When I travel, I usually allot and spend time to photograph a landmark of the place. In Batanes, I decided to take a picture of Mahatao Lighthouse.

For those who wonder, Batanes is the name given to a group of islands in the northern part of Luzon. It is so far up north from mainland that it is nearer to Taiwan than the Philippines. Ships going north or south pass Batanes, and in Basco, the largest of the group, there are two lighthouses—one of them is in Mahatao.

At that time, I was very much into long exposures and all the nitty gritty stuff that comes with the impressionistic style of landscape photography. Neutral density filters, ultra wide angle lenses, tripods, and the patience to count the minutes just to get a decent shot where among the things that proved to be the mainstay of the style.

It was quite fun, and it was quite challenging too—there’s no telling what the light will be like until you’re there—but all in all it was fulfilling to be able to communicate in a different visual language.


A small boat returns, one Saturday afternoon. The port area in the background is pier one of Manila’s south harbour, which at that time was empty of ships that ferry cargo and or passengers. I did not expect to see the boat come in. We were inside Manila Ocean Park when the boat passed.

I had this early childhood fascination of ships and ocean going cruisers, including battleships and destroyers. There were times when my grandfather’s 3-inch thick book on major ships would occupy my attention for hours on end. Now, three decades later, I can still feel that fascination inside, perhaps just waiting to be opened. That afternoon, it dawned on me that perhaps I was subconsciously taking photos in and out of the south harbour area because of that fascination.

It is a very simple shot—and I wouldn’t be surprised if the inner, and perhaps the worst critic in me—would readily say that it is for deletion. Yet again, this resonated on a more personal level. It allowed me to experience that fascination again which all along there, waiting to be tapped.


Time soothes the roughest, or even the calmest, of waters. Whether by long exposure using neutral density filters or by simply stopping down your aperture and slowing your shutter speed, the resulting cream-like smooth texture is something one does not see everyday.