on the surface.  This time, fortunately, most of us know how to float and freedive.

(Elaine) Reaching for nothing

Moalboal is really filled with beautiful underwater treasures.  There is a huge group of sardines just swimming a few steps from the shore.  There is a cliff drop just a few steps from the shore and perhaps from this feature allows nutrients from the bottom to rise providing food to the school of sardines.

There is also a marine turtle sanctuary.  It is a place where sighting of sea turtles is almost always a guarantee.  In both of our trips there, we were able to see several turtles swimming and sleeping and feeding.  The turtle sanctuary also features a drop off.  The top part (about 5-6 meters in most of the area) is filled with hard corals and lots of reef fishes.  After this comes a cliff dropping off to probably 30 meters of more. The side of this cliff is also filled with marine wildlife.

(Oyet) Rising from the depths

Another diving destination in the town is Pescador Island.  One side of the island has a small strip of shallow coral reefs (about 3-5 meters).  After this is another cliff drop much deeper than that in marine turtle sanctuary.  Most of the pictures here were taken from this side.  The other side (we went there last time but not on this trip) is a much larger area of corals on shallow waters.  The current, however, is much stronger, and people on lifevests are easy prey to being dragged with the current.

Another area for diving is Zaragosa Island but this is probably mostly for open-water scuba divers.  We have not been to this place yet.  The dive maps of Moalboal indicates that there are whale sharks, thresher sharks, manta rays and other sea creatures here.

(Eman) Floating in empty space. This reminds me of the scenes from the film Gravity.

The group includes myself, Eman, Oyet, Elaine, Myra and her sister Maji.  Elaine’s friend, Bea, joined us there.  Except for Myra and Maji, all of us are already comfortable in the sea and can make do without lifevests, just a mask, snorkel and fins.  On our third and last day, Myra was finally able to snorkel without vests.  A few more sea trips and she’ll be under the surface with us.

A big school of sardines, literally a few steps from the shores (about 20 steps from the main shore).

Moalboal is really a beautiful place and we were very very happy that we decided to come back here when we were able to appreciate more the things that the sea offers below its surface.


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).


Paseo de Escolta, a Recreation

This is one of the buildings in Las Casas which is recreated to look like the old buildings of Escolta during its heyday.  Our room is on the second floor (on the left side of the green star-shaped parol on the left).


Casa Mexico

The reception area of Las Casas is Casa Mexico (from Mexico, Pampanga). The house is built from house materials bought from a scrap yard and recreated using the most probable configuration of the house based on old pictures of houses in the area. The fountain on its side is probably new and is probably made by one of the property’s in-house artists.