Mayon Volcano and a bright morning, just before we were about to go to the airport for the flight back to Manila. I wonder what those clouds are called, but they sure were a visual spectacle.


In the previous centuries, this was the bell tower of a church near the foot of Mayon Volcano. I was told that the volcano exploded, spewed lava, and then caused rocks and molten material to cover the surrounding area, including the church, until all fell quiet.

The tower is all that remains today, which has become a famous destination, and is even featured on the back of the Php100 bill.

I’ve been asking myself why I chose this particular composition, when I could have included the volcano at the back, or make the tower as the anchor to all other elements in the photo. I’ve given much thought about it—yet all that is clear to my mind now is that I chose this because everything else has been done, and because I find the cloudless sky perfect for the background.


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.