Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dumaguete: South Pacific Photo Workshop 4

South Pacific Photo Workshop 4: Dumaguete City 

Here's my blog post about a recent photography workshop that I attended in Dumaguete City, Philippines. It was called the South Pacific Photo Workshop, and it focused on improving a photographer's photo journalism skills. It was taught by Mr. Luis Sinco, a Los Angeles Times photo journalist. Foundation University in Dumaguete was the host school for the workshop. Read about my blog post in more detail after the jump below:

(Warning: Post contains lots of images. Expect long loading time.)

Young Filipino boys paddle in the tranquil waters of Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete. See more pictures of Dumaguete in a photo journalistic approach after the jump.

What. A. Week. What a week! What a great week for photography. Just how great of a week was it you ask? Go on and ask my sore index finger because it was going crazy pressing down on my camera’s shutter button all throughout seven days of an intensively awesome photography workshop called the South Pacific Photo Workshop.

I had no idea this little gem of a workshop even existed until my uber talented yet overly humble friend, the king artist of Dumaguete himself, Mr. Hersley-Ven Casero invited me to attend this photo fest in the bustling little university town 6 hours away from Bacolod.

This workshop focused on plain and simple photo journalism. It was taught to us by Mr. Luis Sinco (badass dude right there) a talented photo journalist of the Los Angeles Times with a heart of gold in terms of giving back to the photography community of Dumaguete City. His workshop was just so full of helpful info that it blew my mind all over the red brick walls of Foundation University (where all the badassery took place.)

While I continue to scrape my mind back off the walls and into my head, here are a few things that I remember about the workshop: we were taught all the tips, tricks and flicks on how to get the best out of our humble imaging machines. (I could swear that after everything taught to us, we now know how to make our cameras jump up and down and do the hop scotch). We were also taught about photojournalism in its simplest and purest form: how to tell interesting stories through photographs. During the week, our eyes were also forced out of their sockets and polished by Mr. Sinco himself as he taught us how to SEE light in all its glory.

The past week is all one big blur but let me vomit out all the little snaps and memories: we constantly ran around Dumaguete’s Rizal Boulevard in chase of little brown boys in boats too small for grown men to fit, we were thoroughly roasted like lechon by the beautiful sun rise of Dumaguete City, we were dropped into a sea of people at the large marketplace of Malatapay and we swam back to shore through all the cow doodoo, we also dipped our heels into the passionately red waters of Pulang Bato Falls in Valencia, we explored a hidden bay where both domesticated foreigners and uniformed pirates docked their ships, some of us (lol) even witnessed dragons race along the waters of Dumaguetes beaches and lived to tell about it.

Ahhh… what a week. Anyway, enough of my words. Here, let my pictures do the talking. I will be constantly updating this album over the course of the week. Hope you guys like it!

For any of you who wish to join the South Pacific Photo Workshop, they regularly have workshops in Dumaguete at crazy affordable prices (trust me its worth every penny!) Please feel free to contact Hersley-Ven Casero (or if you’re too shy just ask me to contact him!) or you can like their Facebook Page and send them a message there.

Thank you again to my awesome SPPW family for being so accommodating and helping me improve my photography while I was there! Nami nami guid ya! Special mention to the rest of the staff of SPPW Phil Prins, Paul Benzi Sebastian Florendo, Alma Zosan Alcoran and Markymark Bezars! You guys rock!

Day 1 - Rizal Boulevard at Sunset & Dumaguete Cathedral 

I begin my journey by taking a 5 hour land trip across the mountains of Negros Occidental to make my way to the Oriental side where Dumaguete is. Here's a breath taking photo (literally almost lost my breath as I almost fell of the edge to take this photo) of Bais City (the first city after crossing the mountains) of Negros Oriental.

After the long 5 hour drive, I thought I could catch a breather... but nope! off to the Rizal Boulevard straight away to shoot! I can rest when I'm dead! We were rewarded by seeing these strapping young lads paddling their banka across the boulevard for us to see. Here's a mischievous little guy peeking out from behind his bangka.

If Manila has automotive traffic, this place only has maritime traffic! Perfect!

Getting the features of the many fishermen that regularly paddle across the boulevard. They asked us to send them copies. When we asked why, they said 'For Facebook!'. Kidding!

In Hersley's own words... "Young Pedro Calungsod" lol


A nice afternoon spent by the boulevard! Now on to the Dumaguete Cathedral!

Now at the Dumaguete Cathedral! I remember someone saying that the old Cathedral was remodeled. Some say that it now looks 'like a Taco Bell'. I shall really try to look at it well the next time I see it!

Penitents light candles and say prayers in front of the Dumaguete Bell Tower. This tower was constructed before as a look out for pirates who regularly pillaged the coastlines of Dumaguete!

Day 2 - Malatapay Market, Zamboangita

Second Day! Now we're off to the Malatapay Market in Zamboangita (30 minutes away from Dumaguete). This was one of the largest, noisiest, smelliest and most chaotic markets I've ever been to. Take me back there again!!! It was a real challenge shooting through the chaos, but I had a lot of fun! Here's cow #307 off to be sold. You might meet him next time when you order a Burger McDo.

Jesus, Savior of All. And in this case, including cows! Interesting detail on a trucker's rig.

Details of all them shiny espadings (cane knives). Oohhh... Patterns.

"What you lookin' at, Bub?"

This kid was just sitting on the side of the road with a bunch of plastic bags. I bet he's learning early on the harrows of waiting for women as they shop! (Kidding to my woman friends that do!) [But seriously though, help?]

Men stroking their... roosters. These guys were showing off their 'poultry' at the side of the road. Notice how I never used the word 'cock'? Good.

A tinker fixing up old watches to be sold off at one of the many stalls of the Malatapay Market. Kind of reminds me of Gollum and his 'precious'.

Some cool dude selling huge straw hats! Bought one for around Php 150. I hope it fits my huge head! Lol Well that's it for Day 1 and 2! I'll post about Day 3 and Day 4 tomorrow!

Day 3 - Rizal Boulevard at Sunrise & Pulang Bato Waterfalls

We begin Day 3 really late but we're lucky to catch the sunset... Kidding! Dumaguete is a sunrise city! We had to get our butts out of bed early for this shot!!!

Is it just me or is everyone in Dumaguete up by sun rise? It seemed like the whole boulevard was filled with people nodding their heads at each other and greeting everyone a good morning haha

Dumaguete Flight Class 101. Just kidding, this is the Dumaguete Dragon Boat team doing some warm up exercises. 

Take a walk in someone else's shoes!

Small boat, little boat, small boat, big boat. Boat boat boat. Kinda makes me think that everyone in Dumaguete has a banka! (Which would be pretty cool cuz everyone could say "I'm on a boat, b*tch!")

This is where all the magic happens! (No, not that kind of 'magic'). This is Foundation University in Dumaguete City. These guys are crazy advanced compared to most of the schools I've seen on this island. Each student has a friggin iPad for crying out loud. Other notables include: a ginormous computer lab with all them shiny computers, air conditioned dormitories, rock climbing facilities, hydroponic labs, seed culture labs, American inspired architecture and a whole lot more. Just go down there yourself one of these days and tour the campus.

Meet "FU Froggy"! FU doesn't mean a bad word though haha it means Foundation University Froggy, the unofficial mascot of the South Pacific Photo Workshop.

The SPPW is held at Foundation University. The university has a huge pond in the middle with a lot of frogs from the nearby river informally settling in the pond. They make for nice subjects though. Especially in the early morning sunlight.

Another close up of FU Froggy. Warty little bugger isn't he?

That afternoon, we went up to Pulang Bato Falls in Valencia, a 30 minute ride away from the city. When they say Pulang Bato, you can only imagine why. lol seriously, there were red rocks every where!

This nice old lady was arranging flowers in her house as we passed by. We dragged her into the street and forced her to smile for the camera! But seriously, Dumaguete has some of the most camera friendly people I've met. Everyone wanted to have their photo taken.

Day 4 - Tambobo Bay

The next day, we headed for Tambobo Bay in Siaton. Which was an hour's drive away. Here's the simplest way I can describe it: it is where pirates would hide their booty. The place is a hidden bay chock full of foreign yachts! Foreigners from all over the world come to drop their anchor at this bay because of its beauty and the friendliness of the locals. They even teach some of the locals how to build boats and stuff

I think I'll call this one "Tethered Lives". Notice all the lines connected to the boat as well as the dude disembarking. Much lines. Very wow.

Lines on lines on lines. 

If you haven't already noticed, I like my silhouettes.

One part of me wanted to pick one up and munch on it because it looked so crispy! But then again, I remind myself that I hate fish.

Textures and palettes. (I wrote this title because I have nothing left to say about this picture)

One part of me wanted to pick one up and munch on it because it looked so crispy! But then again, I remind myself that I hate fish.

Aaaand here's the bus ride home. This rickety yet ever reliable bus took us through some dark dark roads only lit by the stars up in the night's sky. It was a very calming moment for me. Okay that's enough with the cheese! End of the intensive photo part!

End Notes:

  • The rest of the days were dedicated to in depth critiques and editing the photos in preparation for the big show on the last day (Day 7)
  • The workshop was concluded by an audio visual presentation on the last day at the auditorium of Foundation University. Friends and Family of the participants were invited. 
  • During most days, one half of the day would be spent shooting and the other half would be spent editing in the nice computer lab of the Creative Department of Foundation University. 

South Pacific Photo Workshop Details:

Name: South Pacific Photo Workshop

Current Season: Season 4 (as of May 2015)
General Location: Dumaguete City, Negros Oirental, Philippines

Workshop Location: Foundation University, Colon Extension-Meciano Rd, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental
Contact Persons: Luis Sinco (Lead Instructor) or Hersley-Ven Casero (Assistant Instructor). They are located at the Foundation University Creative Department. 

  • Foreign Nationals - $ 2,800.00
  • Local Students - Special Rate!
    • In line with Foundation University's mission of providing quality education at an affordable price to the Filipino Youth, the South Pacific Photo Workshop gives a special rate to Filipino students and young professionals. Contact them to know more. 
Inclusions in Package:
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) from Day 1 to 5 are included in the package.
  • All transportation to and from Foundation University and the shoot locations are included. 
  • Accommodations can be arranged free of charge at the nearby Foundation University Dormitory. This dormitory is a five minute walk away from the campus. It has air conditioned rooms that fit 4 people to a room in bunk beds. Comfort Room is communal. 
  • Certificate and Plaque of appreciation are provided for once you complete the workshop.

Things to Bring:
  • I found myself wishing I brought my own personal laptop to the workshop. It was hard getting used to the Macs in the creative lab during editing, but it all worked out fine.
  • If you're coming from out of town, bring extra clothes or laundry soap as there is no free laundry service at the dorm accommodations.

Map to Foundation University:


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