Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

Posts tagged “Batanes

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.


Batanes – Ivana Port

Another photo from Batanes.  This one in Ivana Port (I think the only place where I used the Canon 10-22mm).

Batanes – Tiñan Viewpoint, Sabtang Island

Tiñan Viewpoint is a hill near the Sabtang Road overlooking the sea.  For me, it is the best viewpoint in the whole of Batanes.  It is located very near the village of Chavayan and is marked by an arch (probably as a boundary between Chavayan and Savidug).

The Arch near Tiñan viewpoint.

Me on a hill overlooking the sea.

Ellidel taking some shot of a cliff face.

Beach below the viewpoint * The hills up to the road (the one with the arch) and towards a rocky outcrop.

A group shot taken by our driver/tour guide (tour guides should really be taught basic composition so not every photo they take has the subject in the middle).


Batanes – Diura Beach and Mahatao Lighthouse with Samsung Note 3

When we were in Batanes, I brought my Canon 7D plus two batteries (the one on the camera and another extra from my broken 60D).  I thought it would last the whole trip but on our last day in Batanes, the battery emptied and I am left without a camera.  As such, I was forced to use the camera on my Samsung Note 3.  I am aware that the cameraphone will have its limitation because of its much much smaller sensor and no raw capability.  But left without a choice, it is a good camera.


The battery of my camera emptied while we were on our way to Diura Fishing Village (I really don’t know what the important of this village is in the whole of Batanes as I didn’t listen to the lady at the registration booth).  The village is just a collection of some houses, rocky beach (which is probably a good place to do landscapes during sunset or sunrise).  Other than an octopus hung out to dry, I didn’t see much of interest in the village (in terms of cultural significance).

The beach, as I said, is rocky and it provide some nice enough subjects for landscape photos.

Some rocks (boulders) on the beach.

Note 3 has a 13 megapixel camera which is good enough for taking images, provided the light is not low (which would require high ISO) or that the image requires high dynamic range.  The photo above is a surprise to me when I loaded the picture to my desktop.  Good enough for an A4 (or probably bigger) print.

Another landscape photo.  As long as you don’t scrutinize detail, Note 3 takes good pictures.

Here are some more images I took in Diura Fishing Village.

A window shade made up of tied up reeds, yellow bamboo at the bottom.

Rocks at the beach * Mussel shells, which look like butterflies.


After Diura Fishing Village, our last stop was the Mahatao Lighthouse.  Nice lighthouse but we weren’t able to go inside and there is limited space to take pictures at different angles (the lighthouse is on top of a hill, with the side facing the sea located on a steep side of the hill).

Having a 28mm equivalent lens, Note 3’s camera is best used with a foreground object (such as the tree in the first picture).

A fallen tree provides foreground to a shot of the lighthouse.

Despite having a very small sensor, Note 3’s camera is still capable of providing out of focus areas, provided your subject is very close to the camera with the background sufficiently far behind. This capability is seen in the two photos below.

Lighthouse with grass in the foreground.  The phone is less than a foot from the grass to provide some shallow depth of field.

After that trip and on looking at the images at my desktop, I am really pleased with the pictures taken with Note 3.  I know that I can’t do much post-processing on these pictures but I was satisfied with how I composed these pictures.  I also took much less pictures but I am satisfied with most of them.  I guess it boils down to having only one focal length (so I must be much more mindful of my composition) and the awareness that whatever photo I took has to be more or less in its final form (limited post-processing can be done on the jpegs).

Batanes – Nakabuang Arch

One of the places to visit in Batanes when you’re in Sabtang Island is Morong Beach.  Most of the tours in Sabtang stop in Morong Beach  as this is where lunch is served.  The beach (has whitish sand) seems to be the best in the whole of Batanes.  It is also home to Nakabuang Arch.

Nakabuang probably means fallen or on its side (from Tagalog “nakabuwang” but I don’t know if it has a meaning in Ivatan).  Here is another picture of the arch.

These two pictures were made in black and white primarily because I don’t like the harsh lighting due to the noonday sun.  Here are two more pics of the arch but in color.

We’ve stayed for 5 days and 5 nights in Batanes but I can’t say I’m very pleased with my pictures (especially landscape pictures).  Since we did our trips and tours during the day, we always arrive on picturesque location when the sun is high and the light is already harsh.

In the case of Nakabuang Arch, we were there at noon so it is not the ideal time for shooting pictures.  I’m sure it looks very good at sunrise (the beach faces the east).

Batanes, the 2nd Time

Last weekend (and for three more days after that), I was in Batanes – my second time there.  Whereas my first time there (with family) is quite short, this time, I (along with my friends) had a long (and lazy) time in the northernmost province.  I’ll post other pictures in the coming days but I’d like to have this one first.

This one was taken in the Radiwan (Ivana) port.  The port is in front of the church and there are unused (mostly broken) boats in the port.  This one had the name Batanes on it and I took a picture of it (with other boats and the church in the background).  On looking at the raw picture in my desktop, it was a big disappointment.  What I envision the picture to be was very far from what appeared.  Luckily, Lightroom 5 is a very very good tool for post-processing pictures (especially with the addition of the radial filter).  After setting contrast, tweaking of exposure and color, I added a radial filter on the back of the boat (with word Batanes).  I then darkened and reduced the saturation of everything outside the circle.  Furthermore, I used a brush to increase clarity, sharpness and contrast around the word Batanes.

The result is below – pretty much what I envisioned when I took the photograph.  The only other way I could have made what I envisioned is if I have a fast wide angle lens (equivalent of 24mm f1.4 on full frame) to blur the background but my lens was 15-85mm 3.5-5.6.

Sabtang Lighthouse

Sabtang Lighthouse was under renovation when we visited Batanes so there’s no way we can near it (plus we were there for only a day and have no time to visit it).  It is located on a cliff very near the port of Sabtang and in a much lower elevation than the one in Basco.

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.

The Hills of Batanes

Batanes, northernmost province of the Philippines, is a group of several islands that are immediately south of Taiwan.  Batan (second largest island and home to four of the six towns of the province) is dominated by Mt. Iraya.  The rest is full of hills and is perfect for raising cows.

In fact, the quintessential image in most Filipino’s mind when Batanes is uttered is of a land full of rolling green hills surrounded by sea full of dangerous waves.

Here are some images of the hills (and cows) in Batanes.

A farmer herding his cows for grazing (Olympus EM5 + 12-50mm).

Distant hills as seen from rooftop of our hostel (Olympus EM5 + 40-150mm).

Rolling hills in infrared (Panasonic GX1 590nm infrared + Panasonic 14mm).Holy cow!  (A cow grazing atop a hill and rays of rising sun) (Olympus EM5 + 12-50mm).

Random Photo: An Old Man and His Bike

A picture I took back in Basco, Batanes.  Bicycle is a very popular form of transportation in Basco (and Batanes in general).  The town of Basco is small so everywhere is within biking range (unless going to the next town).  Also, gasoline and diesel there is very expensive (about 40-50% more expensive compared to other areas in the Philippines).