Happy Independence Day, Philippines

June 12 is the Independence Day of the Philippines and there are some things going around the interwebs related to this. On Twitter, Paolo Chikiamco is hosting the #RP612fic hashtag. Learn more about it from Paolo’s intro post. Alexa and Rachel have come up with Filipino-themed posts on their blogs under the blog event Mabuhay. I contributed to one of them, where they asked Filipino book bloggers what we want to see more in literature. Please drop by and take a look at what everyone had to say.

lomo intramuros

A shot of Intramuros, an old district in Manila

Since I have Filipino literature in mind, I was thinking of what books I would write if I ever felt the urge to do so. I haven’t really considered writing a novel or even a novella but I think it’s only natural that if I do write a book, it would be something similar to what I enjoy reading. That would include either YA or adult literature in genres like contemporary or realistic fiction, romance, epic fantasy which has been influenced by the Filipino culture or urban fantasy which is set in the Philippines. It would be interesting to talk about my own experiences like moving to a different country for a better work opportunity because that’s something that’s fairly common amongst Filipinos. My high school and college experiences would be outdated by now but it would be fun to talk about the Philippine school system and what are the norms in schools. Maybe highlight the fact that English is the medium of instruction in our schools. If I did write realistic fiction, I would definitely want to have a Filipino reader as a character – someone who loves books just as much as I do. It would also be a good idea to write a historical fantasy or alternate history novel set during the pre-colonization era with magic and political intrigue – I believe that this is something that would involve a ton of research.

In Anawangin, a cove in Zambales

In Anawangin, a cove in Zambales

Like I said, I don’t really plan on writing anything at the moment so I’m basically just thinking out loud here. To my fellow Filipino readers, what themes are you interested in writing about if you had the capacity to do so? Fo everyone else, would you be interested in reading books similar to what I described above?

Ateneo In Lomo

Encouraged by what Emily said here, where she mentioned that she liked my Wow Philippines posts, I thought I’d share some more lomo pictures. I haven’t gone on vacation for quite a while so I thought it’ll be a good idea to share some old photos that I have. I already talked about lomo before but to those who don’t know, here’s a description from lomography.com:

It was in the early 1990s when two students in Vienna, Austria, discovered a small enigmatic Russian camera, the Lomo Kompakt Automat, and started a new style of artistic experimental photography of unorthodox snapshots. In the blink of an eye the Lomographic message spread around the planet.

Basically, lomo is playing around with lomo film cameras and shooting whatever is interesting for you. Lomo has this motto: “Don’t think, just shoot”, meaning you don’t have to spend hours trying to take a perfect shot. Just shoot at random and be happily surprised with what comes out. I used to love doing this, I would take my lomo cameras everywhere with me. But now I only take them when I go out-of-town because films are expensive! I thought I’d feature pictures of my alma mater today. Here are a couple of pictures of the Ateneo de Manila University, where I got my college degree. Click to embiggen any pictures.

Film: Kodak Elitechrome
Camera: Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim

I think my school looks even better in pictures than in real life. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, so, so. Let me know what you guys think of these and if you want to see more of my lomo pictures.

Mt. Pinatubo

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a nice weekend! I didn’t get to read this weekend because I met up with a couple of friends and yesterday, I went on a day trip to Mt. Pinatubo, a volcano a couple of hours away from Manila. I thought I’d share a couple of pictures. Click on the pictures to embiggen.

Here’s more info from Wikipedia:

Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano located on the island of Luzon, at the intersection of the borders of the Philippine provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. Before 1991, the mountain was inconspicuous and heavily eroded. It was covered in dense forest which supported a population of several thousand indigenous people, the Aeta, who had fled to the mountains from the lowlands during the protracted Spanish conquest of the Philippines which began in 1565. The volcano’s eruption in June 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century and the largest eruption in living memory.

It’s funny because we spent more time traveling than staying around the area. It’s still a great experience and I recommend it. I’m not much of a hiker and I’m not very sporty so no need to worry about the hiking part, it wasn’t that hard. It was a nice trail for lame hikers like me. I enjoyed it because the trail area is really nice, there was a stream flowing near and sometimes across the trail and the greenery was refreshing to look at.

On the way to the trail, there was a very bumpy 4×4 ride that was about 1 hour 30 minutes in length. Mostly, we saw lahar on the way there. There were some cows there though.

I don’t have nice pictures of the trail because my camera was in my bag when we were hiking but I have this:

Here’s a picture of the crater lake:

I like the aqua color of the lake even though I have no idea why it looks like that. My friend said that the color used to change with the seasons but it hasn’t changed color for some time. We swam in that lake and the water was really cold and you can smell a hint of sulfur. It was real interesting for me to be inside the volcano’s crater. And because I like my camera’s color accent feature, here’s a picture of the lake with color accent:

Coron in Lomo

This another picture-heavy post. I got my films processed the other day and I thought I’d share some of my favorite shots from the set. For non-lomo pictures of Coron, please click here. To those who don’t know, lomography (lomo for short) is photography using point and shoot film toy cameras. Here’s a little background info about lomo from lomography.com:

It was in the early 1990s when two students in Vienna, Austria, discovered a small enigmatic Russian camera, the Lomo Kompakt Automat, and started a new style of artistic experimental photography of unorthodox snapshots. In the blink of an eye the Lomographic message spread around the planet and people from North to South were screaming for Lomo LC-Aโ€™s. So they hopped on a plane, flew to St. Petersburg and negotiated a contract for the worldwide distribution of this fantastic little camera.

Click on any of the pictures below to see larger images.

Here’s the view from my seat in the plane (Camera: Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim, Film: Fuji Sensia):

The cross on top of Mt. Tapyas, which was totally worth the more than 700 steps we took to get there (Camera: Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim, Film: Fuji Sensia):

The next one is a shot of the beach in Calumbayan Island (Camera: Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim, Film: Fuji Velvia). I like the effect of the branches of the trees and the shadows that they cast:

And since I loved Malcapuya Island, here are two pictures of that place. First one was taken using my Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim with a Kodak Elitechrome film and the other was taken using my Fisheye2 and a Fuji Sensia film.

Hope you like these shots! Comments are always welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

Coron

I finally finished organizing the pictures from our trip and I thought I’d post several of my favorite pictures just to give you guys an idea of how beautiful Coron is. Coron is a municipality of the province of Palawan, an hour or so away by plane from Manila. Here’s more information from Wikipedia:

The municipality covers part of Busuanga Island and all of the nearby Coron Island. Both islands are part of the Calamian Group of Islands in northern Palawan. The main industries of Coron are fishing and tourism, being a popular diving location. The aquatic views from the sunken Japanese warships off Coron Island are listed in Forbes Traveler Magazineโ€™s top 10 best scuba diving sites in the world.

We went to several islands in Coron and although we didn’t go diving, we went snorkeling in most of the sights. I was amazed at how alive and vibrant the underwater life there was. We also got to see three shipwrecks and one was even close enough to touch. We couldn’t help but sing “Part of Your World” from Little Mermaid while snorkeling because it just fit the experience. I’m really not a good swimmer but I really enjoyed the snorkeling aspect of this trip. And the beaches are nice! Fine white sand and clear waters.

Here are the pictures. Click on them to make them larger. The first one is the view from our plane when we were about to land. I think it’s pretty neat, it looks like a map.

The next one is from one of my favorite sites – Kayangan Lake. I read from somewhere that Kayangan Lake is the clearest lake in the Philippines and I’m not surprised. It was refreshing to swim there.

Next is a picture of me feeding fishes! I love this picture.

I took a lot of underwater pictures during our trip and was amazed at how clear some of the pictures were. My camera isn’t waterproof so I just used a clear plastic pouch for it. Here’s a picture of the corals:

This is a picture of the beach in Calumbayan Island, where we had lunch on our third day:

Last but certainly not the least is Malcapuya Island, where we spent a whole day just relaxing and enjoying the beach.

Let me know what you think of these pictures. I’m going to upload more after my lomo films have been processed.

I’m back!

I’m back from Coron and I had an amazing time! It’s such a beautiful place and I’m glad I got to go there before it becomes commercialized. Coron’s becoming a popular destination lately because of the diving and snorkeling sites. There were a lot of foreigners there so I have a feeling the place will be further developed to serve tourists. Here’s a picture of me reading on the beach:

Reading in Malcapuya

I was reading Unwind in that picture. I finished reading the book in that beach and I’ll try to post a review soon. I was so excited when I got back because I had a package from Celina waiting for me. I received the following books:

Yay, I now have the complete Samaria and Chrestomanci series. And she let me borrow her copy of The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. Thanks Celina! ๐Ÿ™‚ Also waiting for me was a notice from the post office to pick up a package that arrived from abroad. That’s the custom here in the Philippines, when a package is sent from abroad, you have to go and pick it up in the nearest post office. I went there and saw that the package was from my friend Moses in Australia! Guess what it contained? Books of course! I got the following:

Aren’t they pretty? These editions aren’t available here. UK editions are so nice. Thank you for the belated birthday present, Moses! ๐Ÿ™‚

So I’m excited to read my new books but I haven’t decided what to read next. I’m going to upload more pictures from my trip as soon as I have them organized and when I get my lomo films processed. I need to catch up on my Goodreads groups, Google Reader backlogs and my LJ friends’ page. I also need to watch this week’s episodes of Glee, How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory. I haven’t even started reading a new book. I can’t decide what to read next! Any suggestions?

Off to Palawan!

It’s summer here in the Philippines and the weather’s perfect for a beach trip. I’m going to Palawan for a couple of days with my friends. It’s my first beach trip of the year and my first time to go Palawan and I’m real excited. So I won’t be able to make any blog posts until the end of next week.

For book-related news, I already mentioned that I’ve imposed a book buying ban this May. So much for that! It’s just the first day of the month and I already bought Eyes Like Stars earlier today. I couldn’t help it! I was waiting for the hardcover ever since it came out but it never became available here so I was excited to see the paperback. Anyway, I’m bring Unwind and Pride and Prejudice with me although I know that I won’t be doing much reading while on vacation. These two books are the assigned monthly reads for two of my Goodreads groups.

With that, I leave you with lomo pictures from past beach trips:
Capones, Zambales
Taken using my Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim and Kodak Elitechrome

Pundaquit, Zambales
Taken using my Fisheye2 and Fuji Sensia

Hope you’re all having a great weekend!