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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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June 8, 2009

tanduyong island: living with the torinos

Survived the Strong Winds
dawn breaks in Tanduyong island

My day started early in Tanduyong Island. I was awoke as the first light of the day broke through the clouds. Strong winds buffeted my tent the whole night and I am glad I'm still in one piece; amazed that the tent is still where I pitched it the day before. I was half expecting to wake up somewhere near the water. My hosts, the Torinos, invited me to stay in their house for the night but I insisted on staying one end of the island and rough it out.

It was another cloudy sunrise and I resigned to the fact that blast of colors I was praying for was not there. But things suddenly got interesting when Mang Boyet invited me to "fetch" our breakfast - collect the nets they cast earlier. I helped them prepare the nets the night before but was still in dreamland when they went out to sea at 2 in the morning.

To the Buoy
to the buoy

The three of us, Mang Boyet, his brother Nonong, and I, boarded a small outrigger boat and headed to the buoy marking one end of the nets. The nets are a contiguous stretch of attached segments. A segment can be up to a hundred meters in length when fully stretched.

Morning Catch
catching breakfast

Mang Boyet and Nonong started pulling the nets while I did what I do best (I think): taking photos. I saw a variety of fish got stuck on the nets, mostly we got mackerels and scads. It did not take long for the 7-segment net to be pulled in. We did not even break sweat :). Soon we where on our way back to the island.

Morning Bounty
"processing" the catch

Hot coffee and loaf bread greeted us when we reached the shore, perfect timing as my stomach is already grumbling. The first few segments of the net yielded a good number of fish but we got slim pickings with the rest. The catch was not enough to be sold in nearby Tondol, but it was enough for a few meals. Nonong reckoned they should have cast the net somewhere more out sea as the schools of fish must be in deeper waters.

taking it easy after breakfast

Mang Boyet fondly remembers the days after Typhoon Emong when bangus (milkfish) swamped the small channel between Tanduyong island and Tondol. The nearby towns of Bolinao and Dagupan are heavily into bangus rearing industry and the typhoon trashed most (if not all) of the fish pens. Each fish pen can contain up to 100,000 milkfish, so just imagine if 50 fish pens got opened up.

Its was bangus catching frenzy for a couple of days. The bangus even reached the nearby province of Zambales. I was in Nagsasa Cove right after the typhoon and the folks there had a blast catching bangus day and night for 3 straight days.

In Tondol there was an oversupply (to put it mildly) of milkfish that they are selling the catch at 10 pesos a kilo. The typhoon took away their homes but dropped on their lap a bounty so large even kids earned several thousands pesos within a few days of fishing. For the Torinos, it translated to a second hand television and a generator set. They now enjoy watching telenovelas in the evenings.

Tanduyong Oliver
laid back existence

What I am missing now is the laid back environment in the island. Time exist there but is simply ignored. It was the perfect place (small enough) to spend the day doing absolutely nothing.

Constructing a mode fish cage
kids constructing a model fish cage

I miss the kids poking about my stuff. But what I'll miss the most are the meals I shared with the Torinos. Each meal is always a family activity and they never failed to invite me to each one. It was always a feast however simple the fare was.

The Torinos
the hospitable Torinos

I went to the island as a lone traveller and left it as part of a family. I'm going to be a godfather to one of the kids there soon.

If you want to camp on the island, you may contact Mang Boyet (+639125487872) or Nonong (+639099851316) to arrange your transportation from Tondol beach to Tanduyong. If your timing is perfect with the low tide you may simply walk from Tondol beach to Tanduyong.
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NenNen said...

I love the first photo. Looks so calm and serene. ;-)Milkfish 10pesos per kilo? amazing!

Lessie said...

Enjoyed the conclusion to this trip. Glad you didn't blow away in the night. :)

Photo Cache said...

What a wonderful adventure with the Torinos and this lovely island. Grilled bangus would be lovely with mango salsa and a little bagoong with kalamansi as sawsawan.

Sylvia K said...

Fabulous shots, really beautiful place! Love the water! Have a great week!

Ferdz said...

I like the idea of being part of the community than just being a passive traveler. Iba rin talaga to mingle with the locals and experience their living. Great posts Allan.

SandyCarlson said...

Heaven. Within reach. What's better?

Anonymous said...

How nice to acquire a family, and such a nice one, as part of your travels. Best wishes for you and your future goddaughter.

I really, really like the first photo. The perspective of sky and sea meeting in the distance is well done.

escape said...

these are priceless moments. i would have doen the same as i am really into camping over a beach.

adopted son ka na rin ng tanduyong.

chrome3d said...

Really great post about a beautiful place. I love to hear fishing stories and that was a good one.

Anonymous said...

Amazing shots! lalo na yung 1st photo.

btw, fishing is a difficult thing to do. thanks to the hardworking fisherman like mang boyet.

Carver said...

This was a great post. I enjoyed your photographs and narrative so much.

Canarybird said...

Such an interesting account of your visit!
The photos are lovely. What a beautiful island!

Luiz Ramos said...

Great adventure. Beautiful report.
Luiz Ramos

Russ said...

Cool! Great photos and story! Looks like fun!

Gaelyn said...

What an awesome place and family. Very cool to go out on the outrigger and help catch the meals to be shared later. Excellent post.

Erin said...

so enjoyed your trip to the island...an excellent series and the photographs were splendid...each and every one.
have a wonderful week.

Unknown said...

I can almost feel and I hear you when you say leaving the island as part of the family. What a great travel. I'd love to go the places you've featured here, someday when time isn't an issue. :)

Arija said...

What a wonderful lifestyle in such a beautiful location. Beautiful post.

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

Stunning images as usual! Also, to answer your question...yes, they allow camera at the Louvre--but no flash and no tripods. Not sure if you can get away with monopods, though. Have a good evening!

EstherK said...

Kamustaka? Beautiful place, stories and pictures!

Unseen India Tours said...

What a fantastic blog you have !! This post is simply amazing and the photographs are very lovely !! I wish to be there...Thanks for sharing !!Also I Have Started My Own Website And Would Like You To Have A Look At It.I Would Love To Have Your Comments On That Also.Unseen Rajasthan

demeter said...

great narrative and superb pictures Allan. I truly enjoyed how you managed to let us 'experience' the trip and the moments with the locals. I look forward to going there myself. Thanks

escape said...

i had the chance to meet the kids there and great they still remembered you. sending back their regards to you.

pagaling ka.

bert said...

Is it safe to stay in such a small island during a typhoon?

Better Than Coffee said...

great photography. the photos have a life of its own



Lantaw said...

Thank you all for the visit! Im currently out of town and my internet connection is limited. will visit your blogs soon

Reena said...

wow. you braved emong! we were supposed to stay in bolinao that weekened but the resort we were booked in had to postpone our stay. we instead went during the long weekend of the independence day.

i like bolinao. it's very calm. and not a lot of people.

i'll be honest though. i will never do whatever it is you did out there: the night camps, the fishing, etc. but you seem to have enjoyed a lot. plus i'm sure you also made an impact with your foster family.

will be looking forward to your other trips.

bw said...

nice pics...how some people live so simply. I love the idea of catching fish for breakfast :)

Dexter said...

the beach photo is very romantic...

Lantaw said...

bert, No its not safe, you have to be very careful

Reena, I went there after Typhoon Emong :)

Thank you all for the visit!

nienna said...

Hi sir,

The pictures you have here truly are inspiring. I still dont have my own camera but longing to own one. I however, stumbled on your blogsite by accident (and what a lucky one!). I am originally searching for beaches here in the philippines, mostly luzon area, where I could be allowed to set up my own tent rough the night, mountain climbing style. I'd be really greatful if I could contact you and ask about this. thank you sir

Lantaw said...

Sure nienna! what would you like to know?

mich torino bernardo said...

my mom's family owns this island..... i haven't been there in a long time and looking forward to visit when i go home......

Lantaw said...

No matter who owns what, I hope you keep the island as it is, otherwise you'd be destroying the very reason people go there.

gem ablan said...

i spent some days here when i was a kid, in the 70s. i have never forgotten the haunting loveliness of the island. those amazing pictures bring back some of my best memories of the place.Daddy used to bring us there before he retired to Laoag City. There was a huge motor boat which the family owned back then. He was the resident scientist and Regional Director for Region 1 of the Bureau of Fisheries then. Mr Benigno Galsim is a dear friend and confidante of Daddy, i guess he was with the Forestry department then. My father is Guillermo Ablan. Years have not diminished this beauty of the island. Like what the author said, it is best to preserve it for all future generations to come. Excellent job u did on the photos sir!

gem ablan said...

ms mich bernardo, can u add me please thru facebook, gem ablan. tnx. i was hoping my family can go back and visit the place when we get the chance. best wishes to your family!

Anonymous said...

i was wondering if there were anyone surviving children of Mr Benigno Galsim? just wondering. The old man was a good friend of Daddy, Mr Guillermo Ablan. he used to visit us in Laoag City. He was daddy's trusted friend. if at all please get in touch with me thru Congress of the Philippines, 931-5001 local 2330. or direct line 932-6495. tnx.

mich bernardo said...

I did not grew up in Tondol, we just visit every summer. My mom's father was the Baranggay Captain in Tondol for a long time.

mich bernardo said...

I did not grew up in Tondol we just visit every summer. My mom's father was the Baranggay Captain in Tondol for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ms.Gem Ablan,when my brother told me that you are looking for the family of mr. Benigno Galsim, I immediately search for this blog. Mrs. Rizalina Galsim, wife of Mr. Benigno Galsim would be contacting you very soon. I am the grand daughter of Mr. Benigno Galsim. My dad is Juanito (NITOY) Galsim. God Bless!

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