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11/08/2014
Category: General
Posted by: pjames

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Tacloban City Revisited: New unpublished photographs with UK Photographer Christian Black

"failure to plan is a plan to fail" - a few words about advancing your personal security while traveling through dangerous places:
 
Since there was effectively no safe hotel accommodation  in Tacloban City right after the disaster (save for 1 hotel on limited generator power with only a few functional rooms taken over by the NGO's) I had to arrange a safe and secure place to stay during our trip, and staying in Tacloban City overnight was absolutely out of the question due to the sporadic violence and mayhem mainly happening after dark, and also because of the mandatory city wide curfew from 6pm-6am.
 
Getting caught out after dark in Tacloban during this time meant either you were likely to become the victim of a violent crime, or the military or police would simply jail you; none of those good things of course, so I advanced what we needed to function safely.
 
Please read the rest of the story here on the Typoon HAIYAN in Photographs page.
 
 
These are newly edited images of my trip into Tacloban City after the Typhoon, getting my friend UK photographer Christian Black in to get his content for the NGO's, then out as quickly as possible due to security and safety concerns.
 
Christian Black shooting photographs from our vehicle in Tacloban City after Typhoon Haiyan DEC-2013
 above: Christian Black shooting from our vehicle as we did not want to stop in this area.  Olympus VG140
 
Christian Black shooting Canon 1DX photographs from our vehicle in Tacloban City after Typhoon Haiyan DEC-2013
above: Christian Black shooting from our vehicle as we did not want to stop in this area unannounced.  Olympus VG140
 
Christian Black shooting photographs of local children with Canon 1DX at the Sports Complex in Tacloban City after Typhoon Haiyan DEC-2013
above: Christian Black shooting local children playing at the Tacloban City Astrodome Sports Complex safe zone for NGO's.  Olympus VG140 
 
Christian Black shooting photographs wit Canon 1DX from ground zero in Tacloban City after Typhoon Haiyan DEC-2013
above: Christian Black shooting the devistation at Ground Zero on the shoreline in Tacloban City after the Typhoon DEC-2013.  Olympus VG140  
 
In early December 2013 when Christian called me from Manila and told me his plans to go into Tacloban City to shoot documentary content for the NGO's, I advised him about several serious travel safety concerns, including setting up a vetted safe driver and vehicle in Ormoc City (3hrs. drive from Tacloban) secure, discreet accommodation in Ormoc where we'd be based, as there was zero accommodation to be had in Tacloban, excepting 1 hotel that was sold out to the NGO's.

So with it being too dangerous to try to stay overnight in Tacloban City due to the public insurrection, looting and street violence, plus the city wide dusk to dawn curfew was still very much in effect, I set up a large modern Estate from a friend of mine as our FOB/foward operating base - what made the Estate the perfect choice to hide out was that this place was 100% unseen from the street, so if the mayhem in Tacloban made its way into Ormoc City while we were there, we'd be safer than most.

The Estate had 24hr. armed guards and a very high security wall encircling the compound, plus a small staff of caretakers who looked after us with setting up our rooms and meals.

After I set up our driver and vehicle, my plan was to make the 3 hour drive from Ormoc into Tacloban and arrive mid morning - this would give CB enough time to visit a few of the safer areas to shoot in, then leave quickly before most would even know we were there, and then be on the road back to Ormoc at 3:30pm sharp for the drive back in the daylight, as any physical presence either on the ground in Tacloban or while en route back to Ormoc after dark was absolutely out of the question with assorted car jackings, muggings and robberies were taking place nightly; mayhem on a stick basically, and I was having none of that while looking after our group.
 
This plan worked beautifully: we got in, shot the needed content and our OUT was already set up back in Ormoc where we were safe and sound.
 
*The Moral of the Story - plan your trips into delicate areas carefully, have back up plans ready to go if needed, and get a qualified *chaperone* (eg. a security person and not a 'guide') on your team to set up & supervise your trip, professionally and safely.
 
 
photo portrait of UK photographer Christian Black w/Canon 1DX DSLR by Paul James: DEC-2013 Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines
above: Christian Black photographed by Paul James DEC-2013 on Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines.  photo Canon 5D MKII + 70-200mm L Lens.
 
 
exterior & interior photos of the ormoc city estate safe house mansion we used during the Tacloban City photography trip after typhoon haiyan yolanda with Christian Black, DEC-2013
above: Our secure and guarded Estate in Ormoc City, with Christian Black and Lau.  Photos Canon 1DX + 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens.
 
 
Honoring the dead and those who are still suffering from the Typhoon 1 year ago today,

PJAMES

 

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11/06/2014
Category: Island Life
Posted by: pjames

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Showcasing Marlin Beach Resort, Bantayan Island Philippines

Showcasing some of my better photography from the most recent huge photo shoot at Marlin Beach Resort in Santa Fe on Bantayan Island - Marlin's features very comfortable modern aircon rooms which have hot water showers, LCD flat panel TV's, comfortable beds, in room safes and much more with premium fit, finish and fixtures.

Marlin Beach Resort is centrally located in Santa Fe on Bantayan Island Philippines - Please contact them at +63-32-438-9093 and email marlin's here.

photo composite showing the large aircon 2 bed room in panorama format, as well as the exterior of the Marlin Hotel property: Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines

above: the comfortable rooms at Marlin Resort, plus the outer hotel property on the Beach.  Samsung Camera NX300

Marlin's staff is customer service oriented to make guests feel comfortable and welcome, and they've laid out their beach area with some of the finest reclining chairs, furniture and top of the line heavy duty umbrellas imported from Germany, all to create your relaxing Beach Life experience.

photo composite on the beach showcasing a swimsuit filipina relaxing on the beach, and a panorama of the beach at Marlin resort, Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines

above: the beach area at Marlin Resort on a sunny Blue Sky day.  Panorama with Samsung Camera NX300

Check out the Marlin Web Resource page here on wowBantayan.com for more photography of their accommodation and property.

See you at Marlin Beach Resort,

PJAMES

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11/03/2014
Category: General
Posted by: pjames

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Enjoying the Beach on a Tinker RAZOR ATV: Photos

Passed by one of my friends on the beach getting some quiet time in his 2014 Tinker brand RAZOR ATV, and although it's a Chineese copy of the Polaris model of the same name it's still a blast to drive, and with a lower tire pressure it can even cruise on the Beach sand without issue.

photo on the beach of the tinker razor ATV: bantayan island cebu philippines

above: relaxing on the beach in the Tinker RAZOR ATV - Beach Life is Good.  Samsung Camera NX300

At P160k retail, it comes with a 150cc engine, roll cage, off road knobby tread tires, 2 seats, rear cargo space, and a full set of front & rear lights.

detail photo of the tinker razor atv on the beach: bantayan island cebu philippines

above: front end detail of the Tinker RAZOR ATV.  Samsung Camera NX300

I've only driven it once, and it's a very stiff ride in terms of suspension, and taller drivers will find it cramped, but for what it is, it's a fun ride as long as you don't try to push it beyond its limits.

photo on the beach of the tinker razor atv on bantayan island cebu philippines

above: relaxing on the beach in the Tinker RAZOR ATV - with lower air pressure it can easily cruise on the sand.  Samsung Camera NX300

Enjoy your day wherever you may be,

PJAMES

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10/24/2014
Category: Island Life
Posted by: pjames

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Heather & Aspen Inn: Inside the affordable, large CHAKRA room; New Panorama Images

I just finished a brand new photo shoot inside Heather & Aspen Inn's CHAKRA room, which is one of my favorite rooms on the Island for quality, value plus its fit & finish - it's just a beautifully comfortable room, and at only P1200 per night in the current off season, it's an absolute steal - book this room now and you will not be disappointed.

Stylish and very comfortable; not to mention excellent value for the money, the Chakra room also includes SAT TV, and a sink outside the bathroom to use when the bathroom is occupied, a very practical touch indeed - be sure to check their web resource page here on wowB.

interior design panorama photo of the chakra room accommodation at eather aspen inn, bantayan island cebu philippines

Contact Heather & Aspen Inn: Sun 0922-831-1552  &  Globe 0917-502-0197
(from outside Philippines dial +63-917-502-0197) and mention wowBantayan.com   email Heather & Aspen Inn

Online Reservations & Booking Info: To book Heather & Aspen Inn, please use this email contact form to list your travel dates (arrival & departure) number of people in party, expected length of stay, etc. and please be as specific & detailed as possible (ie. say "I'd like to book the Heather & Aspen Inn Chakra Room (or other rooms) for 2 ppl. on these dates...pls. check availability & confirm our reservation, here's my email & phone contact number, etc.") 

heather & aspen inn interior design panorama photo composite of the spacious and furnished chakra room, accommodation on bantayan island cebu philippines

For starters, the CHAKRA room is a large aircon room; perfectly comfortable for 2 people on a comfortable queen size bed ( a real bed with mattress + box spring) plus the perfecty done bathroom with its full size tub is the envy of other travelers who are at other hotels with bathrooms not nearly as nice.

Don't be suprised when your travel mates want to come over and hang out with you, because they booked a smaller room for more money elsewhere! (tip: book your travel mates into the other great rooms at Heather & Aspen Inn and keep your gang together in one place)

At the end of a day on the beach, come back to the Chakra room and fill the tub for a relaxing soak - if you've never had a hotel room on Bantayan Island with a real bath tub, you're in for a serious treat.

interior design photography of the large modern bathroom CR with full size tub & hot water shower: heather & aspen inn, bantayan island cebu philippines

above: the modern bathroom interior with full size tub and hot water shower; very nicely done with quality fit & finish.  Olympus E-3 DSLR.

See you on the Island,
PJAMES

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10/22/2014
Category: Island Life
Posted by: pjames

blog presenter photo banner from anika island resort of their white beach and property, bantayan island cebu philippines

 The 5 TOP Reasons to bring your Boat to Bantayan Island Philippines

For starters, if Germany can get a huge cruise ship here, you can get your boat here too.

1. Bantayan Island is just a stones throw from the northern main land of Cebu (Bogo, Hagnaya, etc) so it's a relatively quick trip from those shore towns here to Santa Fe on just about any type of sail boat or power boat, and some larger boats can make the trip in less then 20min. at a good speed.

photo of a power boat cruisng fast off the coast on south beach, bantayan island cebu philippines

above: a smaller but relatively fast single engine power boat from the main land, heading to South Beach.  Olympus E-3

2. Once here, you can enjoy a quiet day of swimming and relaxing while your boat is moored off the coast of either South Beach or Alice Beach on Bantayan Island; people do this with their boats all the time - they stock up a cooler with some food and drink and jet up here, even if they don't have a planned agenda.

photo of the 60ft yaht Black Diamond, anchored off south beach on bantayan island, cebu philippines

above: the Black Diamond anchored off South Beach, Bantayan Island philippines.  Olympus E-3

photo of a power boat anchored on south beach with a family playing on the shore: bantayan island cebu philippines

above: a quick single engine runabout with a sunshade anchored off South Beach for a Family swim with the kids.  Olympus E-3

3. Drop anchor and come ashore to have a nice lunch at any of the coastal hotels here, or just take a trike ride into town for some meals, stock up on food/drinks or souviners.

photo of the 40ft. Sharkbite, a fusion40 Catamaran off Alice Beach on Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines

above: the fantastic Sharkbite, a 40ft. Fusion40 Catamaran sailing the Philippines off Bantayan Island.  Olympus E-3

photo of a hammerhead expolrer 8 power boat with twin evinrude outboard engines, on alice beach: bantayan island cebu philippines

above: a Hammerhead Explorer 8 with twin Evinrude power plants off Alice Beach, Bantayan Island.  Olympus E-3

4. After an afternoon of sun and fun, come ashore and stay overnight at any hotel of your choice; get up early and enjoy a beautiful sunrise, before having your breakfast and heading back to the main land; makes a very nice get-a-way that you can't do in the city.

gorgeous sunset photo of hobie CAT catamarans on the sandbar at south beach: bantayan island cebu philippines

above: a collection of HOBIE CATS on the sandbar at sunset for an organized day of racing on South Beach.  Olympus E-3

5. Make it a 2 day trip, hitting Bantayan Island on Day 1, and after staying the night here, take off for Malapascua Island on day 2 - a 90min. to 3hr. trip north east, depending on the size and speed of your boat; this is an especially nice afternoon sail on a larger boat, but 25ft. or larger power boats can also make the trip with adequate fuel tanks, and there's overnight accommodation + fuel for you on Malapascua.

photo of the sail boat Araby, in the water off the South Beach sand bar: bantayan island cebu philippines

above: the Araby sail boat off the sand bar at South Beach on Bantayan Island Philippines.  Olympus E-3

See you on the Island,
PJAMES

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