Tag: Photography

Manitoba – We finally Made it out of Onterible

VanLife - Manitoba
Manitoba – Abandoned Railway Bridge

It seemed to take forever, to finally make it out of Ontario.  I had explained I thought it might take 3 days, even with the ferry from Tobermory.   But since we needed to replace the transmission in Thunder Bay it ended up taking us 5 days.  We got the go ahead to pick Freddy up for 16:00 on Friday, so we took a few minutes to go shopping and grab some fresh food and then off to the Mister Transmission.  I was hoping I would be well into Manitoba by now,  but instead the best we hoped to make it too was Dryden which we did easily.

Arriving in Manitoba

VanLife - Manitoba
Manitoba – Border between Manitoba and Ontario

We departed Dryden at 8:30 in the morning, bound and determined to make up lost time.   The people in Northern Ontario have been so very helpful.  Thankfully there has not been much of road construction so we were making pretty good time.   We arrived at the border around 11:30, with to our advantage, we had an hour time change so that helped on our trip for sure!

Michelle wanted to stop in at Jollibee, which is a Filipino restaurant we use to go to when we lived in Bacolod City.  She has been missing her Jollibee very much, so we had to stop for a bit to eat.  I also had the opportunity to visit with an old Navy friend of mine Colin.  We sailed together back in the late 80’s early 90’s  I have not seen him since my last couple of years in the Navy.    It was fantastic to see him and meet his lovely family!!  Way to much time between visits.

Next Stop Brandon Ma.

VanLife - Manitoba Jollibee
Manitoba – Jollibee

After enjoying a stop at Jollibee, we figured we would high tail to Brandon a short 200 or so km away.  Things were clear sailing, The van was running perfectly and Debbie has been equal to every driving task put out for her!  She has been doing a fantastic job, especially since this is the farthest she driven west, and by herself to boot!  We ran across a plane doing some crop dusting which very interesting to watch, and Michelle has never seen that before so she was very interesting.  I had to pull over to see if I could shoot a couple of pictures.

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Adventures to Tobermory

Tobermory, Ontario

Adventures to Tobermory - Lighthouse
Adventures to Tobermory – Lighthouse

This weekend I had some Adventures to Tobermory, Ontario which is located in the Northern Bruce Peninsula. With its turquoise-blue waters and breath-taking views, you can imagine it can get quite busy during the summer season. My Uncle Ken and I started our journey by taking the QEW towards Hamilton then following the 403 to highway 6. During our 4.5-hour drive, we passed through places like Guelph, Fergus, and Owen Sound, thus confirming how far of a drive we were up against. While driving, I also noticed the lack of any Walmart or Starbucks once we got past Owen Sound! Once we got to our destination, we visited the info center to get the layout of the area, grab some maps and ask some questions before starting our adventure.

Crowsnest Pub

Adventures toTobermory - Sunset
Adventures to Tobermory – Sunset

We happened to come across a pub in the main shopping district called Crowsnest. It is surrounded by other little shops, a couple other restaurants, a dive shop, and a grocery store. We decided to give the place a try since we were starving, so we headed on in and found that the place has a very inviting atmosphere, friendly staff and a nice view of the water. They happened to have a great variety of food on the menu as well as a large selection of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Naturally, we decided to go with the nacho platter to share, fried pickles, and a dish of jalapeno poppers. To say in the least, everything was very delicious and we were quite satisfied with our meal and the service that we were provided with. I would definitely recommend the Crowsnest Pub to anyone passing through or going up to visit.

The Grotto

Adventures to Tobermory - Grotto
Adventures to Tobermory – Grotto

Being in Tobermory, there are all kinds of places to explore. I found that there were a number of hiking trails, a few water-front beaches, an assortment of lakes, and some great swimming opportunities. Although I did not swim during my brief adventure, I was able to see some of these areas and was able to admire the beauty of them. I did happen to visit The Grotto, which is mostly known for its clear, turquoise waters and the caves you can swim into. There are two
different parking lots to park in and the hiking time differs as well. We found out parking lot 1 is a 30-minute hike whereas parking lot 2 is a 50-minute hike. Getting up at 4am was a bit of a challenge, but the stars were gorgeous and it allowed us to drive down to the hiking trails. It was about 5am by the time we parked and got our gear together to hike down to the grotto in the pitch dark. We made good timing and were able to set up our gear for the sunrise in order to get some good shots; however, on our way back we did notice quite a few people already heading that way (7:30am) so it is best to get there early since it tends to fill with people fast. Even though the town is quite small, Tobermory has some great places for photography opportunities and it is a nice place to be one with nature.

Mag-aso Falls

Mag-aso Falls
Mag-aso Falls

Michelle and I sent the the week after Easter touring through Mag-aso Falls near the city of Kabankalan.  We boarded the Ceres bus from Bacolod City.  The trip took maybe two hours with a couple of stops at various cities en route, we decided to take the Deluxe or Aircon bus and for the few extra Peso’s it cost its well worth it, as we do not stop every couple of minutes like the Milk run does.  There is nothing wrong with the Milk run, but it takes a lot of extra time that will take away from your time of exploring the Falls.

Dumaguete vs Kabankalan

Once we arrived at our destination and we were trying to hire a ride to Mag-aso Falls, all of the tricycle guys told us it was cheaper if we had taken the Dumaguete Bus from Bacolod as it would pass by the road we would travel up in order to get to Mag-aso Falls.  To little too late I suppose, after Michelle discussed prices with the Tricycle guy, we got the price down to 350 pesos for the 1.5 hour trip.  Well interesting as it turns out, Michelle and I had to walk most of the way once we reached the Mountain road as the guy could not get up the steep hills.  Not worry, no reduction in prices as we had already set the price.  Steep hike but enjoyable never the less.  On the return from Mag-aso falls our plan was to get dropped off at the Dumaguete stop, but the price was the same as it would have been if we went the full way into the Kabankalan bus station.  So no real savings either way.

Mag-aso Falls Resort

Mag-aso Falls
Mag-aso Falls

The resort was well off the beaten track for sure.  The cost of the cottage we stayed in was 1000 pesos per night and it was well worth the money.  It gave us more time to explore the area.  The resort was very nicely laid out, busy with plenty of visitors and lots to see.  First thing we did one we got there, was un pack and then headed down the stairs to the valley floor, and then followed the trail to the falls.  This is an easy descent, the stairs were well, and there are railings, the path is laid out well also, though when it gets wet the rocks are pretty slippery.  If you are not sure of foot, care needs to be taken.  I was using my Tripod as a walking stick to steady myself especially with the knee issues I have.

The falls are simply beautiful to view, there are many stalactites forming in various areas of the falls.  Spectacular to see, though I wish I could have gotten closer in order to see them and photograph them closer.  The water is cool, but nice to enjoy, and with all the limestone you can see the lime on the bottom of the various calm pools in the area.  It was nice seeing all the people playing and enjoying the water, as well the brave souls that climbed their way high up the cliff sides to jump into the deeper areas of the collecting pool at the bottom of the falls.

Mag-aso Falls is well worth visiting, I would even suggest you spend the night there, seeing the stars were beautiful, there are only two cottages so reservations in advance are a must.  If you have any questions by all means let me know.

Photo Credit: A Special Thanks to Ken Dunlop Photography.

Patag Silay

Patag Silay
Patag Silay

Michelle and I went to Patag Silay back in early April to go for some awesome hikes looking for some Waterfalls that are in the area and at the same time we got an interesting history lesson.  Patag Silay is very easy to get to from Bacolod City.  Take a Bata Jeepney to the North terminal a mere 50 pesos per person will get you to Silay, and then an additional 50 pesos per person will get you all the way up the mountain to Patag Silay.  We took a bus out of Silay, and we were loaded to the hilt.  People on the roof, and little wooden stools in bus so you could sit in the aisle and people loaded in doorways and hanging off the ladders.  The trip to the top of the mountain took about 1.5 hours as we stop at every little place and town on the way, but it was a cool trip.  The rice paddies are so beautiful.

Patag Silay, Silay City

Silay or City of Silay is a third class city in the province of Negros Occidental with a population os approximately 120,000 people and is a part of what is known as Metro Bacolod.  Metro Bacolod is made up of Silay, Bacolod City and Talisay.  Silay is often referred to as the “Paris of Negros” due to its artists, cultural shows and large collection of perfectly preserved heritage houses.  More than thirty of these houses have been declared as historical landmarks.  Silay is the second Philippine city to have been declared a museum city next to Vigan in Ilocos Sur.

History of Patag Silay

World War II

On the slopes of Mt. Silay lies Patag Silay, the site of the Japanese military’s last stand in Western Visayas

Bamboo in Patag Silay
Bamboo in Patag Silay

during World War II.  In 1945, US military forces landed in Negros Island. The occupying forces of Nagano Detachment of the Imperial Japanese Army retreated to Silay and proceeded up Mt Silay to Patag.  There, they established a defensive position.  Military forces of the Philippine Commonwealth and soldiers of the US 40th Infantry Division proceeded up the slopes of Mt. Silay with help from Filipino soldiers of the 7th, 71st, 72nd, and 75th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Negrosanon guerrilla fighters and defeated the Japanese defenders.  Today, the site is marked by and monument dedicated to the efforts which led to the liberation of Negros Island.

Michelle and I did a couple of big hikes in the area in order to see some of the amazing waterfalls we have heard about.  Our first trip to the valley floor from Patag Silay had us following this trail that took us right past two caves carved in the side of the mountain by the Japanese during the war.  We were upon them before we even saw them.  If this was during the war we would have already died in an ambush.  Me with my military background of course really interested in this sort of thing.  I made a mental note to watch for them on the way back up, and I actually walked right past them and did not even see them.  I can only image what the US 40th Infantry Division endured during the war.

The trip to the first waterfalls was only about 30 minutes, and it was a beautiful falls to see, though the lighting was not in favor for decent pictures, it was still well worth the trip.  The area was pretty interesting there was cool mountain air, with the heat and humidity of the area mixed in.

Our trip to the second waterfalls was a 90 minute to 2 hour trip in then the same to make it out.  This trip is not

Patag Silay Waterfalls
Patag Silay Waterfalls

for the faint of heart that is for sure.  We hired a guide which is something I would not have normally wanted to do, but in this case there is no way we have made it where we were headed and back again I know this for sure.  The trail is not what we are used to back home, it was rough, rocky and narrow with little room for a mistake.  The mistake would have been a fall to the valley floor that would have certainly ruined our day for sure.

As we approached the second falls we could tell it was going to be spectacular.  We could hear the water cascading over the ledge and slamming to the bottom of the valley.  There were areas where we had to walk in the river, so be sure to know how you want to travel.  Michelle took her shoes off, where I kept mine on to protect my feet.  You need to realize we were in some pretty dense jungle for sure.  This was a long trip, I was hot sweaty and pretty spent by the time we reached the falls.  I think me anyways was pretty close to Heat Exhaustion, we were out of liquids and we had just made it half way for the second trekk.

If you find yourself in the area, a trip to Silay City, or Patag Silay is well worth your time.

Buenos Aires

Drying Rice
Drying Rice

On Monday, Michelle and I traveled to mountains above Buenos Aires, to see what was described as beautiful waterfalls.  I have been wanting to shoot as many waterfalls pictures as possible so bang I am in.  We travelled on a bus to Mao Mao, and then grabbed a tricycle for the afternoon which Michelle was able to talk down to PhP700, which is bargin.  The driver we had was a really nice guy, so much so, I took his name and number and I plan on using him again very soon.

Buenos Aires is a beautiful resort area right on the river which is cascading down from the mountains. Though, other than stopping there for lunch, I never really had an opportunity to see as I was far more keen on traveling up the mountain.  The area was breath taking, very clean and everyone seemed very helpful and friendly.  Some of the road is rocky and gravel and other areas is paved, it depends on where you are planning on heading.  We turned back earlier than I had planned, but I had a mishap when I slide into the river with camera and all, which ended up being a pretty expensive day trip, but I was able to save some pictures.

Rice Fields in the Mountains
Rice Fields in the Mountains

I forget the name of the one village we travelled through, but I was very impressed with a bunch of signs that had been placed on the side of the road, asking locals as well as tourists to help preserve the planet, to recycle, don’t smoke, save nature, it was very refreshing to see.  I plan on returning again to the Buenos Aires area to explore more of the countryside, more waterfalls, and villages as well as nature.  If you are in the area and have a day, I would definitely recommend you going to the Buenos Aires area, it’s about 1 hour or so from Bacolod City.



The Lagoon

The Lagoon, Bacolod City
The Lagoon, Bacolod City

The Lagoon here in Bacolod City is easily one of the busiest places in the whole city.  I was there the other day at 7:30 am, and there were people jogging around the lagoon, kids playing on the swings, and some skateboarders.  The Lagoon, is a beautiful area, though I would not call it peaceful, it is still a must see.  I shot a couple of night/sunset images of the area, which is well worth the time.

I am working on a Hyper/timelapse video on the City and The Lagoon will definitely be a part of the video.  If you are there for the afternoon, you are well within walking distances of the 7-11, Chowking, Jollybee and the McDonalds, plus the locals with various food carts.  Hope to see you down there.