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.
“Your life plays out as a reflection of your genetic makeup and potentiality as expressed through your environment and choices. Love yourself enough to create an environment in your life that is conducive to the nourishment of your personal growth. Allow yourself to let go of the people, thoughts, and situations that poison your well-being. Cultivate a vibrant surrounding and commit yourself to making choices that will help you release the greatest expression of your unique beauty and purpose.” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
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.
“But I try to steal other moments. Sometimes I get up very early in the morning and enjoy a quiet house and cup of tea before the craziness begins. Other times, I’ll take a quick walk on the beach. You can find peace in a few minutes.” ~ Cindy Crawford
“There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.” ~Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid Chanced upon this driftood washed ashore as I waited for my sunrise in Whitesand Beach, San Ignacio, Manay, Davao Oriental © Jojie Alcantara
“In a sense, each of us is an island. In another sense, however, we are all one. For though islands appear separate, and may even be situated at great distances from one another, they are only extrusions of the same planet, Earth.” ~ J. Donald Walters Excerpt from my published article: “Tawi-Tawi: on the Edge of Paradise” An island province of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Tawi-Tawi lies in the southwestern tip of the Philippines, sharing sea borders with the Malaysian State of Sabah and the Indonesian East Kalimantan province. Flanked by the province of Sulu to the northeast and Sabah, Malaysia to the west, one can visibly see the neighboring country on a clear day from the highest peak, Bud Bongao. Tawi-Tawi also covers some islands in the Sulu Sea to the northwest, the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi Island and the Turtle Islands, just 20 kilometers away from Sabah. Tawi-Tawi forms a part of the Sulu Archipelago chain of islands which has small submarine ridges protruding from the sea, extinct volcano cones and …
“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 …
“I have my books And my poetry to protect me; I am shielded in my armor, Hiding in my room, safe within my womb. I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock, I am an island.” ― Simon and Garfunkel, Greatest Hits In 2007, on an assignment to shoot Boracay, my country’s top beach destination, I boarded the small Seair plane and we were cruising down a low altitude. Weather was gorgeous.
“At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun.” – Anonymous Sunrise at the Ferrando’s Whitesand Beach, San Ignacio, Manay, Davao Oriental photography by Jojie Ferrando Alcantara