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).


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.

Ugly Art

So we were standing on the dock of my client’s facility situated in relatively virgin waters of the Pacific Ocean. And lo and behold we see this oil slick where none should exist due to environmental rules and regulations. It wasn’t really a major oil slick just some fuel that must have leaked into the ocean but it’s still an eyesore and poses a health hazard to the local marine fauna. The guys I was with took note and I guess they’ll file a report with the company’s environmental guys. Hopefully, this is the last we’ll see of something like this. I did manage to capture a pic because it looked beautiful in an abstract way. And that black reflection on the left ended up looking like oriental calligraphy.

Dinagat Sunrise

Now this was an interesting trip. I had to go to Dinagat Island to visit the production site of one of my customers. Getting there involved a 2-hour plane ride, 2.5 hour boat ride, 2.5 hours on a pickup truck, another 2 hours on a riverboat and finally another 30 minute pickup truck ride to the destination site. All in all, it took the better part of a day just getting there. The riverboat ride was the most interesting part of the journey. There wasn’t a soul in site and sort of reminded me of the movie “Apocalypse Now”. I was fantasizing about exploring the river and doing some wildlife photography and even some fishing. Dinagat Island sits on the Eastern part of the country with one side facing the Pacific Ocean and probably has a lot of potential for further exploration. Surfing is probably good on the Pacific side so who knows.

Rays On Flats #4

And this was how the scene looked from just several steps away. The lighting on that day was really spectacular. Seeing this just makes me miss the beach.

Rays On Flats #3

This should give you a general idea of the lay of the land. Looking back, I realize I took about 13 or more images which is a lot by seascape-photography standards. It can take several minutes looking for the right angle for a shot, setting up the tripod and waiting for the clouds or sun to come into play which means it was a somewhat productive afternoon.

Rays On Flats #2

A slightly different perspective and exposure of the scene before me. I especially liked how the clouds were dramatically aligned in the sky.