Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Calaguas Island --- another Paradise found!

Calaguas Island
Vinzons, Camarines Norte
April 20-23, 2011

My love affair with Calaguas was no "love at 1st sight"....first heard about it from Travel Factor's packages to Calaguas and Bagasbas...I am no surfing dude so listed the place on the "places I might want to see" not on the "places I must see". Saw photos of it posted on some internet sites and thought wow what a "nice" beach, but....

And then, my friend Rochelle,  opened the idea of spending the Holy Week there with matching photo of the place. I said yes half-heartedly because I was hesitant about the camping style, not because I am adverse to camping but because my idea of a Holy Week vacation is on a nice white sand beach with comfy resort and not on a tent. A few weeks before the trip, decided to search for inspiring photos and saw a beautiful photo of the whole beach---that sealed my excitement!

Calaguas Island's  long white sand beach
It is quite a long trip---6-8 hours south of Manila plus a 2-hour boat ride on rough seas (make sure you check the moon phase before embarking on this trip).But then, we were rewarded with such glorious sight! Paradise here on earth! Indeed, beauty is worth seeing with your own naked eyes!

Calaguas is a group of islands in the province of Camarines Norte in the Bicol Region. Tinaga island, one of the major islands is where the famous long beach called "Mahabang Buhangin" or popularly known as "Calaguas", is located.

Yes! everything was all worth it! Powdery white sand, emerald green to blue seas, sandy under water up to 10-20 meters from the beach, unspoilt and almost deserted island. The perfect "back to basics" and "roughing it up"-fix for me. A backpackers haven definitely. Not your usual beach +resort luxury.

So what did we do in such a deserted place for 2 1/2 days?

* swim to our hearts' content
* stroll the whole stretch--end to end
* click and click some more (photoshoot galore!)
* eat and eat some more
* nap and nap some more
* read a book
* frisbee game
* jumpshots showdown 

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Land of Gentle People

Oct 2006
Dumaguete City

Flew in to Dumaguete for the weekend to dive Apo Island and a quick look-see of the City. We arrived just around lunch so spent it having lunch at Jake's home and then touring the City. Dumaguete is called the "University town" because of its 4 universities, but best known for Siliman University.

@Siliman University
@ the Marine Lab

After touring the City, we dropped by at Siliman University and also toured its Marine Laboratory. Dinner was at a Jo's Inato  before we strolled Dumaguete's famous Rizal Boulevard promenade at night.

@ the Promenade
The day I was supposed to catch my flight to Manila, the group had lunch at a place (sorry forgot the name) where the locals and visitors throng--- a long shack with long tables and full of smoke. Their specialty, barbecued chicken or pork at very reasonable price (as in mura!). Maybe you can ask the tricycle drivers to bring you to this place. 

Then off we went to buy THE pasalubong one should really bring home to loved ones from Dumaguete---Sylvanas (or Silvanas) ! Yes, the best tasting sylvanas I have ever eaten. Buy it at Sans Rival Cakes and Pastry Shop along San Jose St. near the boulevard. Their Sans Rival is also to die for. Watch out though if you are diabetic, they do not have sugar-free versions yet.

Dumaguete is one of those sleepy towns in the country I'd like to visit and stay for a while just to escape the hustle and bustle of the Metro. One of the places where one can recharge, take it easy, take stock of everything before going back to the rat race.

Thanks to Jake Martinez for hosting us and taking care of the group while in town. We love Dumaguete!

Diving Apo Island

Oct. 2006
Apo Island
Negros Oriental

NatGeo photo by Chelle
A whole day spent diving one of the world's best marine sanctuaries, Apo Island in Negros Oriental. Not to be confused with Mindoro's Apo Reef, an equally rich marine habitat, Apo Island has been Siliman University Marine Laboratory's project. With documented 650 species of fish and an estimated 450 species of corals, it has become one of the Philippines' premier dive sites and a favorite snorkeling area.

This was the time I was still discovering underwater photography and had my very first u/w camera -- a sony---pre-"Fey" period (for those who may not know, "Fey" is my present u/w rig). So no strobes, no macro lenses, no nothing that time, just the simple point and shoot camera in an u/w case with build in flash.
Finding Nemos

Friday, 1 April 2011

Aliwan Fiesta --- Feel the beat!

..an annual gathering of Philippine fiestas' staple --- street dancing! Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are represented by colorful, pulsating street dances that leaves one in awe. If you want to see a glimpse of how various provinces celebrate their fiestas, this is the place to be. 

I witnessed my first Aliwan Fiesta in 2009. Sadly, never had the time to watched again after that. Aliwan Fiesta 2011 will be on April 14-16, 2011---hopefully, I will have the chance to shoot and be mesmerized once again by the spectacle that it is!

April 25, 2009

Decided last minute to spend my free day with my daughter and to shoot Aliwan.

By 3pm, there were a lot of photographers around Aliw Theater taking photos of the many beautiful and creative floats. I decided to join the fray. Whew! what a hot, hot day!...after seeking refuge in a cool restaurant around the area and taking a cool drink, I proceeded to the photographers area to await
the start of the show.

Was not lucky enough to get a "front seat" so contented myself to taking shots between the 
shoulders of the two guys in front of me for the first 3 contingents. After the Dinagyang group, the guy in front of me left and so I moved up front. But with the men squeezing in, I can't hardly move. Stayed only until 6pm as I felt that it might rain anytime.