Early Start

Depending on where you park your car, you end up passing by a row of flower shops as you leave the Baguio Market. We usually leave the market around 8:30 am before everyone else starts to arrive and fills up the place. Luckily, it’s actually perfect because by this time, the flower shops are open, buzzing with the hustle and bustle of a day just starting. I caught this gent having some quiet time in the early morning and I think this image captures the mood quite well. I spot-metered for the flowers which underexposed the rest of the scene which gave it a more dramatic look I think.

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The Coconut-nut

One thing about shooting at the Baguio Market is the lack of lighting. My D300 is “high ISO challenged” so I try and make do with what I can get. As the saying goes, “it’s not the arrow-it’s the Indian!” So I just choose my scenes accordingly. In this case, it’s looking for those “petromax” lamps that are still popular here in the Philippines and hunting for subjects in its immediate vicinity. Found this one and didn’t really think much of it until I got home and did some post. I liked how her face says so much about the hard work that goes into waking up early every day and tending to the stall at the market. The serious demeanor hoping for a lot of customers to make it a good day at work. This remains as one of my favorites from that trip.

The Vendor At The Market

I was reading the newspaper the other day (yes, I still enjoy reading the papers) and came across a similar image. It occurred to me that this nice lady is probably one of the most photographed persons at the Baguio City Public Market. I always try and visit the market at least once whenever I’m in Baguio. I usually try and get there before 6 AM. There’s less traffic, easy parking and not yet crowded. The only downside is the lack of available light. My wife and I usually buy fresh veggies, strawberries, mountain-grown coffee beans, local sausages and other seasonal things we find like passion fruit!

The Store Next Door at Paete

I took this shot at the store beside Kape Kesada. They sell mostly wood carvings and paper mache figures and it was an interesting site to say the least. I’ve visited here several times and never tire of taking one or two shots.

San Cristobal

So these are two of the famous murals inside the church. They depict “San Cristobal” or St. Christopher. There’s a reason for two versions of the same subject. The first one made the Saint look too “native” which offended the Spanish friars. So Luciano Dans, the local painter had to make a second version which made St. Christopher look more “Spanish” whatever that means. No small feat considering “Dans used natural color pigments mixed with volcanic ash and brushes made from cats’ hair to create the murals”. Just goes to show that politics, art and religion are always inseparable.

Selfie

I took this in Paete, Laguna during Holy Week several years ago. We visited a good friend of mine, Dr. Nilo Valdecantos who in my book, should be appointed as the town Hero. He is the owner of Kape Kesada, a local cafe cum art gallery and Doc Nilo has been passionately pushing for the recognition of Paete as the wood carving and art capital of Laguna. Unfortunately, Doc Nilo lost his valiant fight against cancer a few months ago and is survived by his wife and sons who are now tasked with taking care of the cafe. I took this at the only church in town which is called the Saint James the Apostle Parish Church. The church is famous, among other things, for its murals which I’ll post about later on.

Peace To Hong Kong

Hong Kong (HK) has been in the news for more than a month now and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any solution anytime soon. An old classmate of mine who lives in HK said that most of the protesters never even knew what it was like living under the old British colonial influence when democratic Hong Kong could chart its own path. These are all kids who grew up under mainland rule. Maybe they’re really chafing at the restrictive way China’s been managing Hong Kong? They’ve got some big brass ones that’s for sure. So keep at it kids and show them what you’ve got. I certainly have no love lost for the way China’s been bullying everyone and it’s refreshing to see someone other than Vietnam standing up to them. I shot this some time ago and posted a different version here. For that version, I made a little experiment which didn’t pan out although I was still happy with the result. I think this is how the scene really looked as far as my camera’s White Balance goes (which isn’t totally accurate).

Arrival

This was the pump boat or “basnig” we rode going to Dinagat Island. The going was slow but steady and not too many waves to make the 1-1/2 hour trip bearable if not pleasant. The sun and clouds together with some rain showers and mist off in the distance were doing their ballet which made for some wonderful afternoon lighting.

Ugly Art Too

Another shot I took of the oil slick I saw while in Dinagat Island. I might be headed back there in the near future for some work so I hope to get in some camera time.

Last Trip

I took this at the port of San Jose on Dinagat Island which is a large island located at the eastern side of the Philippines. We were disembarking and headed out to meet our hosts for the next part of our trip to our final destination. I looked behind, saw this beautiful scene while walking away and quickly took out my trusty G16 to snap a few before it was too late. I think I captured the mood of that moment perfectly.