Learn. Explore. Live.
One of the things we have eyeing to do is the MANDY NAVASARO PHOTO SAFARI in Batanes Island. It teaches photography while letting you explore the unexplored part of the Philippines.
Batanes is the northern most part of the country. Its farthest island is Itbayat, which is actually nearer to Taiwan than the Philippines (190 kms to Taiwan, while it's 290km to the nearest Luzon island).. they can actually see the lights and cars of Taiwan.
We were scheduled to fly at 6am using a small (32 seater, propeller) airplane. Honestly, I haven't tried flying on a small plane for... 25 years??? and haven't been to the domestic airport since,..... I can't remember. So, I was very nervous at the state of our domestic flight
Guess what. The domestic airport was better than expected. It was refurbished and spiffed up quite well. It even had a french style coffee corner ...(fresh espresso and cappuccino at 5am!!!)
|starting sunrise over the clouds|
I was thinking it was a preview of what we had in store for us in the 4 day trip...
actually had a sense of how amazing God's creation was. It is rare that we see this view in the city. (well, maybe in postcards)...LOL
finally, after an hour or so... we were greeted with something out of Fantasy Island....
|can i say??? WATTA VIEW!!!|
I was imagining Tatoo ( the sidekick in Fantasy Island) shouting below... "zeee plane. zee plane!!!".. which was plausible since there was only ONE flight coming in everyday to the island ( with only 32 passengers max). There were no clusters of house, nor sighting of tall buildings... only green everywhere with spattering of small houses and boats. Coming in, you might catch a glimpse of cows grazing on some of the hills or some huge wave crashing into a cliff.....
Mandy, our host, was a mature woman who had been (once in her life) -- a stewardess, a PR exec, and banking executive. She has since graduated to teaching photography, PR work and writing for a local newspaper. One of her quotable quotes are:
"Photography has no retirement...that's why I am still around".... which is quite true when you see her. She is like a quirky aunt you have and just happen to visit one weekend. Never a dull moment.
She even had to try to make a pass at one of the doctors we had in the group ( a young, slim and cute one). In explaining the course during breakfast, she indicated that we had to pose as "models" for our photography lessons. Turning to the doctor, she said nonchantly... "Doc, you have to pose with your shirt off..." THAT just made me chuckle.
Arriving at my usual wake up hour of 7:30am, we proceeded to the hotel to freshen up and get some breakfast. (consisting of native flying fish, tomato salsa, rice and egg.. yumm).
We had the briefing and then proceeded to our stop at the japanese tunnel. On the way, we had a photo shoot at one bent of the road, teaching us angles
and eventually exited through a clearing.
|the exit of the japanese tunnel|
We hiked up a hill to reach the top to get our lesson in posing and I think, how to position your subject, which in this case is, most of the participants in the photo safari.
posing. posing. shoot.
This was our first taste of the views ( which in the next few days will get better and better)
|the view from the hill....|
|the walk to the top of the hill|
|cows gone to pasture|
|coconut, sweet potato, tomatoes, fried fish|
I loved boulder beach. And when you see the picture, you'll understand why its called boulder beach.....
|saw this guy gathering something.. maybe shells?|
It was amazing to see all these huge boulders. The native IVATANS (those living in Batanes) use them to build their houses. These are necessary because of all the typhoons that come our way every year and they usually enter the Philippines through Batanes.
I think I'll reserve the second half of the post for the next time... If you want more information on Batanes, one of our group (Ferdie Bondoy) is a regular blogger. He wrote a post too.. see HERE. I think he has better work ethic than me because he regularly blogs (everyday and sometimes 2 posts a day) WOW. check out his site.
So, I still have more stories to share.. just bear with me. I still have a day job you know....