Another black and white photo taken in Boracay. For this one, I removed some people in the upper right side using Lightroom’s clone and heal stamps.
A recent photo I took in Boracay. She’s wearing yellow (though the photo is in black and white). This one was taken with the Fuji XE1 and the 18-55 kit lens. To my eyes, the Fuji files are very very good in black and white but much too saturated in color. Also, the photos seem to be not very sharp, even compared to the Olympus EM5 with its less superior 12-50mm kit lens. This could perhaps be due to smearing as a result of the x-trans sensor whose output is not yet properly demosaiced by Adobe.
Last weekend, my parents, my sister and I went to Boracay. This is our second time this year in Boracay. There were only 4 of us, however, compared to our first time there where the whole family (including my brother and his family).
As my parents are already old (my father’s already 78 and my mother 63), we can no longer do most of the water activities there. Instead, we rented a boat and went around the island. We just stopped in one area, the snorkeling site and had our fill of the wonderful fishes there.
With me of course is my Olympus TG2 camera. An underwater camera I’ve been using for about a year now (after I lost the charger of my Panasonic TS5 and couldn’t find a replacement). I’m quite ok with this camera. It has a wide view lens (25mm equivalent) which is wonderful for taking pictures underwater. It also has a nice 2.0 aperture (at the wide end) resulting in pictures taken at lower ISO. However, I dislike that it doesn’t record raw files (limiting the post processing that can be done). This lack of raw recording makes it very difficult to correct white balance should I or the camera get it wrong.
Anyway, onto the pictures of fishes, fishes, fishes.
And lastly, me! This year has been an amazing year for me as I finally learned how to be in the sea without a lifevest. I just need to have a snorkel, mask and fins and I can spend time in the sea, even in deeper waters (though without them, I’d surely drown). I’m also just learning to freedive (albeit at the very beginning stage still).
Firedancers have been a fixture and institution in Boracay, much like the blue-sail boats, banana boats and all-you-can-eat buffets. There are several groups of firedancers in Boracay (some performing in the customer-only bars and restos) but the most famous group perhaps is the Boracay Phoenix Firedancers. They are a group of gays (some in women’s costume others in men’s costume) perform in the beach in station 2.
I’ve seen them before when I first went to Boracay but the amazement didn’t go away when I saw them again. They are a group I’d happily fork over money even if it is not required (some members go around with a basket asking voluntarily for money. I’m not a too keen on giving money to public performers but they are too good and amazing not to give money to.
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).
Another activity you can do in the island paradise of Boracay – paddlesurfing (with a paraglider way way back in the background).
Another picture taken in Boracay. This one is of a couple kissing in the beach. Had to remove some distractions (people) from the picture.
Last weekend, my family and I went to Boracay. This is my second time there but the first time I truly appreciated its beauty (no algae on the water).
February 28-March 2, 2013
After visiting many beautiful beaches (mostly in Luzon), we’ve finally managed to go to Boracay, the best beach destination in Asia (and one of the best in the world) according to many travel sites. Our flight there was scheduled 1130am but was moved to 130pm. After that, the flight was further delayed by 30 minutes or so, due to traffic congestion in Kalibo airport.
Kalibo airport is one of the two airports servicing Boracay, the other is Caticlan (which is closer to Boracay but it can accommodate small planes). From Kalibo, it is a two-hour travel (by a very slow moving bus) to the Caticlan port. From Caticlan port, Boracay is only a 15-20 minutes boat ride to the island of Boracay.
On arriving in Boracay, we went straight to our hotel (Serendipity) , a small family-run hotel very near Boracay’s D’Mall and very close to the beach.
On the second day, we went for an island hopping which is really going for a short-snorkeling with fishes and going to an overpriced private island then to another part of the main island for lunch. We were exhausted by the heat that when we arrived in the hotel, we slept and woke up late in the afternoon for dinner – buffet dinner of mostly seafoods! At an affordable price too, but the food seems to lack any salt.
That’s me! (wearing a shirt very fitting for this trip) (taken by Eman) * Company – Eman’s mom and dad, Atong, me, Ellidel, Myra and Rodel (taken by Eman).
Eman in Crystal Cove * Me again
Boracay is a wonderful beach with very fine white sand and a nightlife that goes on until morning. At the time of our visit, there are some greenish algae on the water but people say that this is seasonal and disappears around March-April. There are LOTS of people here and much more foreigners than any another beaches in the country. Majority of the foreigners are Koreans and Taiwanese due to the opening of Kalibo airport to international flights from Korea and Taiwan. There are also many Caucasians of different nationalities.
But of course most of the people in Boracay are still Filipinos, probably half of them are locals and the other half are from other areas in the Philippines – people like us who took advantage of seat sale in the commercial airlines.
There are many activities in the island designed to suit any tourist need – there’s the “island” hopping we did, there’s also helmet diving, parasailing, banana boat and “manta ray” boats, jet ski, scuba diving, all-terrain vehicle rides, segway rides or just lazing in the beach and sunbathing. The food is cheap (just look for the right places). This is one big destination for tourists. If you’re after nature (like me), this is not the best place to be. The beach is crammed with people, restaurants, hotels, etc. and the sea is full of boats of all kinds.
Despite the beauty of Boracay, I only took a few pictures. Frankly, I was uninspired by the beautiful but crowded island. Or probably because I didn’t have enough time or because I couldn’t use my rugged camera (couldn’t find the charger) or am still unfamiliar with the OM-D that shooting takes too much effort still.
Tourists and local boatmen
A local resident (picture is grainy since I originally exposed for the people at the back and had to push the shadows
Firedancers (all shot by Eman)
When we arrived in Crystal Cove Island, we did not go inside the resort/park since the entrance fee seems very high compared to the condition of the facilities of the park (based on what we can see outside).
One of my companions started a conversation with an old Caucasian guy (or the other way around) who were riding with us on the boat. Turned out that that old guy is British and is married to a Filipino guy (married through a civil union in the UK – Philippines, being a staunchly Catholic country doesn’t even have divorce, much more gay marriage).
An old gay couple (taken by Eman).
The old Pinoy guy is also the guy in yellow shirt in the picture above with the sailboats. (Didn’t notice until I got home and looked at the pictures in my computer monitor).
The British guy and his partner told their story (forgot their names). The British guy ran away from home at an early age since he didn’t know how to tell his parents that he’s gay. As a stowaway, he met the Filipino guy (who was working in London) in a bar and they hit it off. [The Pinoy guy said that Asians (brown-skinned ones) are quite popular in the UK (particularly during the 80s)]. After a while, the British guy had the courage to tell his parents (due to his newfound love) and they’ve been together for 32 years now and divides their time between London, UK and Batangas, Philippines.
They were probably the only persons that the we were able to talk to at length (well, they and my companions talked while I listened). In a crowded place like Boracay, you can get lost among the crowd and not know anyone.
Boracay is a fun place to be. If sun sea and people are your things, then there’s no better place to be here in our country. Many have fallen to the charms of Boracay. There’s Kiko, a contestant in Survivor Philippines who lived there for two or three years (and whom we saw on our second night in Boracay). There’s also the Caucasian family who lived there since December last year (I overheard them talking to a local on our boat back) and who was moving back to Manila with their chocolate Labrador – probably on account of the son’s broken arm.
As for me, I prefer the calm, unpopulated and unspoilt charm of Calaguas or even the picturesque but murky waters of Lake Mapanuepe to the sand, sun, sea and people of Boracay. (Speaking of Calaguas, we’re going there again for the third time in May!) For many others, come and experience Boracay, for a very affordable price, you’ll sure have a good time.
Souvenir items for sale * Boracay sunset