The Traveling Havaianas has been on a roll this April! For me, summer ain’t complete without these essentials: Havaianas, Nikon camera, and a great sense of adventure. Here’s a taste of some my exploits that made me quite busy all throughout the month:
What I came for: A local trip for 3 days.
What I saw: Eden Nature Park and Resort. This 80-hectare park is just approximately 40 km. south of Davao City or 45 mins. drive going up from the city proper. It’s like going for a quick drive to Baguio. Enjoyed the cool crisp mountain air and took photos of pine trees, gardens, and peacocks. We even camped out for the day, brought and cooked food in one of the campsites in the area.
What I conquered: My fear of durian. Well, not exactly. I’ve never tasted durian because of its pungent smell (even durian candies, jams or tarts) but when I’ve tried durian coffee, I deeply recommend that this is a must in Davao. You can get one in Bluegre Café or buy last minute in the airport.
What I came for: The Aliwan Fiesta in Quirino Grandstand to shoot with Zone V-ers.
What I saw: Contingents from the most popular festivals throughout the Philippines vying for a million-peso stake and for the prestige of being the best of the best. I love the color, diversity, ingenuity of each province represented. To name a few, some of the festivals who competed were: Panagbenga Festival of Baguio, Kalakachara Festival of Batangas, Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, Kadayawan Festival of Davao, and Lembuhong Festival in South Cotabato.
What I conquered: To be honest, I’ve never experienced shooting in a fiesta before this so I didn’t know how it feels like. Since it was my first time, shooting this HUGE gathering of our Philippine festivals with massive contingents of streetdancers (not to mention competing photographers!) was already a feat for me.
Senakulo on a Good Friday.
What I came for: The Senakulo in Cainta, Rizal to shoot with Zone V-ers.
What I saw: The devotees who depicted the Stations of the Cross and the crucifixion of Christ were almost real, with the props, colorful costumes, acting, the works. (It wasn’t really like in Cutud, Pampanga where it was hot, bloody, and dusty.)
What I conquered: It was another first for me—first time to shoot this part of Filipino culture. The most challenging part here actually is rising up early to get to our meeting place at 6:00am and shooting under the heat of the sun from 7:00-10:00am which already felt like being under the highest noon.
Green Water Rafting.
What I came for: Went back for a relaxing time, not on the beach, but on the green water lakes of San Pablo, Laguna.
What I saw: The three out of the seven lakes of San Pablo: Pandin Lake, its twin lake Yanbo, and Sampalok Lake. We took a ride on a bamboo raft and sipped fresh buko juice as we enjoyed the refreshing hues of greens and blues in Pandin Lake. We then crossed over a plateau to see the neighboring Lake Yambo. After endless FB profile-picturing, we rested under a balete tree, which was our jump-off point for a swim in the lake. We also visited Café Lago overlooking Sampalok Lake and met with its owners Mr. Mandy Marino and his wife, environmentalist and promoter of San Pablo lakes, who would gladly tell its visitors about the story of the lake’s re-birth.
What I conquered: Being able to find those hidden serene lakes in Laguna. It was so hidden that we always get lost finding them! If you’re the type who easily gets frustrated, you need to have a lot of patience and a sense of direction and humor.
What I came for: Another local trip for 5 days.
What I saw: Since I’ve seen most of the tourist-y spots in the city of Baguio, I took a sidetrip to its countryside. I’ve always wanted to check out BenCab Museum and Tam-awan Village which are both a bit far off from the city. Not only did I visit the artworks of Benedicto Cabrera (or BenCab as he is more popularly known) and other fellow artists, I also saw and took photos of the breathtaking scenery of the gardens, forests, and surrounding mountains in the BenCab Museum. I also went to Tam-awan Village, which has become a venue of art exhibits and workshops and gives visitors a deeper understanding of the Cordillera culture. I thought I could catch some artists there (I heard they can sketch your profile right there) but unfortunately, there was none at that time.
What I conquered: I went on a solo traveler and art appreciation mode. I took an FX to Kawang rd. in Baguio market. Then I rode a jeepney in that terminal going to Km. 6 Asin Road for the BenCab Museum. A 15-20 mins. breezy ride. Then I rode another jeep going to Quezon Hill Road from Asin Road for Tam-awan Village. In short, I just commuted alone with just a map, a camera, and a bit of courage with me. No problem in commuting because of the cool breeze!
What I came for: To shoot our company’s triathlon team in the Subic International Triathlon (SubIT 2011).
What I saw: Hundreds of top foreign triathletes for the Elite category and local triathlon teams for Men and Women Adult and Relay Team competition. Triathlon is indeed the fastest growing sport. The number of participants definitely grew from last year making this year’s staging more tough and exciting. Unfortunately, I also witnessed several bike accidents; a friend of mine being one of them. This event is definitely action-filled! You’ll never know what will happen!
What I conquered: Being able to wake up at the wee hours of 3:00am for the call time (2 days in a row), stay under the sweltering Subic sun, follow them everywhere, it was worth it… All for the love of my company’s team!