This Badjao baby caught my eye as I walked carefully on wooden planks stretched across the waters within a cluster of houses built tightly and interconnected by footpaths. The family welcomed me into their community, even though I was a stranger in their eyes, just passing by to document their unique way of life. I took note of their smiling faces, houses on stilts, and their floating boats as vehicles.
“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
“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?
“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
“To improve the golden moment of opportunity, and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life.” ~ Samuel Johnson
“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away.” ~Shing Xiong Sunbather at Puca Beach, Boracay, Philippines 2006 Update: Out of all the islands in the world, Travel+Leisure Magazine chose to name Boracay as its Best Overall Island of 2012. Located in Malay, Aklan, Western Visayas, Boracay is just seven kilometers long, and less than a kilometer wide at its narrowest point – a postcard-sized tropical paradise. (source)
“Never stop being a kid. Never stop feeling and seeing and being excited with great things like air and engines and sounds of sunlight within you. Wear your little mask if you must to protect you from the world but if you let that kid disappear you are grown up and you are dead.” ~ Richard Bach, ‘Nothing by Chance,’ 1963. Demo paramotor gliding in Dahican, Mati City during the 12th Sambuokan Festival View more photos of Sambuokan Festival here
“Man must rise above the Earth — to the top of the atmosphere and beyond — for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives”. ~ Socrates Demo sailing in Baywalk, Mati City during the 12th Sambuokan Festival In my younger years, I led a sheltered life. I was afraid of venturing out on my own, of taking risks. At a major turning point in my life, in defiance of betrayal, pain, depression and anger combined, I gathered my wits together and went out of my domesticated box. Stretching my worn out limbs, I started to conquer my fears, one by one. It included fear of rejection, of commitment, failure, and stark fear of heights. I came out a new, daring person –the process was never easy– and I never looked back. Today, I specialize in aerial photography, among other things. One day soon, I shall tell you how I confronted it dramatically. View more photos of Sambuokan Festival here
THE HAUNTING AT THE GAP FARM RESORT © Jojie Alcantara (Oct 2012) A fun horror-themed shoot at Davao’s GAP Farm Resort, famous for its statues of Philippine mythical creatures, so we added our own. Thanks to models and friends who joined our October theme. Every Halloween season of the year (though I would rather prefer the Asian “All Souls’ Day” observation every Nov. 1), I always go out for a haunting shoot. Kudos to our game models and makeup artist. This time however, I asked my fellow photographers to join the fun like I did. Interestingly, an observer commented he saw a “face” in one of my photos, and went on to enlighten me about his remark: “Enlarged and viewed it full screen. A figure of a man with hair parted in the middle (very slightly to the left) became clear. If this is the same GAP farm I have seen before, I can venture an explanation. The place is very near the diversion road. The thoroughfare was not used much during the martial law …
Announcement On BetterPhoto.com – 10/2/2012 Photographer Jojie F. Alcantara of Davao, Davao del Sur, has won Second Place for August in the prestigious photography contest sponsored by BetterPhoto.com, the site’s founder, Jim Miotke, announced Tuesday. More than 10600 entries were submitted to the online photography contest, which attracted contestants from around the world and featured 10 separate categories. Alcantara’s stunning image, “Darn It”, garnered top honors after being submitted in the Monthly Theme category. All of the winning images can be viewed at BetterPhoto.com’s contest page: http://www.betterphoto.com/contest/winners/1208.asp The contest is conducted each month. Categories include Nature and Landscapes, Animals, People, Elements of Design, Digital Darkroom, Travel and Place, Flowers, Details and Macro, Catch-All, and Monthly Theme. Judging is performed by a panel of professional photographers. Besides its free, popular photo contest, BetterPhoto.com also offers a variety of services: digital camera reviews, online photo courses, free newsletters, a discussion forum, Web sites for photographers, question-and-answer section, how-to articles, photo galleries, and more.
“Remember that you are needed. There is at least one important work to be done that will not be done unless you do it.” ~Catherine Pulsifer My favorite pastime in my province is to catch the sunrise as well as the fisherfolks during early morning routine of helping boatmen with their catch. Dahican beach, Mati, Davao Oriental
Promise Yourself To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel that there is something in them To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble. To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud …
“Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.” ― John Muir …a simple lesson in humanity. Davao City, Philippines © Jojie Alcantara
“Even though fixed in time, a photograph evokes as much feeling as that which comes from music or dance. Whatever the mode – from the snapshot to the decisive moment to multi-media montage – the intent and purpose of photography is to render in visual terms feelings and experiences that often elude the ability of words to describe. In any case, the eyes have it, and the imagination will always soar farther than was expected”. – Ralph Gibson
Colors of Kadayawan sa Dabaw 2012 Photography © Jojie Alcantara (an excerpt from my article) I am lucky to have spanned a decade of covering Mindanao’s most colorful and biggest festival in the islands. Through my work in the media as a TV anchor, columnist and photographer, I have been able to document more than a bird’s eye view of the dazzling pomp and spectacle that is Davao’s Kadayawan Festival, which earned its prestige as one of the most beautiful ethnic celebrations in the country. With this year’s theme of “Ten Tribes, One Vibe”, the city has fully embraced the legacy of our ethnicity and diversity, while paying respects to the traditional rituals of our ancestors in thanksgiving to spirits who watch over our domain and the bounty of harvest that we are blessed to be receiving. Kadayawan, from the dialect “madayaw” meaning well and good, is a celebration of the goodness and harmony in life. I share with you my photos from a lucky proximity and vantage perspective. If you find my festival photos …
“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?” ― Brian Tracy Typical early morning scene in the coastal village of Dahican in Mati, Davao Oriental Locals wait for the boats to come back and help fishermen unload their catch, and being rewarded by an early meal. © Jojie Alcantara
“Sometimes the course of our lives depends on what we do or don’t do in a few seconds, a heartbeat, when we either seize the opportunity, or just miss it. Miss the moment and you never get a chance again.” ― Aidan Chambers, Dying to Know You In my birthplace of Mati, Davao Oriental, lies Lawigan, a hidden coastal community dotted by rugged rock formations, mangroves and white sands interspersed with coconut trees and patches of civilization with huts built on shorelines. The road to Lawigan is quite narrow and perched on a precipice, before going down at sea level again. It was a very lovely day where I couldn’t get enough of its seascape glory. I took photos of its extended sandbar which you can walk for yards and yards out into sea. While the coast was calm and clear, farther ahead where mangroves are growing, the sea changes into a fury of white waves bashing into protective reef fringes, where the gulf meets the raging Pacific sea. Here, the fishing boats ply the …
“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
“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.” ~ Ralph Marston
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.” ~ Henry David Thoreau (American Essayist, Poet and Philosopher, 1817-1862) Here are some of my students in the recent travel photography workshop, as I guided them on shooting sunrises. In this part of my islands, the sunrise is spectacular so it’s easy to capture good images. As the colors rapidly change in the sky from cool to warm, so will your composition, tones and hues. It’s always up to you to include human elements to add to the drama. Sunrise, Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental with my photography students More details of the workshop here
“On the Rocks” © Jojie Alcantara 2012 “Difficulties are opportunities to better things; they are stepping stones to greater experience. Perhaps someday you will be thankful for some temporary failure in a particular direction. When one door closes, another always opens.” ~Unknown