Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Riding the motorcycles to a small town north of Dapa, we arrived at about sunset. We were ahead of the race by a few kilometers, so we stopped to check out the town, heading straight to the horizon line on the water to catch the sun's descent.

When we got there, there was a massive group of kids jumping off the pier, making for the perfect photo opportunity. Though I tried to persuade them to do back-tucks right in front of the sun, to get the cleanest silhouette, the kids grew shy.

Still, this shot will do.

Since each member of the media was not following a specific team, coverage of the race got a little tricky in the last two days. The idea is that the teams have to navigate any-which-way through all terrain in order to get to the end, so naturally they split up. This point hit in Dapa, where we had motorcycles + drivers waiting for us that would stay with us until the finish line - anywhere we wanted to go.

Soo yes, we rode motorcycles through the little towns and jungles of Siargao in attempt to cover all of the teams. Shooting from a motorcycle isn't exactly the easiest thing to do at first, because sitting backwards can be a bit of a challenge. You've got to have all your settings fixed prior to crossing yourself (haha, just kidding) and shooting.

The eyes say it all.

Don't know - I just like it.

Coconuts drying on the dock in a town on Bucas Grande. This experience was particularly funny because though I've gotten used to people staring at me, I haven't grown accustomed to being followed by crowds of people. I couldn't even get shots of the racers on this dock because there were too many people surrounding me. I felt like the pied piper* to some degree, but it's rather interesting to be such a temporary novelty.

*Uh yeah, it was brought to my attention that I'm an idiot and had another cheerleader moment. See comment for further details.

"I told you not to go, you go, look at!"

Let's set this scene: 8 p.m., about 8 of us sitting in a banca outside the mouth of Sohuton Cave. All you could hear were the night creatures and the jokes of my lovely Filipino crew.

We had a great time sitting in the water, waiting to film each team pass into the cave. Such funny guys, and yes, I was the only girl. Loved it, of course.

The teams were unaware that the current coming from the cave was pretty strong, so they had a little bit of trouble entering the cave. When all the teams had passed, we finally got to go in annnnnd it was awesome. Water caves at night are sweet.

In this shot, Bordie (camera guy) just looked so pensive and professional that I couldn't resist the angle. He ended up really appreciating the shot too, which made me happy.

The quote from above was kinda the theme of all the teams getting stuck outside the cave. That is the direct English translation of the Visayan "I told you so" phrase.

It fits quite well into my everyday speech.

Bancas to Sohuton Cave on Bucas Grande.

Earlier in the day, we had some time to swim about in the perfectly serene alcove, surrounded by beautifully lush mountains. The water was so inviting, that nothing was going to prevent me from going swimming. Jurgen let me borrow his mask and snorkel, as I was an idiot and had forgotten mine. It made for a delightful afternoon.

Yes kids, this is work.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Haha. This chicken definitely did not make it across the road.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm already out of order, but that's ok. Since we came over from Cebu with the Habagat guys, we were in Surigao three days before the race - plenty of time to buy our provisions for the week to come.

I just assumed I was headed to a normal, small grocery store to pick up my crackers, water and canned goods, but when I arrived this was the outrageous scene I saw. Initially, I thought that these baskets were extraneous items, you know, "in case" you forgot something while in the aisles, but I was informed, however, that the baskets belonged to one person per line.

What?!? My parents don't even buy that much at Costco!

In any case, the amount of goods being purchased was mind-blowing, but with good reason: Many of these people come from smaller towns and islands around Surigao and visit the "big city" to buy their monthly stocks- be it for personal use or to resell in their stores.

My lens wasn't wide enough to capture the insanity of this store, nor was there space to move back, but I needed to do something while I waited with my few items in the back of one of these lines.

Nice visual, huh?

The first leg of the 4-day adventure race was a 70 km bike to Hayanggabon, a small coastal town east of Surigao. Though the heavy rain made for a messy ride, and was really not in the media's favor, it was a much appreciated break from the hot, humid air.

Of course, I rigged up my trusty camera rain gear - masking tape and a variety of plastic bags. I think I have this down to a science now.

The starting line of Carrera Habagat in Surigao City, located on the northern tip of Mindinao.

Full coverage of the past week is probably going to take me some time. Not only is there a lot of information, but I think my internet is mad at me for abandoning it for a week and not missing it at all. I will try to keep everything in chronological order as much as I can, but that's not a promise.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I really don't think I could have asked for a better set-up if I had drafted my contract myself. When there are projects in production, I shoot. When there are no projects to shoot, I work in sound.

Lately, most of my time has been spent on the Foley stage working with Mr. Greg Curda. (For anyone unaware, Foley is art of re-creating natural sound effects for films in post-production.)

Always looking like a lot of fun, I had no idea that setting up the stage for a film could be equally as entertaining as performing. Sooo a few of us in the sound department headed out to a few junk yards in Cebu to find things that sounded cool. A job where you base all your purchases on sound? I like. The funkier it sounds, the better.

As you can probably guess, this shot was taken at a junk shop specializing in old car parts. The heap of engines created a decent enough texture for me to snap a shot.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Last weekend, Kaloy and I needed a breather from the insanity that occurs in Mactan from time to time. Perfect solution? Hopping in his green-apple-colored '69 VW Beetle (plus CD player obviously) with no destination in mind and heading south.

We stumbled upon many places, but of all our destinations, Argao was by far my favorite stop. Founded in 1608 by the Spanish, it is one of Cebu's oldest towns. I liked it so much that we plan to head back there another weekend for further exploration- and of course, more torta.

Pictured above, Argao Church (Church of San Miguel Archangel of Argao) is the 2nd oldest church in Cebu. We took our grand old time appreciating all of the craftsmanship in both architecture and art - dating back to 1733. You can't really see it in this picture, but I thought the murals on the wood-beamed ceiling were particularly cool.

Friday, October 12, 2007

While eating lunch, Kaloy and I were fortunate enough to happen upon Alex, the officer of tourism in Argao, who told us a few cool stories about his hometown. However, what I was most interested in at the time was torta.

As the owner of the cafe as well, Alex took us on a little tour of the torta-making process, starting with his own backyard oven, fueled with coconut husks. Literally outside. Then we headed over to his grandmother's bakery. Same deal - outdoor ovens/coconut husks, but this time we could actually watch them being made, which I loved. The smell was absolutely heavenly.

(Photo: Baker preparing to slip some torta into the coconut-husk ovens at the 2nd shop.)


Some may know it as a Mexican dish, but in the Philippines, torta is a scrumptious cake made with pork fat, flour, sugar, a whole lot of eggs and coconut wine in place of yeast. These cakes are a specialty of Argao, a town about 66 km south of Cebu City. There are plenty of family torta recipes, so you've just got to find the one that pleases you best.

Both torta I tried while in Argao were delightful - very different, but I ended up buying a box to bring back to Mactan with me - only 30 pesos a piece!

Cheap and delicious. Good by me.

By the way, torta is generally served with a bitter chocolate drink (mmmmm), also native to the area. Yet another reason for me to love Argao.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A wide-eyed Miss Almira with 3 of her closest buddies.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Guys, meet Miss Almira. We got to know each other through a bit of miscommunication actually, but I'm so very glad. As part of a mentorship program in Cebu, I was assigned to a little boy named Ariel. However, when we pulled out of the orphanage, Ariel was with a separate mentor and Almira was sitting by herself.

So I asked her if I could please sit next to her and she meekly nodded her head. Now a strange thing occurred on this bus, or at least something that never dawned on me ... about half the kids ended up with motion sickness (apparently) because they aren't used to riding in air-conditioned buses over long periods of time (we were going to "Crocolandia" about an hour away. Cool huh?). There was only one nurse on board and she had her hands full with all of the other kids, so I did my best to help Miss Almira. However, the truth is, this little girl was so self-sufficient I didn't really need to do anything.

When we got off the bus, Ariel and I met up, but much to my surprise, Almira found me again and we did a formal "kid-swap" with the other mentor. We kinda just clicked.

We hung out the rest of the day, playing games with the other kids, taking pictures, looking for cats, dancing, etc. The funny thing was that she would get a little camera shy when someone other than myself was taking picture of her. You can kinda see it in this picture, but it was rather endearing.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Well, yet another adventure in Dream World. Everything about this shoot was more-or-less impromptu and everyone did a great job with it. I'm attempting to forget the insanity that preceded this shoot, but what I do remember is that I had milk fish and rice for dinner that night. Delicious.

P.S. - I'm having issues with presentation of the colors in this pic. Opened in photoshop, the colors are correct. I'm kind of curious about this one, so if you get bored, just IM me with the info on how your monitors read it. Danke!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Yes. I get it. I cropped in a square. I know.

Haha, the best part of this shoot was that I got to work with Sammy, a very talented photographer/designer/all-around creative. If you ask him, he will be modest and tell you he is not a professional photographer. However, his work speaks differently of his abilities.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Obviously taken during one of MG's underwater shoots last week.