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 ( Join this group to receive new postcards weekly or become a fan of my Facebook page.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

#9 Hope Springs Eternal

Where will you be in 2009?

Most of us don't plan until the new year arrives, except when it's arriving this week. Yikes. Will we all be back to the routine of life and work? For more of the same? Do we want more of the same? The world is an imperfect place, and the past year has shown us it can be a pretty scary one as well. But no matter the tribulations there is always room for hope. All twilight photographers know the darkest part of the night is shortly before the sun comes out. Such too is life.

In the small mountain town of Mayoyao about 40 kms from the Banaue Rice Terraces, the sunrise that morning had ended with a whimper and a sigh. Dark storm clouds spoiled the dawn, disappointing when you consider we'd spent 8 hours on a bus and then another 6 hours by jeep just to get there. But just as we thought it was all over, we were dazzled by crepuscular rays from high heavens. Hope because it's not over until it's over. Such too is life. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

#8 Crack of Dawn

...A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices...
...For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn....

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Bobby & Birang 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

#7 Forest or Trees?

Do you see the forest or the trees? That's a big question commonly used to discern one's perspective in life, but luckily we outdoor photographers have simpler things in mind today.

We were in the town of Kiangan, the Philippine's oldest rice terraces town and one of five World Heritage sites in the province of Ifugao. We were on our way to visit an upland lake when we chanced upon this roadside scene. Thick morning fog had descended on rice paddies in front of a wooded field. A single tree can go unnoticed in a forest, until a curtain of fog obscures the rest.

Quickly, we shuffled out of our jeep and selected our compositions to best convey what the moment presented. The simple answer to the big question: it depends on the moment. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

#6 Blue Moon Rise

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but the moon can rise at any time of the day and the direction from where it rises depends on the time of the year. Strange but true. During the day, the sky is too bright for us to see the moon. But a full moon rising from the horizon just after the sun goes down, while the sky is still a light colored blue, is a sight rarer than a sunrise.

While shooting the sunset in Vigan, the full moon rose in the east from behind a row of mountains and clouds on the horizon. A firey sunset in the west and a cool blue moonrise in the east, it was a rare sight even for us. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

#5 Silhouettes at Sunrise

When shooting the twilight hours even the best intentions won't guarantee the best results.

From Laoag City we drove to Suba to do some desert-like sand dune landscapes at sunrise. We brought our tripods and filters, check. We got there while the sky was still pitch-black, check. We waited patiently for first light to appear before selecting our compositions, check. But when it became bright enough to see what was around us, my heart sank to the ground. This was supposed to be a barren desert-like landscape but recent rains has grass growing all over the place. A little later it also became apparent heavy clouds on the horizon was going to obscure the most intense moments of the returning sun. Things were definitely not looking good.

But that's it with twilight photography: there's never a guarantee conditions are going to be just right. I was shooting along-side ace travel photographer Noli Gabilo that morning before I dragged my stuff down the dune to find something else to shoot. At the bottom I turned around just in time to see Noli silhouetted against the intensifying orange sky. The sporadic wild grass that had spoiled my shoot now provided all the composition I needed. Quick, the moment soon escapes!

When shooting the twilight hours a little luck and serendipity can go a long way. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

#4 Colors of the Wind

Sunsets are among my favorite times of the day, and it's not because of the happy hour! You see, sunsets are much like sunrises, except that you don't have to wake up at 4am just to get to where you need to be. Otherwise they are similar: unpredictably vibrant colors splashed across a canvass of infinitely varied cloud patterns. I'm awestruck every single time.

Sunset today brought us to the small town of Bangui near the northern tip of Ilocos Norte. Some energy company had built 20 one-megawatt windmills along the shore, and in one sweep, created clean power plus a local tourist industry. Brilliant, but back to my story. We had arrived late for sunset, too late to catch the long shadows and much of the orange sky. But the day wasn't about to quit without the usual explosion of colors at dusk. First yellow, and then orange, and then crimson, and finally several hues of pink. Only the brief appearance of a solitary rainbow was more colorful. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

#3 Grand Old Dame

The Baroque church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Those who've seen it understand why. From a distance the architecture is grand and imposing, but when viewed up-close the surviving and intricate stonework is beyond amazing. Five stars.

Having seen photographs from several perspectives, it was my turn to pay homage to this Grand Old Dame, pondering how to best capture her soul. Should I have spent the time as a pilgrim at pray rather than a tourist groping for posterity? There can be no regrets. To be standing in front of a 300 year-old stone church lit by the waning afternoon sun, it's an experience you don't soon forget. Enjoy!

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