On February 24th, 2007, mountaineers, artists, environmentalists, musicians, and photographers got together to increase awareness about nature, indigenous people, art, music and culture. Sining Dagway: Kultura, Kalikasan, Musika was a unique event where participants climbed to the top of Mount Gulugod Baboy (Pig’s Spine) in Mabini, Batangas for a weekend full of art, poetry reading, music, dance and communing with nature. It was organized by the Katilingban Ilonggo Kalinag Kalikasan Mountaineers Inc. For this trip, I chose to focus on capturing the landscapes of this beautiful area.
The climb was not easy for me. Although they said that this was a relatively easy mountain, my lack of training and general state of health (fatness) made the 2-hour climb seem to last forever. Fortunately, my friends from Lakbay Lahi were there to help me keep going. As I dragged my feet up to the summit, a surprising thing happened. The sun was going down and the light was just beautiful over the whole landscape. It was a whole other world – a world that only those who conquer the mountain are worthy to see. I’m not sure if it was second wind or just pure adrenaline, but all my fatigue disappeared. I grabbed my camera and took pictures until the sun went down. When it was dark and we set up camp, the fatigue from the climb kicked in again and I ended up missing most of the night’s art and music activities. However, I was up again at the crack of dawn taking pictures, breathing in the crisp mountain air and enjoying nature. Although I missed the dancing and poetry reading, I feel like I made a connection with nature by pushing myself to climb the mountain and I was rewarded with breathtaking views that you just can’t see anywhere else. It was a great experience and I definitely believe that Sining Dagway was a success.
And a few more fun photos:
Photographer’s corner… Here are the lessons I learned from this trip:
1. Mountains provide unique landscape photography opportunities that you can’t get anywhere else. Check the weather conditions and always go with a group.
2. Pack light. For this trip, I brought a Canon 350D with no grip, a Sigma 18-125mm f3.5-5.6, and an extra battery. That’s it. I know there’s an infinite number of gear combinations, but for climbing, just bring a kit that will allow for wide and telephoto shots. My bag was an small, easy-to-carry Tamrac Velocity 7. If you want to do long exposures, bring a light tripod and remote trigger.
3. Stay healthy! Your health is one of the most important assets as a photographer. It’s something we always hear and often take for granted, but I truly felt it on this trip. Keep yourself strong and healthy so you will be able to go out and make pictures, especially in hard-to-reach locations.
Oh, and did I mention that there was a TV crew covering this trip? I was interviewed and some of my photos were featured in the segment. It was definitely a nice bonus. 🙂
International readers, please note that about half of this video is in Tagalog. If you want to see the rest of the segment, part 1 is here.