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About Me

My photo
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 31, 2008

koronadal holiday lights

Narra tree adorned with bright lights

Every year the large narra trees that line one side of Alunan Avenue in my hometown of Koronadal are lavishly decorated with bright colored lights. The light display (and competition) started a few years ago and each year the lights are getting grander.

my bet for this year's competition

Each tree is "sponsored" by a company/corporation/organization. The prize may not be enough to recover the expenses (imagine the electric bill!) but I guess its not the point. The folks of Koronadal look forward to the display as the holiday season approaches, the street has become a popular strolling area for families. I have more photos here.

The New Year is just a few hours away. I hope the coming year will be as bright as these lights. Have a blessed and prosperous New Year everyone!
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December 29, 2008

airport bush fire

A bush fire welcomed us in General Santos City airport. This Christmas season is very dry, literally. Rain has not fallen for more than a month so the land is scorched. I guess stuff like this are bound to happen. I was wondering why our plane took a bit longer to land, circling over the nearby towns several times. We spotted fire fighters battling a bush fire in one end of the runway during one of the passes. Thankfully the fire was quickly under control and we did not have to divert to Davao some 200km away.

With the coming New Year and the fireworks and firecrackers that go along with the celebration, fires can easily happen, especially in urban areas. Have a safe New Year everyone!

My internet connection is sporadic at best, will return to blogsphere next year.
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December 17, 2008

indios experience photo exhibit

One of my photos is included in a photo exhibit (dubbed "The Indios Experience") sponsored by a Flickr group called flickristasindios.

The exhibit runs December 15 through December 19 at the Cinema Lane of the Trinoma Mall in Quezon City. The exhibit show cases different photography styles and genres - from macro photography to cityscapes.

Come and visit the exhibit if you have the chance to. (My friend Dom has more photos of the exhibit area which you can view here.)

My photo entry depicts two small dinghies in Cagbalete Island in Mauban, Quezon (eastern side of Luzon). These boats are used by a resort to ferry guests from the shore to outrigger boats. The low tide area in Cagbalete can stretch to about 800 meters from the shore!

I was elated to hear that someone already bought my photo :)
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December 16, 2008

harvest time in the countryside

Cutting the rice stalks

A typical harvesting activity in the countryside still involves traditional methods. The rice stalks are cut using sickles and are piled in several areas in the rice field. Its mostly the women who are tasked with this, as the men are involved in more laborious tasks (but if you ask me, this is as laborious as it gets).

Thresher machine

A thresher machine is then used to separate the rice grains from the stalk. In some remote areas where there are no thresher machines, they have to do it the hard way: by beating the stalks with a stick. The machine does not always do a thorough job of threshing, so the straw strewn out by the thresher can still be "reprocessed", by hand. Usually the owner of the rice field gives the straw to the villagers who live nearby as a sign of goodwill. If they are lucky they will still be able to get several sacks of grains from a huge pile of straw.

The compensation for all those involved in the harvest activity (i.e. owner of the thresher machine, laborers who will transport the sacks from the field to the mill, etc) is not in monetary form but in sacks of rice. For example: the stalk cutters, as a group, are paid 5 sacks of grains per hectare harvested.

I took these photos quite a while back and have completely forgotten about them until recently when the news about protests for the proper implementation of Philippines' CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) made headlines. The farmers do not own the land they till, more often than not. Until now they are still fighting for the lands that should have been distributed to them under the CARP initiative.
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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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December 5, 2008

all's well that ends well

I had to hurry home last weekend for some urgent family matter. Bought my ticket just hours before the flight, grab my backpack and went straight to the airport. First time I took a plane ride like it was a bus ride to the mall. I did not have time to print my e-ticket so all I had was a locator number. The Cebu Pacific staff at the new NAIA Terminal 3 were helpful and checking in was not a problem even with the long queue (partly because I had no luggage to check in and folks in the line were kind enough to let me go first).

But all's well now.

The flight back, several days later, was bumpy due to the cloudy weather. The plane was also late. But the delay made us arrive in Manila just time for the sunset, and the cloudy weather added some mood.

Like what they say, all's well that ends well.
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December 3, 2008

marinduque's kawa-kawa falls

Kawa-kawa's downstream

We were looking for Paadjao Falls that day, our last stop before heading back to Gasan for the sunset. It was a very long day (we covered almost every town, save for Mogpog) but I was looking forward to shooting some refreshing silky waterfalls. Ironwulf, one of my travel companions, had been there once several years ago and described it as a nice cascading falls

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