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.


Monday, March 28, 2011

#113 Sunrise at the Summit





We had come to climb Mt. Pulag in Benguet, our country's 3rd highest peak. For this privilege, we spent two freezing nights inside our tents on the higher Camp 3, less than 100 meters below the summit. Yet as dawn approached on our last day, while everyone headed towards the summit, I walked down its slopes in the opposite direction. Homeward. What..? Why..?

I've seen enough photographs taken at the summit, of vast seas of clouds lit by the awesome light of a new sun. It's all very impressive, yet I've been to enough mountain-tops where similar scenes had played out. How then do you distinguish these other places from a photograph taken atop the mighty Pulag? There's got to be another vantage point, another composition, that can better capture the Pulag sunrise experience. I wagered that the best way to find such a vantage point was to gamble away my chance to summit... in exchange for a chance to discover an alternate composition somewhere lower down the slopes. I thought I'd like to see the summit itself at sunrise, with everyone else waving victoriously on its rim. 

This week's postcard shows such a scene, of trekkers on Pulag's summit, bathed by the golden light of sunrise, and surrounded by the awesome brown carpet of bamboo grass that is the unmistakable signature of this mountain top. Well, I still missed my chance to summit. But I hope my summit shot doesn't disappoint. Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: Shortly after sunrise and a few hours thereafter, the landscape is golden. Photographs taken during this time have that distinctive golden color and crisp sharpness that pop. There's a chance to shoot under this light every single day. Don't miss the next one.) 

Where in the world is the Mt. Pulag in Benguet?
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Past postcards at www.PostcardsFromManila.com
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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 21, 2011

#112 Heaven in Motion





Billions of stars surround our tiny blue planet as it spins around it's own axis every 24 hours. Yet from our humble vantage point, it's hard to believe anything is in motion... until you see a photograph just like this week's postcard.

We were camped near the summit of Mt. Pulag in Benguet. High above, I saw more stars than I've ever seen in my whole life. I set out to photograph the night sky full of stars, in a way to illustrate the motion I described earlier. The result? In today's postcard, the dark silhouette of a mountain is Mt. Pulag, the 3rd highest peak in the Philippines. The reddish glow on the horizon is light pollution from the city of Baguio about 4 hours south. And each streak of light is the path of a single star moving across the night sky... all frozen in time. Now, do you believe we are in motion? Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: It's called time-lapse photography... taking a shot every few seconds, in this case for nearly an hour, all from the same spot.  At home, I used a Photoshop action to overlay these photographs, of the same night sky but where each star has moved on to a slightly different position. The result is a sky full of stars that  seem to streak across the heavens. To see these photographs stitched together as a video... A time-lapsed sky on Mt. Pulag.) 

Where in the world is the Mt. Pulag in Benguet?
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 14, 2011

#111 House of Stone




In the town of Ivana in Batanes, we dropped by the House of Dakay, an old house that is over a hundred years old. Who lives there, and how she inherited it, is a story all by itself. Unfortunately, Lola Ida was not well when we dropped by so we were unable to talk to her, nor even to look inside. Instead, we spent the time photographing outside the house, and that's when I noticed it was built unlike any other stone house in Batanes.

You see, I've photographed many other stone houses in Batanes before... in the nearby town of Mahatao... on Sabtang island where entire villages are still constructed of stone, and eventually also in an older village in the town of Itbud further south. Unlike all these other places where they're made of boulders, the House of Dakay isn't made from stone, but rather, predominantly from real coral skeleton. So what? What their homes are built of tell us a lot about what was available at that time, or in this case, what can be found along or beyond their coasts. Did they mine these corals from the sea? Or just plucked off the shore? One day, someone somewhere will let me know. Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: I converted this photograph to black and white because I thought it helped tell this week's story. Sometimes, color just gets in the way!) 

Where in the world is the Batanes?
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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.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

#110 Tears of Iraya




It's pitch-black and I'm standing on the shores of Valugan in Batanes. With my trusty torch in hand... I made my way towards the distant sound of crashing waves... towards the eerie sound of boulders rubbing against each other... as wave after wave pounded the craggy shore.

I'm in hot pursuit of an image in my mind. Valugan beach is right on the eastern seaboard of Mt. Iraya, where its tears from ancient volcanic eruptions flowed down into the sea. Over time, violent waves patiently sculpted these tears into smooth round boulders by rolling them against each other. The struggle between those epic eruptions and the relentless sea created the visually stunning landscape we see today. How to tell this story in a single photograph?

I thought I'd position the foot of Mt. Iraya inside my composition, after all, the volcano is my leading lady in this story. It's tears, now ground into smooth boulders, will be my foreground... creating an endless expanse of interesting shadows and textures. Then under the glowing colors of an imminent dawn, I took a long enough exposure to turn the violent waves into a wispy, dreamy, cotton-like blanket of a mist... to portray the sea's untiring labor over the millennia. Have I succeeded by even a bit? Let me know. Enjoy.

(Pixel-peepers: Twilight photography is a waiting game. After the composition comes together in your mind, position all your elements within your frame and wait for just the right moment at dawn. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But it's only in knowing before hand what you want... will you know if you've succeeded. Else, any composition will do.) 

Where in the world is the Batanes?
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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