Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mount Ugo: Itogon, Benguet to Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya

After more than a year of rest, I'm hiking again. A few weeks ago I joined the UP Mountianeers climbing the Philippine's 2nd highest peak, Mt Pulag. Last weekend was another UPM climb to the 3rd highest peak, the lesser known Mt. Ugo.

Trying to get good photos when hiking with a group isn't the easiest thing in the world. Even if I start at the front, I eventually end up at the end of the group because of the many times I stop to take a snapshot. There are times when I would like to have a particular composition, but I would have to go off trail, frame the shot, wait for the hikers to walk a bit to where i want them in the frame, then pack up the camera and walk back to the trail. During this time the whole group would have walked a considerable distance that I have to chase. Would be quite easy if I were bringing just a camera, but I prefoer to go self-contained, which means I bring with me all the equipment neccessary to keep myself reasonably fed and comfortable during the trip. This includes a small tent, an inflatable mattress, sleeping bag, stove, a cookset, clothes, food and water. When hiking long distances over several hours, it is best to take a constant walking pace. The stop-and-go pace that I end up doing in order to take photos is not very efficient.

Hiking is also hard on the photo gear. The camera gets exposed to both hot and cold temperatures, mist, light rain, sweat, mud, dust. There are times when I'm too tired or lazy to stow away the camera properly. The camera I normally use on hikes, a Panasonic FZ10 point & shoot, is about three years old, but it looks much older. The lens is still nice and clean, but the body is starting to look well worn. It has more than a few scratches, a few spots of peeling paint, the rubber bits are starting to fall off. The small screws at the bottom show signs of corrosion. It is still a good camera though. Nice lens, but mediocre sensor. Takes decent macro shots, nice warm colors, produces decent 8X10 prints as long as the ISO is kept below 100. Just don't expect to produce shallow DOF or any type of low light photography. The small sensor has obvious limits.

This trip I decided to bring an external flash and a tripod. I've recently been thinking about how much photography equipment is too much to bring on a climb - in order to bring more, I would have to reduce the weight of my camping gear. Its always a compromise.

blue blue skies, hot hot day.

did i mention that it was a hot day?

beware the cow!

van and his smiley drink bottle

basketball is religion. itogon, benguet

candy climbing a gate

peds on a hanging bridge

foggy day

me, jr and dennis in an old itogon schoolbuilding

the obligatory group shot. :)


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Childhope Asia Philippines

Childhope Asia Philippines (CHAP) is an international, non-profit, non-political, non-sectarian organization whose principal purpose is to advocate for the cause of street children throughout the world. It works toward the liberation of the child from the suffering caused by working and living on the street.

There are millions of impoverished children on the street in the world. In different countries, there are various alternatives for street children but these initiatives are limited. The role of CHILDHOPE is to act as a facilitator among the different organizations and bring them together and work with them in defending the rights of the street children.

One of their programs is the education of street children. With the support of The Body Shop, who has generously provided two "Mobile Education" vans. These vans are self-contained classrooms with chairs, tables, books, educational games, and an audio-visual system. The vans go around various places in Metro Manila to provide basic lessons to the children.

In connection with the turn-over of the second van, a photo exhibit was prepared by a small group of volunteer photographers, myself included. The group was led and guided by veteran Joachim Bondoc. I was fortunate to have three of my photographs included in the exhibit.

Below are those images:


ChildHope Asia Philippines: [click here]
The Body Shop: [click here]
Joachim Bondoc Photography: [click here]

The photographers at the exhibit:

L-R: Cocoy, Maan, Dianne, Nards, Joachim. Not in Photo: Edward

Outtakes: A few photos that were not included in the exhibit:


Monday, January 16, 2006

(almost) surfing in pundaquit

morning in pundaquit. capones island can be seen on the horizon

we left quezon city at 1 a.m., hoping for waves. the water was calm when we arrived in the sleepy town of pundaquit, zambales at 6 in the morning. we travelled a few more kilometers to crystal beach where there were a few small swells, and almost managed to ride our boards. after a nice lunch of sinigang and a quite a few naps, we went back to pundaquit to meet up with the UP outdoor recreation class of rannie dizer.

we spent the afternoon and much of the next day hanging around the beach, eating, skimboarding, tossing around a disc. i brought along my snorkelling gear to be able to take pictures of surfers from the water, but alas, there were no waves, so i just went into the water to snorkel a bit. the small reef areas near Jara resort were unremarkable, just a few rocks and a lot of sand.

we were blessed with good weather, great food and excellent company. the only thing we missed were good waves. next time, perhaps.

more photos on my yahoo! album [click here]

peng & olga on crystal beach

noah (almost) surfing

noah hanging around with the locals

louise on a hammock

warden rannie watches over the inmates

goons poses with his skimboard

fred flintstone and his shortboard.

gang & olga

skimboarders aplenty

swinging around in jara's

....and even more photos.....

me, on a hammock.