This is a guest post from one of our Travel Managers, Sheena Peña. Sheena is a combination of an Energizer Bunny and a chill cat during road trips. Although she prefers to stay behind the spotlight, she can quickly stand out with her quirky personality and eagerness to explore hipster locations. After hearing Jennylyn Mercado say that ‘funny can also be sexy’, Sheena is continuously undergoing humor training. Read more of her adventures at www.heyshnappy.blogspot.com.
THE TALE OF BACON
Before I begin, let me tell you about Bacon. Five years ago, I went down to eat breakfast. My plate was facing down, covering something. I was really hoping that it was covering my all-time favorite processed meat! Alas, it was not bacon. Instead, there was a white booklet. Disheartened, I looked at the booklet anyway. To my surprise, the booklet was much better than bacon! It was a manual to a DSLR! Thus, I learned that sometimes life gives us better things than what we hoped for. Also, I will probably give a weird name to my child should I have a baby in the future.
THE CANON PHOTO ADVENTURE ROAD TRIP
I brought Bacon with me to the road trip last July 30-31. The trip was mainly organized by Travel Managers Kat and Marky. Along with us were the rest of the participants if Experience Philippines, Sir Jijo de Guzman the ulti-awarded and super cool Canon Ambassador, and the staff of Canon and Lighthouse. Based on my invented statistics, around 80% of us are introverts.
We departed from Eton Centris around 4ish AM and arrived in the Atimonan Port before lunch time. We then had to ride a roro to get to Alabat, Quezon. The weather was already gloomy, which for me is great because I won’t have to apply a lot of sticky sunscreen. I was concerned though if we would be able to come up with acceptable photos.
After around 40 minutes in the roro, we finally arrived in Alabat, Quezon! It was a long trip. I was hungry… for food and photography knowledge! *ba dum tss* The municipality served us really good toasted siopao while we listened to Sir Jijo’s lecture on travel photography.
My favorite tips which were probably the mantra of the whole road trip were this: Don’t let bad weathers or conditions stop you. Photos must be primarily for you.
After the lecture, Sir Jijo wanted to challenge the participants. “Whoever takes the best photo while on this island will win a prize from Canon.” I swear I saw everyone’s eyes twinkle.
Our next stop was the Lamon Bay Fish Sanctuary. I was excited to see a floating cottage and a boat near the port. To my surprise, the boat started tugging the floating cottage! My roadtripper friends and I dipped our toes in the water and looked at nothingness. Our view was mostly white, the sky and the water seem to blend together. Ah, that sounds poetic.
When the boat stopped, it was time to eat! The lunch was worth the wait! There was pinangat (a delicious dish that reminds me of laing), fish with herbs (I don’t really know what to call the herbs) and snails the size of your fingernail.
After eating, we of course went to swim with the fish a la Aquaman and Ariel, and feed the fish with bread sticks. (Spoiler alert, they didn’t like the bread sticks.)
Afterwards, we went to see how coconut sugar is made! It was amazing! From heating the ‘tuba’ in this huge pan (it’s super shiny, you can actually see your soul), the liquid becomes this thick syrup. The syrup hardens and is scraped and mashed until it becomes oh so fine. Coconut sugar is delicately sweet, very powdery and melts in your mouth. We took photos of the sugar maker and the guys who harvested the ‘tuba.’
THE BEE FARM
It was mid-afternoon when we went to the Bee Farm! The bee master Mang Ambo and his wife were very accommodating. We were served biko, cassava cake, and lemon grass tea! I learned so much about bees! It’s a YOLO move to eat bananas in front of bees as the queen bee Beyonce’s pheromone smells like bananas. The bee master shared a lot of facts, I was trying to listen and trying to befriend the cute dog at the same time (which is also what I usually do during social gatherings).
My favorite part of the bee farm is when they let us eat raw honey from the little stingless bees. We had to chew it out from the wax. It tastes sweet and tangy.
The TMs Kat and Marky were quick to adjust the itinerary for day 2, due to the rainy weather. Still, it was fun for us to take photos. Everyone was so absorbed in taking nice photos. We went to the beach to see the rock formations! We passed by an already photogenic bamboo bridge. Sir Jijo kindly asked one of the local boys to cross the bridge. Bam! The bridge and the boy were better subjects now!
VISITING THE CHURCH
Another advice that I picked up was that churches are one of the best places to take photos. We visited St. Ferdinand Cathedral where we had really good ‘kakanin’. Inside, I admired the elders who were teaching the children the sign of the cross after dipping their hands in holy water. It was a good way to wrap up the tour of Quezon, as I said thank you to God for this relaxing weekend.
AND THE WINNER OF THE PHOTO CHALLENGE IS
Everyone did their best to shoot photos. Sir Jijo gave constructive feedback on how we could further improve our shots. The winner of the challenge was Jen Madrano! She was using a mirrorless camera and the rest of us had DSLRs, proving that it’s in the warrior and not in the weapon.
The rest of the Canon and Lighthouse people were very approachable. Even though my camera was not from Canon, I still felt like I was part of the group. Yeah, this is me encouraging you guys to not be shy. Join Canon Road Trips regardless of what camera you have!
Although I didn’t win, I was still very happy to have been part of this road trip. Sir Jijo was very generous in giving tips about photography. I’ve been in to photography for over 6 years now, it was humbling to know that I still have so much to learn.
“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.”
— Steve McCurry