Category Archives: Photography

Til next summer

It’s the first day of June. Time sure flies so fast. Summer vacation for most students ends today as classes open tomorrow. Summer, my most favorite time of the year, will soon be over. 😦

This year’s summer had been a very memorable one. I got to meet my adorable niece Emma for the first time! I made it a point to take some time off from work to spend quality time with my family, especially because my cousins from Canada came home for a vacation.

I love going home to the province, even on short vacations, because I get the chance to watch the sun go down everyday at the beach near our house. I could just sit there on the shore or take a dip in the inviting water to cool down the sweltering heat of the summer sun until it had finally set. But mostly, I love going home because I miss home cooked meals and the comfort of being with my family.

Even at work, the past two months had been quite busy. I was mostly out on fieldwork gathering stories, capturing photos, facilitating workshops, meeting people, organizing events. I rode motorbikes, walked in the sugarcane farms under the scorching heat of the sun, and traveled from one island to the next. I’m not complaining. I love my work, actually. Because at the end of the day, in the few hours before I head home to Manila, I get to see the beautiful sights in the area.

As I was browsing through my summer photos, trying to relish the fun memories, I realized I had on this one top in a lot of photos! Yikes, I need some serious wardrobe change! I badly need to buy some pretty beach dresses online. And new swim wear, too (maybe something that could hide my growing curves).  Besides, summer may be over but it’s always good to be ready with the outfit. There’s so much picture perfect places waiting to be explored all year round.

Anyway, check out these pictures to see what kept me busy this summer:

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Thank you, summer, for the great memories and the darkened skin! Til next year.

First Day High

My toes tingled as I dipped it into the chilly water. I hesitated for a bit but my excitement persisted. The sea was relatively calm that day compared to the previous days. I heard a splash a few meters away from where I stood and I saw my friend Jay already in the water. I waded forward slowly, resisting the urge to run back to the warm embrace of the white sand covering the shore. Behind me, my friend Rocky suggested I dive in the water just before he did so.

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The sun was a few minutes shy from kissing the horizon. I took a deep breath and plunged into the cold water. I swam and swam thinking I needed to produce energy to keep myself warm. After a couple of minutes, I was tired and breathless but I felt warm. I closed my eyes, laid on my back, spread my arms wide and floated. As soon as my heartbeat calmed down, I opened my eyes and saw the dark blue sky above. A faint orange glow decorated my peripheral vision and I knew that the sun has finally set. A star slowly came into view above the horizon where the sun had set. I swam towards the shore until I could stand upright and only my head was out of the water. I stood there silently, hypnotized by the sight before me. The sea gleamed of iridescence, an evidence left behind by fisher folks that have gone out to sea. Before the night claimed the sky, I got out of the water, took a few pictures of the last traces of the New Year’s Day sun and headed home.

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Kota Kinabalu From The Top

Kota Kinabalu From The Top

Don’t Look Back

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You can’t look back – you just have to put the past behind you, and find something better in your future. ~ Jodi Picoult

Malaysia, Truly Asia

Early this year, I went to Malaysia alone – not that I wanted to be alone, but my friend who was supposed to be on the trip with me had to cancel because of unforeseen circumstances. I didn’t want to waste the opportunity so I still pushed through with the trip. Anyway, a former officemate who worked in Kuala Lumpur offered to be my tour guide during my stay there. (Thank you, Ochie, for being such a great host!)

Here are some photos from my trip:

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I loved the food and architecture in Malaysia! I didn’t have enough time to visit all the famous tourist spots but someday I will go back and explore the countryside, the islands and the beautiful beaches.

Kota Kinabalu, I will see you in May. 🙂

Love,

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Smile, No Matter What

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~ Leo Buscaglia

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Her heartwarming smile greeted us as we made our way through the row of little huts along the village’s main road. It was almost midday and the sun was blisteringly hot in that almost arid place. It was so hot but she didn’t mind. She just flashed the most sincere smile I have ever seen. It was a smile that had the potential to move the hearts of anyone who cared to notice.

That bright smile shook my lethargic heart. She, whose future was uncertain because of intergenerational poverty, looked so happy while I, with so many choices and opportunities, felt so troubled. It amazed me how she could still smile when her stomach was empty and her tiny feet were bare and full of scratches. All throughout the day I saw her running around and playing with a  younger girl and her smile rarely left her tiny face. Each time I saw her, I was reminded that I had no right to complain about how hot it was or how my feet ached. I felt ashamed that I, who had so much, still whined about petty things. Her innocent smile shamed me.

I remember the quote that was written in a coffee mug I bought a few years back. It said, “Happiness is not in things, it is in us.” May the smile of this little girl always remind you and me to look for happiness not in material things but in real, genuine relationships.

I pray that this child will grow up well and make a positive mark on this world. I pray that God will usher in good people to help her and the rest of the children in their village be provided with better capacities and opportunities. I hope that she won’t ever forget to smile even in the face of difficulties in life. God bless you, dearest child.

Sea Turtles

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to visit Cavite’s Marine Turtle Hatchery in Labac, Naic. I was thrilled when Mr. Antiojo, the project leader, told us that there was a batch of newly hatched sea turtles waiting to be released to the sea. Thoughts of Crush and Squirt, the super cool father-son sea turtle tandem from Finding Nemo, came to mind and got me excited some more.

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Check out these photos of our Sea Turtle releasing experience:

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It is said that in extreme cases, female sea turtles come back to the beach where they were hatched. I hope at least one of the hundreds of sea turtles released at the Labac Hatchery would come back one day and lay their eggs there. As I watched the little sea turtle crawl its way to sea, I prayed that it would live long and not get eaten by a marine predator or get caught one day by a fisherman only to be eaten or be butchered for its shell.

Crush: Okay. Squirt here will now give you a rundown of proper exiting technique. 
Squirt: Good afternoon. We’re gonna have a great jump today. Okay, first crank a hard cutback as you hit the wall. There’s a screaming bottom curve, so watch out. Remember: rip it, roll it, and punch it. 

Planting Seeds of Hope

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Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders. – Henry David Thoreau

Keep Calm and Take a Break

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Magalawa Island, Palauig, Zambales

The quiet sea always has that calming effect on me. I know that it isn’t always like that, that there are days when the wind is strong and the waves are raging. Yet, I know that each storm will eventually come to pass and the sea will become still again. Despite knowing that toxic days are ahead, I somehow feel at peace knowing that everything will be alright. Thank God for the short but wonderful break last weekend. It helped clear my mind and calm my anxious heart.

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Courage

The fulfillment of your dreams begins with that first brave step forward.

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Windows

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Begin challenging your assumptions. Your assumptions are the windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won’t come in. – Alan Alda

One Sunny Day

Yesterday was a bright and sunny day. Before dusk, I took my dad’s bike and rode to the beach near our old family house. I wanted to sit on the sandy shore while I waited for the sun to set, just like I used to when I was younger. The sunset yesterday was worth the wait. It was really beautiful. Aside from that, I also got to see fishermen coming home from a long day at sea, with their families and relatives eager to see the day’s catch.

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Today, I woke up to the sound of the rain softly falling down on our roof. I look out my window and see dark gray clouds hovering over our town. I still hope I’d get to see the sun before I leave for the city tonight.

Thank God for Long Weekends

I don’t get to see sunsets that often. So, I’m glad for long weekends like this when I can come home and watch my favorite part of the day at the beach near our old family house.

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Flowers

Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.  ~ Lydia M. Child

 

What Do You See?

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Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung
 
 

Sometimes, We Need to Take a Break

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Missing Bolinao

Late last year, I went on a trip to Pangasinan with friends. I already posted about our HUNDRED ISLANDS tour but I haven’t been able to share about our second destination – Bolinao. So, here are my favorite shots from our weekend getaway in the beautiful town of Bolinao.

The day ends with a beautiful sunset

Reflections from the infinity pool

Kayaking at the river fronting Punta Riviera

Where the river meets the sea

Chillin’ by the pool in the morning

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse

White sand

From the top

The 400-year old Roman Catholic Church of Bolinao

Getting ready to go fishing

Capiz lanterns

We weren’t able to fully explore the tourist sites in Bolinao but if you’re planning to go there, check out this site – THINGS TO DO IN BOLINAO

Nearly There

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Don’t Be Afraid To Fall

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Catandayagan Falls in Ticao Island, Masbate (one of the few and biggest falls that drops to the sea)

A Reminder

John 16:33
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

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What’s Your Attitude?


Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching? 

~ Dennis and Wendy Mannering

Stop, Look and Listen

The quieter you become, the more you can hear.

I’m Lost

I feel like a lost soul, aimlessly wandering through life, eyes clouded by fear. But I am hopeful that I will soon see things in God’s perspective, as certain as the sun rising in the morrow.

Be Still

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Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river. ~ Lao Tzu

Rockin’ the White Rocks

During one of my recent trips to my province, Ilocos Norte, my friend Rocky and I decided, out of the blue, to visit Kapurpurawan White Rock Formation in Burgos, about 30 minutes away from my hometown Pagudpud. The reason why we both really wanted to go there was simple – we thought it was weird that we haven’t been there when everyone else we know had been. I, for one, found it embarrassing when my Manila friends asked me how it looked like and I didn’t really know what to tell them. Before the trip, I only saw it from photos of friends who’ve gone there. Armed with the determination (and my iPhone) to finally see Kapurpurawan, we rode in Rocky’s motorbike to Burgos at 10 in the morning, not minding the uncomfortable heat of the sun.

On the way to Kapurpurawan on a motorbike

The place is about 30-45 minutes of dusty road away from the highway.

From the jump-off point, we walked for about 5-10 minutes. You can also take the option to ride a horse for P100 pesos.

Getting nearer. We still have to go around the hill to really see the whole thing.

At last!

This is no place for swimming. Too rocky. 🙂

At 12NN, we were both drenched in sweat when we got back to the jump-off point but I felt so glad that we pushed through with our unplanned trip to Kapurpurawan. It was an adventure like no other, and I was amazed with what I saw.

I’m happy that there aren’t any hotels or resorts or restaurants in the area yet. Although there are vendors at the jump-off point and one along the trail, I just wish they’d remain at that number. Too many vendors mean food and plastics and garbage. I hope they can maintain the pristine-ness of the place.

Now, I can finally confidently describe how beautiful the White Rock Formation is to anyone who’ll ask me. On our way home, I closed my eyes and offered my face to the wind and sun and thanked God for a wonderful day.

Check out the sceneries that we saw on our way home:

Bangui Windmills

The town of Bangui

Pagudpud. Home.

My Love – Hate Relationship with Rain

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I have a LOVE-HATE relationship with rain.

I love it when it rains because it makes me want to snuggle and sleep.

I hate when it rains on weekdays or schooldays because I’d get so sleepy and lazy at work or in class.

I love how rain cools down the hot weather in my city, especially during summer.

I hate it when it rains just as I’m about to head out somewhere or when I’m about to go home because I hate wet clothes clinging to my skin and commuting is particularly hard in Metro Manila when it’s raining.

I love the sound of the raindrops pouring down on roofs and pavements.

I hate it when the rain comes with loud thunder and lighting.

I love it when it rains at night because I don’t have to use the AC or the fan (less electrical consumption = more savings).

I hate it when it rains incessantly that even the water from the faucet and shower gets cold (I don’t like taking a bath with chilly water. Brrr!)

I love the rain because it brings back good memories from my childhood – bathing in the rain my friends and cousins, playing board games, card games or hide and seek inside our old family house, and many many wonderful memories.

Run to You

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I wish I was this little crab, so I could run to the sea anytime.

I Love Writing

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When I was in high school, I kept a journal describing in detail the highlights of my teenage years. I was also fond of writing poems and essays back then. When I go home tomorrow night, I’m gonna try to look for those journals and notebooks and post some of my writings here. I’m expecting it would be filled with corny, cheesy thoughts but it would be fun to just remember those days. I just hope they’re still in the memorabilia boxes in my room.

Let Kids Teach You

While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.

~ Angela Schwindt

Chillin’ Like a Villain

Sup, dude?

It’s easy to read children’s emotions. What do you think was going on in this kid’s head?

(Sorry, photo’s a bit unfocused. I was kinda excited to capture this kid’s facial expression.)

 

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