Saturday, December 1, 2012

PhotoHunt: STELLAR

The Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines is decked with star-shaped lanterns, all ready to celebrate Christmas. At the center of the plaza in front of the main administration building is the Oblation, symbol of the university, and ultimate aim and aspiration of the institution for its graduates, who number in the thousands yearly.

Quezon Hall, UP Diliman, November 2012 using a phone cam.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day give us the timely, and not often ignored, reminder of our own mortality, death's inevitability, and the importance of living life to the fullest. Until we reach our final destination.

Heritage Park, Taguig City, November 2012, using a phonecam.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

PhotoHunt: EMPTY

The Surigao Strait and the rising sun painted a fantastic visual treat, devoid of human intervention and interference, so beautiful that even a non-morning person like myself couldn't help but get out of the bed to be privy to such majesty.

off Almont Beach Resort, Surigao City, April 2011.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

PhotoHunt: DANCE

Love her or hate her, Lady Gaga surely knows how to make a 10,000-plus-strong crowd sing and sway with her.

SM Mall of Asia Arena, May 2012, using a digicam.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

PhotoHunt: HOT

In order to beat the hordes of madding tourist, and take advantage of the "first-buyer discount," we were in this pearl market at around 7am. These necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are proud products of communities in and around the Sulu Sea, engaged in the trade for decades. The market is located at the wharf behind a landmark hotel which has changed hands through the years; but the pearl sellers, like the beauty of their wares, have consistently endured life's scrapes and scuffles.

back of Lantaka Hotel, Zamboanga City, January 2012, using a digicam.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

PhotoHunt: RIPPLE

From the first time it reached our shores in 1521, as symbolized by this cross which encases the actual first-ever cross planted on Cebu island by Magellan, Christianity has spread far and wide in the Philippines, making it the predominant religious affiliation among Filipinos.

Magellan's Cross, Cebu City 2012, using a digicam.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

PhotoHunt: CLEAN

Except for the constant whir of our helicopter, the vast Pacific Ocean ahead and skies above, as far as my eyes could see, harbored no other signs of humanity. Arguably the most estranged I have been to my species.

over the waters along the coast of Aurora Province, October 2011, using a digicam.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

PhotoHunt: TASTE

The breakfast buffet was simple yet delicious.

The view around us, from our table, however, made it more than sumptuous.

Dakak Beach Resort, Zamboanga Del Norte 2012, using a digicam.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Safari Year Five

I quietly celebrated my photoblog’s fifth year online this week. While swimming through some posts through the years, I am grateful for having experienced so many places, so much culture, and myriad events. I am even more grateful that I have began to see anything and everything as “blog-able” – no need to wait for an elusive double rainbow or the perfect symmetry of sun, sea, and sky. The last five years online have helped teach me that I make the so-called Kodak moments, and each is a Kodak moment- if I choose it to be. No scenery is too grand or too murky for beauty and wonder to reside in.

To celebrate my blogoversary, allow me to re-dedicate this blog with words I have used to launch it five years ago:

This photoblog is inspired by Dan Eldon, a young photojournalist who was killed while on duty in Somalia. Reckoned by many to have been a premature death, he left an extensive set of journals chronicling a life that was short but truly well-lived. Thank you, Dan, for reminding me that each moment is a golden photo opportunity, to be grabbed, savored, captured, framed, and shared…

This safari that is my life is still so good.


I am a firm believer in Dan Eldon’s mission statement that

"The most important part of vehicle maintenance is clean windows, so if you are broken down, you will enjoy the beauty of the view."

In a recent road trip, I am glad the owner of the vehicle we were in was of the same thinking, too. The view from Valencia City to Cagayan De Oro City was simply awesome- a 130-kilometer trip punctuated by rolling hills, gorgeous skies, and imposing mountains. Now, I had to be a bit creative to capture my surroundings since we were cruising at a speed that was meant to enable us to join a meeting without being late.

on the road in Bukidnon,April 2012, using a digicam.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

PhotoHunt: MAGICAL

This is one of the rare times I really wish I had a real pro's camera because my puny point-and-shoot simply did not do justice to capture the majesty of Tinago Falls.

The Filipino word for "hidden," Tinago Falls is nestled in a lush forest environment about 45 minutes' drive on rough roads from the national highway. As a person in the worst possible physical shape, it me about 20 minutes to go down some 300-odd steps into the valley that cradles Tinago. (Then thrice as long to go back up.)

But to say that it is worth the hike is the year's understatement. It is simply amazing. Even magical.

Iligan City, April 2012, using a digicam.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

PhotoHunt: SCOOP

I have been to Cebu several times over the last decade and a half but it was just last week that I got to see its Provincial Capitol in person. I found its U-shaped, recessed facade rather unique- versus the usual "flat" exteriors of government buildings, especially among those built during the American occupation of the Philippines.

Cebu City, May 2012, using a digicam.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

PhotoHunt: ZAP

I think the moon is one of the most underrated icons of beauty. Most likely because we fail to fully see its beauty since it peeks around the time we're supposed to be sleeping. It doesn't help that it has also been been infamously associated with werewolves, lunatics, and all the creepy crawlies that go bump in the night.

I still happen to be awake at this unusual hour (it's 2.36am here in the Philippines as I type this) and while reading my Twitter timeline, someone mentioned about the moon. I looked up and out of the window and- voila- a sight I hardly behold.

I don't know if this is already the supermoon mentioned frequently as of late, but regardless, the moon will always be super, magical to me =]

the sky outside my house, Taguig City, May 2012, using a digicam.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

PhotoHunt: REFLECT

This is the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Zamboanga City, some 1,900 kilometers south of the Philippine capital of Manila. I accidentally found it online when I was looking for the local schedule of masses during a brief stay in the city recently. It caught my eye online; to see it in person was something else. Its 'whiteness' shimmers in the noontime sun, its distinct shape stands out from among the usual box-type buildings in its immediate environs. It's an example of the ever-changing face of our centuries-old faith.

Zamboanga City, March 2011, using a digicam.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

PhotoHunt: STURDY

This is Stan, arguably the star of The Mind Museum, the Philippines' first world-class science museum which formally opened its doors last March 16th in Taguig City. Stan is a forty-foot Tyrannosaurus rex cast made from the most complete T. rex set ever discovered. No wonder he is the touted king of dinosaurs: if I were his prey then, his sheer majestic presence would have made me freeze where I stood. Exactly how I felt when I first got to see him up close at The Mind Museum.

The Mind Museum, Taguig City, December 2011, using a digicam.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

PhotoHunt: AWESOME

Nestled amidst the greenery of Talisay village in Dapitan City, this towering baluno tree, a relative of the mango, has stood guard for at least one hundred years. By itself, it is already an awe-inspiring entity. But in addition to its imposing presence, this baluno has been a witness to the life of the Philippines' national hero, Dr Jose Rizal, while he lived in exile in this village from March 1893 to July 1896. In silence, it has watched Rizal as he maintained a school that mentored a group of boys into fine young men; developed the area into a model for public works and health and sanitation; found true love; buried a son.

If only its leaves and branches can talk, what wondrous stories I'm sure this baluno tree will tell about Rizal's time here in Dapitan, in exile, yes, yet arguably the most free he has ever been...

Rizal Shrine, Dapitan City, Zamboanga Del Norte, March 2012, using a digicam.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

PhotoHunt: POINT

I know to many, if not most, drivers in the United States, these freeway signs make sense. But for a newbie traveler like myself, it is almost always a source of confusion. Good thing these actually very informative signages are placed a good distance where, say, the roads fork or the exits are due to appear; else, they would be rendered useless as I would have already missed these supposed turns and ramps.

But then, there's always the GPS...

while on an East Coast road trip, New Year's Eve 2011, using a digicam.