I returned to full-time work in El Nido, Palawan last September 18. Much thanks to my boss who let me fly out the day after my birthday 🙂
I’m slowly returning to the swing of things, considering that I’ve been away for three years now. It doesn’t help that I don’t recognize most of the staff, which is especially embarrassing since everyone seems to know who I am *blushes*. So yes, I need to learn everyone’s names ASAP.
One of the bright spots is that I’ve already gone diving twice with my handy-dandy Canon S95 camera in its Ikelite underwater housing and got some decent shots despite the limitations of not-so-good visibility and lack of strobe. Just a reminder: despite what the gearheads say, you do not need fancy underwater camera gear in order to take great photos. The trick is to know what your camera can do and to work with (not against!) those limitations. If it doesn’t do well in low light, then focus on taking photos in shallow water. Take a white slate with you for on-the-spot white balance correction so that you don’t rely on the camera’s “Underwater” setting. Limited flash range? Take macro photos! Again, it’s all about making the most of what you have and not moaning about what you don’t.
And now, presenting El Nido’s quirky underwater denizens!
Disclaimer: since I’m studying to become a marine biologist specializing in coral reef ecology, what I find interesting may be somewhat different from other people 😛
Yes, that is a hawksbill sea turtle. And it was feeding. And I got HD video too. YEAAH! 😀 For the curious ones, the red spots are caused by the water having lots of suspended particles. This was one of the times it would have been great to have a separate strobe but hey, I’m not angsting about it 🙂
El Nido is the land of outrigger boats. How else are you supposed to get around the different islands? Owning your own outrigger boat is a sign of prosperity, as they aren’t exactly cheap. Mr. Ellis Lim, the richest man in town, made his fortune in boat rentals. After all, as long as you take care of the engine and the boat doesn’t capsize, an outrigger boat can last for more than 20 years. I’ve also found boats to be the ultimate topic of conversation. At a loss of what to say? Ask a proud boat owner about their “baby” and they’ll happily spend 20 minutes talking about their baby’s recent paint job, oil change, engine overhaul, and the myriad other details that go into outrigger boat maintenance.
This is what a vacation looks like.
This is 7 Commandos, one of the many beaches you can visit in El Nido, Palawan. It’s a “Tour A” destination because it’s near El Nido town. Just hire a boat for the day and it can either wait for you or drop you off and come back later. Lunch can be included in the package price. Trust me: the sand is just as good as Boracay. Maybe even better because there are fewer people around and less trash.