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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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September 24, 2009

maira-ira: blue lagoon's wavy welcome

Can the waves be more awesome than this?
Blue Lagoon big waves at sunrise

So there I was, after more than 24 hours of long queues, butt numbing bus rides, bus transfers, and busted air conditioning. There I was standing on the shores of mainland Luzon's northernmost tip, a place called Blue Lagoon Cove in Maira-ira, Pagudpud, savoring the salty morning sea air. Couldn't believe that just a few weeks ago I was in mainland Mindanao's southernmost area.

I've seen postcard shots of the place, the bluest of blue waters and the whitest of white sand on a clear sunny day. But I like Blue Lagoon's moody sunrise after a night of heavy rains. The waves are huge and they hit the shores with a booming sound. No wonder the place is becoming to be a surfing destination.

And as if to welcome us first timers there, the sea certainly presented us with a display of awesome waves. More photos of my Blue Lagoon morning soon. (photo left: lantaw vs the waves, courtesy of dongho).

See other sights in
Thats My World.
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September 23, 2009

samal island: hagimit falls quickie

Source of Hagimit Water
Hagimit's water source

I know from research that Hagimit Falls is a touristy place with its cottages and other structures. While some folks like to go to "developed" destinations, I like my destinations (especially waterfalls) wild, pristine, and unspoilt. But my wife and I decided to check it out anyway since we got time to spare before heading back to Davao City.

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September 21, 2009

samal island: a quick detour from davao

Whenever you are in Davao City and you have a day or two to spare, hop on a ferry and head to Samal island. Whether its a day trip or an overnight one, Samal island, officially known as Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) with very good reasons, has something to offer.

Samal is very near Davao City. There are lots of options for ferries going to the island. There are ROROs (Roll on, Roll off ferries) if you have your own vehicle. There are buses from Sta. Ana pier with routes to Babak and Penaplata, two of Samal's most progressive districts.

The fastest way is via the commuter ferries in Km 11 in Sasa wharf (fare is 13 pesos or .25 USD). Its a bit hard to find the ferry station if you are a first timer (its hidden behind a wet market) but taxi drivers will take you directly near the station (taxi drivers in Davao are honest, thanks to the much loved and feared city mayor)

Babak Pier
Babak pier on a sunny day

The ferries leave every 15 minutes and the ride only takes 10 minutes. You'll be in Babak pier before you can even doze off.

Samal Ferry Boat Passengers
Samal commuter ferry

As soon as you arrive in Babak pier, habal-habal (motorcycles on steriods) and multi-cab drivers will descend on you before you can even get your bearings. If you are traveling with a group or if you are the type who brings around a lot of luggage, then the multi-cab is for you.

If you are the type to likes to ride fast and hard then better get one of those habal-habals. The inner roads of Samal are terrible but the habal-habal's souped up shocks will make the ride enjoyable. The drivers liked to really rip the roads, so hold on to something, or just close your eyes.

Samal's habal-habal

A day's tour of the island's beaches and other sights will set you back about 600-1000 pesos, depending on where you want to go and your haggling skills. Its best if you have somebody with you who can speak the local dialect. For example I only paid 200 pesos for a trip to Canibad cove, while others paid 1000 pesos (as mentioned in their blogs).

Licup Viewpoint Flowers
viewpoint in Brgy Licup

There are many options once you are in Samal. There are caves to explore: the Monfort Bat Sanctuary is just near Babak pier, and several waterfalls (Hagimit Falls is one of the more popular, drop by Brgy Licup's viewpoint on the way to Hagimit).

Licup Midday Viewpoint
great sunny day for an island tour

There are zip lines if you are the daring type. White sand beaches abound, head to Kaputian (which literally means "whiteness" in local dialect) for great but affordable beaches. You can choose from nipa hut accommodations to posh resorts depending on your budget (see http://samalbeaches.com/).

Will feature photos on Monfort Bat Caves and Hagimit Falls soon.
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September 14, 2009

canibad: colors of dawn

Canibad Silent Morning
a sleepy cove

I was up and about while the rest are still in slumber. My wife aroused from her sleep, eyed me preparing my gears, but knew too well to ask me where I was going. Soon she was back in dreamland while I stepped outside our little hut to claim my "gift": the gift of morning colors, the gift of the new day. Its given for free everyday but you have to wake up early to get it.

The cove was empty, yet full at the same time. Empty of man's daily activities but full of nature's: the soft whisper of the early morning breeze, the booming sound of the waves breaking near the shore, and slow moving cotton clouds. Dawn is the best time to see what the world early is.

Canibad Pastel Dawn
Canibad's pastel dawn

Soon the colors of Canibad's dawn broke through the horizon. It was a hue of pastel pink and blue. Canibad's coral rocks, seen in many photos of the place, figured prominently in the landscape. No two sunrises, or sunsets, are ever the same. So each you see one you are getting a unique and special gift.

Colors of Dawn
colors of the first light

As the sunrise colors grew more intense, there was a display of softer, more subtle colors at the opposite direction. The anti-sunrise (or anti-sunset) colors are often missed simply because most people immediately dismiss the less obvious. Yet there are times when these colors are more interesting than the actual sunrise or sunset.

Canibad Sunrise, Burning Tree
by the burning tree

When the sun rose above the clouds lingering by the horizon, everything was splashed with a golden light. The pastel colors gave way to a bright warm glow which seems to signal the official start of the day. Folks started going about their daily chores while some kids played on the beach. For most, its just another ordinary day.
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September 8, 2009

canibad: a samal hideaway

Canibad Solitude
paradise found

It was empty, much to our liking.

My wife and I had a couple days to spare before we head out to the highlands of Lake Sebu for an assignment and we decided to check out some the places in Samal island (Island Garden City of Samal), a paradise island just a couple of minutes boat ride from Davao City.

One of our destinations is Canibad, a "secret" cove on the far side of the island, facing the shores Davao Oriental (lots of white sand beaches there too). During the course of my research I learned that Canibad has become sort of an "open secret" these days and is a favorite destination for those seeking rustic solitude. A dozen or more folks thinking the same thing like "lets go to Canibad for some peace and quiet" and you got yourself a crowded cove.

So we chose the date to go there very carefully: a day after the biggest festival in Mindanao - Davao's Kadayawan festival. I figured most folks would already be on their way home that day, and those who aren't are still probably nursing a hangover from last night's festivities and would not enjoy the very bumpy ride to the cove. And it paid off.

Canibad Western View
view of the south western end of the cove

After a scenic habal-habal (motorcycle) ride along Babak and Peñaplata's paved coastal road and down really rough backroads of central Samal we finally caught glimpse of the cove's azure waters.

From the main road its a 5-minute hike down to the beach. There are no high end resorts there, just simple huts and cottages you can rent. No electricity, no air conditioning, no electric fans. Cellphone signal is sporadic.

Canibad Hut
accommodation in Canibad

What Canibad lacks in amenities it makes up with its natural beauty and the hospitality of the folks there.

Canibad View from a Hut
open cottage with a view

While for most folks the place is boring and is devoid of the beach fun they are after, we like our beaches empty, and quiet, with lots of shaded nooks where you can read a good book or catch up on your sleep.

Canibad Cool Shade
cool shade

If you are into snorkeling, there is a fish sanctuary on the rocky north-western end of the cove. Its also a perfect place to catch the sunrise if you can get up early enough.

Canibad Rocks
fish sanctuary

It was exactly what a getaway should be (at least in our book): plenty of open space and beautiful scenery, with the sound of nature to lull you to sleep.

where to stay in canibad
There are about 5 or so private resorts in Canibad all with just a couple of rooms or cottages for rent. You can pitch a tent on the beach for a minimal fee, at least would be able to use the facilities of the resort. No restaurants, so you'll have to bring your own supplies. You can buy fresh catch in the morning and have it cooked.

We stayed at Canibad Secret Paradise resort. They only have 3 cottages for rent at Php 500.00 (10 USD) per night. They have a generator set which they turn on at 6PM to 9PM only, but they are no electrical outlets in the cottages. You'll have to go to the caretaker's house if you want to charge your batteries.

If you want to reserve a cottage you may contact Lyn-lyn or Jun at +63-906-903-2749
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September 3, 2009

canibad: a preview

sunrise in Canibad

Canibad is a nice secluded cove on north-eastern part of Samal island (officially known as IGACOS or Island Garden City of Samal). Its a small island in the gulf of Davao that is very popular for its fine white sand beaches, waterfalls, and caves (bat caves). Lovers of the great outdoors also frequent the island for its ziplines and mountain biking trails.

My wife and I went there just after the Kadayawan festival (the biggest festival in Mindanao) and found the cove empty, save for the locals.

More stories and photos soon.
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September 1, 2009

business and pleasure

Business and Pleasure

My wife joined me in my recent assignment documenting the arts and craft of the T'boli tribe in the remote barangays of Lake Sebu. Our 10th wedding anniversary coincided with one of our shooting days there. Our T'boli friends insisted on lending us some traditional wear for a mock tribal wedding which turned into an instant photo session.

Photo by Ogie Bautista
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