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

Boracay Sunset

Forever that excited girl who acts like a kid when skies transform into pretty colors and that golden ball dips and winks in the horizon. I forget everything else. ⁣

📷 My pic taken by Chef Ann Austria
[ Sunset, Boracay 12.13.2019 ]⁣

Sun catcher

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” ~Prof. Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

Photo of me by sister Karen (IG @superwomandavao)

Location : Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental

Dahican at dawn

“Not everyone was privileged to see another sunrise like you did, so before you start complaining; remember that the breath of life, is not for sale.”
~Gift Gugu Mona (poet, artist, songwriter)

In awe of Dahican’s sunrise since childhood. (10.13.2019)
© Jojie Alcantara

Ode to an imperfect moon

You may know by now my fascination with the full moon. The waning (shrinking) gibbous moon starts just after the full moon. Waning means getting smaller, while gibbous refers to its shape, which is less than the whole circle of a full moon, but having the illuminated part larger than a semicircle third quarter moon. I normally ignore this moon phase. So I grabbed a pen and paper and scribbled my thoughts at that moment.

Ode to a Waning Gibbous Moon

Look at you in wonder tonight
A fading moon that’s not as bright
Have I ignored you all this time?
Smitten by the full moon sublime.

I grabbed my camera, yet hesitated
For every full moon have I waited
Obsessed with rounded perfection
Dazzled by complete illumination.

Seemingly flawed at this phase though
Waning, shrinking, shadows, soft glow
I see pockmarks, craters, imperfections
An ancient wonder in new dimensions.

After the full moon, there you are
Solitary, stunning, scar after scar
Your beauty beckons, what mystery
Shadowed and aging, the more I see.

My life is fleeting on this earth,
Attached to you ever since birth
Eluded by the man on the moon,
You are still magic, I’ll see you soon.

© Jojie Alcantara
September 17, 2019, 11:35 am

Catch your wave

“If you’re having a bad day, catch a wave.” ~ Frosty Hesson

Capturing Winston Plaza, Amihan skimboarding team
Dahican beach, Mati, Davao Oriental
© Jojie Alcantara 08.17.2019

The Philippine Eagle

The majestic Philippine Eagle is our national bird and one of Davao’s icons as well. I captured this wonderful creature in the Philippine Eagle Center for my published article two years back. © Jojie Alcantara⁣⁣
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Here are interesting facts about one of the rarest eagles in the world.⁣⁣
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◾️The Philippine Eagle is a giant bird of prey that can only be seen in 4 islands in the Philippines- Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. It is considered to be one of the largest and most powerful among forest raptors. ⁣⁣
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◾️Philippine Eagles are solitary and territorial creatures. They take 5-7 years to sexually mature. ⁣⁣
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◾️The Philippine Eagle pair needs about 4000-11000 hectares of forest land to thrive in the wild, depending on the number of prey items in the area.⁣⁣
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◾️It only lays a single egg every two years. They wait for their offspring to make it on their own (usually within two years) before producing another offspring.⁣⁣
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◾️The Philippine eagle is monogamous.⁣⁣
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◾️They typically nest on large dipterocarp trees like the native species Lauan.⁣⁣
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◾️They can live up to 40+ in captivity but probably much less in the wild.⁣⁣
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◾️The egg is incubated alternately by both eagle parents for about 58 – 60 days, with the male eagle doing most of the hunting during the first 40 days of the eaglet’s life while the female stays with the young.⁣⁣
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◾️The Philippine Eagles in the wild are threatened daily by human activities.⁣⁣

[Source: ⁣⁣
https://www.philippineeaglefoundation.org/the-philippine-eagle]

⁣⁣Come visit the Philippine Eagle Foundation soon and get to know more about this fantastic creature.

My article and photos published in Manila Bulletin on December 6, 2016

Man and sea

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too.”

Vincent Van Gogh

This is my childhood beach, back in our ancestral home where we live so close to the sea, we smell of salt and ocean all day long.. © Jojie Alcantara

Ferrando Whitesand Beach, San Ignacio
Manay, Davao Oriental
In photo swimming : Kuya Meric Yumang

* * * *

Centennial Tree in GovGen

I was happily unplugged (no signal area, yey!) and attempting to tree hug over the weekend.

This Centennial Dao Tree in Brgy. Magdug, Governor Generoso of Davao Oriental stands over 260 feet tall with massive branches — quite an imposing 300-year old character by the highway.

More photos soon on local kids we asked to pose for us.

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

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.