Batanes Beckons Photography Enthusiasts

Published April 1, 2018, 12:05 AM


By Deedee M. Siytangco

Batanes photo participants wear the traditional yakuls from the dwarfed palm trees as protection against rain and heat. They are Yvette Reyes, Aimee Mendoza, Chit Arce, Amanda Agaram, JM Corton, Conrad Lancion, Grace Dizon, Norma Penaflorida, and Joseph Anthony Lim.
Batanes photo participants wear the traditional yakuls from the dwarfed palm trees as protection against rain and heat. They are Yvette Reyes, Aimee Mendoza, Chit Arce, Amanda Agaram, JM Corton, Conrad Lancion, Grace Dizon, Norma Penaflorida, and Joseph Anthony Lim.


“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people, an hallelujah is our song.”

– Pope Saint John Paul II

Fall in love with photography in Mandy Navasero’s learning-by-doing, which integrates artistic and technical instructions in portraiture and glamour, fashion, architectural, naturescape, and macro photography.

You can gather your friends for an exciting four days and three nights adventure and join the Mandy Navasero Batanes Photo Safari.  Mandy was the one who started a trend for ecotourism in this part of the world.

A participant shared her pleasant learning experience: “I have never enjoyed a study group more than during my trip to Batanes. We would get instructions at the start of the day on portraiture, glamour, and fashion, architecture, naturescape, jumpology, and macro photography, and off we went to take our shots. We didn’t mind being models, too. At the end of the day, we would compare pictures and be amazed at how we amateurs got such great pictures!”

The workshop is open to non-photographers, local, and foreign tourists. For more info, call 02 896 3208 or 63 995 791 8190 or email [email protected] Schedules for 2018 are on April 20 to 23, Sept. 14 to 17, Oct. 19 to 22, Nov. 2 to 5, and Dec. 26 to 29.

* * *

Now, we don’t have to travel outside the country and spend a fortune to see real wild animals in better-managed foreign zoos!

Just a couple of hours from Manila is a place where you can get up close and even personal with big cats, the crown jewels of any self-respecting zoo.  Zoobic Safari is the only tiger safari in the Philippines. It lives up to its name by bringing you close to tigers, the world’s biggest cats, from the safety of an enclosed observation vehicle or their enclosures.

And you can even have a selfie as you give a rare white tiger his favorite treat—his bottle of milk—or as you pet him while somebody else gives him his bottle. In another part of the nature reserve, lions, kings of the African jungle, pace impatiently in their cages, occasionally letting out those roars that must have other animals in the African savannah scampering for safety.

Zoobic, nestled in the heart of a Zambales jungle in the Subic Free Port, is the brainchild of Robert Laurel Yupangco of the Yamaha Music School, who dreams of turning the entire Philippines into a resort country.

At Zoobic, Yupangco, who holds a 50-year lease for the property  from the Subic Development Authority, blends the foreign—wild animals from outside the country—and the indigenous—Aetas, who have lived in the mountains long before the arrival of foreign invaders.

The Aetas help care for the animals and get to showcase their culture and tradition, which American naval personnel harnessed as part of their training for jungle survival, in the regular shows that are among the regular offerings of Zoobic located at Ilanin Forest, Forrest Adventure, Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Bahay Kalinga has helped the traditionally nomadic Aetas in the area get settled in their own community by assisting in the building of their own homes.

Yupangco is hoping he may be able to make the first step towards making Zoobic a destination for foreign tourists, too, by having it included in the itinerary of passengers of Star Cruises ships that will make Subic, a former United States naval base in the province of Zambales, a regular port of call.

In letting guests enjoy the company of wild animals in the 25-hectare forest adventure park, even if there are steel wires or fences separating them,  Zoobic also wants to promote awareness and concern for the different species it holds through education/information given by competent tour guides.

The nature park is open 8 a.m to 4 p.m. daily from Monday to Sunday.

Rates:  @P695/adult; @P595/child 3ft to 4ft and free of charge are children three ft below.

* * *

Senator Loren Legarda has promised that she will ensure that more climate action plans of local governments can be supported by the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) after yesterday’s signing of the first four PSF financing agreements, totaling P192 million.

The landmark move affirms the Duterte administration’s commitment to building the country’s resilience to both extreme weather events and the creeping impacts of climate change, said Legarda, chair of the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, principal author and sponsor of the Climate Change Act of 2009, and principal sponsor of the PSF, which was passed into law in 2012 as Republic Act No. 10174.

“Our local officials have struggled for years to secure our people’s lives and livelihoods in the face of climate change. I championed the establishment of the People’s Survival Fund because with enough funding and research support, these same officials could and would rise up to the challenge,” Legarda said. “Now that the funds for our four pioneering local government units are already moving, and more projects in the PSF pipeline are being considered, we hope the rest of Congress also sees the clear need not just to increase the funding for the PSF but to also climate-proof the national budget,” she added. “The Philippine government must mobilize its own resources even as we demand the international community to honor their climate finance commitments.”

Nine more projects totaling P980 million are under consideration by the PSF Board, which is chaired by finance secretary Carlos Dominguez.

Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience and UNFCCC National Adaptation Plan Champion, also thanked the mayors and other local government officials of the first four LGUs to receive PSF funding – Del Carmen, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte; Lanuza, Surigao del Sur; Gerona, Tarlac; and San Francisco, Camotes Island, Cebu – for committing to the application.

“I salute our pioneering local chief executives for keeping the faith in us and in the process, and for paving the way for all other LGUs to also craft and implement climate-resilient programs,” she said. “I want to thank in particular Lanuza mayor Salvacion Azarcon this International Women’s Day for proving that women are leading in the frontlines of the climate crisis.”

“I also laud the combined leadership of secretary Dominguez of the Department of Finance; Commissioners Emmanuel De Guzman, Rachel Herrera, and Noel Gaerlan of the Climate Change Commission; and all the other members of the PSF Board for leading us to this moment,” she concluded.