I have always said that I am not a professional photographer but I can capture moments. As I thought about it, I came to realize that it might just be another form of defense mechanism because as much as I love photos, I don’t have a professional camera all this time. But mind you, that doesn’t stop me from living by that statement. I still capture moments using my cheap camera which I bought for only ₱3,000 during a yearly markdown sale from TTI (Thinking Tools, Inc.) and my ever loyal iPhone 4S. I am a self proclaimed iPhoneographer. Well, you end up calling yourself anything when you can’t get to the professional side of it to pacify your frustration.
Anyway, as I was scanning through the virtual pages of my virtual journal called Facebook, I came across old photos I took with my iPhone 4S during my Christmas vacation in my hometown called Salug, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s in the easternmost part of Mindanao. The nearest cities are Dipolog and Dapitan City. In case you still haven’t heard of these cities, maybe you want to use the free-for-everyone Google search engine this time.
Merriment aside, my small hometown can be categorized as one of the poorly developed towns in the entire Region not because of its political system or community issues (okay, I’m not sure about political issues), but because the landmass has been privately owned by individuals so that investors had a hard time entering the area. This is the main reason why the place literally looks the same since it officially became a town.
And because there are no establishments to go to, no source of entertainment aside from your home TV, no diversions at all, people end up nature trekking. And yes, it’s what I always do. When I go home, I turn myself into a conservationist in a snap. And that is the origin of these photos. Take a look.
This photo was taken at 5:00 AM in Malaknit ridge, a 20 minute walk from our house. I and my niece were originally planning to cross the mountain barrier between our town and its nearest village but we eventually got lost because the trail that was supposed to be there disappeared. So we ended up following a different route and found ourselves on a cliff overlooking the sea. It wasn’t easy going down as the jagged rocks can tear your underfoot apart. But once we got there, our effort was paid off because the place itself was definitely a token. It was such a sight to behold.
Trivia: It took me 20 clicks before capturing this dramatic scene (well, at least for me).
This young boy braving himself against the raging waves was my instant model from our neighborhood who went with us in our epic failed trek. Sitting there wasn’t easy for him because the big waves knocked him down every time they hit the rock.
The distant cliff was where we came down from. We were supposed to go mountain climbing so we were wearing shoes, we brought cheap cameras and not-so-expensive cell phones when we got to the place. It was a nerve wrecking experience as we had to submerge ourselves into the water in order to be able to reach the shoreline in the other side of the cliff.
One of my most dramatic captures. If you notice, the tone here is a little different from the others. That’s because I used HDR light photo effect for this picture.
This photo was taken in the same place but on a different day.
I have lots of this photo because I was trying to capture the transition of the sunset but I didn’t want to post all of them here and get you guys bored. There’s just too many of them.
This is my niece who came along with me during our epic failed nature trekking. Take a look at what she wore. I was also wearing similar outfit and we had to submerge into a neck-level seawater later with our shoes on and our hands toward the sky holding on for our cell phones’ and camera’s dear lives.
So this is what I often do when I go home. Bond with family, bond with childhood friends, talk about childhood memories, laugh from the gut, bond with nature, shout from the mountain top, watch as the hermit crab makes a hole in the sand, take amateur photos, stargaze, follow mysterious trails and get lost. Upon this write, there came a realization that I might have been wrong about thinking that there are no forms of entertainment in our less progressive hometown. In fact, there are hundreds of things that I can do which I don’t usually do in a hyperactive city I live in. But I won’t be able to see it without free will. And the key to seeing the best things that no modern cities can offer is to open your heart and mind.
Behind the scene footage of my unplanned mobile photography.