<![CDATA[D UX C A R V A J A L | B L O G - Aguhon: Philippine Travelogue]]>Mon, 23 Nov 2015 05:56:45 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Laiya: Focusing on the task at hand]]>Thu, 15 Nov 2012 12:56:05 GMThttp://duxcarvajalphoto.weebly.com/aguhon-philippine-travelogue/laiya-focusing-on-the-task-at-hand
I've been to Laiya, Batangas a few times and in those handful of visits, I've found that the rocky outcrop by the Western part of the beach provided ample opportunities for great landscape images.

Waves crashing, lush green mountaintops in the distance, massive stone formations and an unobscured view of the open sea tempt the shutter finger to go into overdrive. I mean, what else can you ask for? It's like a veritable candy store for photographers. True, there are no grand sunsets and sunrises to witness here as the beach faces neither East not West, but the interesting topography makes up big time for that.  

That said, it has been a while since our last trip to this popular summer destination. And though my friends and I always plan to go, for some reason or another, it always gets cancelled at the last minute.

Well, guess what. Thanks to the good people at Ford Philippines, myself and my buddy Mark got another crack at capturing the beauty of this Batangeno beach hide-away as we were asked to shoot their Fuel economy run for the All-New Ford Focus.

Destination? You guessed it. Laiya.

Of course we both knew that as the official photographers for the event, ensuring that we captured the pivotal moments of the fuel run from the start point at Serendra, going to Batangas Port, all the way to Rosario and ultimately Laiya was the priority. And that in itself was a blast to photograph too.
Riding shotgun in the car and leaning precariously over the edge of the windows to take tracking shots of the Focus in action; Mad dashes to select vantage points in the route for panning shots of the cars as they roared past; Teetering at the top of roadside markers for a bird's eye perspective of the road were all commonplace scenarios throughout the day . Fun stuff!
At the Shell station in Rosario, the cars topped up and the gas consumption for each of the four teams from the media was tallied. The tandem of Peejo Pilar (Men's Health) and Mikko David (Top Gear) were declared the winners for hitting an average of 21.995 Km/L using the all-new 2.0L Ford Focus Titanium+.
With the festivities of the All-New Ford Focus Fuel Economy Fun Run done and over with, we were rewarded with some free time to go around the beach and take some landscapes. We initially tried a few night time shots but with the floodlights of the resorts in full blast, star trailing and long exposures were out of the question. I settled on this single frame (above) before calling it a night.
The next day,we were supposed to rise early to catch the sunrise but surprise surprise, Mark and I slept through it even with four alarm clocks in full blast.

When we finally woke up, the morning sun was already in full blast. But that did not matter. Braving the harsh heat, we slapped on our filters and trekked Westward, towards the famous rock formations.
Sunburned (again!) but with a number of keepers, we headed back to the resort to freshen up and have a hearty lunch before heading back to Manila -  Once more, convoy style in shiny new Focuses .

For more on the Ford Focus Fuel Fun Run please visit: https://www.facebook.com/FordPhilippines
]]>
<![CDATA[Candaba Bird Sanctuary]]>Mon, 22 Oct 2012 12:42:02 GMThttp://duxcarvajalphoto.weebly.com/aguhon-philippine-travelogue/candaba-bird-sanctuary
For a kid who grew up in the province, I find it incredibly comforting to know that breathtaking places such as this still exist just an hour and a half's drive away from the city.
Down here everyone seemed oblivious to the chaos of urban life and as we slowly took in the sights, I found myself strangely on familiar ground.
It's a bit of a shame that we arrived late. The sun was already setting and we there was still about 5 kilometers of walking left to do before we get to the actual location where we wanted to shoot. And so as much as we wanted to take in the sights, we literally had to hunker down and do a mad dash towards the bird sanctuary.
And though my photographic interests lie in capturing the landscape, for a moment or two I did wish I had a long lens to capture all the bird life in the area. During peak season, we were told that over 80 or so species of migratory birds find their way into the Candaba swamp. I guess that means there will be a return trip? :)
Birding will have to wait though as the sun beckons for a photograph.
]]>
<![CDATA[ONE FC: Pride of a Nation]]>Sat, 08 Sep 2012 04:50:38 GMThttp://duxcarvajalphoto.weebly.com/aguhon-philippine-travelogue/one-fc-pride-of-a-nationOne of the shots I did for ONE FC.

For the latest updates visit: https://www.facebook.com/ONEFCMMA
P.S. Aiming to shoot more landscapes real soon. The past few months I have just been extremely tied down with work :(
]]>
<![CDATA[Stagnant!]]>Mon, 21 May 2012 10:01:45 GMThttp://duxcarvajalphoto.weebly.com/aguhon-philippine-travelogue/stagnantGah! Has it been a month already since my last landscape shoot?

Alrighty folks, I'm declaring the weekend as another expedition. Stay tuned for the photos!
]]>
<![CDATA[Lake Sebu: South Cotabato's Pot of Gold]]>Sat, 21 Apr 2012 17:16:33 GMThttp://duxcarvajalphoto.weebly.com/aguhon-philippine-travelogue/lake-sebu-south-cotabatos-pot-of-gold
A wedding invitation from a childhood friend sent me packing for Davao a few days ago. To maximize the trip, my parents and I decided to spend an extra two days in Mindanao and head further down south to the municipality of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato for a quick R&R session.  30 years or so ago, my mom actually worked there so it was an added treat for her to revisit the lake. As for me, I knew there would be plenty of opportunities to shoot so a lugged my camera gear.

It took us about 6 hours to get to Lake Sebu from Davao. The roads were smooth all the way and the views we got to see en route were a great bonus. It was almost 4 in the afternoon when we arrived at Punta Isla, our resort in Lake Sebu. After checking in, we decided to head to the waterfalls the municipality was famous for.

A short dirt road from Lake Sebu's town proper led us straight to the falls. Turns out there are 7 well known falls within close proximity of each other and the first two are just a few steps away from each other. Hikong Alu (meaning passage) or Falls #1 was easily accessible via a paved walkway from the parking area while Hikong Bente (Falls #2) can b e accessed via another nearby dirt road  or if you are the more adventurous type, by descending down 700-plus steps path near the registration area.
With light fading fast, I only had a few moments to take shots of the first falls. By the time we were hiking towards falls #2, the sun had already started to set so we had to go back as we prioritized catching view of the sun setting over the lake. Next time we visit, I'll make sure to take shots of Hikong Bente!
We reached the lake area exactly as the sun was setting. Unfortunately heavy clouds had settled and were blocking what could have been a glorious sunset. I'm not complaining. It still was a grand view to take in mind you :)
During breakfast the next day, I guess mother nature wanted to make up for the diffused sunset she gave us yesterday. With the sun already blasting morning rays across the lake, it suddenly rained. Within moments something caught my eye over the horizon. A rainbow! And not just a regular rainbow, a double rainbow at that! I can even see where it ends! The colors were so intense that the rainbow actually cast a reflection on the lake.

They say there's a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow right? Do you think it was coincidence that the rainbow ends right smack in the middle of the lake? As one of the country's most important watersheds, I think that rainbow ended exactly where it should.
]]>
<![CDATA[Lake Seloton: Rejuvenating Sunrise]]>Sat, 21 Apr 2012 09:43:10 GMThttp://duxcarvajalphoto.weebly.com/aguhon-philippine-travelogue/lake-seloton-rejuvinating-sunrise
As I a photographer, one of the things I dread are sunrise shoots. Trust me, I'm the kind of person that if hibernating was a thing humans did, I'd be the first to do so and the last one to wake up. Sunrises happen at such an ungodly hour for me that most of the time, I pass on the opportunity.

Lake Seloton and its sunrise is an exception.
Ripples of water creating creases upon the mirror-like sheen of the water as a small dugout canoe drifts across paddled by a friendly face, a barely there sun playing hide and seek with the misty mountains, the earthy scent of morning-dew soaked rice fields, trees swaying in the cold yet gentle morning breeze, splashes of water no doubt coming from the Tilapia inside the fish pens - these are the sights, sounds and smells that greeted me as I made my way to the lake edge, giddy with anticipation for Seloton's magical sunrise.
Trust me when I say that the place is magical. Visiting and shooting Lake Seloton's glorious sunrise somehow left me feeling rejuvenated. If you need to recharge and get away from the mad machinery of the city, this is a great place to do so.
Next time I visit, you can be sure that I've already set my alarm for 4am.
]]>
<![CDATA[El Nido: Paradise Found]]>Wed, 11 Apr 2012 12:11:31 GMThttp://duxcarvajalphoto.weebly.com/aguhon-philippine-travelogue/el-nido-paradise-foundI'll start by saying five days in El Nido is not enough. Nope, no siree Bob. There's just too many islands to explore, beaches to comb, sunsets to capture, fishes to see, coves to discover, waves to attack, hours to waste... sigh -  I could ramble on but you get the idea.
Picture
When Fire Dances With Rocks - Sunset at El Nido Port
The place truly is magical and it definitely lives up to expectation.

We stayed at Lally and Abet's beachfront resort. As soon as we got there, we were greeted with warm smiles abound and a refreshing welcome drink. The room was not bad. Hot and cold shower, three twin beds (of which two are joined) and a small flat screen TV. Outside, we had our own patio which had a perfect vantage point for sunsets.

We were served breakfast and dinner at the hotel while lunch was had during the island hopping tour. Our boatmen-slash-guides were pretty good at whipping out yummy grilled marinated pork, seafood kebabs, baked potatoes, buttered beans complete with fresh fruits for dessert.

Off the top of my head, the must see spots during the tour are:
Secret beach: A small hole at the side of s seemingly solid limestone rock opens up to a small lagoon with corals and a small white sand beach.  
Big Lagoon: Best lazy swimming spot. Put on the lifevest, turn over backside and float away to relaxation.
Small Lagoon: Another unique swimming spot. Look for the cave at the end of the lagoon.
Simizu Island: Best snorkeling place! Billions of fish and corals to see!

Anyway, I think I've said enough. I'll just let the photos do the talking from here on out :)

Picture
Local boy fishing for what he said are tiny octopus living underneath the sand and seaweed.
Picture
Cadlao Island in the distance seen from El Nido Port
Picture
Waves crashing at Helicopter Island
Picture
Mangrove trees form a small cove at Snake Island.
Picture
Survivor Island - Where they are currently filming the TV reality series "Survivor"
Picture
Weapons of choice
Picture
Big Lagoon
Picture
Sunset during our first day in El Nido.
Picture
El Nido at dawn
Picture
Homeward bound
Picture
Entrance to the Big Lagoon
Make sure to click "Read More" for more photos! :)
Picture
More waves at Helicopter Island!
Picture
Lunch prepared by our boatmen/guides
Picture
Survivor Island
Picture
Fisherman heading to his boat
Picture
Village chismis session
Picture
My first attempt at a sunset shot on day 1
Picture
What you see when you look up Cudugnon cave
Picture
Cudugnon cave - This rock formation reminds me of the Masked murderer in the movie Scream
Picture
Snake Island
Picture
Snake Island
Picture
EL Nido
Picture
Hidden Beach - We were not able to get to the actual beach as the tide was too low and the boat could not go through.
Picture
Snorkeling at the Big Lagoon
Picture
Market/Town area behind the beach front
Picture
Cudugnon beach
Picture
Live entertainment at the Seaslugs Bar. Girl singing was damn awesome!
Picture
Last sunset we saw before heading back to Puerto Princesa
]]>
<![CDATA[Travelogue: Laguna De Bay]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2012 17:13:56 GMThttp://duxcarvajalphoto.weebly.com/aguhon-philippine-travelogue/travelogue-laguna-de-bay
Picture
Fire and Ice
A well deserved rest after a two hour trek up Mt. Romelo to photograph Buruwisan and Lanzones falls was short lived as we decided to make the most out of the day by rushing down the mountain and proceed to the nearby town of Pangil to photograph the gorgeous Laguna de Bay sunset.

Much like the hike up, going down proved to be as muddy as ever. The only difference this time was that gravity was on our side making the descent a whole lot easier. It was still challenging mind you as our legs barely had the chance to recover from the climb. Halfway through, the turbo-strap on my Crocs gave way but we still made great time and were back to the town proper in just a little over an hour. At 5pm on the dot we were cruising towards our final destination for the day.

The highway conveniently led us right to Laguna de Bay's edge which was populated by mini-rice fields. We parked by a deserted house/warehouse by the roadside and quickly looked for an access to the fields for an unobstructed view of the country's largest lake. Fortunately for us, the owners of the first house we approached were more than happy to give us access to the rice paddies located behind the property. Talk about prime sunset real estate!

Time check, 5.45pm. Sunset was scheduled for 6.02pm which meant we just had enough time to look for our respective POV's and setup our tripods and cameras. I struggled a bit to find a good foreground as they were either too far or too plain for my taste.
Picture
2 minutes before the sunset I still haven't decided on where to shoot. I was desperate for a nice foreground element.
My good friend and fellow photographer Rebo was kind enough to let me move in front of him for a clearer shot at the quickly fading sun. A few moments later, I found my frame and waited for the show to start.
Picture
I almost settled in having the hat as my foreground. Thankfully I ended up near the very end of that cement walkway for a much better view.
6.20pm. The sun has set completely from the horizon and yet the sky remained a boring hue. Rebo kept shouting (I was a few meters away) that we should call it a day because it just was not happening . I insisted that we wait a few more minutes. Patience I told him was something we landscape photographers should not be short of.

True enough and as if on cue, the sky suddenly turned from a boring bluish grey to dark blue mixed with red, pinks, yellows and orange. The show had begun and we were right damn smack in the middle of it!

Since we were standing on this little piece of cement walkway, we basically had just one POV to shoot it and yet that did not matter at all because from where we were and with all of that magnificent color, any angle would be just as beautiful.
Picture
Lakeside Diaries
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
]]>
<![CDATA[Travelogue: Mt.Romelo's Buruwisan and Lanzones Falls]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2012 05:32:11 GMThttp://duxcarvajalphoto.weebly.com/aguhon-philippine-travelogue/travelogue-mtromelos-buruwisan-and-lanzones-falls
Picture
Lanzones Falls
As I type this, every bone and muscle in my body screams 'bloody murder' with every move I make.

A few days ago we were browsing the net for possible places to explore for our weekly photography exodus. I knew that we only had one day (Sunday) to take photographs which meant our trip needed to be within just a few hours of Quezon city so we can make it back by nightfall. Browsing the net, we soon arrived at the decision to visit Mt. Romelo and photograph Buruwisan and Lanzones falls.  

The trip getting there was real easy since the route was basically the same as going to Caliraya only shorter. We took the Antipolo route passing the towns of Teresa, Baras , Tanay all the way to Siniloan where we proceeded to Barangay Macatad - the jump off point for the hike. Once there, a lady was kind enough to offer their garage for parking. Turns out they own a sari-sari store at the campsite too which was convenient because it meant we did not need to lug additional supplies up. Soon after her son offered his services as a guide which we gladly accepted as we had no idea how to get to the falls.

It was supposed to be an easy trek up the mountain. Unfortunately it rained the night before and as we took the first ascent, our guide casually warned that the trail might be little muddy. Understatement of the year buddy!

In no time at all we we slipping and sliding all over the place. Couple that with some of the steep ascents we had to climb, it was not a pretty sight. Especially for someone like me who hasn't had decent exercise in months! We literally clawed and crawled our way up the better half of the mountain. The latter half was spent sliding and stepping into thigh-high mudpools full of horse shit and pee (No kidding). Eventually it came to a point that we were so filthy that sloshing through crap or mud or pee seemed to make no difference anymore. Oh and a leech mistook my foot for a nice breakfast nook. Fantastic.

I definitely would not recommend to go here for a casual hike during the rainy season.

But with that said, when we finally arrived at the campsite and had our first look at the waterfalls, we knew the journey was worth it.  
Picture
Buruwisan Canopy - No pain no gain
There was still a group of people swimming when we got down to Buruwisan's catch basin so we decided to head straight to Lanzones falls which can be accessed in a via it's own water line down stream and right from Buruwisan in a secluded cove. Personally I like Lanzones better because its isolation adds a lot to the mystery.  
Picture
Lanzones - The 'intimate' Falls
Took just a few photos at Lanzones before we decided to make our way back to camp for lunch. Along the way, I was mesmerized by the mini-cascades in the stream and decided to plop the tripod and photograph one of the more sizable ones.
Picture
The light here was just perfect!
Turns out, Buruwisan was empty when we got back so we took the opportunity to squeeze in a few more shots before heading back to camp. Unfortunately, the sun was in full blast so technically that wasn't the best time to shoot. I snapped one more for posterity anyway :)
Picture
Buruwisan Falls - Parting shot
Picture
(From L-R) Ryan our guide, Author, Rebo, Edsel
After a hearty lunch, we enjoyed the scenery for a while and eventually left a little past 3pm in a race to catch the Laguna bay sunset (I'll post those soon). At the end of the day, though our bodies were hurting like there was no tomorrow the smiles on our faces tell the whole story.   
]]>
<![CDATA[Travelogue: Sampaloc Lake]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2012 16:36:45 GMThttp://duxcarvajalphoto.weebly.com/aguhon-philippine-travelogue/travelogue-sampaloc-lakeAnother no-fuss, unplanned trip leads to one more memorable adventure and fantastic imagery. It's becoming a weekly exodus for me and my friends. The 7-day cycle seems incomplete without a trip to exercise our photographic needs. This time, the itch led us to San Pablo Laguna where the largest of its seven lakes drew our attention like moths to an open fire.
None of us have ever been to Samaploc lake before but with my trusty GPS, finding a direct route towards the lake was a cinch. And it being a Sunday, the drive getting there was pleasant too. The trip from Quezon city to our destination just took a little over an hour and a half.

I parked under one of the many trees lining the road and stepping out of the car, a cool breeze welcomed us. Coming from Manila's death-grip of pollution this was absolutely refreshing!

We weren't expecting the area to be 'touristy' but within 5 minutes of walking it became clear that the area surrounding the lake was a well-oiled recreational machine with numerous stalls of vendors selling barbeques, softdrinks, chips, drinks etc. And because it was such a lovely day, locals and 'tourists' alike were in full force, enjoying themselves on the makeshift boardwalk and park area around the lake.

The vibe was absolutely festive!
As the sun was still too high up to get good landscape shots, we took the time to familiarize ourselves with the area and walk around a little to look for nice angles to take photos. By looking at the sun, we knew that the sunset would be behind us so we were a little disappointed in that we wouldn't be able to get the colors of the sky that we would've wanted. On the upside though, we took a mental note that if we wanted to get dramatic skies for our next visit, a sunrise shoot is the answer. 

Personally, I've seen tons of amazing images of the lake and as I really wanted to give my takes a fresh perspective I tried to avoid replicating the tried and tested angles. I ended up shooting by the side where the fishermen's houses were and drew quite a bit of attention to myself.  I actually ended up chatting with the local folks more than shooting. All in all, me and my buddies had a remarkable time shooting and exploring this side of Laguna. 

Now, I just have to come back and do that darned sunrise shoot and my Sampaloc lake experience would be complete!
]]>