The playful Badjao kids of Zamboanga will jump overboard and retrieve the coins you throw at sea with remarkable agility and ease in a matter of seconds, earning the nickname “sea gypsies” for a reason.
I visited Zamboanga before and after a rebel siege in the city a year ago that left a portion of the central town bruised and battered, and kept many wary visitors away and in fear. Foreign travel advisories stay adamant. I expected to focus on remnants of a combat zone, but there were other things that captivated me more. Laughter of kids at Paseo del Mar, a beautiful boulevard along the bay. Hope in their eyes. People sitting on the park benches just to watch the sun set. In every aftermath of a tragedy I visit, I marvel at the resilience of my people, whose will to survive remains intact even after it has been deeply scarred.
When it comes to street and documentary photography, I am a huge fan of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Steve McCurry, and the enigmatic Vivian Maier. Watching her documentary Finding Vivian Maier was overwhelming for artists like me, inspiring yet saddening to be discovered posthumously. We are so moved by the stunning photography that this quiet, reclusive nanny has sprung upon us unsuspectingly. And yet, where now is the privacy she so wished until her end?
Vivian Maier’s works are gaining recognition worldwide, yet the artist isn’t there anymore to accept or decline her fame. This very private person who grew old alone and died alone suddenly has her life exposed to the world, a past she so mysteriously guarded when she was still alive.
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” – Anne Frank
Launched on April 10 of this year at the Tapas Bar of the Makati Shangri-La Manila hotel, the first travel coffee table book of its kind with a quirky and confident title of The Best of the Best of the Philippines was recently unveiled to the public.
The historic City of Ayutthaya (1351-1767), was the second capital of a flourishing Siamese Kingdom (Thailand’s old name). For 417 years from the 14th to the 18th centuries, it grew to be one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a most important center of global diplomacy and commerce during its time. It was said to be beautiful, luxurious and fabulous… think wild Paris of ancient history.
“But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” ~ William Butler Yeats
“Kadagatan sa Panabo.” A family picks shells along the coastline of Cagangohan Fish Sanctuary in Panabo City, which is part of the Davao Gulf, and one of the priority areas for marine biodiversity conservation of the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Eco-region (WWF, 2001).
“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!” ― Ted Grant
“We are all rowing a boat of fate The waves keep on comin’ and we can’t escape But if we ever get lost on our way The waves would guide you through another day.” ~ Life is Like a Boat – Rie Fu
“In still moments by the sea life seems large-drawn and simple. It is there we can see into ourselves.” ― Rolf Edberg
“Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
“There is only one important point you must keep in your mind and let it be your guide. No matter what people call you, you are just who you are. Keep to this truth. You must ask yourself how is it you want to live your life. We live and we die, this is the truth that we can only face alone. No one can help us, not even the Buddha. So consider carefully, what prevents you from living the way you want to live your life?” ― Dalai Lama XIV
“No matter how small you start, always dream big.” ― Stephen Richards
“We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness”. – Anonymous
Silkwinds April 2014 Cover by Jojie Alcantara This is my cover photo of aerial Boracay waters in April 2014 issue of Silkwinds, the inflight magazine of SilkAir (Regional Wing of Singapore Airlines). I shot the fishermen and boat from a helicopter over Boracay. This is my second aerial photo on cover of an international airline magazine.
“Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering ‘I will try again tomorrow’” – Mary Anne Radmacher
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” ― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela When I am down, and my grumpy self surfaces due to several reasons — period, boredom, depression, low self esteem or just being flat broke — I take time out to travel on a short or long trip, and let myself be engulfed by the sheer beauty of the world around me that we often fail to acknowledge or even notice. If I keep moving forward, my worries are left behind. Seascape of my ancestral place in Manay, Davao Oriental © Jojie Alcantara 2013 * * * *
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn Sunrise in Dahican beach, Mati City, Davao Oriental © Jojie Alcantara
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” ~ Anne Lamott