Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human


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.

The Woodcarver

A woodworker in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. He’s from Paete, Laguna (a town famous for its woodcarvers) and claims to have been the protege of Carlos “Botong” Francisco (a Filipino national artist).

Caryatid in the Works

A picture of a caryatid (female figures on building posts) that I took in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. The sculpture is still in the workshop.  The sculpture is in reality lighter brown and not as contrasty as this picture suggest.  I processed it to look more dramatic (sort of like in the video game poster or cover kind of way).

First Time Shooting a Wedding as Main Photographer (Part 1)

Last month, two friends of ours got married in a small and intimate wedding.  We were invited as photographers and this was my first time to shoot a wedding this way.  Having several camera systems (Canon, m4/3 and Fuji), I made a decision which camera to use based on only 1 criterion, flash.  My Olympus EM5 and Fuji XE1 both have flash but they are small and not powerful.  I also have three external speedlights but two are manual and the other only has TTL with Canon.  Hence, it was Canon 7D + 15-85mm, 50mm 1.4 and the EOS with 22mm as additional camera.

For most of the events, I used the 15-85mm with the Nissin flash (with mini softbox/flash diffuser) mounted on the camera.  I could use the 50mm for better image quality (especially in low light) but I’ll have to be changing lenses for wider shots and in fast-paced events, I’m not comfortable doing this.  Eman was also there shooting but since he’s using the Samyang 85mm, there are some shots that he cannot take.  Oyet also took some pictures using the Pentax K01.

The wedding was done in a resort in Batangas (beautiful place).  It was on a garden near the pool (good thing since there was still light from the afternoon sun compared to a dimly lit church).

Anyway, the pictures of the ceremony and wedding preparations turned out well (well enough that I believe they came out much better than some people I know who’ve hired totally amateur photographers with a consumer DSLR + kit lens to cover their weddings).

First kiss, the light in the background is from a Samsung cellphone being used by the groom’s friend to shoot video (turned out very well).

The bride with their baby daughter (such an angel, didn’t cry the whole time we were there) * The bride and groom on the stairs of one of the villas before the wedding.

The bride and groom.
The wedding ceremony being presided by a Justice of Peace

Family and close friends.

Part 2 to follow, family formals and reception + editing and delivering final results.

False Color Infrared (in UP)

Some infrared images taken in UP, my alma mater and a very good spot for shooting.  Editing false color infrared images is a challenge but a fun way of expressing yourself.  There is no right or wrong colors (except when there are people in the shot).  Leaves are particularly interesting as you can edit them from white to yellow to orange to pink and even to red!

P.S., after publishing this post, I checked and realized that I’ve already posted them.  But anyway, hope you can still enjoy them.

Bitches and Puppies

About a year ago, our old dog (7+ years), Keana, gave birth to two puppies.  Unfortunately, the other died and only one female was left.  Being the only puppy, she became very protective and caring of her only puppy.  With only one puppy to care for, she fed her too often (causing the puppy to be chubby) and goes by the puppy’s side whenever the puppy makes any sound.   My mother and niece named the puppy, Chichi or Chichay.  She grew up fast and tall (taller than her mother).

Keana, with cataracts as sign of her old age.


Suckling a solo puppy (infrared)

Just a few months ago, the puppy (who is already grown) now gave birth to 5 puppies.  Probably because of her young age and having 5 puppies, she is not as caring and protective of her puppies as her mother.  In fact, sometimes, the grandma puppy would take care of two of the puppies while Keana takes care of three puppies.

Chichay and her puppies.

White Island, Camiguin

White Island is a sandbar in Camiguin Island.  It really is just a sandbar with nothing but sand (no trees, boulders, etc.).  It is quite near the shore but you still need to ride a P450 boat o shuttle you back and forth from the main island to the sandbar.  The boat is only good for 6, only 6 persons.  There were 7 of us so we had to take two boats.  The water’s clear and the sand is really white.  There are some fish but I didn’t swim but just slept.