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.
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.
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.
There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart. Pursue those. Fly free. Don’t let fear of what may happen hold you back from following your heart.
“Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can’t, cannot. Belief triggers the power to do.” ― David J. Schwartz, Magic Of Thinking Big
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.
“I believe in the city as a natural human environment, but we must humanize it. It’s art that will re-define public space in the 21st Century. We can make our cities diverse, inspirational places by putting art, dance and performance in all its forms into the matrix of street life.” ~ Antony Gormley
The beautiful but endangered Organ Pipe Coral (Tubipora musica) on the Great Sta. Cruz Island in Zamboanga is bright red in color and naturally pulverized among its fine powdered white sands, turning its sandy shore to a magical tinge of pink at daytime, hence the name Pink Sand Beach.
“You have to believe in happiness, or happiness never comes … Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing — On his darkest day he believes in spring.” – Douglas Malloch
“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
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.
“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 are always rich when you can see and feel the beauty of this world” – Aine Belton
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
D’ Japanese Tunnel in Davao After World War II, the legend of the Yamashita treasure seduced many treasure hunters to Davao, particularly in Mintal, Tugbok District (now declared as the Japanese Heritage Site of the City), where hiding places for the war loots were supposedly buried deep underground within numerous foxholes and crisscrossing tunnels built by soldiers and prisoners of war.
“Most ancient monuments have suffered similar fates over time: they have been toppled by earthquakes, quarried for stone, and despoiled by human hands. Some have been reclaimed by the grasping fingers of the jungle, buried beneath the silt and mud of wandering rivers, or engulfed by desert sands. Yet many of them still endure, visible symbols of man’s greatest successes against the inexorable, corroding powers of time and nature.” – excerpt from Amazeing Art: Wonders of the Ancient World
The Man of Mars, celebrity performer Bruno Mars, declares himself proud to be a Filipino when he performed in a concert in Cebu a year back. Filmed poignantly from the point of view of his family who flew in from Hawaii for a reunion after so many years, it gives you an idea of how celebrities live in a bubble with tight schedules away from loved ones. Still, this is a wonderful moment for all of them.
My aerial images featured in both LA Times and Chicago Tribune for Getty Images, 2012.