Stalking the most beautiful places in the Philippines


Welcome, welcome 'o weary traveler... from where do you cometh? Are you seeking new lands to conquer, perhaps planning a visit to the Philippines? Or are you simply feeling home-sick and hungry for photographs of home? Whatever, feel free to look or share. An adventure awaits.

I try to post new images weekly from my travels across this beautiful land. If you like what you see, please leave a comment or two. Or write me a note, I'd love to hear from where you cometh. Enjoy. Bobby (bobbyw59@yahoo.com) Join this group to receive new postcards weekly or become a fan of my Facebook page.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

#329 Colorful Watermelons




While combing the countryside for landscapes, we often run into interesting folks busy making a living. Photographing folks-at-work is of particular interest to us. Aside from the insight of how the rest of the country make ends meet, we feel certain some of these professions may disappear with the constant march of progress. 

Along the road in barangay Pe├▒afrancia, just outside the municipality of Viga in Catanduanes, we chanced upon Oliver and his son Reymark. Oliver is a farmer who sought to differentiate himself by growing and peddling watermelon of several colors. We counted four: red, yellow, and two shades of orange, which in the noontime heat, were equally sweet and refreshing. Live long, watermelon farmers! Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: We love taking landscapes, but it's the environmental portraits that we can't enough of.)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

#328 Cameo in the Landscape



Last week, I shared a postcard I took in Virac Catanduanes, where Mount Mayon made a most unexpected appearance on the horizon. So while we're still on the topic of cameo appearances, today's postcard taken last year might be of interest.

The story started at dusk on Biri Island in Northern Samar. But rather than sharing a photograph taken at peak light, when the heavens burned of crimson and vermillion, I chose to share one taken shortly after that, when the most intense colors have faded into a burnt orange. But why?

It was only when the colors had faded, that the clouds parted to reveal an unexpected visitor on the horizon. Poised in grace, and peeking from the lower right hand side of my composition, is her majesty herself Mount Mayon. She had watched the entire spectacle with us from over 100 km away in Legaspi City! Now that's a record cameo in any book! Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: Sometimes, the best photograph is the one with the best story.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

#327 Pareidolia


Pareidolia: seeing what isn’t there.

Over beer, someone told us about this place called Talisoy beach in Virac Catanduanes, where a huge rock by the sea looks like something that's not supposed to be there. Really? And off we went...

It wasn’t initially apparent, until we rounded a curve, and we immediately understood what he meant. Do you see it yet? If you guessed a boulder projects the likeness of Michelangelo's David, down to the Greek haircut, the sharp nose, and the square jaw, you would be right. Amazing isn’t it? But wait, because there's more.

Start from David's eyes and draw a straight line in the direction of his gaze. Notice anything else? That black cone on the horizon is none other than the majestic mount Mayon across the Lagonoy Gulf in Albay province. Now that's no longer your imagination. Enjoy.


(Pixel-peepers: The clouds parted just as we pointed our cameras at David. Even grand dames want their pictures taken with a handsome Greek dude!)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

#326 Off the Beaten Track



"I can see a small tributary down there. And where it meets the sea there appears to be a small fishing village beside it. You think that might be a good place to stalk dusk today?" "Oh why not?!!" That's the kind of conversation that launched a thousand ships, and today it will lead us to a place we haven't been. Again. 

A good 45 minutes later, we found ourselves within the sleepy town of Canlubi in Pandan Catanduanes, where we finally found a few stands of Pandan trees after which the town was named. Literally off-the-beaten-track, the folks here don't get a lot of visitors. Heck, they don't even have a corner store, neither the comforts of a modern life. Isolated. Unknown. And forgotten.

In the end dusk wasn't majestic, but it didn't disappoint either. It was too cloudy for glory, but some light made it through, peppering the sky with swathes of orange lined with crimson. The highlight was making new friends there, friends we exchanged phone numbers with, and that's more than we originally expected in these parts. Enjoy.


(Pixel-peepers: After sunset don't be in a hurry to leave, lest you miss the most colorful part of the day!)


Friday, November 11, 2016

#325 A Gentle Wind



Earlier this week, we lost someone very dear. He was a simple man, yet strong, pious, and inspiring. He touched many from his pulpit. He loved his family. But most of all he loved life. He will be dearly missed. A gentle wind had come and passed. Where do we go from here?

I took this photograph from atop the town of Pandan on the northern tip of Catanduanes. At that time, standing at its highest point, at the trail head with the sea on the horizon, I simply wanted to find out how far I can see, that is, if I could actually see tomorrow. Well that day has come. What does tomorrow bring? 

When we lose someone we love, we never really heal completely. But somehow, some way, we need to get on with our lives without them, with the hope that tomorrow brings a new day. That's how generations before us had managed. And I guess that's how we will too.  

Godspeed Dad.  

Sunday, October 9, 2016

#324 Silence is Golden


In the wee hours of dawn, you can be surrounded by humanity yet be pleasantly alone.

In Tabaco City in Albay, we hauled ourselves to a small fishing port that extended into the sea. Standing on the edge of that port, we found a dramatic view of Mayon volcano's northern slope, looming over a fishing community that hugged the coast. In those unholy hours of morn, there was nary a soul in sight, not a sound in the night. It almost seemed like the entire universe, including the volcano, was fast asleep. There was just the occasional waft of cold sea air, the unmistakable smell of salt everywhere, and an eerie but golden silence. Cherish the moment. Enjoy.

(Pixel-Peepers: Here's a good reason to own a tripod: when it's still too dark for the eyes to see, the camera can already capture. Today's postcard was taken with a 2 second exposure, ISO 400, f/4)


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Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
Say helloBobbyw59@yahoo.com
But wait, there's more...
For those who've inquired about buying prints of my postcards, you may purchase them directly from master printmaker Arnel Murillo (murilloarnel@yahoo.com), one of the country's foremost fine-art printmakers.  Arnel uses archival inks and museum-grade paper to ensure his prints will not fade. You will not be disappointed. (All my images are provided gratis to help showcase the beauty of our country. But if you feel generous, help me uplift the lives of the Children of Payatas.  No donation is too big or too small. Get in touch with Fr. Aldrin Suan at aldrinsuan@yahoo.com of the Vincentian Missionaries in the Philippines. As always, thanks and enjoy.)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

#323 Storm on Biri


Your destiny meets you on the road you take to avoid it. (Sifu)

To be outdoors during a storm is scary enough, but to also be on an island surrounded by treacherous water? Having read many a traveler's account describing the wild & swirling sea around Biri island in Northern Samar, we elected to go on the calmest month of the year and hired the biggest boat money can buy. We patted ourselves on the back when we got there uneventfully. 

But on our last sunrise, a storm blew-in unexpectedly and surrounded us with exactly what we had sought to avoid: ominous clouds sending thunderous sheets of rain onto the raging sea below it. Quaking in our boots? And miss this spectacle against a fire-lit sky? Fat chance. We went to work. Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: The farther you stand, the bigger the picture you can see. In one shot, a raging storm on my left and a wall of rain just below it. On my right is a silhouette of Bel-At, one of the more iconic rock formations along Biri's northern coast. Look closely and you'll see ace photographer Noli Gabilo on its summit, exactly where you'd find a photographer of this caliber.)


Sign-up to receive new postcards weekly by email 
Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
Say helloBobbyw59@yahoo.com
But wait, there's more...
For those who've inquired about buying prints of my postcards, you may purchase them directly from master printmaker Arnel Murillo (murilloarnel@yahoo.com), one of the country's foremost fine-art printmakers.  Arnel uses archival inks and museum-grade paper to ensure his prints will not fade. You will not be disappointed. (All my images are provided gratis to help showcase the beauty of our country. But if you feel generous, help me uplift the lives of the Children of Payatas.  No donation is too big or too small. Get in touch with Fr. Aldrin Suan at aldrinsuan@yahoo.com of the Vincentian Missionaries in the Philippines. As always, thanks and enjoy.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#322 Vanishing Tattoos



There comes a time when you need to put your camera to good use. Photographing landscapes or stalking twilight, well they are good uses too. But there's one that's time-sensitive: a chance to document a vanishing culture of our times. 

We were in Anunang in Kalinga, a community of tattooed women well past their 70's. They sport full body tattoos all the way to their arms and wrists.  Sadly, it's a practice succeeding generations no longer indulges. In as little as 20 more years, all proof of this cultural expression will vanish. So head to the hills with a camera and a good hat. Because posterity demands it. Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: Harsh noon-day light will wash-out the colors in your photographs. But there's always black & white. Snap on a lens hood and underexpose slightly. Sometimes that's all it takes.)


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new postcards weekly by email 
Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
Say helloBobbyw59@yahoo.com
But wait, there's more...
For those who've inquired about buying prints of my postcards, you may purchase them directly from master printmaker Arnel Murillo (murilloarnel@yahoo.com), one of the country's foremost fine-art printmakers.  Arnel uses archival inks and museum-grade paper to ensure his prints will not fade. You will not be disappointed. (All my images are provided gratis to help showcase the beauty of our country. But if you feel generous, help me uplift the lives of the Children of Payatas.  No donation is too big or too small. Get in touch with Fr. Aldrin Suan at aldrinsuan@yahoo.com of the Vincentian Missionaries in the Philippines. As always, thanks and enjoy.)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

#321 Believe


Sometimes, you just have to believe.

I was stalking dawn along the shallows just south of Legazpi City in Albay. I found my foreground object, a fishing boat moored just off the beach. Behind it, the sky had started to glow. An orange dawn soon began to overpower the blue pall that had reigned supreme. But the boat alone didn't appear to be a strong enough composition. I took an insurance shot, but knew it can only be second best. Should I change my vantage point? Do I have time? While debating with myself, someone walked into my composition, and in an instant completed my composition. When you're forced to start without a clear view of the end, do trust that things have a way of turning out just fine. Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: Slightly overexpose for effect, or slightly underexpose for impact. The operative word here is... slightly. Go figure.)



Sign-up
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new postcards weekly by email 
Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
Say helloBobbyw59@yahoo.com
But wait, there's more...
For those who've inquired about buying prints of my postcards, you may purchase them directly from master printmaker Arnel Murillo (murilloarnel@yahoo.com), one of the country's foremost fine-art printmakers.  Arnel uses archival inks and museum-grade paper to ensure his prints will not fade. You will not be disappointed. (All my images are provided gratis to help showcase the beauty of our country. But if you feel generous, help me uplift the lives of the Children of Payatas.  No donation is too big or too small. Get in touch with Fr. Aldrin Suan at aldrinsuan@yahoo.com of the Vincentian Missionaries in the Philippines. As always, thanks and enjoy.)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

#320 The Music of Angels



We were driving along a deserted mountain road... minding our own business... when the night sky suddenly exploded with the most awesome music of angels. (Pause.) Ok, that wasn't exactly the whole truth.

We were in Lubuagan in Kalinga, somewhere along the winding road between Tabuk in Kalinga and Bontoc in the Mountain Province. We drove out in the dead of the night... just to be at this point on the road at exactly this time... to stalk twilight. When we saw the moisture snuck into the valley below us, and the sparesly-clouded night sky that was clear all the way to the horizon, we knew the ingredients for something awesome was at hand. Enjoy. 

(Pixel-peepers: When you come face-to-face with a scene that makes your jaw drop to the ground, there is little time to change lenses or to whip out your filters. Just get your composition and exposure right. A rising sun has naturally warm tones. It'll take care of the colors.)


Sign-up
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new postcards weekly by email 
Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
Say helloBobbyw59@yahoo.com
But wait, there's more...
For those who've inquired about buying prints of my postcards, you may purchase them directly from master printmaker Arnel Murillo (murilloarnel@yahoo.com), one of the country's foremost fine-art printmakers.  Arnel uses archival inks and museum-grade paper to ensure his prints will not fade. You will not be disappointed. (All my images are provided gratis to help showcase the beauty of our country. But if you feel generous, help me uplift the lives of the Children of Payatas.  No donation is too big or too small. Get in touch with Fr. Aldrin Suan at aldrinsuan@yahoo.com of the Vincentian Missionaries in the Philippines. As always, thanks and enjoy.)

Monday, September 19, 2016

#319 Comrades in Light



When the sky bursts with the colors of fire and brimstone, it can overwhelm the senses, and eventually one's emotions. It helps to have a friend or two by your side, if only to share your awe and disbelief. It was just like that while exploring the unusual rock formations on Biri Island in Northern Samar.

Wandering across our country for the last 10 years... experiencing places unseen and meeting people unknown... had been one of the greatest gifts of a lifetime. I couldn't have enjoyed it more, or learned as much, without wanderlust friends in tow. Our trips were opportunities to photograph the beauty of our country... yet somehow... like the flap of a butterfly's wing or the expanding ripples in a pond... I suspect we all knew these trips were more about just taking pictures. To them I dedicate today's postcard. Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: When the light-show begins, most instinctively rush towards front row seats. But every so often, consider the road less taken, or the scene least expected. Because someone's got to capture the bigger picture.)



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new postcards weekly by email 
Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
Say helloBobbyw59@yahoo.com
But wait, there's more...
For those who've inquired about buying prints of my postcards, you may purchase them directly from master printmaker Arnel Murillo (murilloarnel@yahoo.com), one of the country's foremost fine-art printmakers.  Arnel uses archival inks and museum-grade paper to ensure his prints will not fade. You will not be disappointed. (All my images are provided gratis to help showcase the beauty of our country. But if you feel generous, help me uplift the lives of the Children of Payatas.  No donation is too big or too small. Get in touch with Fr. Aldrin Suan at aldrinsuan@yahoo.com of the Vincentian Missionaries in the Philippines. As always, thanks and enjoy.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

#318 Chasing down a Dream


As a kid I'd seen photographs, even paintings of Mayon Volcano, with quaint rice fields and carabaos at its fore. I had always wondered if such a scene still existed, considering huge strides in population and progress since. But shortly after sunrise, while driving inland from the coast where we stalked dawn, we found exactly such a scene, and almost to the letter!

We were in the town of San Vicente, a short drive west of Tabaco City in Albay. The morning was still young, with its golden light splashed across the landscape. In the foreground a water buffalo was grazing near a freshly-harvested rice field. On the horizon, Mayon's northern slope, convoluted with gullies, betrayed her power within. It was just a dream, but I had chased it down. Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: Retain the shadows in your photographs to make them more three dimensional. It helps when you shoot with the sun low on the horizon. Under-exposing slightly doesn't hurt either.)


Sign-up to receive new postcards weekly by email 
Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
Say helloBobbyw59@yahoo.com
But wait, there's more...
For those who've inquired about buying prints of my postcards, you may purchase them directly from master printmaker Arnel Murillo (murilloarnel@yahoo.com), one of the country's foremost fine-art printmakers.  Arnel uses archival inks and museum-grade paper to ensure his prints will not fade. You will not be disappointed. (All my images are provided gratis to help showcase the beauty of our country. But if you feel generous, help me uplift the lives of the Children of Payatas.  No donation is too big or too small. Get in touch with Fr. Aldrin Suan at aldrinsuan@yahoo.com of the Vincentian Missionaries in the Philippines. As always, thanks and enjoy.)

Monday, September 12, 2016

#317 Slumber Party


We were across the bay in Manito in Albay, southeast of the majestic Mount Mayon, searching for foregrounds worthy of her majesty. The goal was to photograph her from the north and the south, and then again from her east and her west. To see her in 360 degrees is to discover how life in these parts have come together around her.

The morning turned-out to be wet and muggy. Dark clouds on the horizon shut the sun down, enveloped the environs in a blue cocoon, and left us scrambling to bring at least one good photograph home. It helped that the silhouette of her perfect cone occasionally appeared, but never without a veil-of-a-cloud we wished would just go away. A strong wind was blowing from the east, and those mangrove seedlings in the foreground fluttered with each gust, just like kids dancing in a slumber party. It gave me an idea. Click. Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: When there's not enough light to shoot handheld, your "second best friend" is your trusty tripod. It will allow long exposures that turn boring waves into a calm and silky sea. Anything  swaying in the wind becomes a motion-blur, a bonus! And your "best friend" during times like these? Lady Luck, of course. Because skills are over-rated!)

Sign-up to receive new postcards weekly by email 
Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
Say helloBobbyw59@yahoo.com
But wait, there's more...
For those who've inquired about buying prints of my postcards, you may purchase them directly from master printmaker Arnel Murillo (murilloarnel@yahoo.com), one of the country's foremost fine-art printmakers.  Arnel uses archival inks and museum-grade paper to ensure his prints will not fade. You will not be disappointed. (All my images are provided gratis to help showcase the beauty of our country. But if you feel generous, help me uplift the lives of the Children of Payatas.  No donation is too big or too small. Get in touch with Fr. Aldrin Suan at aldrinsuan@yahoo.com of the Vincentian Missionaries in the Philippines. As always, thanks and enjoy.)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

#316 A Perfect Cone


The night was pitch-black save for a scattering of lights on the horizon. Mount Mayon is just above that row of lights, I was told. Yet it was still too dark to make anything out, not even a silhouette, so I pointed my camera in that general direction. Using the edge of the water to guide my composition, I leveled my horizon and set a timed-exposure based on experience. On my third try, the grand old dame popped-out from the evening sky, with its perfect cone in ostentatious display. The sight sent shivers all the way to my toes.

It had been a frustrating few days.  We drove around the base of Mount Mayon in Legazpi City, viewing it at different times of the day, and from different directions, mostly to find it obscured by low flying clouds. That we'd never see it's perfect cone this trip, the thought had crossed our minds more than once. But as in everything else in life, perseverance eventually pays off. And in this case, in spades. Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: Even when it's not bright enough to see anything, a camera's digital sensor can collect enough light if the exposure is long enough. Fear not the dark.)


Sign-up to receive new postcards weekly by email 
Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
Say helloBobbyw59@yahoo.com
But wait, there's more...
For those who've inquired about buying prints of my postcards, you may purchase them directly from master printmaker Arnel Murillo (murilloarnel@yahoo.com), one of the country's foremost fine-art printmakers.  Arnel uses archival inks and museum-grade paper to ensure his prints will not fade. You will not be disappointed. (All my images are provided gratis to help showcase the beauty of our country. But if you feel generous, help me uplift the lives of the Children of Payatas.  No donation is too big or too small. Get in touch with Fr. Aldrin Suan at aldrinsuan@yahoo.com of the Vincentian Missionaries in the Philippines. As always, thanks and enjoy.)

Monday, March 28, 2016

#315 The Soul of a Place


In my travels, I'm always on the lookout for that one scene that captures the soul of a place. It can be a grand landscape, local folks at work, or portraits of real people. It's a bonus if I can capture two or more of these elements in a single photograph.

Still along the coast in Culasi in Antique, the sun was starting to set, bathing the landscape with a warm and romantic light. On the horizon I can see the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, the signature characteristic of this place. I can see fishing boats strewn everywhere, and in the distance, fishermen are pulling their nets to shore, all suggesting how they live off the sea here. Just then a bare-foot mother and child, in affectionate embrace and engaged in lively banter, walked past me and right into my composition. A gentle people who live off the sea in this beautiful place embraced by water and mountains. Click. Enjoy.

Pixel-peepers: Much had been written about photographing during the golden hours, where the warm sharp colors can make your pictures pop. It's showing every afternoon at a landscape near you, don't miss it.


Sign-up
 to receive 
new postcards weekly by email 
Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
Say helloBobbyw59@yahoo.com
But wait, there's more...
For those who've inquired about buying prints of my postcards, you may purchase them directly from master printmaker Arnel Murillo (murilloarnel@yahoo.com), one of the country's foremost fine-art printmakers.  Arnel uses archival inks and museum-grade paper to ensure his prints will not fade. You will not be disappointed. (All my images are provided gratis to help showcase the beauty of our country. But if you feel generous, help me uplift the lives of the Children of Payatas.  No donation is too big or too small. Get in touch with Fr. Aldrin Suan at aldrinsuan@yahoo.com of the Vincentian Missionaries in the Philippines. As always, thanks and enjoy.)

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