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About Me

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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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October 30, 2008

puray falls, montalban

Puray is one of the most isolated barangay of Rodriquez (formerly Montalban) in the province of Rizal. When "Montalban" is mentioned, one familiar with the town would most certainly associated it with Wawa, the scenic river (in barangay San Rafael) dotted with huge white stones . Wawa is very accessible, there are jeepneys plying the major routes from Quezon City to Wawa while Puray, to most, exist only in the tales of mountain bikers who frequent the place because of its trails and its falls.

Puray is already in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges, several mountains away from the town center. Its hard to believe there is even a flourishing community there - basically a small farming community, no electricity, no running water. But what Puray lacks in modern amnesties it makes up with the pristine beauty of its surroundings. The streams and rivers there are absolutely gorgeous, with crystal clear cool waters.

One of the attactions there is the Puray Falls (known as Tungtong to the locals). Its a short hike, about 2 kilometers, from the barangay center.

Puray Falls in Sitio Mabolo

From the point where the road crosses the river in Mabolo, we had to hike upstream some 500 meters to the falls. A quick dip in the catch basin would be enough to cool you down after the hike. Even on a sunny day, the water in the catch basin is freezing.

another view of Puray Falls

Getting thereThere are two routes going to Puray - both of which will require that your vehicle can handle a bit of punishment (we were on mountain bikes when we went there).

From barangay Mascap there is the river trail where have to cross the river 11 times. Difficult during the rainy season when the river swells and the road disappears. There are jeepneys from Montalban that goes to Puray via this route but the schedule is not consistent. Sometimes there is only 1 trip a day, the return trip is always a challenge.

The other road (still from Mascap) takes you via the mountains. To say that the road is terrible is an understatement, you'll need a 4x4 or a motorcycle to go via this route. There are special tricycles (those with roofless sidecars) that go via this route (Php 60 pesos one way fare from Montalban, limited number of trips a day).

If you missed the jeep or the tricycle for the return trip, you can also do what the locals always do: walk to Mascap, just about 3 hours away.
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October 24, 2008

lake sebu: a simple and balanced life

It was late afternoon when I spotted this fisherman on a dugout canoe in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato (in southern Mindanao). With his paddle on his left hand, he was getting ready to leave for home after pulling his nets. I noticed he was able to catch a good number of medium sized tilapia, probably enough for his family's meals the next day.

He made balancing on one end of the canoe looked so easy. I tried it before, as a young lad. I always end up in the water.

I hope you all have a nice weekend. Keep it simple.
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October 21, 2008

workplace sunset

UP Diliman, Quezon City

Don't you just love it when a stressful day is rewarded with one of nature's best spectacles?

I went out yesterday to "field test" an officemate's new digital (point and shoot) camera. The sky was ablaze! When nature flaunts its colors, you won't need an expensive photo gear to capture it. You won't even need to Photoshop it :)
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October 20, 2008

bakas, norzagaray, bulacan

One of the attractions in the town of Norzagaray in Bulacan is the huge formations of large limestone rocks found in Brgy Matictic. It is called Bakas, which literally translates to "marks", "traces" or "footprints".

The top of the large boulders offers a great vantage point to spot those interesting marks, supposedly left by the legendary giant known as Bernardio Carpio, and his pets. The other set of marks can be found in Wawa in Montalban, Rizal.

I biked there last weekend (an 81km loop, see related story here) but arrived when the river started to swell and its impossible to cross to the boulders without a raft. Bakas is downriver from two major dams: the Ipo and Angat dams and they release water from these dams usually at around 11 AM. By noon time the current's too strong that they would not even recommend swimming near the rocks.

If you fancy roughing it out here, the shores in front of the Bakas rocks are flat and wide enough to accommodate quite a good number of tents. There are also makeshift cottages (good enough shelter from the sweltering heat in the summer) that the caretaker is renting out for 200 pesos (overnight stay). Amenities: absolutely none!

There are a couple of nice swimming spots further upriver. But current's still a bit strong so its best to stay close to the shore.

Getting there:
The best way is to catch a bus or jeep going to Tungko from Philcoa in Quezon City. From Tungko there are many small buses and jeeps to Norzagaray town proper. Go to the town market and get a tricycle to Sitio Kanyakan where Bakas is. I have not noticed any jeeps going there so you may have to rent the tricycle also for the return trip.
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October 15, 2008

what is it?

Yay! I got lucky again :)

i-mag Photography magazine
Vol 2 Number 5 Issue 18

Here's the original image:

f/4.8, 1/500s, 190 mm

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October 13, 2008

bitbit, norzagaray, bulacan

I haven't been out on a photo safari lately. Most of my weekends are spent mountain biking around the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan. And with the small point and shop cameras we carry around, photos are a hit and miss thing.

But sometimes you do hit something.

My ride last weekend took me to the eastern part of Norzagaray in Bulacan. My MTB buddies and I were hoping to catch a glimpse of Ipo and Angat dams, part of the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa Dam Raw Water System that provides drinking water to Metro Manila.

We were denied entry at Ipo but we decided to head to Angat dam in the Sierra Madre mountain range. A storekeeper told us of a quaint spot called "Bitbit" (Sitio Bitbit) just below the bridge leading to Angat dam.

True enough, the spot was amazing. The water was very cool and clear. The weather cooperated, lighting was good enough for me to take some decent snaps.

Bitbit camping area

There's a flat area near the big rocks that's perfect for camping. I also saw some interesting rock formations up and down river.

Cool down

We took a quick dip to cool down and rest. I did not have enough time to explore the area but I will on my next visit. We have a long way to pedal home.
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