Thursday, December 01, 2011

My Photo Keepsakes from the Philippines

The author and photographer in
Padre Burgos, Quezon,
the Philippines
New York, December 1, 2011 – As I’m about to wrap up my blogging chronicles for my social media class, I think it’d be also interesting to share with my classmates and the world some photo keepsakes from my beloved home, the Philippines; these photos remind me of what I miss most about the Philippines since I moved to the big city last Spring for my Graduate Studies at New York University.

Coincidentally, when PhilippineParadisePages.com, an online concierge directory, announced its Best Philippine Sceneries photo contest some two weeks ago, I got very enthusiastic about joining. I immediately browsed through my entire collection of Philippine travel photos that I posted on Facebook. That very instance had made me realize how much I terribly miss my "mother ship" – its picturesque beauty; its 7,107 islands spread out across the archipelago; its floury white sand beaches; and its exotic marine life.

I’ve been a shoestring traveller and published travel photographer for as long as I can remember. I’ve recently been to Santa Monica beach in California; Lake Michigan in Illinois; Coney Island in New York; and Maya Bay (Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Beach”) in Krabi, Thailand – sadly, none of them could beat the pristine paradise in the Philippines.

Let’s take a look at some of these places.

Boracay Island
Boat Station One, Boracay Island, Aklan, the Philippines;
photo by Oliver Oliveros
Boracay, which was recently awarded Second Best Beach in the World at Travelers’ Choice 2011 by TripAdvisor.com, is approximately 196 miles from Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, cliff diving are the best day time leisure activities on the island. Visitors spend the night dining in seafood restaurants along the beach and buy a round of drinks in countless bars, pubs, and nightclubs.

Boracay’s powdery white sand has the finest texture I’ve ever held in my hands.

Apo Island
This beautiful natural rock formation greets visitors upon arrival
on Apo Island; photo by Oliver Oliveros
Apo Island, a volcanic island and a marine sanctuary, is around 590 miles from Manila, which has become a popular dive site and snorkelling destination among European divers and tourists.

I last visited the island with some members of the Philippine press and Greenpeace Southeast Asia's staff in 2006. We installed solar panels for electricity production at Apo Island Elementary School, which was part of Greenpeace’s campaign for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Borawan Island
Borawan Island showcases limestone rock formations that delight
local rock climbers and rapellers; photo by Oliver Oliveros
Borawan Island, known for its humongous limestone rock formations and dazzling white, sandy shore lines, is located in Padre Burgos, Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon, around 125 miles from Manila. Its intimidating rock formations are best for rock climbing and rappelling – definitely not for the faint of heart.

Tali Beach
A lovely summer sunset awaits visitors at Tali Beach;
photo by Oliver Oliveros
Tali Beach in Nasugbu, Batangas, best known for its quiet, private beach resorts, is nearest to Manila – it’s just around 65 miles. It’s been my quick getaway fix from a demanding professional life back in the city.

The author and photographer engages in helmet
diving in Boracay.
I'm obviously more of a beach person than a mountain person. However, I do love mountains and big cities too. It's just that I find unsoiled waters can refresh my tired travelling soul.

By the way, I've missed the first submission deadline of  PhilippineParadisePages.com’s photo tilt. I may or may not submit these photos; if ever I do submit, but then lose, I won’t cry buckets. For me, these photos are the winningest of them all because they bring back memories of some of the great times I had back home.

Oh, I’m so longing for your charming and wonderful natural beauty, my Philippines. Till we meet again…