Categories
Exposures Photography

El Nido Barotuan Ati-Atihan Portraits

A young Ati-atihan performer
A young Ati-atihan performer

The Ati-Atihan festival is celebrated widely in various parts of the Philippines every 2nd and 3rd of January. This celebration to honor Sto Niño (baby Jesus) is more popular in Kalibo Aklan. But there are lesser known places that do practice the Ati-atihan like Barotuan in El Nido Palawan, home from migrants coming from Aklan. I wrote about the Barotuan Ati-Atihan Festival at En Route extensively. Here, I’m just sharing out takes from the post, particularly some of my favorite Ati-atihan portraits from that day.

Categories
Lifestyle People

Meeting Winston Maxino, the Happiest Pinoy 2010 Awardee

Winston Maxino
Winston Maxino

I watch as he pause for a moment midway his speech. I was standing close on the side taking his photo and saw his face, suddenly overcame with shadow, I noticed he swallowed deep, trying to keep steady in front of a crowd of 30 plus people, trying to hide what he was feeling at that moment. For what looked like he was having a hard time reading his speech, little did people know he was grimacing in pain. In just a few seconds he got his composure back, smiling, while he deliver his speech as if nothing happened.

Such is the man named, Winston Maxino, a family man at his late forties, who is literally in constant pain after being diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). But despite his condition, he chose to show his sunny disposition and inspire others to be happy.

Winston narrated how as an asthmatic child, he was regularly an outcast but his persistence on trying to belong despite his condition still paid off. His scout master saw his other skills like excelling in knots or other non-physical aspects. Being diagnosed as an AS didn’t stop him from being happy, aside from wallowing in self-pity, he chose to accept his condition. But his trials didn’t end there, he received another blow in his life when his daughter was diagnosed with down syndrome. But his daughter’s frequent declaration of loving her life and the future made him realize that he has a lot to be grateful for no matter his life condition is. His body may be broken  but that wouldn’t stop him from being happy as it is the choice he made. He enjoys making children laugh with his balloon knotting talents and tricks. He is also involved in helping the down syndrome society of the Philippines.

Categories
Dispatches Exposures People Travel

Dispatch: Wonderful People of Myanmar

Shwezigon Siblings (Olympus E-PL1, 45mm, f2, 1/400s)
Shwezigon Siblings (Olympus E-PL1, 45mm, f2, 1/400s)

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.

Categories
Exposures People Photography

Environmental Portraits: Mang Ramon of Rita’s Inn

Mang Ramon
Mang Ramon (Olympus E-PL2, Lumix 20mm, f1.7, 1/25, ISO 1600, WB Auto)

I met Mang Ramon, the owner of Rita’s Inn in Batad, Ifugao while he was grinding a few betel nuts to chew in a corner by the dining area. His humble and heavily bearded appearance was deceiving as one would just ignore him as one of the elders until he speaks. His English was fluent and had stories as many as the lines in his face. Before I left Rita’s Inn, probably the oldest inn in Batad, he wanted me to see his Ifugao House which he inherited from his father. It was probably more than a century old. Inside the elaborate Ifugao House are his collections of antiques.

Categories
Exposures Photography

Environmental Portraits: Corregidor Tour Guide

Mang Pol Curato
Mang Pol Curato (Olympus E-PL1, Lumix 20mm, f1.8, 1/1250sec, ISO 200, )

His name is Pol Curato, we simply call him Mang Pol. He was our guide from our recent tour in Corregidor Island. He’s been guiding here for about 3 decades now, a heritage himself yet still witty in his lectures and trivia.

Here he raises an illustration of some victorious Japanese along with the gun at Battery Hearn, where we were at that time.

Backpack Photography will be having a Photo Tour in Corregidor. Join us on July 2-3, 2011 as we show you how to Capture Corregidor in a New Light.

Categories
Exposures Photography Travel

Environmental Portraits: Mirrored Innocence

Ifugao Girl
Ifugao Girl Mirrored Innocence (Olympus E-PL2, Lumix 20mm, F1.7, 1/30sec, ISO 1600)

It’s been a while since I traveled on my own. I went to Banaue recently to try to catch the Imbayah Festival and also to arrange things for our upcoming Backpack Photography Banaue Photo Adventure this May 13-15. It’s really hard to work on the logistics of far-off places like Batad and Bangaan so I have to go there personally. I took the Ohayami Bus, an alternative to Flordia,  for the first time. Aside from it also being a freezer yet equally comfortable, it was a tad slower and I noticed that most of the passengers are Ifugao since the bus line is owned by one.