I remember with fondness our trip to Tondol Beach. It was a long travel from Manila to Tondol but it was worth it.
Since at the time, I did not have a DSLR yet (the 60D was broken due to seawater), it was the Fuji X10 that I used. This is the first release of X10 with the sensor blooming but it took wonderful pictures (loooove the lens on that camera).
This is also the first time I learned about highlight-shadow toning and graduated filters in Lightroom so every shot was made colorful.
My Fuji X10 continues to take pictures (now with my sister) but the viewfinder is broken (no longer focuses/zooms) but it was and still is a great camera.
February 26, 2012
After our breakfast on Day 2, we decided to hire a boat that will take us to Tanduyong and Cory Islands. The cost of the boat is P500 but since we cannot fit in the boat, the price became P600 for 2 trips each.
The boat first took Tiny, Jem and Badz to Cory Island and it returned for Oyet, Jason and me. The boat ride is short (less than 15 minutes) and on that pleasant sunny day was not vomit-inducing.
Cory Island is a small islet that formed sometime between 1986-1992 (during the term of Pres. Cory Aquino, hence the name). From afar, it looks like it has white sand but these are actually dead corals bleached white by the sun. The left side (coming from Tondol) is full of submerged seaweeds (and sea urchins, says the boatmen) while the right side is suitable for swimming though the waves are a little stronger.
When we arrived in Cory Island, we were all occupied with different things. Jem was shooting seaweeds or sea urchins on one side, Badz was swimming on the other side, Tiny and Oyet were discussing something (love life or whatever) while Jason and I were at the opposite ends of the small island taking photographs.
A 360 degree view of Cory Island.
Oyet testing the waters. * Jem taking some underwater shots.
After a while, we got tired of swimming so we went to the nipa cottage for some drink (Royal Tru-Orange), some chat and some rest. We also chatted with our boatmen and learned some things about the island, its origins and other things.
Some sea shells.
After feeling rested, we boarded the boat again to go to Tanduyong Island.
Tanduyong Island is a bigger island closer to the main beach of Tondol. During low tide, you can walk from the beach to this island as the water is really low. There is a caretaker for the island as the island is supposedly owned by someone (an official in the government or some other bigwig). There is a fee of P10 or P20 each.
Walking along the beach around the island.
Tanduyong is just ok. It will look probably better if not for the dried seaweeds cluttering the shore. There are also some concrete houses under construction but were abandoned (or just not yet fully completed). Not finding a suitable place to swim on the side of the island where we landed, we decided to walk around the island.
Watching a starfish (in our middle) for more than an hour (photo by Jem).
We found a suitable place that is relatively free from seaweeds (the place where the group photo above was taken). We spent more than an hour in this site, just talking and watching a lone starfish – watching it move, watching it flip upright with a big rock placed on top of it. It was amazing! Didn’t know starfish could bend its appendages.
We either realized that we needed to go back, eat and pack or our stomachs reminded us but we decided to leave the starfish alone to go on its way. On arriving back in our cottage and tent, Tiny cooked carbonara (which is delicious by the way), cleaned ourselves and hurriedly pack (Oyet still holds a grudge for the hurried packing).
The long bridge connecting Anda to the rest of Pangasinan.
We arrived at the bus station but the next trip back to Manila was an ordinary bus (no aircon) so we decided to wait for an additional hour or so for the aircon bus.
We were all tired so on the trip back home, probably all of us were asleep. I used my malong to cover my body and face and slept through the whole trip and just woke up when we arrived in the bus terminal in Cubao (did not even wake up during out stopovers).
It was an amazing trip! The beach was nice, the weather was pleasant, the pictures were nice and of course, the people I was with were great! It was worth the travel time (more than 6 hours one way), the expense (around Php1600 each), and the sunburn (on my shoulders). I definitely want to go back but there are other beaches and places to explore, so Tondol, wait for me. I will be back probably after a year!
Group shot in Cory Island.
Tiny and Oyet on the beach.
February 25-26, 2012
This is my long overdue post on the wonderful time we had in Tondol Beach Pangasinan.
Tondol Beach is in Anda, Pangasinan. Anda is called the mother of the Hundred Islands in Alaminos since it is an big island separated from mainland Luzon by a River and is only a few kilometers west of the famed islets. It is probably bigger than all the hundred islands combined.
I’ve read in some blogs that Anda offers the best beach that the province of Pangasinan has to offer. I’ve initially set on a trip to Patar Beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan but after seeing how Tondol Beach looks in google maps (kilometers of exposed white sand), I decided to plan the trip to Anda instead.
With my trusty and ever kaladkarin companions, we set out to Anda, Pangasinan. Joining us for this trip is Ellidel (Eman’s friend) and her companions. We did several research on how to get to Anda as it is not a famous town and information on the web is rather paltry.
Another sunset shot.
Going to Tondol entails riding a bus to Alaminos, Pangasinan (which took us about 4 hours due to traffic), a jeepney ride to the town of Anda (about an hour) and hiring a tricycle to Anda Beach (30 minutes or so). On our arrival in Alaminos, we had lunch and bought food and other supplies in CSI Warehouse Supermarket.
Instead of riding the public jeepney to Anda, we just hired one to take us to the town of Anda and bring us directly to Tondol Beach. (There were tricycle drivers asking us to hire them to bring us to Tondol but it is too far for a tricycle).
Our color coordinated tents.
On arriving in Tondol Beach, there is a minimal entrance fee (P10 or P20 per person). Ellidel and her companions looked for a room to rent while the six of us pitched our tents (we like roughing it). Oyet and I have the same model of tent (Apexus tadpole) while Jem and Badz have just bought an Apexus Halcon tent of the same but darker hue.
My first intentionally skewed landscape shot (sunset).
Similar to previous trips, Jem and Badz are our cooks with Jason, Oyet and Tiny helping out while I bum around. They cooked afritada and some other dish I can’t remember.
Mardi Gras vodka schnapps (left) and our shot glass (right).
Jason and I are supposed to share a tent but since it was hot and humid, he decided to sleep on the cottage while I snore my way into the morning inside the tent.
While they are cooking breakfast, I decided to go to the other side of the beach (the side opposite the rising sun) and take my photos there.
What wonderful light!
Early Morning Calm.
My picture taken by Tiny. I won’t let her forget this since the horizon is not level!
Breakfast includes fried rice, scrambled eggs (one with tomato and another without), tinapa (smoked fish), Mah-Ling (chinese meat loaf) and salted eggs.
After our breakfast, we decided to hire a boat to go to Tanduyong Island and Cory Island.
This picture was shot using Fuji X10’s Adv (Panorama) mode. I guess the panorama doesn’t capture as much detail (in terms of resolution) as single frames but the effect can be cool. There can also be jagged lines if the panning motion is not a clean sweep.
Fuji X10 using EXR mode.
When I take landscape shots, I always make it a point to keep the horizon level (while shooting and in post-processing). This is the first time that I made a landscape shot with the horizon intentionally skewed and I like the result.
February 24, 2012 – This image was shot in Tondol Beach (public beach) in Anda, Pangasinan using Fuji X10. I just love Fuji’s colors (which of course I enhance in Lightroom).
I love my Fuji X10. It’s a small camera but the quality of its pictures can rival that of my Canon DSLR shot using a kit lens. I love its pictures and I love the colors!
What I also love about this camera is that it’s small enough and can be relatively simple enough so that I can concentrate on framing and composition rather than technical stuff like aperture, shutter speed, etc.
However, as many have noted, there is an issue with white orbs (or discs) appearing at some pictures. I’ve taken perhaps hundreds of pictures with this cam and have only seen these white discs only once.
The picture below is of a sunset in Anda, Pangasinan and it shows the white discs on the sun peering through some foliage and branches.
Despite the white orbs, many of my friends still like the picture.
Other than the white orbs, the Fuji X10 is a perfect little camera. Here are some additional pictures taken (the same morning) with Fjona.
The above pic has been post-processed in lightroom (split-toning) and some additional sharpness.
Another pic (also from Tondol Beach):
I’ve also used this camera exclusively on our Hot Air Balloon Fest in Clark but that is for another post.