Diving Sogod Bay, Southern Leyte

Last October 24-26, 2013 marked the Philippine Association of Marine Science 12th National Symposium on Marine Science in Tacloban City, Leyte and the first time I’d presented (part of) the results of my graduate thesis. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once. After the conference, I marked another milestone with my first visit to Southern Leyte. I spent four days (well, really three days) in the quiet and no-stress Padre Burgos, about 3.5 hours from Tacloban City.

I decided to stay in Sogod Bay Scuba Resort because a friend recommended it and because they offered a slightly lower van hire cost to and from Tacloban (P7,000 instead P8,000 from Peter’s Dive Resort). The van hire was the most expensive part of the trip so hopefully you’re in a big group and can split the cost. Another friend who traveled to Padre Burgos the day before was able to get a round-trip van for P6000. Despite the cost, I think it was worth it because the commuting alternative sounded daunting: jeep from Tacloban airport to the terminal, shared van ride to Maasin City (the capital of Southern Leyte), a jeepney ride to Padre Burgos, then a tricycle ride to the resort in Brgy Lungsodaan.

Brgy Lungsodaan is pretty small. There are only two dive resorts (Sogod Bay Scuba Resort and Peter’s Dive Resort) and three restaurants (the resorts’ restaurants plus Moose and Squirrel). We only spotted one sari-sari store and the bakery was a tricycle ride away. TIP: if you’re eating at Moose and Squirrel (and you should!), better to order beforehand then come back later. E.g if you’re eating lunch there, place your order before you go diving to cut down on the waiting time.

padre burgos map

Continue reading “Diving Sogod Bay, Southern Leyte”

Phoneography challenge: my neighborhood

So this week’s photography challenge is “My Neighborhood”. To make it even more interesting, all the photos should have been taken using a mobile phone. At present, my “neighborhood” for most of the month is Bacuit Bay in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. It’s got to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. They say that the best camera is the one that you have with you, and my iPhone 4S hasn’t left my side since I bought it last year. So behold – Bacuit Bay as seen through a smartphone’s lens 🙂

The view from up top (Matinloc Island). This was taken using the iPhone’s Panorama option.
[minor tweaks in levels using Photoshop CS6]

The view from up top (Matinloc Island)

Same view, different boat and focus (Matinloc Island, El Nido)
[minor tweaks in levels using Photoshop CS6]

Same view, different boat and focus (Matinloc Island, El Nido)

Miniloc Island Resort’s water cottages (Miniloc Island, El Nido)
[minor tweaks using Snapseed]

Miniloc Island Resort's water cottages (Miniloc Island, El Nido)

Breakfast for two at the Miniloc Island Resort clubhouse (Miniloc Island, El Nido)
[minor tweaks using Snapseed]

Breakfast for two at the Miniloc Island Resort clubhouse (Miniloc Island, El Nido)

Outrigger boat – the only way to travel (Bacuit Bay, El Nido)
[no editing]

Outrigger boat - the only way to travel (Bacuit Bay, El Nido)

Bacuit Bay as seen from the seat of a kayak, taken using the iPhone’s Panorama mode (Bacuit Bay, El Nido)
[no editing]

Bacuit Bay as seen from the seat of a kayak, taken using the iPhone's Panorama mode (Bacuit Bay, El Nido)

What does your neighborhood look like? 🙂

Waiting outside

When the water level gets too low, large boats can’t get into the Big Lagoon anymore. The boats end up outside the Lagoon and tied to a mooring buoy while their guests either kayak or snorkel + walk in.

boat outside the Big Lagoon Macy Anonuevo

 

PHOTOS: Fire on the beach

After welcoming the new year with fireworks, our guides and their supervisor decided to pull out all the stops and do a firedancing routine on the boardwalk. They were originally supposed to do in on platforms in the water but the Engineering guys decided to ignore their advice and installed the platforms too far away from the shore. Full moon + high tide = submerged platforms *facepalm* So the guides had to move their routine to the boardwalk. They were still great 🙂

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! (Taken without a tripod. Oh yeah.)
Spitting fire
Spitting fire
From front to back: Gading, Eileen, Oliver, and Dodong
From front to back: Gading, Eileen, Oliver, Dodong, and Mark

05 firedancers03 Macy

06 firedancers04 Macy

More circles
More circles
This is Eileen. She's the supervisor of these crazy people literally playing with fire
This is Eileen. She’s the supervisor of these crazy people literally playing with fire
09 firedancers Macy
I want to learn how to do crazy shit like this.

10 firedancers El Nido Macy

 

This was only my second time photographing firedancers. The first one was at my cousin’s wedding. Luckily I had a tripod this time and was able to set up before the show started.

Fireworks to ring in the new year

What better way to welcome the new year than with photos of fireworks? These are my favorites from the bunch of photos I took, although I think my photos last year were better.

Fireworks in paradise
Fireworks in paradise
Fireworks over the pantalan
Fireworks over the pantalan
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!

And some words of wisdom from my favorite captain:

picard

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

My long absence and Christmas Eve on the island

My long absence from this blog is due to my graduate thesis. It’s all my thesis’ fault! I took 2.5 months off work so that I could work on it full-time in Manila. Unfortunately, those 2.5 months were not enough as my adviser had me do more analysis work to get the results we wanted. Even more unfortunately, I really had to go back to work this December (before Christmas!) because I work for a resort and Christmas-New Year’s is our busiest time of the year. Good luck if I can finish my thesis now.

Anyway, here are some photos from our little island celebration. These photos are the result of weeks to months of prep work, including turning our conference room into Santa’s workshop. This post is all about the finished product. I’ll post the behind-the-scenes photos afterwards 🙂

The belen (Nativity scene) made by the guides. Simple but effective.
The belen (Nativity scene) made by the guides. Simple but effective.