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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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March 27, 2008

coming home


I was able to go home for the Holy Week this summer. Went to the airport early, just to be assured of a window seat, on the right side of the plane, just on the right row. I know how the plane is going to approach the airport and I tried taking photos before but the weather was not kind. This time weather was perfect.

Someone was already seated in my seat when I boarded the plane. The conversation went like this:

Me: "Excuse me mister, but I think you are in my seat..."
Schmuck: "Oh is that right? But I requested for a window seat..."
Me: "Maybe you did, but they didn't give you one, did they? Please check your seat number."
Schmuck: "Do you really need a window seat?"
Me: "Yes I do, more than you think..."
Schmuck: "Can we exchange sets later?"
Me: "OK, as long as you get up during the landing sequence, I have to take photos".

It didn't take a few seconds for him to realize his possible predicament. He stood up and we exchanged seats. Picture taking trumps everything. (In hindsight, if he really wanted that window seat, he could have waited for me first and asked me. I would have let him have the seat)

(Sarangani coastline - west side)

General Santos City is considered the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. Tons and tons of tuna are processed daily in its world class fish port (32 hectares, took USD 26 million to develop) which can accommodate more than a thousand fishing vessels . Unfortunately I was not able to take a photo of the fish port from the air.

(Sarangani Bay)


(part of downtown Gensan)

The area around Gensan used to be very barren. Now mango plantations are sprouting everywhere to meet the increasing demands of the nearby Dole cannery in Polomolok as well as from those mango processing plants in Cebu.

(several seconds before touchdown)
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March 10, 2008

anawangin - there and back again


Once you've gone to Anawangin, chances are you'll keep coming back. I had the chance to visit Anawangin Cove again last weekend together with several friends.

We swung by Capones Island at 4:30 AM, we wanted to see the sunrise from there. The sea was calm and the sky full of stars. It was a pleasing boat ride in pitch black darkness.
(Capones Blue Mood)

We started the day with a sunrise in Capones Island and capped it with a beautiful sunset in Anawangin cove.
(Anawangin Sunset, ND8+ND400 filters)

The river at the back of the cove never cease to amaze me. The best time to go there is just after sunrise when the reflections are awesome.

(Anawangin River morning reflections)

We spent most of the day in Anawangin exploring the back of the cove and photo hunting. I was mainly taking IR photos, trying to see Anawangin in a "different light" :).

(mandatory group hug)

We had a tons of fun that day. Anawangin is one of nature's best displays.

(early morning reflections in Anawangin river)

However as I spent a quiet evening looking at the stars and enjoying the rustling of the pine leaves, I came to realize that Anawangin is heading for a big change. The cove is becoming to be more popular as each day passes. Droves of weekenders now frequent the place, some with no respect for nature.

The rights to the cove is owned by several people. One of the enterprising owners already saw peso signs with the huge crowd. The right portion of the cove (if one is facing the sea) is now very "touristy" with its colorful flags, the "entrance fee" is now Php150.00, and its boundaries clearly marked with nylon ropes. So what's next? Maybe cottages....

I sure hope that the place will not be commercialized. What's best is that they make the cove a protected nature area.

For more photos, you may follow this link.

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March 3, 2008

ice garden of saiko


I was already pretty beat that afternoon. We had been shooting around Fujigoko (Five Fuji Lake area) the whole morning. I think we crossed 3 prefectures that day. After a hearty houtou lunch, all I wanted to do was to sleep.

We cruised along the banks of Lake Saiko as the sun's afternoon rays laid a welcomed warmth on my face (or maybe it was just the car's heater hehe). Mt. Fuji seemed closer and bigger from where we are as the dark clouds covering its peak cleared. Our host graciously offered to stop if I find some interesting spot I wanted to take a photo of. I replied with a polite "domo arigato gozaimasu" but I didn't think I still have the energy to compose a photo. I was contented with enjoying the view as the car followed the scenic winding road.

I was about to call it a day when I noticed a peculiar ice structure near the road. And so we stumbled upon the "ice field" of Saiko-Kawaguchiko.

(ice field with a view of Mt. Fuji)

I later read from a website that during mid-Jan to early Feb when the temperature is at its lowest, they hold the Saiko Kawaguchiko Ice Festival in Yachōnomori Park. One can enjoy the beautiful natural ice sculptures in this "ice garden" as well the scenic view Mt. Fuji.

(made by letting water drip over a frame of tree branches and twigs)

The place was swarmed with tourists and photography enthusiasts. We went around the field while several of Simon and Garkunkel's hits (including Sound of Silence of course!) blared over huge speakers.

(mandatory posterity shots)

I found out that afternoon what it feels like to watch a blue-green wall of ice to the tune of Bridge Over Troubled Water.

(wall of ice)

At night they illuminate the ice with various colored lights and there is also a fireworks display. Unfortunately we did not stick around for the lights and fireworks display. It would have been interesting to find out the songs they will play with the fireworks. It was quite an ending to an already very exciting day.
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