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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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December 8, 2008

the island life (gaspar islet, marinduque)


First rays of the day

The small fishing village stirred as the dawn breaks in Gaspar Islet, the only one with inhabitants in the Tres Reyes islet group. I stood on one of the huge rocks near the shore and watched the children frolicked on the beach while some of the folks prepare their small bancas (outrigger boats) for another day of fishing.

Morning bancas

Its amazes me how people chose to live on this islet. They have difficult access to most of the necessities a community requires. The only source of electricity is the community's generator. Fresh water is non-existent and they have to get all their supplies from the mainland. Yet the village is flourishing. They have a small school perched on the side of a hill and I was told that additional classrooms will be built soon.

Fresh catch

There is not much of a livelihood here except for fishing and seasonal tourism. Gaspar's sand (or coral?) bar, made of crushed corals and shells, is a popular destination as the surrounding waters are pristine and crystal clear. The locals build nipa huts on the sand bar during the summer especially during the Holy Week when the vacation crowd flocks to Marinduque for its Moriones Festival. There are also several areas in the waters around the island that are protected marines reserves - great for snorkeling and diving.

Coral bar, empty during the off-peak

Its interesting to note that the area on
the sides of the sand bar is devoid of any sand, the waves on both directions have cleanly swept all sand materials neatly into this panhandle. The panhandle changes size and form throughout the year as the sea and the wind sculpt it.

As we prepared to head back to the main island, I noticed two outrigger boats packed from bow to stern. Our guide jokingly remarked that these folks are going to the a "river festival". Seeing my perplexed look, he explained that today is "laundry day".

Off to a "river festival"

I guess it does not really matter where you choose to live. Once you call a place home, it instantly becomes beautiful.

foraging for small shells during the low tide

But in the case of the people of Gaspar Islet (and the Marinduquenos as a whole), their home really is beautiful, any way you look at it.

Reality check
There was a time when the rivers and surrounding waters of Marinduque (especially the northern part of the island) were heavily polluted by tailings (mining wastes). Dynamite fishing was also rampant before and it laid waste to corals in the surrounding waters. But things have started to improve, thanks to the efforts of the

This is an entry to
"That's my World" meme. See other entries here.
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33 comments:

the donG said...

the last photo is beautiful. the rock formations seen during low tide is like one big piece of art if seen from the top.

dodong flores said...

Nice write-up and I simply love the photos. I simply love the blue skies here...

Leonard said...

I wanna go to this place! the area in the last photo (foraging) is a good place to shoot

Photo Cache said...

great reporting. beautiful photos. i also adore your header.

Allan Barredo said...

@dom - oo nga bro, would have been an interesting POV siguro.

@dodong flores - Glad you liked the photos. The weather only turned nice on our last day there. Puro overcast yung first day namin

@leonard - unfortunately those rocks are hidden during the magic hours :)

@Photo Cache - thanks! the header was from my recent Marinduque trip :)

FickleMinded said...

i love everything about the photos, I miss the Philippines especially with our weather here now and your photos helps me to lessen my homesickness.lovely!
My World#4

Lawstude said...

amazing sets of photos again allan. what strikes me most in this series is the simplicity of rural life. sarap din tumira jan kahit pansamantala just to escape the busy and chaotic urban life. great job again.

kjpweb said...

Outstanding images! A perfect MyWorld series! Thank you for sharing!
Cheers, Klaus

Robert V. Sobczak said...

That's true. The place one grows up, no matter how far one travels, is always close to the heart.

Ferdz said...

It's amazing how these people can live without continuous water and electricity. But I guess they got used to it na rin.

Love the photos. Especially the last one.

Sidney said...

I had the feeling that most people living in Gaspar where quite poor... I guess they have no other choice...you are born there...and then you don't have much opportunities to escape your island...

But for a one time visitor it looks like paradise...no doubt...

Beautiful images...

my gulch said...

i certainly like how you present this fishing village amidst the vast, blue sky. i love how you choose the perspective of your shots. with the colors and the texture, it's difficult not to imagine being actually in that exact same spot where you took the photos.

lagal[og] said...

parang kilala ko yung nasa header :) in any case, i dig what you said about finding home anywhere you choose. it's very much true.

Greyscale Territory said...

The photos are all so lovely and interesting. But the first and last photos are simply glorious!

Wren said...

Beautiful photos, very well done. As others have said, you inspire me to visit this lovely place.

Marites said...

wow! ganda! i've only known Marinduque when there was a time it made some headlines regarding the mining disaster years ago. It looks like it's recovering nicely. I hope there'll be no more same disaster in the future. I've seen that you're from Koronadal. Nag-apil ka sa Mindanao Bloggers last Oct sa GSC?

babooshka said...

Simply stunning part of the world. It looks like paradise.

The Good Life in Virginia said...

a great series of photos...and an interesting post.
thank you for sharing with us.

Allan Barredo said...

@fFickleMinded - thanks! Come home to the Philippines soon :)

@Oman - oo nga bro, what they lack in material stuff they make up for the quality of their lives there.

@kjpweb - Thanks for the visit Klaus!

@Robert - Well said! Thanks for the visit!

@Ferdz - Someone once remarked that technology made us weaker. I guess the folks in that islet are the stronger ones :)

@Sidney - Yes they are quite poor. Some have actually ventured in the main land and looked for jobs there but eventually returned to the islet. Thanks for the visit!

@my gulch - Thank you! The light that morning was immaculate and we were glad just to be there.

@oggie - bai that is none other than THE wulf :)

@Greyscale Territory - Thank you! Glad you liked them.

@Marites - They are recovering slowly, some rivers are still polluted. Its good that they stopped the mining operations there. Yup I'm from Koronadal but I wasn't able to go home for the Mindanao Bloggers' Summit. Maybe next year

@babooshka - Thank you! Its a paradise abused but now on the road to recovery

@The Good Life in Virginia - Thank you for the visit.

Natural Moments said...

You do an excellent job at advertising the island. I am sure you will entice many of us to follow in your footsteps.

Allan Barredo said...

@Natural Moments - Thank you. I hope that even when tourists come in hordes, the islet will still be preserved. A line from an Eagles song goes: "Call a place paradise and say goodbye to it..." That's what happens to most "secret" destinations. Once the world discovers it, huge crowds come, and the "paradise ambience" disappears

Gayle said...

My husband talks of going to the Philippines, and I can see why. It is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Allan Barredo said...

@Gayle - Thanks! Come visit us soon! :)

Arija said...

Be it ever so humble there's no place like home and yours is an enviable place where others would dream of having a holiday. To be living there with by the sea with its bounty must be heaven.

Mys Lyke Meeh said...

Wow--love the photos--especially the coral Bar? or somthing--between the sky, the sand, the clouds....spectacular...amazing!

What could an Islander ask for? Not a winter snow of course --(lolzz)

Allan Barredo said...

@Arija - You are right, there's no place like home no matter how simple it is. Thanks for the visit!

@Mys Lyke Meeh - Though I dream of the winter and snow, I'll take the tropics any day :D. Thanks for the visit!

Ar-wee-der-yet said...

Ang ganda nitong coral bar, naalala ko tuloy ang White Island sa Camiguin.

Nina said...

came here through ferdz. nice photos!

mimi said...

"I guess it does not really matter where you choose to live. Once you call a place home, it instantly becomes beautiful."

i agree!

kegler747 said...

Kasama ka pala sa photo exhibit sa Trinoma :) congrats!

Allan Barredo said...

@Ar-wee-der-yet/kegler747 - Camiguin: I have yet to go here. :) Mas finer yata yung sand dun? re: Exhibit sa trinoma, Maraming salamat! na swerte lang :)

@Nina - Thanks for the visit!

@mimi - ika nga nila: "no place like home". I guess its because we often see pass the "bad parts" for stuff we call "our own"

Layrayski said...

Your photographs are so wonderful. Wow.

Anonymous said...

I've been to Gaspar Island last Easter Sunday and I was able to spoke with the Barangay official there. I was wondering and searching for the coral bar extending to the sea of about 100 meters where i used to stay, but i was surprised and found out that it is now only more or less 20 meters long!He told me that the corals were taken away using ships by strange men and that actions he said had the permission from the local government of Marinduque. I'm just looking for the right time and asking for some help to gather more informations of these ineptitudes. This is an island marine sanctuary under the DENR. How can these illegal actions took place? I'm calling all the environment advocates to save Marinduque from illegal actions like this! These crooks must be jailed.

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