Category Archives: Travel

A Short Trip to the Banaue Rice Terraces

The BANAUE RICE TERRACES

LOCATION:  Bontoc, Ifugao PHILIPPINES

It was one spontaneous trip to the Banaue Rice Terraces.  Our event in Nueva Vizcaya was still at 6pm and we had nothing to do the whole day.  Thus, when it was suggested that we go to the Banaue Rice Terraces which was in the neighboring province of Ifugao, we all said YES!

But the trip would be short and the farthest that we could go was in the view deck.  Well, Banaue is Banaue, so off we went to see the world famous rice terraces.

I only see the Banaue Rice Terraces in movies and photos.  I know it is breathtaking and majestic as I see it in the movies.  But to be there and see it right before my eyes?

Oh, it was graaaand. . .

64

I couldn’t believe that I was actually there.  It was breathtaking.  I wasn’t able to get much photos as I would normally do.  I spent our limited time in the view deck (which was 30 minutes) just gazing and marveling in awe at the sight.

59

The weather wasn’t that great.  On our way there we encountered rains and thick fog, but we weren’t complaining.  We didn’t allow the weather to dampen our excitement.  Even the way to the view deck was beautiful.  We encountered some views and sights that were also breathtaking.  And we really had to ask our driver to stop and have a few minutes to enjoy this particular view.

101

When we reached the view deck, the fog was thick and the clouds were low, thus, we didn’t have a clear view of the entire vista of the legendary rice terraces.  But it was enough.  There were some elderly wearing native costumes, some pretty flowers here and there, and some souvenirs too.

96

But even without these, the view of the rice terraces alone was enough.  The whole trip to get there just to spend 30 minutes of gazing at this beautiful man made masterpiece of nature was worth it.  I dunno if I will ever go back to that place again, but those 30 minutes … that was precious.  It was worth it.

I can now say that I have seen with my very eyes what was once considered as the “8th Wonder of the World”.  I am satisfied.

Check out the gallery… (click on a thumbnail for a better appreciation of the image).

Advertisements

A Friendly Waterfall

THE KABIGAN WATERFALLS

LOCATION:  Burgos, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

32

Time Stood Still

We arrived at around noon.  We were told that it will take around 30 minutes to get to the spot.  However it seemed like the trek to the waterfalls was long.  I think it was almost an hour.  And as we started to get deeper into the path,  time stood still  (I think).

42

I felt the welcome vibe as we got deeper into the valley.   The sound of the nearby stream accompanied us as we trekked the path leading to the spot where the waterfalls was.

45

And We Felt Welcome

It wasn’t a clear and straight path though. There were some blind turns and small makeshift bridges along the way.  But what was great about it was, the blind turns would open to beautiful clearings.  I had to stop and gaze at the vista and surroundings and inhale the experience.  It was as if it was welcoming us each time we come from a blind turn.

We met some travelers that came from the waterfalls.  All wet and  seemed happy with their experience of the waterfall.  When asked if the falls was nice, they gave the thumbs up sign.  That got us more excited.  When we arrived at the spot, we were surprised to see not much people there.

36

32

It was an Enchanting and Mystifying Experience

The spot where the waterfalls was was serene.  The sound of the water falling from about 40-50 meters above was surprisingly calming.  The cold mist coming from it was enough for me to feel that I was welcome.  It was enchanting and mystifying.

33

The place wasn’t much of a “tourist spot” kind of place.  It wasn’t grand visually.  But the vibe and experience was a traveller’s find.  It leaves a mark in your spirit.

44

 

HERE’S THE REST OF THE EXPERIENCE …

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jeepneys of Manila

The KING OF THE ROAD (The Jeepneys of Manila)

Beautiful. Colorful. Fun. Amazing.

03182009_013

The talent and creativity of the Filipinos as painters creating masterpieces using the body of the jeepney (a popular means of public transportation in the Philippines), as their canvass.

 

Enjoy the Philippine Jeepney!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Downtown Manila Today

The ORIGINAL MANILA BUSINESS DISTRICT

Location:  Binondo, City of Manila, Philippines

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The original Business District and center of power of the country. This used to be the hub of the Stock Exchange, banks, big department stores and other primary businesses.  Though the banks’ main offices have moved to Makati and Ortigas, also in Muntinlupa,  the Binondo district is still the primary business district of the city of Manila where the Chinese business community are mostly based.

Regina Building
Regina Building
Perez Samanillo Building
Perez Samanillo Building
Post Office Building along the Pasig River
Post Office Building along the Pasig River

The old buildings are still standing inspite of the urban modernization and development.  Efforts are now being made to preserve such structures.  Noteworthy in the list are the Regina Building, First United Building, Capitol Theater, PNB, BPI, Calvo Building, and the other establishments such as the Syvel’s Dept. Store., Berg Department Store, etc.

It is rich and enchanting.  Even with the grime and dirt, one cannot not be fascinated by its charm and whispers.  I am definitely going back and savor the essence of the place.

Check out the gallery… (click on a thumbnail for a better appreciation of the image).

Provincial Scene

LOCATION:  Isabela, Philippines

The bus ride from Manila to Cagayan Valley takes about 12 hours.  We left Manila at 5 in the morning.  As the sunset was about to set in, the bus was coursing through the highways of Isabela, the province before Cagayan.

The view from the bus was beautiful.  I decided to take some shots from a moving vehicle running at a speed of at least 100 kph in the national highway.

Provincial life is mostly about agriculture, fishing and tourism.  At the end of each day, the usual images are farmers going home from a hard day’s work, farmers bathing their carabaos in the river, the fields turning into golden yellow which means that harvest is near, and of course, nature at its bounty and beauty over a canvass of bright blue horizon.  I didn’t let all these pass.  I made sure I captured these even if I am aware that the photos may be blurry because I was shooting from a moving vehicle.

These photos are what I salvaged from a set of blurry shots.  I am happy.

(You may click any of the thumbnail to see the larger version of the image)

From Dusk Till Noon in Saud Beach

The SAUD BEACH

LOCATION:  Pagudpud.  Ilocos Norte, Philippines

311

 

We arrived in Saud at almost 6pm and dusk has already set in.  I rushed to the beach to get a short glimpse (and some shots) of the sunset.  It was beautiful.  The waves are perfect for a number of surfing dudes who were having the time of their lives that day.  The wind was fierce, thus the sound of the waves and the splashes on the rocks by the seashore sounded like rolling thunder.

The next day, I woke up at 5am to watch the sunrise.  It was so cold and I had a hard time setting up my camera and focusing it.  The mist kept my lens blurry, thus, I can’t focus my lens.  I decided to just marvel at the scene and take a few snaps once in a while.  We left before noon and I managed to take a few more shots under the scorching sun.

I like the vibe here.  It is warm and personal, and I felt safe.  The locals and the tourists seem to connect with you in a pleasant and personal way.  You feel welcome but your are also respected in your own personal space.

To say that Saud Beach is the Boracay of the North does not give honor to any of these two beaches.  Each has its own enigma far different from each other.

This is my kind of beach.  I want to go back to this place.  And I wouldn’t mind going back again and again and again.

(You may click any of the thumbnail to see the larger version of the image)

Boracay Now

LOCATION:  BORACAY BEACH, Malay, Aklan Philippines

For a landscape photographer, the best time to shoot is the hour before sunrise and the hour during sunset.  Thus, I ventured much in the island at those select hours with my camera and shoot as much as I want.  In between those hours, I didn’t shoot much.  I simply enjoyed the sun and the beach which was teeming with people who are just having their sweet time.  I also took it as an opportunity to explore the strip and tasted it’s magic while clicking my camera once in a while.

This is Boracay today.  Some of its allure is now gone but it is still mystifying.  Like a woman who is past her prime, but is still captivating and attractive.  You just can’t ignore it. (You may click any of the thumbnail to see the larger version of the image)

Boracay Sunset Romance

LOCATION:  BORACAY BEACH, Malay Aklan, Philippines

My romance with the sunset started at the pier.  The island was just a glimpse away.  But the boat that would bring us to the island will be late for about 30 minutes.  Oh Boracay … so near yet so far.

Even at the pier alone, one could not ignore the temptation of the beauty and passion of the sun as it starts to set for the day.  Amidst the backdrop of the island, the boats, the cargo vessel, the passengers, and the calm sea, I marveled at nature’s beauty.  I didn’t let it pass, I fired my camera away.  When I saw my first shot on the LCD monitor of the camera, I knew, I’m gonna be having a great romance with the island.

And the next two days proved that I was right.  For two days, as the sun was about to give its final performance for the day, there I was, walking down the whole strip marveling at its mystery and swallowing its beauty.  As the minutes passed, the vibe changes from fun, to awesome, to dramatic, to intense, to jawdropping, and finally, to gratitude.  The experience would take about an hour for each day, and it was enough.  As darkness starts to envelop the island and the lights are being lit in the establishments along the strip, I would take one last glance at the horizon and whisper, “Thank you God for that awesome experience.”

(You may click any of the thumbnail to see the larger version of the image)

3 Mornings in Boracay

LOCATION:  BORACAY BEACH, Malay Aklan, Philippines

It was my first time to be in what was considered for years as “the Best Beach in the World”.

Of course, I had high expectations.   And the view didn’t fail me.  For 3 mornings, I would wake up early just to have a glimpse of the sun brushing its light to the giant canvass in front of me.  The boats, vendors and the early risers, including the dogs added to the texture of this one giant masterpiece.

It’s a magnificent sight to behold and capture.  In minutes, the drama and the story change as I stare at nature’s ultimate canvass, the sky and the sea.  The sunlight playing with the clouds, the horizon, the waves, the boat, the early swimmers, the trees, the sand … oh! breathtaking.

Fortunately, I was aware of the camera in my hand.  Thus, I was able to capture some beautiful images of my 3 mornings in Boracay.

(You may click any of the thumbnail to see the larger version of the image)