Year: 2012

Keeping your balance

“The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley Boy balancing in a small banca (crude boat carved from a tree trunk) Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, captured in 2007 This reflecting image won in a photo competition a few years back. out ofThe Free Dictionary: From a given condition: came out of her trance. →

Ethnic beauty

The first time I caught sight of her, she was carrying a baby. She said it was her grandchild so I was surprised because she looked so young despite the lines on her face. But this Bagobo tribeswoman up in the remote hinterlands of Kapatagan obliged me with such a genuine smile that even with freckles and no makeup, she is strikingly beautiful.  I took this photo of her when she was looking out the window of her hut. 2008 © Jojie Alcantara Kapatagan, Davao del Sur

Daanglungsod, Baganga, Davao Oriental © Jojie Alcantara 2011

Seize a happy moment

“I have been through a lot and have suffered a great deal. But I have had lots of happy moments, as well. Every moment one lives is different from the other. The good, the bad, hardship, the joy, the tragedy, love, and happiness are all interwoven into one single, indescribable whole that is called life. You cannot separate the good from the bad. And perhaps there is no need to do so, either.” ~ Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Giving thanks and rewarding

“When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.” ~ Chief Tecumseh Shawnee These locals run out to help boats coming in at dawn.  In return, they get a few rewarded fish for breakfast from grateful fishermen. Shouldn’t humanity be as simple as this?

The joy of living

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” ~Eleonora Duse Wishing everybody a Christmas filled with unwavering hope, limitless love and bountiful blessings in life.

Mindanao photo exhibit poster by Rhonson Ng and Jojie Alcantara

My Mindanao: Photographs for Hope

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” ― Barack Obama MY MINDANAO: PHOTOGRAPHS FOR HOPE opens tomorrow, December 18, at the Sulawesi Function Room, ground floor of Marco Polo Hotel Davao, from 9am until 10 in the evening. This special one day exhibit is for a cause. In our years of experience as photojournalists we have been lucky to be traveling around to document wonderful places, people and culture, and publish them. We have collected many images that depict the beauty of our islands. We truly believe that Mindanao is blessed with people who care for its natural resources and preservation. But Nature has its own course, as well. Last year after Typhoon Sendong, through the help of friends and a workshop (“Shoot for Hope”), we were able to raise money and deliver relief goods to …

Waiting for chances

“If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything. You can sit around and wait for the good things to happen to you, or you can go out and make them happen.” Entrance to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia  © Jojie F. Alcantara

Baganga Mangrove Sanctuary

“Nature is man’s teacher.  She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence”.  ~Alfred Billings Street Languyon Bay, Baculin, Daanglungsod Baganga, Davao Oriental Jojie Alcantara, 2011

In my time

“Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.” ~Martin Buxbaum Old Bagobos in the highlands of Tudaya, Davao del Sur I met these people separately in the highlands of Kapatagan, Davao del Sur.  Lola (our dialect for grandma, or respectful term for old woman) is an old Bagobo tribeswoman whose amiable character and sweet smile makes you want to hug her all the time. She agreed to pose for me inside her small and simple house. Lolo is an old mestizo I discovered sitting outside his home with a cane. He lives near a school.  He has this quiet air of authority and dignity as he watched me approached him cautiously. Only then did he smile when I asked for a photo. Etched on their faces are tales of youth lived well and beautifully.  Such is the human spirit of growing old.  Time grows gentle with them as they become old, wise and wistful.

Shy Matigsalug woman by Jojie Alcantara

Lines of character

“Age should not have its face lifted, but it should rather teach the world to admire wrinkles as the etchings of experience and the firm line of character.” ~ Clarence Day Lumad portrait in black and white: Matigsalogs of Marilog District, Davao LUMAD is a term for a group of indigenous peoples of the southern Philippines. It is a Cebuano term meaning “native” or “indigenous”, or a collective identity of the non-Islamized indigenous peoples of Mindanao. The peace-loving Ata Matigsalog (or Matigsalug) is a tribal group found in the hinterlands of Bukidnon and the mountain districts of Davao City. This tribal woman was laughing uncontrollably during our shoot. I waited for her to warm up to me and lose her shyness.  Some portraits are better viewed in black and white, especially in emphasizing character lines and and making use of drama.  But you be the judge. 🙂 Here is my colored version

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Panam Pangan Paradise

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous”.  ~Aristotle I had no idea what kind of paradise I was getting into when I ventured into the southernmost tip of my country.  This island chain province of peace loving citizens are always affected by media portrayal of turmoil and violence in these parts of the archipelago. So much so that when I announced to my friends and family that I was traveling to Tawi-Tawi, the question was WHY and WHAT FOR? And my only reply was BECAUSE. Because it is there.  I have seen the tiny specks on a map and wondered what life is like in those parts.  I have seen few images of its seascape and I wanted to confirm if it was truly that stunning.  A few times, I thought I was lucky to go, then news reports of peace and order in neighboring provinces would surface, and the trip was shelved.  I’ve read blogs of a few brave journalists who went there on their own and wrote good things …

Scaling the Great Wall

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb”. ~ Nelson Mandela Scaling the Great Wall via Badaling Route This UNESCO World Heritage Site is very touristy and congested in the Badaling route from Beijing. It may be a little difficult to recognize from the serene pictures you see on the net and books. For a photographer, it becomes a feat trying to find a spot to capture its “zen-like” ruins, without being pushed or diverted by a shuffling crowd.  Not recommended for those suffering from vertigo and fear of heights. Then again, you will encounter a whole family gently holding on to a grandmother who looks to be a hundred, nimbly stepping on very steep stone pavements, while a throng of tourists are hyperventilating and waiting behind them.

Tagum’s Giant Christmas Tree Lights Up Sky

The iconic Giant Holiday Tree was lighted on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 in the City of Tagum, Davao del Norte, to officially start the festive season of Christmas, and coinciding with Tagum’s 3rd Food Festival, one of the 14 monthly celebrations cooked up by the city with the most festivals.

Sunset in Tawi Tawi by Jojie Alcantara

Nature’s canvas

“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci This sunset can be viewed overlooking the sea where we stayed in Sandbar Lepa Resort in Tawi Tawi.  As it gave its last peek before disappearing from the horizon, we quietly captured it from our cameras, silenced in awe. If I were to relive this moment over and over, I will most likely be staying longer in this island and coming over to this spot each day. Tawi-Tawi is an island province southernmost of the Philippines, located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and sharing sea borders with the Malaysian State of Sabah and the Indonesian East Kalimantan province.  To the northeast lies the province of Sulu and to the west is Sabah in Malaysia, which one can visibly see on a clear day from its highest peak, Bud Bongao.  Tawi-Tawi also covers some islands in the Sulu Sea to the northwest, the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi …

Food trip

I have long believed that good food, good eating is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime “associates,” food, for me, has always been an adventure. -Anthony Bourdain Food photography for Sumo Sam Restaurant (American-Japanese fusion) for M Magazine, natural lighting …and it’s yummy too. 🙂 More of my food photography