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, May 26, 2009

#33 How far away is that horizon?

How far away is that horizon? "As far as your eyes can see." But how far is that exactly?

It was shortly before sunrise. We were on the coast of Alaminos in Pangasinan facing east. In front of us was the Hundred Islands Nature Park in the Lingayen Gulf, looking like a bunch of interconnected hills cloaked in the night. Further off and on the horizon is the Cordilleras Mountain range. Those pin lights atop the mountains, they are the city lights of Baguio City. Cool.

Using Google Earth I took a straight-line distance reading between where we stood and Baguio City. Surprise, it was only about 67 kilometers away (about 42 miles.) Of course this shot was taken with a telephoto lens which magnified it 3.5X. But with the unaided eye the lights were still visible, if only barely.

So the next time you look at the horizon and wonder how far it is, know that it's not that far away. Enjoy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

#32 What's for Dinner?

What's for dinner? Much less than you'd expect...

In a small baranggay nestled on the foothills of Mayoyao in Ifugao province, we stalked the sunset in a valley peppered with rice paddies. The fog rolled-in just as the sun started to set, covering most of the visible sky. Not even a timed exposure revealed the color of the fading light. It was getting dark. We looked around for something else to shoot and that's when we saw this grass hut lit from within.

A couple of young girls were preparing dinner the old-fashioned way: with a wood fire, a blackened pot, and a lung-full of air. Dinner will be simple, just vegetable soup. You can tell there isn't a shred of technology in their kitchen: no microwave oven, no piped-in cooking gas, no flat-top stove, not even a refrigerator. Sorry there's no electricity in this community, a life as simple as it gets.

There are still many places untouched by civilization, something to see and experience before they all disappear. I told you it was less than you'd expect. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

#31 The Pot Cook

Have you ever witnessed a vanishing profession?

By the roadside in the town of Iguig in Cagayan Valley, we chanced upon a plume of smoke rising from behind a pottery vendor's shed. It turned out to be an open air furnace where clay pots are roasted underneath a pile of bamboo scraps and hay.

The lady in the photograph is a pot cook. She darted around the fire, tossing and turning moist hay, a balancing act between feeding the flame and smothering it out. This keeps the temperature low and produces mostly smoke, conditions that magically seal the pots' pores, making them watertight and heat-resistant. Even in this day and age, we learn a lot just by watching country folk do their stuff.

It occurred to me that this craft, while still common in our day, may be in danger of being lost over time. Surely, the automated furnaces of the future have little use for pottery cooks to tend the heat and smoke. A dying profession if I ever saw one, so here's hoping this photograph makes it to the future. Enjoy.

Monday, May 4, 2009

#29 A Place of Worship

What did you expect to find inside a cave?

Beside the Pinacanauan river in the town of Penablanca Cagayan, the Callao Caves hid a most unexpected wonder. We walked through this grand cave entrance expecting total darkness ,but instead found a quaint little chapel inside completely bathed by natural light. The multi-chambered caverns have natural overhead crevices that allowed the brightness of day into its dark recesses. Our cameras are going to be useful after all.

It felt cold and damp inside, and was pretty dark in several places. The ground was often muddy and sticky, like walking on freshly-dropped poop. There was this stench that suggested large numbers of bats were hanging from above. (A good reason not to open your mouth in awe while admiring the crevices above!)

At the end of the visit, some of us sat down to say a prayer of thanks. There wasn't enough time to explore all the chambers, so I surmised they also prayed that fate bring them back one day. Enjoy.

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