Three nights in Manhattan

“The City That Never Sleeps” certainly showcased why it got its nickname in the scant few days that I was in New York City for work. For three nights (I don’t count the first one because I arrived at my hostel at 9pm, dead-tired from a trans-Pacific flight), I returned to my hostel past 9pm because there was always something to see, even at the late hour.

First night: outside Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral

We started walking from Instituto Cervantes on E 40th St towards Times Square (where a co-delegate was meeting his aunt) on W 46th St, but with a slight detour to pass by Grand Central Station on E 42nd St. It sounded near enough in my head, forgetting to take into account the width of NYC’s blocks.

We didn’t have the time to enter Grand Central Terminal (I did that the next day) but even seeing just the outside was enough. Continue reading “Three nights in Manhattan”

My greatest career achievement to date

Last November 2013, I accomplished my greatest career achievement to date: a “Highly Commended” citation for my photo at the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards. The photo was taken on Earth Day 2013 while the staff and a guest from El Nido Resorts were cleaning up Dilumacad Beach in El Nido. It’s one of my favorite photos and I’m grateful to, World Travel Market, and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism for recognizing my work.

RTA 2013 announcement poster

The awards organizers encouraged me to attend the awarding ceremony during World Travel Market in London but since they weren’t sponsoring the trip, I chose not to go. Too expensive and I wasn’t even sure I was going to win. Ah well. The live stream of the awards ceremony wasn’t working for me so I found out about the “Highly Commended” citation via the live tweets. Because of the time difference, this meant staying up until 4am to wait for the announcements.

rt awards

The certificate arrived in the mail yesterday and it is glorious. I’m going to frame it.

awards certificate_edited

I’ve had my photographs published before but this was my first time to win (of sorts) in an international photo competition. The fact that it was during the World Responsible Tourism Awards made it even sweeter, as responsible tourism is a cause very near and dear to my heart. I hope my photo gives a glimpse of what tourism could look like if all the stakeholders involved commit to responsible tourism. Responsible tourism is not about today, but tomorrow.


Note: This is a Back Blog AKA something I wrote way after the fact then backdated to place it in its proper spot in the calendar. This post was actually written in April 2014.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

This week’s photo challenge revolves around the theme “Sea”. If ever there were a perfect photo challenge for this blog, this would be it. So what does the sea mean to me?

The sea means meeting things head-on. Yes, even that oncoming wave.

01 waves

The sea means going with the flow. Every day is an adventure.

02 walking

The sea means looking at the bigger picture. When you’re stuck, take a step back and reassess.

03 islands

The sea means having fun!

04 pips

The sea means taking care of the environment that sustains us all.

05 cleanup

And finally, the sea means embracing life. There’s so much to see and so much to do!

06 airport view

Fishies and phoneography

First off, a big WHOOHOO!!! for being included in The Daily Post’s phoneography favorites for March! The staff chose my “My Neighborhood” post to include in the roundup of their favorite entries. It always feel good to be recognized 🙂

Second: one good thing about working in an island resort is that the water is only a couple of meters away 🙂 Beat the summer heat this afternoon by diving our house reef. I used having to download my water temperature sensor data as an excuse. Heehee. That and I volunteered to take photos of one of our guests doing his Bubblemaker course 🙂 Aside from taking pictures of a 9-year-old during his first scuba experience, I also got to take some pretty good pictures of our resident bigeye scad (Selar crumenopthalmus). Swimming through a school of fish who totally ignored my presence was a surreal experience. I tried moving away so that I could take better wide-angle photos but nothing doing. The water was just too shallow and the school was just too big!

Fish in the light

Window through the darkness

Just might become one of my all-time favorite photos.

I said on Facebook that I wish I had extra-clear water for that perfect shot. Jayvee said that the water was already pretty clear. It was pretty clear but you could still see some backscatter. He said I should get strobes. I said he should give me the money for them 😛

PHOTOS: Fire on the beach

After welcoming the new year with fireworks, our guides and their supervisor decided to pull out all the stops and do a firedancing routine on the boardwalk. They were originally supposed to do in on platforms in the water but the Engineering guys decided to ignore their advice and installed the platforms too far away from the shore. Full moon + high tide = submerged platforms *facepalm* So the guides had to move their routine to the boardwalk. They were still great 🙂

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! (Taken without a tripod. Oh yeah.)
Spitting fire
Spitting fire
From front to back: Gading, Eileen, Oliver, and Dodong
From front to back: Gading, Eileen, Oliver, Dodong, and Mark

05 firedancers03 Macy

06 firedancers04 Macy

More circles
More circles
This is Eileen. She's the supervisor of these crazy people literally playing with fire
This is Eileen. She’s the supervisor of these crazy people literally playing with fire
09 firedancers Macy
I want to learn how to do crazy shit like this.

10 firedancers El Nido Macy


This was only my second time photographing firedancers. The first one was at my cousin’s wedding. Luckily I had a tripod this time and was able to set up before the show started.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

That fleeting moment

I’m hard-pressed to find something as ephemeral as fireworks. Most of the time, I don’t bother with shooting them and opt to just relax and enjoy the view. Last January 1st was different because I finally had a tripod with me and set up my camera ahead of time. This is my favorite photo from that night. Taken with a Canon S95.