I think people who are working in a corporate world, who also have access on the internet, already mastered shifting from one window to another with ease by pressing Alt+Tab. Admit it, we all do that! Haha. Anyway, work was pretty ho-hum after the highs of the weekend, (every weekend actually) I was scrolling up on my news feeds when I saw an ad from Experience PH that they’re going to have a travel project – The Canon Photo Adventure Road Trip. So in my curiosity, I clicked on it to see what it is all about. It’s basically going on a tour where you don’t have any idea on where you are going and spend the rest of the weekend with people you don’t personally know but you guys most probably like photography and you’d like to have a hands-on time with your camera, be tutored by a professional photographer/brand ambassador of Canon. So to simplify, you’re going to pay for a trip totally unaware of your whereabouts. The only thing you know are the things you have to bring which were sent through email. That’s it. That’s how spontaneous the trip was. I never knew it’ll make me say yes and can you believe my luck? My mom allowed me to go on a trip alone even if she’s totally clueless on where I’m going! Haha!
Weekend came. July 30, Saturday, 3:30AM call time at Quezon City. I arrived more than an hour early. While waiting, I was literally feeling nauseous and nervous. I mean, I don’t know where we’re going and I don’t know anyone in the trip. The participants in the tour were slowly showing up at the meeting place. We gathered around a table and eat our breakfast while waiting for the others to arrive. We left the venue around 4:30AM. It took me quite a while to feel okay, but at least I get to feel fine before we head on the road.
I thought we are going somewhere North, but to my surprise, the car was heading to the South. It took us around 7 hours on the road. We arrived at Atimonan Port at 10AM and ride RORO to Alabat for about 30 minutes.
We went straight to Alabat Municipal Hall, where Mr. Jijo De Guzman, one of Canon’s brand ambassadors, sports and action/travel/landscape photographer share his tips and tricks in taking photos. Too bad I didn’t get to jot down a few notes to share with you guys. 😦
After his talk we went to our lodge (3 mins away from the municipal hall) to unpack, breathe a little, freshen up and lie in bed for a few minutes, then we’re out for lunch at Lamon Bay.
It was my first time to try a lodge and it was unexpectedly comfortable. It’s air-conditioned and they also have WiFi, which makes it more comfy. They have 2 kubos outside that can cater big groups of tourists.
We went back to the port and take a boat ride going to the middle of Lamon Bay to have our lunch in a floating cottage.
The food was so so so goooood!
It was soooo quiet and all you can hear are people munching and enjoying their food. It was super tasty, the rice even. Yum! I was sharing the same table with Sir Jijo and he talked a little about taking landscape pictures and how is it really like to be a travel photographer. I like how he recommend to print the pictures that we have and not settle on web sharing. Truth is, any social media that we have right now can soon be gone and we probably couldn’t back up all of our photos. So instead of losing the memories, we might as well print our pictures – not just selfies, ok? Haha but the kind of pictures that mean to us, something that is special.
During lunch, Sir Jijo asked us all to take pictures during our adventure in Alabat, Island and mentioned that there will be a photo contest at the end of our trip. Whoever wins will get a certificate and freebies from Canon. WOW! Of course everyone was challenged. So, from then on, there were non-stop of clicking here and there. Who wouldn’t want freebies, right?! And then suddenly, everyone were like…
Just kidding. Haha I mean, it’s quite a chance for us to really test ourselves as a beginner and discover the features of our cameras.
After our sumptuous lunch, we snorkeled for a while then head back to the port and drive to our next destination – Coconut Plantation. I witnessed how something good, like an organic coco sugar, can be made barely by human hands.
We were able to taste the coco sugar fresh from the pan and it was so good. We even jokingly asked for a cup of coffee or a few snacks to match the organic coco sugar. Aaaahhh! How it melts in my mouth… heaven!
No matter how much we want to stay near the pan and get a handful of coco sugar, we had to leave and head on to our next stop – Tres Princessitas Farm.
When we arrived, Mang Ambo and his wife welcomed us with sweet delicacies like biko and cassava cake and it’s probably made out of coco sugar too. Hehe! I wish I could take home a few slices of biko, though. ‘Twas soooo good! Anyway, let’s go back with the bees. Lol I was too afraid to come close to the bees in fear of getting stung but too bad, some of them are attracted with anything dark colored. I was wearing black that time and our hairs are black! We basically had the feels of being stung by bees, but good thing, they’re sting-less. Whew!
It was a great start on our first few hours in Alabat Island. As we head home to our lodge to freshen up, thinking of our comfy bed, I sneaked a power nap in our cab before we get to our lodge. We’re all freshened up before dinner. Food was served in the kubos outside our room around 7:30PM and we were amazed of the amount of food we have on our plates. Why is it that all the food in Alabat Island tastes so good? Ugh. Ended the night with a few drinks. Of course, it’s not a vacation if there’s no beer (in which I didn’t expect that it’s allowed during the trip). Teehee.
The weather was still gloomy and there was a bit of rain showers the day after. I heard that we were supposed to trek and catch the sunrise, but Kat and Marky (ExperiencePH’s travel managers) had to change plans and also consider the safety of everyone. Instead of walking uphill, we went to sight the beautiful rock formation in Alabat Island. Unfortunately, since I didn’t know where we’re going, I only wore my ipanema flip flops that made me feel difficult to walk on rocks.
This is my idea of vacation – wherever waves can roll and winds can blow (quote by Charles Churchill) and I found it here. I savored the freshness of air and the serenity of the ocean that surely took my breath away.
Now… our journey has come to an end. I know we were leaving the island with good pictures, memories and new found friends with us. We had to catch the RORO by 11:30 before the rain gets heavy and a long drive again back to reality, I mean Manila. But before that, just when I thought the trip has ended, we stopped over at Sto. Tomas Batangas for the famous Bulalo at Rose and Grace Restaurant and the awarding for the photo contest.
I thought we are only going to use one photo entry from each participant, but he kinda decided to check on how we take pictures. And the winner is..
*my name gets called*
*Did I hear it right? They called my name?*
I WAS DEAD SERIOUSLY SHOCKED! I MEAN, HOW?! WHY?! I CANNOT. Seriously, the time I saw that I was the only one who uses mirrorless camera and everyone else have DSLR with pretty pretty much good lenses, I doubted I’d win the contest. Or maybe it was just out of awa. Hahaha! Jk.
I really don’t know why, but it was a great feeling to have your work appreciated by someone like Sir Jijo. I mean, THE Jijo De Guzman. Of course I was so happy, more than happy and even inspired to take photos. I actually never thought of pursuing photography as my career, but to take good photos and put/share it here on my blog and hopefully be (kinda) appreciated by people, that’s probably the best satisfaction I could get. Thanks to my family and friends for the support, to Canon…. echos. Nag-speech? Haha! But, thank you, super. It really means a lot. It boosted my confidence and belief that I can be good at something. 🙂 Props to all participants too!
Flicker Album: Canon Photo Adventure