One of the close but a little inaccessible islands that I finally got to last month was Fortune Island. It is a smallish island located off the coast of Nasugbu, Batangas. It is famous for having greek columns on a cliff.
The thing about this columns is that they are obviously a replica and a little pretentious. If you know anything about Greek architecture or even just simple architecture, you’d know that the columns are supposed to support a roof of the building, hence, the columns should be around a square or rectangular space that enclose something. In the case of Fortune Island, there are two columns of on a narrow cliff. They’re just there for decoration (which is a great place for photoshoots but with no semblance of being authentic. Also,, they are obviously modern made replicas. The rebars on the cement columns are showing, rusting, and running down the concrete sides.
There are other Greek/Roman replica stuff on that cliff, such as these broken statues (where you can see a rebar poking out of the top). Also, I’m not so sure if there were lion statues in Greece/Rome (there could be).
Fortune Island was an exclusive resort. And by exclusive, I mean exclusive. The rich and famous of the country used to go here. It is/was owned by ex-Gov. Leviste of Batangas. I don’t know what happened and why the resort closed and came to such a state of disrepair. We stayed near the previous restaurant. It is a huge circular structure with the roof falling (particularly since the time we were there it was raining hard). We pitched our tents at the side of the structure and cooked our food and ate in one of the tables in the structure.
During the resort’s heyday, this could have been a beautiful and believable shipwreck. However, in its current state, it is obviously a replica. As you can see from the picture, the boards coming off the side shows probably insulation. On the inside are concrete slabs as floor.
Despite the state of disrepair and obviously fake replicas, the island is still a wonderful destination, especially for snorkelers and divers. The front of the island has a coral garden with lots of fishes. I saw a white-spotted boxfish (first time to see this), a big cornetfish, some batfish and a school of Moorish idol. The pictures of our freedive will be covered in another post. Around the island are other dive sites but we really didn’t have much time in the island as we arrived in Nasugbu around 2pm and the boat ride (a very choppy ride) takes almost an hour. We had to leave by around 11am the following day to avoid the huge waves. (The waves were so choppy that two of our companions were very nervous that the moment we left the port in Nasugbu, they already wanted to turn back).
To go to Fortune Island, you have to take a bus or travel by car to Nasugbu. Once there, you will take a motorized boat to the island. The boat can accomodate around 17 guests and you should maximize it as it is insanely expensive (compared to other boat rentals in other places we’ve been to) at P8500-P9000 for the whole trip. Since there were 11 or 13 of us, we were able to go there for less than P2,000 each (more like P1,800 including bus fare).
I went there with Oyet and her current and previous officemates. My usual gang did not go with us but we’re sure we’re coming back there sometime after October when habagat (westerly monsoon) is over so that the waves will be less choppy and it will be easier to dive.
This is my very first time to post a video here!
This was taken last weekend on our trip to Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan. There is a sanctuary for giant clams (known in Tagalog as taklobo) there are probably hundreds of them.
Please forgive the jerky motion and lack of resolution, clarity, etc. of the video. This was taken using Olympus TG2, with correction in exposure, contrast and vibrance in Lightroom and then spliced together using Windows Movie Maker.
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).
Here are some jumpshots of my friend (taken with an Olympus TG2) and processed in Lightroom 5 by reducing saturation of all other colors except, blue, orange and red. Clarity and black levels are increased for a grungy look.
Have not posted in a while. Last weekend, my friends and I went to Coron for a 4-day trip.
Coron was the last landfall that Yolanda made before exiting the country (the very reason why our scheduled trip there was postponed). The people of Coron are slowly rising up and moving on with their everyday lives. The tourists are also starting to come back. On land, the damage to Coron is visible due to uprooted or de-leafed trees and destroyed houses (mostly the nipa hut houses).
On sea, the damage is much much worse. Most of the areas we went snorkeling are tear-inducing. Corals damaged! If you’ve seen the damage to Tacloban city, you’ll have a good idea of the damage on corals. Corals, the houses and food source of most fishes, are cracked, uprooted, felled and broken. To me this is the greater tragedy in Coron (after the loss of some lives). Trees will grow quickly, houses can be rebuilt with the right assistance but corals will take years to grow back. Such a tragedy!
Anyway, as a starter, here are my friends doing their best to spell CORON. More pictures to follow in coming blogposts.
I bought a wireless flash (Nissin Di 622 II) and it works great with my 7D (which has a flash commander as the popup flash). I also got the biggest circular reflector I can find. Last Nov. 3, I tried it out with a few of my friends in Eman and Tiny’s apartment.
Such wonders! I’ve never used both properly and again I was amazed at how much they make pictures (particularly portraits) so much better (compared to ambient light only or hard flash only). Both also make my 15-85mm lens appear much sharper. Here they are:
Oyet * Eman
September 11, 2013
Our main purpose for our travel to Cebu really is to swim and see the whale sharks, the biggest fish and is locally known as butanding.
The butandings are regularly sighted in Oslob, Cebu, a coastal town 3.5 hours south of Cebu City. We arrivedat our hotel in Oslob the previous day and had to wake up early to meet the gentle giants. The butandings regularly go near the shore of Brgy. Tan-awan every morning as the fishermen (who have become boatmen for tourists) feed them small shrimps. The cost of meeting the butanding is Php500 per person. Before our boat went to the feeding area to meet the butanding, we were required by local ordinance to attend a very brief orientation conducted by the local government or DENR. The lady basically said: no flash photography, do not touch the whale sharks, stay 4 meters away from the butandings and do not wear sunblock and other skin products (those who did were advised to wash it off at the shower area). After that, it was less then 5 minutes trip to the feeding area.
Meeting the Butandings
Meeting the whale sharks is really a wonderful experience. The butandings we met were all juvenile but their size is already massive (according to the boatmen, the adults come a little later in the morning). They were accustomed to the fishermen feeding them and to the people surrounding them that they seem oblivious to humans and just swimming to and fro the boat where small shrimps are being thrown in the water.
With the boats so close together and with several people snorkeling, diving and swimming, it is impossible to stay 4 meters away from any of whale sharks. At one point, a whale sharks just passed in front of me (the picture of the eye of the fish below) and one brushed against Elaine as she swimming.
As I said, they are really giant despite their large size that I did not fear being harmed by them but fear from drowning (even though I wear a life vest) or just dropping my camera.
I took this next two pictures while I was holding on to the boat and the whale shark was passing in front of me, so close I can touch it if I just extend my hand (of course, per briefing, it is not allowed to touch them so why break the rules?).
Being there, each of us had to take our solo pictures with the butandings…
Elaine, an applicant for an organization of skin divers, is more fearless in swimming and diving away from the boat and thus offered better opportunities to be photographed well with the giants.
That’s me, keeping close to the boat. (left), Eman, giving the thumbs up sign for the experience. (right)
Here are some more pics of the whale shark.
A whale shark swimming, with a smaller fish below it –>
A butanding waiting for the small shrimp being fed by the boatmen.
After our 30-40 minutes of swimming with the whale sharks is up, it was time for us to go back to our hotel, tidy up and rush back to Cebu City for our flight back home. It was such a short time but it is really wonderful and will stay with us, probably for the rest of our lives.
These are my travel companions for our Cebu trip: Oyet, Tiny, Eman, Ellidel, Macky, Elaine and Grant. We were on top of Osmena Peak during Osmena Day.
No outdoor trip last weekend so we had an urban photowalk. Eman borrowed a mask which he will use on his housemates. In Fort Santiago, there is a small circular well and I asked Elaine to pose as Sadako (which she did very very well).
There is a small shrine in Intramuros which I finally chanced to be open to public. The windows opposite the small church provided a wonderful frame-on-frame for a picture.
Oh My Gulay!
Oh My Gulay! is a vegetarian restaurant in Session Road. It is located on the 5th floor of an old building. From the outside, the restaurant (with its curved roof) looks like it could be a gymnasium or a warehouse. There is no elevator in the building so it’s stairs, stairs, stairs (but I guess Baguio residents are used to walking inclines).
A view of rows of buildings in Session Road * Stairs going up to OMG.
When you get inside the restaurant for the first time, you’ll be blown away – it’s surreal! Most of the floors are uneven, the posts are leaning in different directions. There is a mosque-church facade close to a wooden ship, a stage, veranda etc. It’s like a place you’ll see only on your dreams.
Even the comfort room is very different. The area was not made to maximize the number of tables and chairs where people can eat but was made to show the customers different works of art and to give them a new experience.
There are various art stuff around – those that caught my eyes is a carving of an Igorot woman giving birth (near our table) and a stylized fish (also near our table).
There is also a small room for exhibiting artwork but the whole place is actually a big art exhibition center. When we got there, there was preparation for an art exhibit titled “Igorotak” which is supposed to show the culture of the Igorots in our modern times.
And the food… delicious! The onion rings we ordered was the tastiest I’ve ever tried. The OMG rice I tried was also good and I didn’t miss the meat!
Oh My Gulay Rice.
Tired and asleep.
After getting a little nap, it was time for us to go (past 3pm). Eman got his dream birthday cake (a very heavy chocolate caramel cake from Don Henrico’s) and we rode a bus to Eman’s home in Pozzorubio, Pangasinan where we were to have dinner and spend the night.
The next day we’ll be going to Manaoag, Dagupan and then back to Manila… (continued in another post).
Group shot (by Eman).