“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
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26 April 2015

Travel Digest: Watch the newly renovated Bancasi/Butuan City Airport

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Butuan Airport

It has been more or less two years since I have flown to Butuan City. Coming from Cebu I was surprised to see a lit up runway and airport terminal. The arrival area is more spacious now, and well-lighted. As you go outside the arrival area, you will be surprised that the restaurants on the right have been demolished and were relocated at the right (area facing the terminal building). The former location of restaurants have been transformed into a spacious carpark.

It is very rare that I feature an airport, but I was just impressed with the changes in Butuan Airport. The rest of the new features of the newly renovated Bancasi Airport is shown in this video.



Kudos to the new airport manager! 
Kudos to CAAp for making traveling a little better!

Also watch: FIELD WORK: Sunset in Tagbilaran


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24 April 2015

PALAWAN | Rediscover Sabang beach

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Discover Sabang Beach

Having been disappointed for not being able to swim in Marofinas because of the call of duty, add to it the tired and aching muscles, I thought that at 5PM I deserved a break, so I finally gave in--to Sabang. The beach was not as spectacular compared to Marofinas. However, the lure of the sea was calling me.

In no time, I plunged, and spent some time riding with the warm waves that was just right to ease my muscle pain.

Then sunset came. It was not a raree-show as well because of what was a looming rain that never happened. Great spectacle or not, I am grateful of what nature had to offer, and just make do with the pale hues the sunset could give.

Discover Sabang beach

Actually, I did not easily give in whether to photograph or just swim the sunset away. Later, just like in the many travels I have made, I did not know if I would come back to this place again soon. The next thing that happened was I found myself dashing to my rented hut for the night to get my camera, and began taking images of the sea, clouds and the setting sun soon after. I had some frames to my delight before the battery went kaput. I wanted to get the other camera but I thought I had to reserve it the next day.

Discover Sabang beach

Discover Sabang beach

It was a restful night, then morning came. The relaxing sound of the waves crashing on the shore was a new stimulus to senses that made me think I was on a holiday, but not. I had to get up and find out what the sunrise in Sabang had in store for me.

Mornings at any beach never fails to give me a different high. I had inexplicable thoughts and feelings that day. Perhaps it was a short break I needed for the longest time. Just a few days before this trip, I spent some 10 days in India, for yet another kind of work.

Discover Sabang beach

Discover Sabang beach

Discover Sabang beach

The tides rhythmically joined my heart's beating making me become one with nature. The salty morning air enveloped my whole being. The best part of it all was the mist rising from the sea and the mountains beyond. It was simply one spectacular morning taking me into a dreamworld. I wasted no time in capturing the images as they unfold before in my lenses.

I am blessed to have a work that takes me to places--both familiar and roads less traveled. This trip was special because I got to do what I wanted to do--accomplish work and the teeny-weeny pleasure that come with it.

No matter how pale the sunset was, how imperfect the beach was, how modest my room for the night was, and how little borrowed time I had, but this day was just awesome to not discover what makes you happy--it was the experience of drawing peace within that mattered after all.

Browse more images of Sabang in Flickr!



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20 April 2015

PALAWAN | Photogenic Marofinas Bay

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Marofinas Bay

Around 30-minute boat ride from Sabang, Puerto Princesa we headed to Marofinas for documenting the the harvesting of wild honey. From afar I could see the wide caramel-colored beach. Needless to say, I was easily captivated.

The beach was unpretentious with its emerald water and fine sand. Its rustic beauty beckons and never fails to awakens the senses that makes one want to hanker for forever.

However, there is one thing that makes this physical beauty more pleasing to the eyes--the Tagbanua people that reside in this modest barangay [village]. The Tagbanua live a very simple life. They may be living trying to make both ends meet but they always welcome visitors with open arms. Their incomparable hospitality makes it easy for us blend and accomplish our work.

Marofinas Bay

Marofinas Bay

It is regrettable though that no matter how I wanted to take a dip in the sea, I was not on a holiday. I came here for WORK. I had my time, too when we were done documenting the honey gathering. In fact I had my board shorts under my hiking pants. However, I was told there is a strong undertow. The sea is deep and has a drop not too far from the beach that also explains the strong current.

Be that as it may, I made myself contented with photographing the beautiful landscape, the people, and everything beautiful around it.

Not all Filipinos are blessed with bountiful and beautiful nature as this bay. We say the Tagbanuas are lucky to have this right in their backyard, but to them it seems ordinary. Indeed, one's notion of riches or poverty is always relative.

Marofinas Bay

Marofinas Bay

Marofinas Bay

Marofinas Bay

From the grapevine: Locals say there used to be a beach resort here but the couple who own this have already separated and their property is now for sale. They also told me that some Tagbanua families used to own a big parcel of the resort, but they sold it to the couple. The Tagbanuas now regret their past deed. The property is now worth much more than how much they have sold it for.

More photos in Marofinas Bay!





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18 April 2015

PALAWAN | Harvesting wild honey


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Palawan Wild Honey

Midway into the a dense growth of tall grass and shrubbery amidst towering trees we followed an unclear trail. But I trusted the two Tagbanua men who led the way. They knew exactly where they were going. In between huffing and puffing, I often found myself asking "Are we there yet?" It was seemingly annoying but I was not only the one asking. Loreta, who worked for Nagkakaisang Tribo ng Palawan (NATRIPAL) who also comes from the Tagbanua tribe asked the same question.

Palawan Wild Honey

"Malapit na. [We are near.]" was their usual answer. And we continued hiking uphill for nearly an hour. There was sweat all over. We were pricked and cut by the grass, bushes and thorns along the way. Save for the arm covers, hat and trekking pants, I was spared from more minor cuts and pricks.

Then the leader blurted out, "Nandito na tayo! [We're here!]". But "here" had a different definition after all. From uphill mode, we started descending. It was a bit dangerous because of the protruding sharp branches that fell from the trees. It was also slippery because it rained the day before we went to this place called Marofinas. We took careful steps. We slipped in some parts until finally we reached the marked place where they found the beehives. They had to put their markers to prevent others from collecting the hives. The one who finds the colony has the sole right to it that other members of the tribe must respect. There were two beehives in the area. One on the top of the tree surrounded by thorny rattan vines. One is just behind us, inside a hole in a fallen and rotting tree.

Palawan Wild Honey

Palawan Wild Honey

I was worried of bee stings. I made sure I brought with me antihistamines just in case I get stung. I also made sure I did not wear any fragrance (not even an alcohol) because sweet scent attract bees. Good heavens the species living in both hives were the kind ones.

Like any Tagbanua, the leader uttered some form of  prayer and asking permission from the gods they believe to be lording over and protecting the area. They believe that praying before they gather honey makes the bees kinder. If they come home without any sting, that means the gods and deities gave their blessings and permission to the ones who gather, including us. Included in the prayer is for the gods and deities to help the bees produce more honey.

Palawan Wild Honey

Palawan Wild Honey

It took the man only several minutes to climb and cut the beehive up the tree, and a few minutes on the fallen tree. However, as a sustainable practice, they only cut two-thirds of the hive. This will allow the bees to regenerate their hive and continue thriving in the area. Otherwise, the bees will move to another place.

Honey is abundant during dry season and flowering season. If it always rains, honeybee production is affected. The taste of honey depends on the flower of the trees around their colony.

Palawan Wild Honey

This was my first time to witness honey gathering. Indeed, this was one for the books. I did not regret just passing by the famous Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) and see it disappear right before my very eyes--and proceeding to this place instead. I was just a five-minute boat ride away from the PPUR, but this once in a lifetime experience beckons. I could always go back to Palawan for the PPUR--in my own sweet time and outside work. Communing with the Tagbanuas and witnessing their way of life was far more important.

This thing was work.

More Photos in Flickr Album






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08 April 2015

SNAPSHOT | Strawberry Fields of La Trinidad

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It was a tiring 2 days of mentoring activity with LaTop cooperative right in the middle of the famous strawberry fields of La Trinidad, Benguet. At the end of two days, we were off to Atok for the mentoring of Arabica coffee growers.

Helping farmers help themselves, has a reward, after all--this sunset.

Yes, the there is no such thing as "Baguio Strawberries" as they are grown in la Trinidad and it is more politically correct to call the strawberries you buy from the Baguio market: "La Trinidad Strawberries."

Strawberry Fields, La Trinidad

Strawberry Fields, La Trinidad

More SNAPSHOT STORIES HERE.




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04 April 2015

Alona Beach Fire Dancers

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Alona Beach Fire Dancer

The fire dance performers arrived at sundown. As soon as they chose their spot for the night, they started to arrange their performance equipment--their fire poi, the music player and amplifiers.

Once they were ready, they beat their drums following an ethnic beat--signalling everyone that they were ready for their performance. People slowly trickled around them. The noob fire dancers started their routine, followed by the more seasoned members of the group, to the delight of the onlookers and bystanders.

Alona Beach Fire Dancers


Looking at the swirling pairs of fire poi can just be so amazing. One can never make light of their precise stunts. One can just be so amazed on how they have pulled it together. I could just imagine the rigors of training and search for perfection before every performance. How they spin, balance and synchronize movements especially if they were in pairs or triads is just mesmerizing. One can cringe at the thought of any accident coming especially if it involves fire blowing. I was not able to capture a fire blowing in my camera because it was over-exposed. But the heat that comes with the fireball was just startling!

Apparently, they are not employed by any establishment but they perform on their own. They perform whenever a tourist would give them some money--not sure whether for a fixed rate. Anybody can actually pitch in as long as they perform for the crowd. Fortunately, there are some benevolent souls who give some generous amount in exchange of the entertainment for the night. There are also tourists who pay a fixed amount in exchange of special poses for the camera.

You ca see them perform at Alona Beach, Panglao, Bohol.

Alona Beach Fire Dancers

Alona Beach Fire Dancers

Alona Beach Fire Dancers

Alona Beach Fire Dancers

More photos in Flickr.




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02 April 2015

Tia Carrere: Spotted in Binondo

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Tia Carrere in Binondo

Last March 21, The Pinoy Explorer went for a photowalk in Binondo. After coming from the 711 store in the corner of DasmariƱas and Juan Luna going to El Hogar Building, I noticed a movie set. I first saw Filipino actress Iza Calzado then the Hollywood Actress Tia Carrere.

I was hesitant to take some photos, but there seems to be no one prohibiting it, so I took some shots. I wanted a selfie with her, but then they were in a hurry and was I was too ashamed to try. The best thing I could do was call on her name before she boarded the car being used in the movie set, and seemingly before going to another set, I presumed.

When she looked at me, one click on the shutter was all I needed. Upon hearing her name, she looked at my direction, and there was my precious 3-seconds of moment with Tia Carrere.

Tia Carrere in Binondo

It was all over the news that Tia Carrere Was in Manila for her latest movie "Showdown in Manila."

More photos of Tia Carrere after the JUMP!






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29 March 2015

Introducing: The Pinoy Explorer's "Field Work", featuring "One Sunset in Tagbilaran"

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My work brings me to many places in the Philippines. While I'd like to separate my work from my blog, there are times that I feel like blogging about it. My official work trip to the flower gardens in Bahong, La Trinidad, Benguet gave me an idea to share the places of my field work through a short video.

In mid-March, I was invited to be a resource person to talk about social entrepreneurship in Tagbilaran, Bohol. I was lucky that the venue of the conference was near the sea. After a tiring day, I had the chance to recharge, thus, this video that tells it all.



Visit The Pinoy Explorer for more "Field Work" short videos in the future!





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