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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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May 10, 2009

nagsasa cove: exploring the south side

Aeta Community
Aeta community

On the southern of the cove lies a small community with about a dozen houses sheltered under neatly lined pine trees. There used to be about 28 families there but that number dwindled to less than half. Some of the families have moved to Pundaquit (nearest barangay) to find work and for their children to have access to schools.

Day at the Office
off to work (to the charcoal pits)

Those who remained in the cove earn a living by small scale fishing. On good days they can catch enough to sell to the town folks of Subic (or exchange for supplies like ice) - a good 4 hours away by outrigger boat. If the weather is good they would gather dead and fallen trees on the mountainsides to make charcoal. A week's worth of work produces just several sacks which they then sell for about 75.00 pesos per sack.

Mang Jun
Mang Jun

Regardless of what their living conditions are, the folks there (especially the kids) maintain a sunny disposition. Mang Jun, one of the Aetas we befriended, enthusiastically showed us some of their tribal dances. He offered to lead us to their hunting trails the next time we camp there. He told us there are still plenty of wild fowls (labuyo) up in the mountains.

Nagsasa Kids: Joan
Nagsasa kid: Joan

They also did not hesitate to show us a trail to the falls at the back of the village. I noticed from a distance a crevice lined with trees and boulders on the mountain side (very characteristic of a river system) while I was exploring the area near our camp. My hunch was confirmed when I casually asked if there is a falls somewhere in the cove.

Nagsasa Hike to Falls
hike to the falls

We passed by some of local womenfolk doing their laundry on the hike to the falls. Unlike the camp site on the south side where there is a water pump, the series of small falls here are their source of fresh water. There is a plan to lay some pipes from the falls to the village. But that has been on hold for the longest time due to lack of resources.

Nagsasa HO2 Falls
Nagsasa H2O falls

When asked what they call the falls, our guide answered: "HO2 falls", named so because of some markings they saw on a rock. The name finally made sense (and it made me smile) when I saw the markings myself. He meant "H2O"! (can you spot the marks in the picture above?). These markings (probably etched painstakingly by some surveyors) have already been there since they first settled the cove in the early 1960s.

Nagsasa Cascades
Nagsasa cascades

During the rainy season the water can get bigger. I could just imagine how (much more) beautiful these cascades become with an increase in the volume of water flow.

Living in a peaceful paradise such as Nagsasa is not without woes. Land ownership problem is one of them. There was also a time when there was a move to put up commercial fish pens in the cove. The locals stood their ground. Typhoons and storms they have learned to weather out, but "legal maneuvers" may soon drive them out of Nagsasa cove.

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escape said...

i thought ive seen enough of nagsasa! galing galing talaga. ganda pa ng kuha mo sa falls. submit mo yan sa outdoor photographer. mas maganda nga malamang pag tag ulan kaya lang talagang takot na ako diyan pag tag ulan. hehehe... pero yon din ang time na buhay ang mga kulay ng dahon.

Lantaw said...

Dom, tama ka bai, the best time to photograph waterfalls is during the rainy season. the sea could get a bit rough during that time though and the boatmen will hesitate to take you to the cove.

Oman said...

Grabe ka talaga kumuha ng falls pic. parang bulak. i tried playing with my cam to have the same effect pero lumalabas na masyado bright. practice pa ko dapat lol.

Lantaw said...

Oman, shoot tayo ng falls one of these days bro, I know I place called the "land of falls" :). I can show you my techniques :)

Photo Cache said...

Amazing snaps of the falls. I enjoyed reading your post.

Sidney said...

From what I understand Aeta's live in very difficult conditions... which is sad.
Beautiful portraits.
Nice effect on the waterfall!

Lantaw said...

Photo Cache, Thanks! More pics soon!

Sidney, It sure is sad. They have learned to live with nature for hundreds of years, and take only what they need from the land. But I feel its the "complexities of modern living" that takes its toll on them. With a beautiful cove such as Nagsasa, it can't be helped that a lot of parties will be interested in it for various "commercial" purposes.

Reena said...

you have great photos. i esp liked the first one. the sunrays seemed to directly hit the bahay kubo. galing. :)

what do you mean you saw tree crevices? sign ba ng falls yun? is that a traveller's secret guide to hidden treasures? sorry daming tanong. hehe.

dodong flores 도동 플로오리스 said...

Excellent photo documentation, Bay. The write up and photographs that goes with it are simply excellent.
I feel sad with the Aetas. They are always being driven out from their own land. I have a soft spot for Aetas in my heart since I happened to live with them sometime in 2004. I heard their sentiments. I hope they'll be given what is due to them...

Lantaw said...

Reena, the crevices I saw were like "cracks" on the mountainside. Since its lined with trees I figured there must be water, like a stream or a river. And since its on the mountainside, which means its running down, there must be a "drop" somewhere. These drops can be small cascades or falls :)

Lantaw said...

Dodong, I hope so too bro. Thanks for dropping by.

Garando said...

I love that photo of Joan. Simply beautiful. I befriended some aetas when I hiked in Pinatubo many years back. The most I can remember about them was that they are such great cooks! They made some local dishes for us and it was superb! Dodong's right, i hope they are given what is due to them. because they deserve so much.

Lantaw said...

Garando, Indeed they are great cooks, and great entertainers and storytellers too! They try their best to preserve their culture.

You are right, the Aetas deserve much more. I come from a place (Mindanao) where ethnic diversity is great. But somehow most of the tribes there are well represented. Their ancestral domains are protected, and their culture showcased around the world by their "ambassadors".

Anonymous said...

when are you planning to visit this place again. would like to join your group. thanks

Lantaw said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure yet, you can email me at aebarredo[at]gmail.com

demeter said...

aha, nakita ko na rin si mang jun. maybe next time in person... nice play of shadows and light on that pic btw. kudos

Lantaw said...

demeter, yup sya nga yan. he was busy preparing "uling" with his family when we were there so he was not able to visit the camp often. you were asleep the only time he passed there ;)

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