Category Archives: Phillipine

Strange colors in Sabtang Island

Batanes Island: View from my balcony

Batanes Island: View from my hotel balcony

Ahhh … a fantasy island indeed.

The weather was unpredictable during our stay in Batanes Island, Philippines last week. Strong wind, cloudy sky and scattered rain here and there … had made my hunting (for lights and colors) more challenging than usual but experiencing the “heaven on earth” kinda landscape that surround the island  … has lighten up my heavy heart. The crispy clean air had magically chase away my stubborn Indian cough that had been ‘lovingly’ sticking to my throat for weeks (after completing 2 courses of antibiotic the cough still linger).

The island is so spacious … empty hills and mountains with only green grass field and a few here and there trees. It entice the feeling of flying in me … the wanderer me riding the wind while exploring the hills surrounding the island lol.

More photos of Batanes Island from my D800 will be uploaded to my Zenfolio photo profiles soon.

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Free flying with just the wind … no glider and no paramotor engine needed here

After a few days being surrounded by the gloomy weather, we decided to take a short boat ride to the nearby  Sabtang Island (30-45 minutes boat ride away). A small island with estimated around 1800 people and they are economically depending on the sea (most are fisherman).  We refused to be at the mercy of the weather. Hunger for light and colors … we were all over the place … exploring the island until there were no more light left on the horizon.

At 2pm: We arrived at the Sabtang port

At 2pm: We arrived at the Sabtang port

At 3:15 pm: San Vicente Ferrer Church (Sabtang)

At 3:15 pm: Some maintenance work at San Vicente Ferrer Church

We spent our afternoon looking for the perfect spot to shot sunset at the not so nearby (about one our ride on an open-style truck) fishing village. The weather at Sabtang Island was not as bad as it was in Batanes Island … so we were expecting a nice sunset that afternoon.

For those who love to shot people or streets, Batanes and Sabtang Island is obviously not for you. As for me, I adore beautiful landscape but I need subjects on my landscape … and these islands are so secluded that you need to be extra creative to be able to capture the gorgeous view with your camera.

Internet connection in Batanes Island is super duper weak … but my life has never been depending much on the wifi connection anyway … so, it was not a big deal to me (how I wish). But it is getting harder for me lately to stay isolated from the internet. This past few months GayaIzzah.com needs more TLC (tender, love and care) from me … I know, I need to get used to working hmmm and less playing.

Being an introvert, staying disconnected from such need towards creating extra noise for attention is always my ultimate goal. So … I think that I am sucks at updating GayaIzzah.com fb and IG status everyday … just to create a scene or a viral so that my lovely GayaIzzah.com would get more and more followers. Hmmm … tough job!

Yup … so I was telling you about the closed to zero internet connection in both Batanes and Sabtang islands (especially in Sabtang) right? It was heaven to me … so quiet and peaceful … I was not complaining at all … but my customer did lol. One of the many reasons why I love traveling … is because it is so quiet when you are out there alone.

At 3:45 pm: Spotted a secluded beach on our way to the fishing village

Another side view of the scluded beach

At 3.47 pm: Still here for a quick shot around the secluded beach

So, we were hanging out at the village enjoying the afternoon breeze, waiting and praying for a colorful sunset. It was kinda cool hanging around with the villagers while watching fishermen unloading their catch of the day to the shore.

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At 4:30 pm: We hang around the fishing village

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At 4.30pm: Fishermen loading up their catch of the day

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At 4:30pm: Hanging around the beach while the fisherman uploading their catch of the day

At 4:30pm: Looking at dried fish at the hanger facing the sea

At 4:30pm: Dried fish at the hanger facing the sea

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At 4:30pm: Still hanging around here waiting for sunset

At 5:30pm: Still walking around the village looking for moment

At 5:00pm: Still walking around the village hunting for moment

Dried fish hanged along the village

At 5:45pm: Enjoying sunset at the village

Sunset at Sabtang Island

At 5:45pm: Sunset at Sabtang Island

I have a few more interesting shots of the sunset in Sabtang that I would probably upload it to my Zenfolio photo profile later. It was a very interesting afternoon indeed.  We were lucky to have a clear sky that night … so, our next target for the night was … hunting for milky way.

At 4:00 am: Practicing my seeking a signal skill

At 4:00 am: Practicing my seeking a signal skill

At 4:00 am: Still practicing my seeking a signal skill

At 4:00 am: Still practicing my seeking a signal skill

At 4:30am: Hunting for the gorgeous milky way

At 4:30am: Hunting for a gorgeous milky way

AT 5:40am: Watching the first morning light

AT 5:40am: Watching the first morning light on the shore

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At 6:20am: Enjoying morning light

At 6:30am:

At 6:30am: With my warm and lovely friend … an unexpected companion

At 6:45 am:

At 6:45 am: Still here with my companion … i like him! a great companion!

I met all kind of unexpected warm souls while traveling. Souls that warm my heart … and this new companion that I met in Sabtang is one of a kind soul. If I can have a dog of my own … I want this type of dog. He accompanied me during my early morning shot, he followed me everywhere during my sunrise moment, he lead my way around the bushes on the hills, he sat with me on top of the hill and he accompanied me while I was enjoying my golden light moment … darn! my yellow grumpy cat at home doesn’t do that … gosh! I want a dog … I bet if I have a companion dog like him … I can wander alone, confidently around beaches and bushes in Malaysia taking pictures of beautiful local landscape … I need a dog!

But … with Malaysian crime rate hiking up day to day … I think I will need a bulldog as my companion dog 😛

At 5:50am: Trying to catch the morning light behind the cloudy horizon

At 5:50am: Trying to catch the morning light behind the cloudy horizon

Honestly, I felt a bit discontented with this trip … reason being that the unpredictable weather had made it hard for me to experience the true light and the genuine color of Batanes Island. Too bad huh… but who knows one day I might have a chance to visit Batanes again.

I am preparing myself for my next trip to Maiga Island in Semporna, Sabah on Thursday next week. More landscape and milky ways to feed my D800 lol. Wish me luck ….

Cheers

MM

 

p/s Dada Macusi … in case if you are reading this. I will make it a point to call you up next time if I happen to visit Philippines again, there are so many places to explore there …and chasing whales in Babuyan Island sounds so cool 😛 . Take care …


The colourful side of Whang-od from Buscalan, Kalinga

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Wang-od or Fang-od in-front of her house

I visited Whang-od or Fang-od of Buscalan, Kalinga in Philippine last year with my daughter and a group of photographer friends. Whang-od is the last Kalinga membantok or tattoo artist from Buscalan, Kalinga. I was not aware that she is quite well known among the tribal tattoo artist until I googled her. A small framed 95 years old woman with shy eyes and I can see that she has that colorful vibrant personality too. You can read details about Whang-od and her tattooing skill here at Lars Krutak: Tattoo Antropologist. And, if you enjoy street photography please feel free to browse through my Zenfolio gallery here at Street in North Luzon, Philippines for more photos of my journey there.

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The price that you have to pay for being famous … paparazzi 😉

It was not easy to reach her at her village. We started our approximately 4 hours journey to Buscalan, Kalinga from Segada via our cramped transport van. The road was narrow and winding but the view of the mountain was superb. I love mountains and greens … and more mountain … and … more more mountains, 😉 I know … this will never end.

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Heaven on earth mountain view

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Another superb God’s jewel taken from a moving van … noticed the panning effect? The driver refused to entertain my gazillion request for a quick stop to shot this view … thanx to my superb Nikon camera ( … Canon users please move aside 😉 )

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Our journey was delayed by 2 hours because of a landslide near Buscalan

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Temporary solution for the landslide problem

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The Buscalan village was located on the other side of the mountain and the only way to reach the village was through walking. It takes us around 1 hour of light trekking up and down the narrow slope of the mountain.

We spent one night at the village and the whole morning roaming around every corner of the village mingling around with the uncles, aunties and children there. The highlight event of the day was watching Whang-od at work, giving her tattoo services to a few of her willing customers. I used to feel fascinated by people with tattoos, maybe because previously tattoos were earned. The tattoo bearer’s (especially in a certain tribal group) were entitled to wear their tattoos as a medal of evidence to show life accomplishment  such as the act of bravery or courageousness or a rank within their community. In our modern world now, tattooing are more towards fashion statements or body art and anybody can wear tattoos according to their personal liking.

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Typical scene around the village

She and her jewelries

Whang-od at work

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My ‘colorful’ KGB friend Ruel posing with another Whang-od satisfied customer (Ruel, please PM me if u don’t want me to post your photo here 😉 )

Honestly, after half an hour of watching Whang-od carving on her customer’s skin while listening to the soft repetitive tapping sound of her needle, made me sleepy and my eyes started to wonder around my surroundings, hunting for interesting subject of colour to simulate my senses. Then, I noticed Whang-od’s  jewelry. Wow, such a stylish lady she was … with abundant glass beads necklaces hanging on her neck and her striking colored hair decoration. The beads were mostly glass beads mixed with a few ceramic beads. I was informed that most of the beads were family heirloom passed down by her ancestors. And, I noticed her earrings too, a pair of silver earring charm that symbolized good luck.

If I had known earlier that Whang-od loved beads then I would probably bring along some beads for her as a souvenir. A good tip for anyone who plan to visit her, bring along some gorgeous beads for her 🙂 and I bet she would love it for sure.

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Her hair decorations and her earring at full display

 

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It seemed that everybody here in the village preferred glass beads jewelry

To tell you the truth, glass bead has never been my kind of bead maybe because it looks a bit old fashion, heavy, fragile and most importantly man-made (I love natural stones). But, seeing Whang-od with her heirloom glass beads … hmmm makes me want to have my own unique glass beads collection too but trying to get hold of a one-of-a-kind glass bead here in Kuala Lumpur is not easy. Maybe I will get lucky and stumble upon them during my next visit to Xinjiang and Tashkurgan Country, China and yeah maybe I will share it here.

So, what did I get for myself during this trip? Yes!! … I bought my own Kalinga native silver charm as an addition to my treasure chest collection. Ruel told me that the shape represent ‘good luck’ by the Kalinga native. Super cool right? Up until today, I still can’t figure out how to wear this charm. Should I wear it as a pendant or should I just tie it to my leather bracelet?

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My own Kalinga native ‘good luck’ charm

 

Cheers,

MM

 

 

 


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