Trouble in Paradise

HERE’S A STORY I wrote for the Philippine News Agency (PNA) about Coron, a beautiful island municipality in northern Palawan. It’s about a planned undersea park being proposed by Coral World Park (CWP), which claims to be “the largest Marine Reserve and Coral Reef Conservation program in Asia. ”

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Beautiful Kayangan Lake in Coron Island, Coron, northern Palawan.

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This photo of the small inlet that leads to Kayangan Lake was taken from a promontory where I stood for a while to take in the charming view.

The reason why it’s controversial is in the story.

Tagbanua tribes in Coron spurn Nickolodeon undersea park

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 27 — The Tagbanua indigenous peoples (IP) community in Coron and nearby islands gave the thumbs down Thursday morning to the propositioned 400-hectare Nickolodeon undersea park due to fears of irreversible negative environmental and cultural impacts.

Amil Abella, representative of the Tagbanua Tribes of Coron Island Association (TTCIA), said in a Greenpeace Philippines-hosted press conference here that the project will only displace them from their ancestral domains, and will spoil their traditional fishing grounds.

“If there are investments that will build structures that will cause destruction to our ancestral domains, our agreement is we will not accept them,” Abella said, adding they live independently and are reliant on Calamianes’ beauty and blessings.

The Calamianes is an area in the northern part of Palawan that includes Busuanga, Coron, and Culion island towns, and the islands of Calauit, Malcapuya, Banana, Pass and Calumbuyan, and several minor islets.

“The legendary heroes of Coron will unite and defend the last ecological frontier of the country, where we live with freedom and abundance,” he added.

Continue reading the story here: http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1003332

It’s really difficult to marry development with environment conservation, especially if it would have irreversible impacts on the lives of the indigenous peoples and their ancestral domains.

I am for development. The SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT kind. The one “that meets human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend.”

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You’ve never been to Coron if you haven’t been to Kayangan Lake.

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Sustainable development should not be compromised.

 

 

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Old Habit & Singapore (Part II)

THERE IS A PHOTOGRAPHER in Singapore, whose LE photography works are really outstanding. His name is Thomas Leong.

Check his Flickr account, and you too, will be amazed by how much passion, how much love he gave to his creative photos. https://www.flickr.com/photos/soulfly7/

It’s actually embarrassing to bring his link here, knowing that you can all note the dissimilarities between our LE works. Nonetheless, it’s saying to get better in what we want to do, we have to feed our curiosity; we have to look for someone who can influence us, inspire us to do something about our own creativity.

That’s Mr. Leong to me. Who knows, I might meet him next time?

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LIGHT SHOW from the Sky Park at the Marina Bay Sands.

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In one photo. The SINGAPORE FLYER, the Lotus-shaped ARTSCIENCE MUSEUM, and the MARINA BAY SANDS from across the bay.

There are a few basic tips that I take with me every time I journey into the photography genre.

  • A sturdy tripod is very, very important, especially if you’re on a really slow shutter speed and it is windy around you. Make sure it is standing on an even and solid ground. A tiny shake of the apparatus can make a whole lot of difference in your desired result.
  • Wide angle lens with the smallest aperture need.
  • You may also opt to use a cable release or remote
  • Use INFINITY focus.
  • Bulb or Manual on the mode dial.
  • 5-30 seconds shutter speed.

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Composition is the most important thing in any genre of photography. Don’t just shoot your camera, look for a new concept of the same view in front of you. You’ve got to do it. Otherwise, what sets your photo apart from the others, who have stood in front of that view with their cameras?

At the end of the day, what will always matter is if you’re able to provide your viewer with a different perspective. Did your photo give them a new POV? Did it invite interest or curiosity?

That’s what matters.

The deadliest deadline I gave myself to learn long-exposure photography was three years ago. I’m starting all over again, I hate long breaks. But when this is all done, what I will do is to look back and think once in a while about how long it took me to really learn.

That way, I’d have a habit loop.

 

Old Habit & Singapore (Part I)

GOOD OLD HABITS never die.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I’ve been telling myself now that I’ve started to mind my blog site again. So, thank you L Element Bar & Seafood Restaurant and Pho 88 for kicking out the blogger in me that had slowed down and hibernated for a period of time.

I’ve long ago considered that blogging is a freedom channel for me to be opinionated once in a while. There are a lot of things happening in my environment, lots of places I’ve visited, and it’s a struggle to keep quiet and not write about how I experienced them.

ANGKOR WAT TEMPLE. Sharing an old photo of myself taken in Cambodia. I posted this because it’s one of the few, where I’m carrying my old reliable camera on my neck.

Keeping quiet is not something my profession would welcome, anyway. No, I’m not blogging about politics. Too many bloggers already doing that, I’m not about to join the bandwagon.

There is a need to be careful because, who would want another libel case in court that would take years to resolve? I’ve had two in the past, and it took around 10 years for them to be sorted out.

That’s another story.

What I want to do, really, is to share photos from my recent Singapore trip. My return there is something I will never forget since I was able to win back my love and passion (two words) for photography. Yes, even my photography had to take a back seat for a while; had to occupy an inferior position in my priorities because more pressing life matters took control.

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The MARINA BAY SANDS 5 star luxury resort hotel, “the world’s most expensive stand alone casino property” in Singapore.

The following photos you’ll see are called long-exposure (LE) shots. Long-exposure photography is a genre that I find very interesting as it always has the potential to produce amazing luminescent results if one knows how to shoot right.

If you want to hit the mark when you’re firing a gun, you should know what you’re doing so you won’t miss it. It’s the same fundamental truth in LE.

I don’t have the LE mastery yet. But I will get there eventually. And soon. Please.

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Singapore’s CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT at night with the imposing lotus-shaped ARTSCIENCE MUSEUM on the left side from where I was standing across. The museum is located in the integrated resort of Marina Bay Sands in the Downtown Core.

In the Lion City, when photographers want to take long-exposure shots of the Marina Bay Sands (and the other futuristic building structures there), their best opportunity can start happening the moment the blue hour (La hora azul) sets in around 7 a.m. or 7 p.m.

Time zones are bizarre old things, aren’t they? In the Philippines, we sometimes see the sunset early. In other places, like Singapore, they see it late.

Same time zone with the Philippines; different sunset time.

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THE SHOPPES MARINA BAY SANDS’s reflection on the pond water after long exposure shot.

TO BE CONTINUED. I’ve got to go for now. More photos to share later 🙂

Mt. Cleopatra’s Needle

Mt. Cleopatra’s Needle is said to be some sort of mystical mountain in Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan. It was so named because of that “obelisk-like” outcrop on its peak that always gets lucky to be kissed by the clouds.

My good friend Jonah Van Beijnen, who has been working for the protection of Mt. Cleopatra’s Needle, was excited to see it from so many thousand feet for the first time with me, Dempto (Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent), JD (radio reporter), and another guy (a photographer too), when we flew over northern Palawan last Holy Thursday.

Members of the Suakwal Mountaineers, who have scaled Mt. Cleopatra’s Needle said its “environment is extensively covered with forests and full of wildlife. At the summit, if the skies are clear, one will be offered a view of Honda Bay and Sulu Sea (East) as well as South China Sea (West); and of course, a panorama of the city proper (SE).”

I want that. Soon!

Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa

For more photos (you may also like the page): https://www.facebook.com/PalawenyaTravelerbyTengRFormoso/

Princesa Garden Islands Resort & Spa in Palawan redefines luxury living

Are you looking for a place where you can completely escape the city life that lacks excitement and variety?

Princesa Garden Island Resort & Spa, this city’s newest hotel resort, might just have the all-embracing period of recreation you’re looking for.

Located in Barangay Bancao-Bancao, right in the heart of Palawan’s capital Puerto Princesa City, the only five star island hotel resort and spa offers you and ardent holidaymakers a “slice of paradise” and an extraordinary break from the monotony of work in the country’s “Last Frontier.”

Marketing Communications Associate Kareen Gonzales said as “the only five star resort in this city,” Princesa Garden Island offers potential clients “a wide array of amenities and services that are guaranteed to make anyone’s stay unforgettable.”

“Our place is Asian-themed. You can see in the details how we built the hotel resort following the contemporary Balinese style which is a well-liked Asian tropical architecture, by combining it with natural materials and craftsmanship of the local people that can be found in abundance here in Puerto Princesa,” she said.

Princesa Garden Island offers 78 luxurious rooms that include an exclusive stand-alone assemblage of water cabanas overlooking the picturesque city bay and the grandiosity of the coastal scenery.

Gonzales said the water cabanas are a first of its kind in Puerto Princesa that feature spacious wooden decks with daybeds that have canopies for sunbathing, separate outdoor jet pools, exclusive in-ocean reception areas, and a cloistered lounge where guests can take it easy with light snacks and cool thirst quenchers.

Other room accommodations are located at the three-storey main hotel called the Harbor Wing. Here, each has a wide veranda, or roofed platform that offers a breathtaking view of the infinity pool and turquoise ocean. Several high-end room accommodations also have open-air Jacuzzis on the sundeck.

Guests who wish to stay on the ground floor rooms, on the other hand, have direct access to Princesa Garden Island’s six opulent infinity pools.

For those looking for outdoor activities, the resort will eventually offer a mangrove tour on a kayak, snorkeling and other water sport activities. The sand and sky glisten in the area, and anyone wishing to just commune quietly with nature can do so.

They can also indulge on international cuisines served at three restaurants in the resort: the Golden Elephant Seafood Village that serves Asian food, the Tomato and Basil near the pools for gastronomic Italian dishes, and the Rice Restaurant that serves popular Oriental dishes and various International carte du jour.

When the hotel resort finally and fully opens before the end of the year, it will also have a Floating Bar near a sandbar, where guests can unwind and enjoy as the day unwinds with a glorious sunset over the bay.

Travelers, who can’t do away with their relaxing reflexologies and rubdowns, will be pampered by Princesa Garden Island’s Hilot Spa Village, managed by its friendly masseuse.

With the opening of this new hotel resort in Puerto Princesa, it now has the capacity to offer tourists and guests the opportunity to escape completely, and collect wonderful memories.

Sabang’s Rich Landscape

When it comes to beautiful landscapes, Puerto Princesa is a dime a dozen, and I didn’t say that to be negative. Everywhere you look in this city, the landscapes are great — wide-ranging, sweeping, overwhelming, and they’re as alive as the people, who live near them.

The Puerto Princesa City Subterranean River National Park (PPCSRNP) in Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan, for instance, does not only have the underground river to be proud of. It also has an amazing landscape.

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For more photos, please visit and like my page: https://www.facebook.com/PalawenyaPhotographybyTRFormoso

Honda Bay Islands Sunset…

Here are five photos collected from that day I staked out Honda Bay so I can take a picture of the Chinese fishing vessel intercepted within the vicinity of Half Moon Shoal in the contested West Philippines Sea and its cargo of over 500 poached endangered Green Sea and Hawksbill turles from another side of Palawan.

The Sino captain and his 10 other crewmen were intercepted May 6, but the fishing vessel was only successfully tugged to Honda Bay by the PNP Maritime SBU on the morning of May 10. That’s like almost 5 days of waiting and waiting…

The only consolation was capturing the sun as it sets on the horizon.

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For more photos, please visit and like my page: https://www.facebook.com/PalawenyaPhotographybyTRFormoso