The isolation of Eastern Isabela has always been the lure to explore this remote place. Despite being on the mainland of Luzon, the area is cut off by Sierra Madre mountains. Finally last week, we had the chance to see the region for an exploration and ocular trip as a potential site for our Backpack Photography. After a 12-hour bus ride from Manila to Tuguegarao, we took a SkyPasada 19-seater plane for a 20-30 minutes plane ride to Maconacon. Flying in was already an experience. Seeing the lush forest of Sierra Madre Mountains and the beautiful coastline of Isabela was nothing short of impressive.
After 11-days, 5 overnight bus rides, 1 train ride, 1 pick-up truck, 2 horse carts, countless motorbike rides and thousands of words scribbled in my notebook, I finished my journey around Myanmar. I can say it was one of my fulfilling travels in a while in line with my travels in Laos and China. It was one of those journeys where Traveling and Photography is all about being in the moment, being part of the scene, melding, and being invisible. I love the interaction I get with the locals and just being in there. It’s the travel and the photography where the only person I’m shooting for is myself. I can’t wait to write it for the next few months. Here’s is Shwedagon Pagoda, a gold studded landmark which symbolizes the country. It was the major sight I visited the first time I got in the country and also the last before I left. Myanmar is a wonderful country that I won’t hesitate to go back again.
I’m nearing the end of my Myanmar Journey with only a few days of stay here. I had a bit of snag in Inle Lake which was supposed to be some sort of a highlight for my trip but things got complicated when there was a festival on the nearby town. One things for sure I tell you, avoid the local festivals if you can. While it might be interesting, prices double and accommodations are non-existent. But still it was an experience. Good thing I met a very helpful lady in Aung Mingalar Hotel who accommodated me on my very brief stay in Nyaungshwe when I was already loosing hope of finding a place or even going back to Mandalay. Anyways more details of the story when I write them. In the meantime here’s a fun young sibling I met in Shwezigon in Bagan. That thanaka on their faces just gives the poeple of Myanmar a distinct character.
I’m currently halfway through my journey in Myanmar and I can say it’s more than I expected it to be. I’m currently in Pyin U Lwin at the north of Mandalay. 3445 ft above sea level, taking the slow train immediately coming from Bagan. The cool clime is a refreshing change from the warm and dusty environs of Bagan. One thing I can say that the country is changing fast, any latest information from 1 year ago or even a few months ago has changed. Anyways I’ll leave you guys with one of the sunrise shots in Bagan which I thought was really a fabulous place.
It was an exciting night for us co-leaders, Tracey Heppner and Me. It started with an idea of bringing the exciting SMUGs community here in the Philippines which is really popular in the Europe and USA. And finally officially launching it here was a really exciting endeavor. It was really an informal night of getting to know each other during the launch but it was the groundwork that would lead to other exciting activities for the coming months.
I never thought Beach Volleyball can be so emotional, it is really a different atmosphere from indoor Volleyball. But I guess on every game when the championship is at stake, every player can feel the pressure and only having a pair on a team, it really shows on every winning point. I was able to watch the finals game match for UAAP Season 74 beach volleyball in UE Caloocan. For the Women’s it’s UST with main players Maru Banaticla and Judy Caballejo playing against Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez and Bea Tan. Game 2 was a win from Ateneo forcing a deciding 3rd match. I was really surprised on how each player would react to each points they got and they sure show a lot of passion for the game.On Game 3, Maru had an injury but she showed how a trooper she was and continued playing despite the pain. In two sets, UST was able to get their first Beach Volleyball championship and it was a well deserved win. Lots of victory hugs here.