Latest Posts

Sunrise and angel wings

I live for sunrises and sunsets…and airplane window seats above fluffy clouds that remind me of angel wings. © Jojie Alcantara

 

Sunrise in Nusa Dua Bali by Jojie Alcantara

My birthday song

A Beautiful Day (song by India Arie)

Life is a journey,
Not a destination,
There are no mistakes,
Just chances we’ve taken
Lay down your regrets cause all we have is now

Wake up in the morning
And get out of bed
Start making a mental list in my head
Of all of the things that I am grateful for

Early in the morning
It’s the dawn of a new day
New hopes new dreams new ways
I open up my eyes and
I open up my mind and
I wonder how life will surprise me today

Early in the morning
It’s the dawn of a new day
New hopes new dreams new ways
I open up my heart and
I’m gonna do my part and
Make this a positively beautiful day. (01-10-2019)

Thank you for all the greetings on my birthday and the whole month of January on social media.

https://www.instagram.com/jojie_alcantara/

India.Arie – A Beautiful Day

Sunrise in Dawis

What I know for sure is that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory. Each day is a wonder. Oprah Winfrey

A little coastal town in Digos called Dawis caught my attention for its sunrise which blankets the cove in its golden warmth and serenity.  I went there for that sole purpose, to catch the dawn in this hidden sanctuary, and bask in nature’s morning glow.

Dawis sunrise by Jojie Alcantara 5

 

An early morning walk by the beach in this quiet place affords a moment of soul searching, to recharge oneself before going back to the hustle of city life.

 

Sunrise in Dawis © Jojie Alcantara

Sunrise in Dawis © Jojie Alcantara

 

When the day begins, fishermen start their day’s catch from boats tossing in the waves.  Children are running, splashing about with families.  Vendors walk around with fresh fish for sale. Dogs start sniffing for food, their noses buried in sand.

Life goes on.

 

Fish vendor in Dawis © Jojie Alcantara

Fish vendor in Dawis © Jojie Alcantara

 

However, for fresh lingering souls, this sunrise is symbolic of  a new beginning.  Two close friends and a schoolmate of mine  just passed away one after the other from illnesses.  It breaks my heart.

 

Sunrise in Dawis © Jojie Alcantara

Sunrise in Dawis © Jojie Alcantara

 

I wish to send these golden rays as they journey to the afterlife.  I hope that they will find eternal peace and happiness in that new dimension.

As for the other restless, lingering souls, a silent prayer for their repose.

(Dawis is in Digos, Davao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines)

 

Dawis sunrise by Jojie Alcantara 2

Phuket, Thailand © Jojie Alcantara

Nightscape serenity

“Always end the day with a positive thought. No matter how hard things were, tomorrow’s a fresh opportunity to make it better.”

View of Chalong Pier at night from the The Kan Eang @ Pier Restaurant
Phuket, Thailand © Jojie Alcantara

 

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Sunrise seascape, Davao City © Jojie Alcantara

Speck in the universe

Sunrise seascape, Davao City © Jojie Alcantara 2013

We are but mere specks in the universe, our lifespan a mere second on the whole time lapse of history that keeps unfolding.  So let’s make the most of our millisecond here on earth as nurturing species.  Share the love and compassion. Create a ripple so that mankind will be positively remembered.  ~Jojie Alcantara

On the view of earth from 3.7 billion miles away:

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home, That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” ~ Carl Sagan, “Pale Blue Dot”

Published photo of Samal in Silkwinds Magazine © Jojie Alcantara

Giant Clam Sanctuary on Silkwinds Magazine

My photos were featured on July 2015 issue of Silkwinds Magazine, the Inflight Magazine of Silkair (Regional Wing of Singapore Airlines)

In the photo spread is the Giant Clam Sanctuary Tours (Tridacna or Taklobo), while other photos are Haguimit Falls and Monfort Bat Sanctuary (photo by Rhonson Ng), all located in Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte.

More about the Taklobo Tours? Read my past article.

Silkwinds Magazine 2

Dahican Cove at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara

A new beginning

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. Today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly, live.” ~ Dalai Lama

Sunrise in Dahican Cove Beach, Mati City
Davao Oriental © Jojie Alcantara
Fuji XA2 + 10-24mm | October 31, 2015 5:14AM

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Selfie at sunrise, Dahican © Jojie Alcantara

Remember

“You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I will always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.” — Peter Pan

For all hopeless romantics out there, this self portrait was prepared by waiting for dawn (I didn’t sleep because I was gloriously alone in the whole villa, save for the staff).  Avoiding the incoming tide, I placed the small tripod securely down among sharp rocks. I set my camera on timer mode and for ten seconds, walked into the emerging light in my rundown pajamas, with another camera swinging in my hand.

This is where I am always waiting, wherever the sun rises. Sunrises are worth the wait.

Self portrait at sunrise
Dahican Cove Beach, Mati City, Davao Oriental © Jojie Alcantara
Shot with a Fuji XA2 + 10-24mm
October 31, 2015 5:22AM

The Shibuya Scramble

Do you want to experience Tokyo’s high energy in action? Here’s the famous Shibuya Crossing, a very large pedestrian area outside Shibuya Station, considered to be one of the busiest in the world.  The Shibuya Scramble, as it is popularly called, is a must-try on your bucket list when you visit Japan.

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The sprawling scramble intersection made up of diagonal crossings has action and high energy from every angle. There are giant TV screens flashing colorful advertisements on building walls 24/7.

From a high vantage point like the popular Starbucks which is situated in the center of frenzy, you see people filling the streets like ants in every direction. Just like clockwork, it happens so fast, very fascinating to watch, yet at the same time you want in on the frenetic energy it gives off.

Shibuya Crossing © Jojie Alcantara

Shibuya Crossing when streets are momentarily empty  © Jojie Alcantara

Then for a few minutes, everything stops. The lanes are deserted. Slowly, people start filling up in the sidewalk, ready to cross again, waiting for the scramble to start over once more. Strangely, in this seemingly organized chaos, no one seems to bump into one another like crazy, even though you see them coming in from all directions.

The famous area is packed with tourists, locals. and commuters. The lights turn red at the same time in every direction. Below is an aerial view to give you an idea of the diagonal pedestrian lanes.

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Shibuya is also known for its trendy shopping malls and more than a hundred boutiques for the fashion aficionados. Food is also abundant in stores everywhere. The most famous spot though, is the Hachiko Exit near the station where Japan’s beloved loyal dog Hachiko is immortalized on a pedestal for the world to gush over with a selfie to boot.

Hachiko Exit © Jojie Alcantara

Hachiko Exit © Jojie Alcantara

Armed with my mirrorless Fuji XA2, here is my experience of the famous scramble, as I happily recorded my crossing feat like a child wanting to do it over and over again.

 

Shibuya Scramble from Jojie Alcantara on Vimeo.

The famous Shibuya Crossing is a very large pedestrian area outside Shibuya Station, considered to be one of the busiest in the world. The Shibuya Scramble, as it is popularly called, is a must-try in your bucket list when you visit Tokyo. View my personal recorded experience.

Cebu Pacific Air flies from Cebu to Narita four times weekly to the capital city of Japan, utilizing the airline’s brand-new Airbus A320 fleet.  The Cebu-Narita service is operated every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, departing Cebu at 5:55am and arriving in Tokyo at 11:20am. The return flight departs Narita at 12:05pm and arrives in Cebu at 4:25pm. 

This is the airline’s 4th route between Japan and the Philippines.  CEB’s Cebu-Narita service is aimed at boosting tourist arrivals into Cebu and Tokyo, with lowest year-round fares starting at PHP7,388 with no fuel surcharges. It is the only low-cost carrier operating this route.

For bookings and inquiries, guests can go to www.cebupacificair.com.

Takeshita Shopping Street by Jojie Alcantara

Takeshita-dori

Takeshita Shopping Street © Jojie Alcantara

There is no such thing as fashion overstatement, being out of style, underdressed or over the top in Takeshita Shopping Street (Takeshita-dori), a narrow pedestrian road lined with cafes and trendy boutiques with all kinds of fashion buys imaginable, in Harajuku.  Filled with inexpensive clothing shops and the most outrageous shoppings finds, Takeshita-dori is a mecca for Tokyo teens and cosplayers.

Takeshita Shopping Street by Jojie Alcantara

Takeshita Shopping Street by Jojie Alcantara

Young Tokyoites and curious tourists walk along this jampacked street to be seen or just to be able to sashay down in the most creative outfits imaginable.  For photographers like me, it is street heaven.  I can stay here for hours just shooting, people watching…. or playing the “Where’s Waldo?” game.

Takeshita Shopping Street by Jojie Alcantara

Takeshita Shopping Street by Jojie Alcantara

Among the famous shops located here is Daiso Harajuku, one of the largest 100-Yen shops in Tokyo, with amazing cheap finds.  Located at the heart of Takeshita-dori’s busiest street, this store is one of Daiso’s largest, and sells merchandise across four levels. Tourists and locals alike flock here for a cool and unbelievable array of souvenir items to shop till you drop. I mean it. With four floors of exciting stuff to discover at a fraction of a price, you cannot go into Daiso without walking out armed with treasure finds at 100 yen each.

Daiso Harajuku by Jojie Alcantara

Daiso Harajuku Street by Jojie Alcantara

A review explains it this way: “Not only will you find what you’re looking for, but you’re also likely to find a lot more things that you never knew you needed.” Haha, exactly my sentiment.  I went home with six five-fingered black socks when I don’t even like wearing sneakers or closed shoes. 😀

Takeshita Shopping Street by Jojie Alcantara

Takeshita Shopping Street by Jojie Alcantara

In my hometown of Davao City, Daiso is located at the 3rd floor of Robinsons Abreeza Mall.  It is my personal shopping therapy store.

Takeshita Shopping Street by Jojie Alcantara

Takeshita Shopping Street by Jojie Alcantara

But shopping need not take you to places like malls and downtown street shops. You can find good, affordable fab finds online as well.  As I am into shirts and any comfy cotton top to wear, I like shopping online in Zalora Philippines which carries shirts from local and international brands.

Cebu Pacific Air flies from Cebu to Narita four times weekly to the capital city of Japan, utilizing the airline’s brand-new Airbus A320 fleet.  The Cebu-Narita service is operated every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, departing Cebu at 5:55am and arriving in Tokyo at 11:20am. The return flight departs Narita at 12:05pm and arrives in Cebu at 4:25pm. 

This is the airline’s 4th route between Japan and the Philippines.  CEB’s Cebu-Narita service is aimed at boosting tourist arrivals into Cebu and Tokyo, with lowest year-round fares starting at PHP7,388 with no fuel surcharges. It is the only low-cost carrier operating this route.

For bookings and inquiries, guests can go to www.cebupacificair.com.

Cool waters of Aliwagwag

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” ~ Guillaume Apollinaire

Local kids in Cateel, Davao Oriental enjoy the cool waters of Aliwagwag Falls, its stunning cascades a poignant reminder of nature’s fragile ecosystem when it was affected by the onslaught of supertyphoon Pablo (Bopha) in 2011.

Today, it remains as majestic in its height of 338 meters with 84 cascading tiers in varying levels. It is said to be one of the highest and most uniquely beautiful waterfalls in my country, the Philippines. Left on its own to recover, the forest has thickened once again to cradle the breathtaking natural pool in its protective embrace. Good, paved road is now passable for a closer view of its chilly depths. No one can resist its lure to jump into the icy blast of clear, swirling waters.

Aliwagwag Falls has been declared by our President as the Aliwagwag Protected Landscape, a republic act that protects the mountain range and its peripheral areas as Buffer Zone, “subject to private rights, and without prejudice to the rights of indigenous peoples.”

The Province of Davao Oriental will soon open its welcoming arms to tourists and visitors as it launches its new tourism campaign.

Aliwagwag Falls before the typhoon

Sabang Beach, Puerto Princesa, Palawan © Jojie Alcantara

Dream of paradise

“Pay attention to the richness of your inner life. Daydream, imagine, and reflect. It’s the source of infinite creativity.” ~ Deepak Chopra

Thinking of where to go this summer? Dream of paradise in my beloved Philippines. Imagine a carrying a drink, a book, and some sunblock while resting on this hammock in Sabang Beach, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

Sunrise in Times Beach, Davao City © Jojie Alcantara 2012

Be thankful

Sunrise in Times Beach,  Davao City  © Jojie Alcantara 2012

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn. Read More

Calm after a storm

“There is a place of perfect peace in each one of us that nothing can harm or disturb. It is waiting for you in this very moment.” ~ Christopher Foster, The Happy Seeker

Read More

Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand © Jojie Alcantara

Beautiful Kata Beach

 “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh Read More

Talikud Island by Jojie Alcantara

Listen to the rain

“It is raining and you can hear the pattern of the drops. You can hear it with your ears, or you can hear it out of that deep silence. If you hear it with complete silence of the mind, then the beauty of it is such that cannot be put into words or onto canvas, because that beauty is something beyond self-expression.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti Read More

My Recognition Award for 2013

Receiving an award of recognition from the City Mayor  © Jojie Alcantara

Receiving an award of recognition from the City Mayor © Jojie Alcantara

Thank you, Davao City Government,  Mayor Sara and Vice Mayor Rody Duterte, for this wonderful honor.  (My years of hard work — labor of love–  are finally recognized since I started as a journalist in 1994). Read More

An interview on photography and living in Davao

PHWOW :  Do you have any tips for travelers who visit Davao for the first time?

Me : Don’t hesitate to ask around. The guy beside you may have just gone through a unique Davao experience he can recommend. Read blogs. Many Davao bloggers give a lot of tips and places to discover.  Mine is www.dabawenya.net. Read More

The Decisive Moment

“Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. 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. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.” ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of modern photojournalism, on his concept of “The Decisive Moment” Read More

Jojie Alcantara in Bravo Filipino! photo exhibit, Manila 2010

My Fine Art Photography

Jojie Alcantara Fine Art Photography

Created this short version of slideshow for my blogs and online media. Just sharing a little about my passion for travel, writing and photography. The longer version is usually presented during my photo workshops. I create my own simple videos and choose certain types of music. 🙂  This was saved in Vimeo version suited for small viewing but you can click to view a larger version of this. Read More

Aliwagwag Falls © Jojie Alcantara

Aliwagwag’s hypnotic falls

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs 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, The Diary of a Young Girl

Read More

There may be a reason why you stumbled upon my page today.

Boredom is one good guess, but let’s think positive and uplifting, shall we?

Welcome to my (almost) daily blog of personal images matched with inspirational quotes. 

My photography is simple in composition, more often emotional and dramatic, but easy on the eyes.  Because of my orientation as a painter and artist, I view each capture as evocative scenes I want to brush on canvas.  The changing header you see above are snippets of my life as a photojournalist all these years. Read More

A dip into the blue abyss

This photo, since it was published many years ago, has been the most viewed and commented on in my Pbase photo gallery,  my most popular site which garners more than a thousand views per day.  Rhonson, an award winning photographer, didn’t take out his camera, but as though hypnotized, immediately went for a dive.  So I got my money shot instead (I made sure to precariously position my leg dangerously hooked onto a jutting tree trunk by a cliff, while the other leg was balancing my awkward pose).  This image has been published several times. 

If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere.  ~Vincent Van Gogh

Proudly located in my awesome island, this little known town of Hinatuan is blessed with a hidden treasure –a stunning blue lagoon nestled within a mountainside and protectively covered by a forest.  Its dark tinge comes from the Pacific sea pouring in from a deep underwater crevice. To local folks, it is said to be enchanted. Full of rich marine fishes swimming in the deep blue, no one is said to have ever caught one. Once you take a dip in the cool, clear waters, you don’t want to come out. Read More

Punta Dumalag at sunrise by Jojie Alcantara

Imagine, create, deliver

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.  Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarcely see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” ~William Blake Read More

The Tourist and the Beggar

Tourist and beggar, Siem Reap, Cambodia (April 2012)  © Jojie Alcantara

Read More

Sunrise in Dahican by Jojie Alcantara

Dahican surfing

“Rest but never quit. Even the sun has a sinking spell each evening. But it always rises the next morning. At sunrise, every soul is born again.”–Muhammad Ali

Sonny Boy “Bayogyog” Aporbo, Mati’s skimboarding/surfing champ
at sunrise in Dahican, Mati, Davao Oriental © Jojie Alcantara

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Flower Full Moon

“I am a child of the Moon being raised by the Sun in a world walked by stars and a sky drawn with flowers.” ~Zara Ventris

Full Flower Moon | May 17, 2019
©Jojie Alcantara

Full moon by Jojie Alcantara
98% illumination tonight….tomorrow will be fuller yet. 🙂

Sunflowers in Tagum

Known for being the City of Parks, Tagum now welcomes the Sunflower Garden as its newest addition to instagram-worthy places in the city.  

Having gone viral on social media in its first blooming season just before Christmas, the latest tourist attraction was inaugurated in front of the New City Hall of Tagum last November 12, 2018

During this visit we witnessed the second season of the beauties in full bloom again.

Farmers at work

Farmers in a sugar cane field in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental
© Jojie Alcantara

Super Worm Moon March 22 2019 by Jojie Alcantara

Super Worm Moon 2019

Selenophilia is a love of the moon.

I love gazing at its beauty wherever I travel. I admit I tend to do crazy stuff influenced by the lunar cycle (menstrual phase in disguise). I have a strange affinity with this night beacon during bouts of insomnia.

Tonight from our porch, I basked in the glow of the full Worm Moon while capturing its mystic serenity. It teaches us to learn from past mistakes and move forward to new beginnings, like tidal ebbs and flows.

How about you? Are you willing to let go of your past? :-

03.22.2019 © Jojie Alcantara

#FullWormMoon#
#newbeginnings

Petra Jordan by Jojie Alcantara

The Treasury (Al Khazna)

On July 7, 2007, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan became one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and an even more famous tourist destination than when it was first shown in the movie Indiana Jones.

Dating back to the first century AD, its design achievement reflects the advance civilization of the Nabataeans who perfectly carved their city in the rock mountains.

The Treasury (Al Khazna) is the first stunning structure upon entering Petra. This masterpiece stands 150 feet tall and 100 feet wide. Petra is famously referred to as a “rose-red” city, but its reddish hue comes in the late afternoon. In midday, the monuments appear pinkish or yellowish depending on sunlight.

©Jojie Alcantara 2017

Ha Long vendor

Wet market vendor in Ha Long, Vietnam © Jojie Alcantara

Halong City

Halong City in Quang Ninh Province of Vietnam is a quiet but blossoming town right in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Halong Bay.

Halong Bay by Jojie Alcantara 2

Quite laid back from other touristy cities, the roads are wide and without traffic (maybe peak season is different).

Halong Bay by Jojie Alcantara 5

Apart from popular Ha Long Bay cruises, it also offers beach activities, nature treks, local food and night markets.

Market Vendor in Ha Long by Jojie Alcantara

Divided into two main areas: there is Hon Gai on the other side of the bridge where local life, culture and food can be experienced.

Ha Long Bay by Jojie Alcantara 2

Halong Bay by Jojie Alcantara 6

These are Vietnamese girls in traditional dress called “ao dai”, in a backdrop of Ha Long Bay.

Halong Bay by Jojie Alcantara 7

Bai Chay is the central tourist area on the other side where Ha Long Bay is filled with luxury cruises or traditional junk boat tours.

Halong Bay by Jojie Alcantara 9

Other options are: an artificial beach, restaurants, cafes and varying structures from high end resorts to boutique hotels lined along the bay.

© Jojie Alcantara

Halong Bay by Jojie Alcantara 4

This January, Vietnam was the host country of the 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2019.  Held in Ha Long, this country created a major and lasting impression on its 1500 delegates from different countries, and I was one of those. The 3-day ATF TRAVEX 2019 event commenced from January 16 until January 18.

Halong Bay by Jojie Alcantara 3

IMG_20190121_192148039Special thanks to partners who have supported me in my trip: PLDT Home for my Fibr connection here at home enabling me quick access to my cloud files anywhere as well as communication matters; Printlife Official for my printed cards, AromacologySensi Philippines, Bioskin and MX3 for the proudly Davao products I gave away to fellow delegates.

Sugar cane farmer takes a break with his carabao during harvest © Jojie Alcantara

Sugar cane farmer with carabao

A sugar cane farmer takes a break with his carabao during harvest in Bago, Negros Occidental. Bago is an agri-industrial city blessed with vast farm lands and rolling plains planted with high value crops like rice, corn, coconut, sugarcane, and other fruit trees. © Jojie Alcantara

Bird’s eye on Dahican

“I love places that make you realize how tiny you and your problems are.” ❤

Me in Dahican Beach, Mati City, Davao Oriental

Drone shot by Rhonson Ng (check out his portfolio here)

Malagos Wonderland!

“Alice: How long is forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.”
~ (Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland)

I actually felt like I dropped into a rabbit hole and emerged in Wonderland, where everything around me was huge and I have shrunk into an immaterial being.

This drone shot of me in Malagos Garden Resort features a portion of the “Science in the Park” — a collective name for the five branches of science in the Parks of Malagos — Physical, Earth, Math, Social and Life Sciences. The Parks of Malagos showcase state-of-the art interactive installations for guests and kids to learn and explore science in an outdoor playground as they engage in recreational activities.

I think I am somewhere in the area of Powerplay, where every interactive equipment is larger than life, from energy-themed installations, giant piano bars, educational modules, to out-of-this-world avante-garde designs that tease the senses, and make one appreciate the Physical Sciences.

Visit Malagos Garden Resort website for more.

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt © Jojie Alcantara

Giza’s great building blocks!

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.” ~Albert Einstein

People relaxing at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
© Jojie Alcantara 
[Egypt, 4.25.2017]

(source)  Great Pyramid Statistics. The exact number of stones was originally estimated at 2,300,000 stone blocks weighing from 2-30 tons each (some weighing as much as 70 tons). Computer calculations indicate 590,712 stone blocks were used in its construction. (more info)

Jojie Alcantara in Giza Egypt

Me in Giza. Egypt

Tiberias Israel © Jojie Alcantara

Night lights in a holy city

The city of Tiberias in northern Israel was founded by Herod Antipas and named in honor of the Roman emperor Tiberius.  It nestles along the significant Sea of Galilee (lowest freshwater lake on earth, sourced from Jordan River).

Considered as one of Judaism’s 4 holiest cities, along with Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed, it became an important center of Jewish learning, law, and religion from the 2nd through 5th centuries.  Over the course of history, Tiberias was controlled by Arabs, Crusaders, and Ottoman Turks.

Tiberias at night © Jojie Alcantara

Tiberias at night © Jojie Alcantara

Today, modern Tiberias is a major destination with rich historical tours, pilgrimages (think Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes, Sermon on the Mount) and archaeological finds. This is the view of mountainous Tiberias on a clear but windy night, from my hotel room by the shore of Galilee.

Here in the balcony, howling winds whipped my hair as I breathe in the distinct, palpable smell of the ancient origins of my faith.

© Jojie Alcantara 2017

Colors of Masskara Festival 2017

Masskara is coined from two words: mass, for crowd, and the Spanish word cara, for face –a double meaning for “mask” and “many faces”. The Masskara festival was first conceived in 1980 to add color and cheer to the Bacolod City’s celebration of its Charter Day anniversary on October 19.

 

Masskara Festival Logo 2017

The symbol of the festival is a smiling mask – adopted by the organizers to dramatize the Negrenses’ happy spirit despite periodic economic crises experienced in the sugar industry. MassKara then becomes a “mass of faces,” thereby giving Bacolod the nickname since the late 70’s as the City of Smiles.

Masskara Festival 2017 in Bacolod City © Jojie Alcantara

Masskara Festival 2017 in Bacolod City © Jojie Alcantara

The MassKara Festival of Bacolod City has repeatedly represented the country in major festivals in Asia– Singapore, China, and Japan, emerging as champion in the foreign category and first runner-up in the local category, a first to a foreign participant in the 10-year history of the said Japanese festival.

Masskara Festival 2017 in Bacolod City © Jojie Alcantara

Masskara Festival 2017 in Bacolod City © Jojie Alcantara

Among the Philippine festivals, MassKara is one of the most colorful which earned a surge of tourism influx from all over.

Masskara Festival 2017 in Bacolod City © Jojie Alcantara

Masskara Festival 2017 in Bacolod City © Jojie Alcantara

Special thanks to Negros Occidental Provincial Tourism Officer Ms. Tin Mansinares, Bacolod City Chief Operations Officer Ms. Elma “Butchiek” Gerasmo for the invitation, and Metro Inn Bacolod for the wonderful stay.

Masskara Festival 2017 in Bacolod City © Jojie Alcantara

Masskara Festival 2017 in Bacolod City © Jojie Alcantara


Binintiang Malaki (Big Leg)

Binintiang Malaki (Big Leg) is this most photographed false volcano that is often mistaken for Taal Volcano in pictures.  The dormant Binintiang Malaki crater was the center of the 1707 and 1715 eruptions.

Tagaytay © Jojie Alcantara 2017

The real volcano is the flattened land formation behind it which holds a smaller lake (Crater Lake), and a tiny volcanic island called Vulcan point (I was lucky to have flown from a chopper inside its crater many moons ago).

Tagaytay panorama 2010 © Jojie Alcantara  (click to view large image)

The large body of water that surrounds it is Taal Lake. Despite its being the second most active volcano in the country, its fun to have a volcanic island (Vulcan Point) within a lake (Crater Lake) on an island (Taal Volcano Island) within a lake (Taal Lake) on an island (Luzon).

Sunset in Tagaytay 2010 © Jojie Alcantara

Tagaytay sunrise from Summit Ridge Hotel © Jojie Alcantara

This beautiful vista and popular tourist destination can be viewed from any of the 108 rooms of Summit Ridge Tagaytay.  Next day, I would be shooting from my balcony again. © Jojie Alcantara

Of ancient ruins and eternity

“When Moses was alive, the pyramids were a thousand years old . . . Here people learned to measure time by a calendar, to plot the stars by astronomy . . .  Here they developed that most awesome of all ideas – the idea of eternity.” ~ Walter Cronkite

Currently, I am finishing an article on ten things I discovered about the Great Pyramids of Egypt, which totally altered my adolescent information storage.  These ancient ruins have been in my bucket list since forever,  and the fact that I was able to shoot them up close made me realize a lot of things, including brushing up on my knowledge on the ancient civilization.

It sucks to be sorting through overwhelming files of imagery, and getting that nagging feeling of failure to deliver the visual concept you are aiming for, due to several factors which I will relate soon as I get to finally breathe (translation: view all photos).  Just like the pyramids, it might take an eternity to organize them.

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt © Jojie Alcantara

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt © Jojie Alcantara

One factor would be time constraint.  I was mostly shooting from inside a moving vehicle.  In moments we got out of the tour bus, Egyptian peddlers instantly barraged tourists, and would not leave me alone in attempts of selling papyrus, wallets, keychains, and ref magnets — all of which I foolishly succumbed to, except for a ride on their camel’s back.  After all, this was Egypt, and I may never pass this way again. 🙂

Egyptian peddlers in souvenirs stalls in Giza © Jojie Alcantara

Egyptian peddlers in souvenirs stalls in Giza © Jojie Alcantara

So this is me trying to get a lone and uncrowded shot with the pyramids to no avail. Apart from peddlers, camels are the next best photo bombers. 🙂

This shot of me above was taken by my travel roommate, a sweet young Filipina I first met in the airport.  For copyright security, though, my watermarks have to be made.

(All my photos are taken with mirrorless Fujifilm cameras, unless otherwise stated)

Jojie in the Lost City of Petra

Lost City of Petra

Petra has borne witness to the rise and fall of one civilisation after another. It is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan, famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. It was described in a poem as “a rose-red city half as old as time” due to pink toned hues of its carved stones.

A narrow passageway called Siq through the mountains as entrance to Petra © Jojie Alcantara

A narrow passageway called Siq through the mountains as entrance to Petra © Jojie Alcantara

Petra is Jordan’s most-visited tourist attraction, created by Nabataeans (nomadic Arabs) who established it as a major trading hub. They were gifted with amazing skills in carving structures from solid rocks and constructing efficient water systems in barren deserts. Petra lies on the slope of Jebel al-Madhbah (identified as the biblical Mount Hor).

Horse carriage to the entrance of the Siq © Jojie Alcantara

Horse carriage to the entrance of the Siq © Jojie Alcantara

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the fictional doctor’s quest for the Holy Grail led him to Petra. Unknown to the Western world until 1812, it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, Petra was named among the New7Wonders of the World in 2007 and chosen by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “28 Places to See Before You Die”.

© Jojie​ Alcantara​ 5.07.2017

First photo of me above was shot by a fellow Filipino tourist, Ryan Ong, with my camera.

Wadi Rum in Jordan

Wadi Rum (Valley of the Moon)

If you think this is a scene from a Star Wars movie, there may be a little truth to it.

Wadi Rum (Arabic for Roman Valley) is also known as The Valley of the Moon, a protected area covering 720 square kilometers of dramatic desert wilderness in the south of Jordan. The largest wadi in Jordan is cut into the huge mountains of sandstone and granite rock which reach heights of 1700 meters in southern Jordan to the east of Aqaba. Inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, communities leave their marks in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples found in narrow canyons and fissures. These include the highly artistic Nabataeans, as well as other communities known as “monks of the desert”.

Wadi Rum Bedouins © Jojie Alcantara

Today, Bedouin tribes live among the mountains of Rum in their large goat-hair tents, and a surprising range of desert wildlife.

Wadi Rum Protected Area was declared in 2011 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its most outstanding desert landscapes, lending a surreal feel to the vast environment. This is why it has been used as a background setting for its science fiction vista like Red Planet (surface of Mars, 2000 film), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (to represent Egypt), Prometheus (an alien planet), Last Days on Mars (2013 film), and The Martian (Matt Damon’s 2015 film), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (scenes set on Jedha), among others.

Wadi Rum in Jordan © Jojie Alcantara

It first gained prominence in 1962 when the classic film Lawrence of Arabia was set on location.