Mabuhay! This blog takes you on a tour of a country rich in history and heritage, whose friendly people are steeped in tradition and culture, and whose lands and seas make up a paradise of 7,100 islands. Photos were taken during my travels while writings come from random thoughts and reflections. Featured is a group of talented friends - the Pinoy Kodakeros (PK) - who deserve full credit for their splendid images. My heartfelt thanks to them for letting me share their works.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Makes Me Still

In the shadows of the trees I shall keep my innocence
In the verdant sloping hills I shall maintain my silence
For it is the beauty and grandeur that humbles my being
The grace of God' creation which makes me still...
~Jun Anover

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Heaven On Earth

There are pieces of it here...nature in all its wondrous glory. Sort of a showcase to us while we are still mortals inhabiting this earth, we are able to glimpse all those paradise-like vistas and sceneries, the charm of the countryside, the lore and poetry of a rustic, rural environ. Are they reflections of heaven here in our planet? Unless you have been literally to heaven and back, there is no way of telling. When we see the grandiose and spectacular, and are awed and amazed, we seek answers and solace in our mind's metaphorical corner to find there ideas and concepts to satisfy us, hence, the fantabulous becomes "bliss", "shangrila", "nirvana" and of course "heaven". Though easily, there is also the extreme on the other side as in things that are bad, and dark and vile have their concepts in "evil", "hades" and "hell". Surely we do not relish those. It is our natural inclination to bask on bliss, engage in the euphoric. We are sensualists; we like to overload our senses with delight and pleasure and peace. Which is probably why humans evolved with such faculties of sight, smell, hearing and touch, that we could physically experience pieces of heaven on earth. Moreover, we were created with heart and soul, that we may feel emotion and be able to rejoice at the blessings around us. (Photo location: Guimaras, Philippines)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Everything Changes

So nothing is permanent, we know that. This world is always changing, shifting, transforming. And sometimes you chance upon that transformation. The blinding light of day will become grayish and the sky will be enveloped in deep colors of a setting sun. The thin wisp of clouds change into full, bulbous mushrooms as they fill the distant horizon. Even the sea will ebb and eventually rise in a continuing cycle. Trees will shed leaves, shells will open, rocks shall form. Nothing is ever in a fixed state. A generation of children will become tomorrow's workers and leaders. Innocence will be overtaken by reality. It is the call and command of nature that everything changes in its appointed time. (Photo location: Guimaras, Philippines)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Believe

I believe in the miracle of life. I believe in the eternity of the soul. I believe in the wondrous gifts of nature, the solemn grace of a setting sun, the calm of a morning sea, the scent of pure breeze, the warmth of a sunny day, the picturesque scene of solitude, the sway and motion of heavenly clouds, the lines, shapes and contours of a wonderful vision - bright, lucid and clear. I believe in the cacophony of aural experiences, music of the spirit, the ambient sound of sweet whispers, the surreal echo of distant dreams, the ripples and flutter of movement in the air. I believe in the visual explosion of colors, the subtle tints of dawn, the harsh light of noon and the muted tones and shadows of early evening. I believe in so much reality there is barely room for pretensions and lies. Because I believe in what I see and sense, grasp and comprehend, it is truth that beholds my being. I am what I am because I believe. (Photo location: Brgy. Simlong, Batangas City, Philippines)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sky Chasers

One single photographic subject that is so dynamic and ever changing that no two picture can ever be the same is the sky. Depending on the time of day, it can be a noontime cloudless blue, a burst of yellow sunrise or a dramatic orange-red sunset. And those varied clouds of course provide a mood, a feeling, a face and backdrop to an otherwise dull expanse of sky. There is a group at Flickr that I joined months ago and its called Sky Chasers, and the name says it all. Posted are pictures of the sky in all its supreme glory - stratus-filled, horizontal layered, clouds that stretch out like a blanket across the sky; puffy, cumulus heaps like large cotton balls; or curly, wispy, feathery looking cirrus clouds that fill the sky. The pictures are awe-inspiring sights and, like fingerprints, each sky pic is unique, in form and feature, shape and color, texture and depth. The feelings evoked when looking at the wondrous sky is also different and quite touching - you look at the world of creation, at an ever-changing phase of the earth, at a scene so fragile yet so powerful that you know the sky which changes from light to darkness in a continuing 24 hours, sustains the miracle of life. (Photo location: Montemaria, Batangas, Philippines)

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Child In Us

We sometimes remember the child in us - fun, playful, uncaring, lively, unmindful, spirited. It was a world of smiles and laughter, of cries and shrieks, of bratful 'I want' and 'I don't want'. It was a most basic routine of hunger, thirst, play and sleep. It was a time of ABCs, 1-2-3s, zoos, Legos, Voltes V, and a TV with a sliding wooden front cover. My dad's radio had a dial knob for which to find a station to tune in, and once "tuned in" it had the most awful hiss and crackle, you would hear more of the noise than the music. Dialing the phone then would break your pointer finger. Oh, it was the era of tight-fitting shirts with six-inch collars, bell-bottom pants that covered half-foot high elevator shoes. In such outfit, I wondered how they could dance to "The Hustle" or "Le Freak". But there we were, warm and comfy in our mother's arms as the "Let's Make Love Not War' movement passed by. Suckling those tiny thumbs, our little eyelids fluttered to fairyland as mom sang here sweetest lullabye. Childhood was being oblivious, selfish and indifferent. But then that is not the natural progression of life. We can't stay in the dooldrums of innocence, or remain in the perpetual pleasure of youth. Eventually we open our eyes to the reality of what is around us, that what happens in the world matters, and that whatever happened to us in that chapter of childhood, one way or another, did matter to the world.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

For Free

Just look at the world around you. Not the everyday metropolitan jungle of glass skyscrapers, the maze of concrete highways and the bustling traffic of people. Find and view the natural world. A quiet horizon, a silent tree-lined countryside scene, a scenic sunset, a postcard-like panorama of mountains, hills, streams, forests. The best that nature can offer. Find time for that perfect getaway. Alone. By yourself. With only God's creations. Then take them all in. Open up and observe with the senses. Then wonder at the beauty and serenity. Be awed by the vividness and vibrance of colors, of cascading hues, pastel tints here and there, the depth of shadows and silhouettes, subtle light reflections peering through. It is overwhelming. Words are inadequate to describe the view. Even the senses are insufficient and are enveloped by the atmosphere of calm and complexity, silence and simplicity. My gratitude to the Creator for coloring this world and making it available for all of us...for free. (Photo location: Montemaria, Batangas, Philippines)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who found time to visit this blog, especially those who dropped a line at the Message Box. Your comments are deeply appreciated. Sorry if I missed to mention some of you but anyway special thanks to Mavik, Lawstude, Dodong, Randy, Sidney, Akinol, Barb, Dailyphotographer, The Ten O'Clock Habit, Eds, Mark Austria, APFC, Nicholas, Jade, William, Sammy, Yolanda, Barbara, Patricia, Andrew, Lucy, Gerald, Ami, Olivia,Natalie, Laagan, Tommy and Jolin. God bless all of you in this journey we call Life.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Reality Bites

We all like to be lazy. After working 24/7 in the office and at home, we all wish for the time where all we have to do is sleep, eat , lay around and be cozy, you know - be on Garfield-mode. What the naughty cartoon cat might be wishing also is settle on that open hut, put those feet high up on a bamboo railing, watch the sun dip over the sea-lined horizon, take in and enjoy the warm, tropical setting, and just daydream, until heavy eyelids close to welcome the eventful, consequential, wonderful snore. Bliss. But this is asking too much of heaven on earth. Reality bites dictate that we work to survive. Yet in this life of hard labor and mandatory sacrifices, scattered pieces of momentous moments, token triumphs and droplets of blessings abound. Like that late afternoon of a setting sun draping the lower skies with a golden tone, as the dark tinge of night overhead rushes to envelope the day. It is no fun to be lazy. We are afforded mere minutes to enjoy the sights and sceneries. The challenge of life is when you wake up the next day and rush headlong to the cyclical hours of work, decisions, and survival. (Photo location: Wawa Beach, Batangas City, Philippines)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Inspired by Nature

Nature is such an inspiration. I find in it both solace and strength. Trees, flowers, islands, seas, skies, clouds and all other elements are such powerful stimulants. They overwhelm the senses. They are dreams, passions, fantasies and wishes rolled into one. They provide visual and spiritual overload, knowing that one Creator made them all. Wonder at the soft murmurs of waves splashing on the shore, the soft soothing silence of a wondrous sunrise, the miraculous sight of the last rays of light as the sun ebbs in the horizon, the soft pastel clouds of a gloomy day, dewdrops on delicate leaves in early morn, the soft spongy feel of grass, birds chirping musical melodies as they fly by, the eerie might of primeval forests, majestic mountains and fairy hills. The sight, sound and feel of nature, untouched and pure, sanctified by the Hands that created them, is evidence of a wonderful world that we must care for, preserve, protect and respect. Ours is a life dependent on the natural world around us. We are nothing without it. (Photo location: Montemaria, Batangas, Philippines)

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Beauty Around Us

You just have to look around to see that beauty engulfs you. The miracle of creation and nature is just about everywhere. It is in that brown leaf lying in the soft green moss, in flowers which shelter the night's dew, in mountains and cliffs that is home to all sorts of life, in the emerald sea that nourish, in trees which sway to beat of a rhythmic wind, in clouds that scatter shade and sunshine, in the smiles of people, the eyes of children, the glow of faces young and old. When you are out there, in the field or forest or shore, stare at the horizon , take in the vastness of the scenery. Peer at it not only with your visual sense, but open your heart, and also take in a mental stock of what you see. You will have a better appreciation of what is before you. The time we learn to perceive with the heart and mind is the time we understand nothing was ever meant to be unattractive, displeasing or unsightly. (Photo location: Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Journey Home

Each of us choose the road we take, the path to thread, the direction to chart. Call it your destiny or fate, but life leads you to your own choosing. Ten million Filipinos do not live in their country as they have chosen to find their fortune in some other lands not their own. The force of circumstance and the dream of a better personal life and for those they have left behind, are compelling. The diaspora is constant and continuing. The labor and loneliness that awaits my countrymen in other countries is part of the sacrifice. It is a burden co-terminus with the employment contract. They must earn a living that could not be provided with enough jobs in their homeland, and the virtue of patience and hard work comes to fore to those who choose to work abroad. Until the day they come home. The culmination of months or even years of working away from one's family is actually anti-climactic. The longing has been lessened by the technology of global communication - cellphones, e-mails, cyberchat. Still, nothing can take the place of hugs and kisses of loved ones. The journey home is a family milestone for many. It is a celebration of a reunion, a festival of a return. It is a display of the indomitable human spirit, that whatever road we take or path we thread, life is good, it will take us back to where we came from. (Photo location: Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mastering The Craft

You feel it in your guts, you sense it in your soul. You are keenly aware of your surroundings - green shrubbery, emerald sea, blue sky, sepia rocks, curves and shapes, details and highlights. You were trained for this, maybe not formally, but experience has thought you well. You know what is picturesque, appealing, inspiring and moving. You know that gradations, tonalities and contrasts provide depth. That color can be captured in its dynamic range. That composition can spell the difference between a snapshot and an image of photographic quality. You are ready when you are at ease with your environment and you know what to do. You are ready when you can capture with confidence, and be self-assured of the outcome. Yours is the world around you when you can feel it, sense it and be one with it like body and soul, intertwined and inseparable. When your camera becomes the extension of your physique and you wield it like a brush on canvass, then yours is the art of craftsmanship and capture, the master whose every subject bows willingly at every command. (Photo location: Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Rocky Life

I came upon this beach in the province of my wife in Batangas, and I have never seen such sight with so much rocks and stones. I always imagined shorelines to be smooth with sand and crushed corals, but this one was littered with stones of all sizes. It provided a nice contrast to the generally calm morning sea where small waves were scattered by the rocks before they splashed to shore. This got me thinking, no human life is smooth sailing either. Before the heart ceases after beating more than eight billion times in a lifetime, the life it sustained underwent all the rocky bumps and terrains it could ever go through. And I'm not only talking of the physical abuse our bodies undergo; our emotions also get a beating. Body, mind and soul is tested to the extreme. But like the dynamic, adaptable waves that disperse and regroup again as it hit land, such is the flexibility of the character and spirit in us. We can rebound from adversity, recover from sacrifice, learn from our mistakes. Though the mortal body, on the other, has no recourse but to degenerate, before doing so it has gone through its apex of conditioning, stamina and strength. This life that God has given us was never meant to be perfect, yet after passing all the rocky trials and tribulations, we come out significantly a better person. Live on...(Photo location: Batangas, Philippines)

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