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.

Monday, March 29, 2010

#60 Let there be Light

"Let there be light..."  Now why does that sound familiar?

We were in Bontoc in the Mountain province when the sun climbed over the hilltop from across the valley. The darkest part of the night was over. Mere minutes ago, where there appeared only a single dark silhouette of a landscape, now we see several layers of hills all the way to the horizon. Moments earlier, the black mass of tree bushes in front of us was just that, but now we see every single branch, twig, and blade of grass distinct from the rest.  And the town in the valley below? The flickering lights melted into a misty scene of tightly-packed homes, built among the rice fields that line each side of the Chico river. Because there was light, everything around us was transformed.

But know this: I thought the more important part of that transformation wasn't what we saw at sunrise, but rather how the experience of dawn transforms us all. The exact moment when night turns into day, it's as close as you can get to witnessing that very first day of creation, when light first came to be. One moment it was total darkness, and next the whole of creation magically appear in its glory. It's a humbling experience no matter your religion, but don't take my word for it.  Set your alarm clock for 4am tomorrow and experience it for yourself! Enjoy.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

#59 Maligcong Terraces

When we're on safari, just like in life, not everything goes according to plan.

We had just shot the dawn overlooking the town of Bontoc, before heading off to the Maligcong rice terraces in the Mountain Province. But the sun was pretty high by the time we started our mountain trek. Water-laden rice fields have their promise, but seldom in this harsh light. Aimlessly wandering the earthen dikes, it was apparent we had missed the right time to be there. 

Had we been there earlier, we would have had a chance to catch the early glows of a mountain dawn sky. And if that sky had been tinged with even just a smattering of orange, so would the water in the rice fields below. And if there was even just a crimson cloud or two passing by, that too would be immortalized in the water, a sight that would truly make twilight photographers believe in God! Except that today, that scene was only in our dreams. We missed it. Sigh. 

But you win some, and you lose some. And when you have to lose, you need to pick yourself up, mindful of the valuable lessons in defeat, so that next time you might just end up on your feet. Enjoy.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

#58 Morning Shadows

"I don't see a picture of you on your blog..." she wrote.

If it's any consolation, there are scant pictures of me online. And it's not because I'm camera shy. You see, a photographer spends much of his life on the opposite end of his camera, busy showing everyone else what his world looks like. And unless the sun was shining from behind him when he took a picture, you won't even see his shadow! (Much unlike today's photograph taken in barangay Caliit-liitan in Carranglan Nueva Ecija. It's my pleasure to introduce you to my shadow on the lower left-hand corner of the photograph, beside the shadows of two other kids who followed me around.) 

But here's the good news. I can tell a lot about a person just by looking at his/her pictures. By their choice of subjects I can tell what they love. By their compositions, I can tell the kind of perspectives they are predisposed to see their world. And by the stories their photographs tell, I get a glimpse of who they are even if we've never met. And yes, it's a pleasure knowing you too! Enjoy.
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Monday, March 8, 2010

#57 Sea of Clouds

What difference does an hour and 25 feet make? When you're talking about mood and perspective in photography, quite a lot it seems!

Last week I posted a dawn photograph taken on top of Kiltepan Hill in Sagada. Then about an hour later, I took this photograph about 25 feet to the right of that original vantage point. Spot the difference! The unobstructed view of a glowing orange dawn has been completely replaced by a clear blue sky framed by pine branches. The Sagada hilltops that were surrounded by a sea of clouds is still there of course, but the overall mood has changed. From rapture and awe at dawn, to a more serene and tranquil morning landscape. (I won't ask which one you prefer, lest I divide the visitors to this blog!) 

Someone once told me he has been to many of the places I have, but never saw those wonderful dawn colors in my photographs. I had to tell him that he needed to be in the right place at the right time, specially the part about waking up a little earlier! Just an hour and 25 feet, and your photographs could look like they were taken worlds apart. (Ok, I lied. Let me know which mood and perspective you prefer...hahahaha.) Enjoy.
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