A small plug for Tacloban City

•2 November 2010 • Leave a Comment

Tacloban City gets featured again in the domestic and international travel arena.

Albeit a one-pager (the 2nd page in a foreign language translation) – plus a photo by gerryruiz – the “plugging” appears in the October 2010 issue of Mabuhay Magazine – the inflight travel & lifestyle magazine of Philippine Airlines.

The feature on page 30 is entitled, “Tacloban On A Budget” – a suggested 2-day tour of Tacloban City on a backpacker’s budget

Available onboard PAL’s domestic and international flights and at Mabuhay Lounges at airport terminals here and abroad.

gerryruiz image (above) used in the article

3rd Oktubafest 2010!

•28 October 2010 • Leave a Comment

An Waray Party-list once again produced this year’s tuba festival, aptly billed as the “3rd Oktubafest” last October 23 at the Leyte Park Convention Center, Tacloban City.

Hatched as part of the continuing efforts to promote the region’s cultural heritage and the coconut and the tuba industry in Eastern Visayas, the Octubafest showcased the local coconut wine, tuba.

The day-long affair also featured a photo essay contest, the on-the-spot kawit (tuba container) painting contest,  a tuba wine tasting contest, a cooking contest featuring tuba-infused dish and kotil and several other entertainment numbers.

The festival saw the participation of several municipalities from all over Eastern Visayas with their respective tuba exhibit booths.


Sunset Ceremony: The 66th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary

•24 October 2010 • Leave a Comment

“They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.”

~Ernest Hemingway

About the quote: from “Notes on the Next War,” published in Esquire Magazine, 1935.

Are there still (war) stories left untold?

October 20 came a-rollin’ and it was time again to celebrate Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s fulfillment of his war promise to return to the Philippines and liberate the country from the foreign invaders.

When you consider 66 years and start doing mental calculations, you come to realize only those who are 76 today or thereabouts (they would have been 10 years old then – kids!) are the ones who experienced those weary times and are still alive to recount them, or whatever childhood memories they have retained.

As in previous anniversary celebrations, ambassadors from the major war player nations came to lay floral offerings for the war heroes and gave messages of peace and hope for everybody.

Prayers were recited, in unison as well as in silence. Testimonials were given, stories told by weary veterans and their children; a siday was read; songs of love, peace and hope were sung; and candles lit (albeit a real challenge against the strong winds coming from the Pacific Ocean).

The war veterans association has now been overtaken by the VFP – Sons and Daughters Association, Inc. which formed the majority of those who came to celebrate this year’s anniversary at the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park in Candahug, Palo, Leyte.

I noticed the predominance of old women among those who came to the anniversary celebration – widows of war veterans, together with their children and their children’s children.

I’m sure each one of them has a story to tell about the war… if anyone cares to listen to them at all.

And I bet there won’t be much told… about the follies of war.


Fresa & Mike’s Postnuptial Tacloban Funshoot

•19 October 2010 • Leave a Comment

Due to the nature of their work (they are both cabin crew attendants of an international airline) Fresa and Mike are oftentimes crisscrossing the oceans and can be anywhere in the globe at any point in time.

But even when they decided to tie the knot in Manila, they took time to come home to Tacloban days later to celebrate a postnuptial party with family and friends.

Naturally, there was going to be some fun time and a funshoot!

View slideshow I presented during their postnuptial celebration party held October 16, 2010 at the Le Jardin, Tacloban City:


Fresa+Mike Postnuptial Funshoot from Gerry Ruiz on Vimeo.


Patano-de la Cruz Nuptials

•14 October 2010 • Leave a Comment

It was a magical time, a dream come true for Sheila and Ralph!

We had the prenuptial shoot at the beach at Brgy. Telegrafo and at Tadyaw Beach Resort in Tolosa, Leyte last September 17, 2010.

The wedding was solemnized at the Fatima Parish Church at Marasbaras, Tacloban City on October 08, 2010.

Thank you Sheila and Ralph for making us document one of your momentous occasions of your lives!

And may you be showered with more gifts and blessings for all the years to come!


Birthday getaway to Cebu!

•11 October 2010 • Leave a Comment

I turned another year older last Saturday, October 2, and this time Ludette and I decided to go visit our daughter studying there, my sisters and their families in Cebu and spend the day with them.

It has been some time since I last visited the Queen City, so off we went. A very much needed respite it turned out to be – great time with family,  and a chance to meet old friends, too.

Mactan Island

Cebu City

Metro-Cebu viewed from Mountain View

Metro-Cebu at dusk

The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu

Instant family get-together

Chilling out at The Outpost


Lake Mainit – Philippines’ 4th largest

•29 September 2010 • Leave a Comment

If peace and quiet is what you want… and if you happen to be in the northeastern part of Minadanao traveling from Surigao City down to the town of Kitcharao towards Jabonga in Agusan del Norte, there’s a little known (yet), quiet and simple resort along the shore of Lake Mainit.

It’s the Almont Lake Resort at Kitcharao, about an hour’s drive south from Surigao City.

It offers a breathtaking view of the scenic Lake Mainit.

Lake Mainit is the deepest lake in the Philippines (with a recorded depth reaching 223 meters), and the fourth largest, after Laguna de Bay, Lake Lanao (of Lanao del Sur) and Taal Lake.

Lake Mainit has a surface area of 17,060 hectares with a lakeshore length of 62 kilometers.

The lake is equally shared between the provinces of Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte with 31 barangays along the lakeshore belonging to 4 municipalities – Mainit, Alegria, Kitcharao and Jabonga.

Lake Mainit is home to rare fish species as well as other endangered wildlife flora and fauna.

The place is unspoiled and very rustic, and the water is still clean and unpolluted.

Very peaceful and serene, indeed – a perfect hideaway for those who want to be far from the crowded bars and cafes, the hustle and bustle of metropolitan living.


Pansukian Resort and Cloud 9 in Siargao Island

•26 September 2010 • Leave a Comment

While rummaging through my photo library – organizing and updating them and doing back-ups – I ran into a gold mine of several folders containing hundreds of unpublished photos!

I’ll have to say I was not totally unaware of its existence; I further confess it’s a classic case of procrastination on my part.

Also, a series of ensuing events and circumstances further buried these folders back into my baul – among them not-so-pleasant ones the mind automatically chooses to set them aside (to be dealt with later, but when?)

Among the photos I found were those taken during an 8-day inter-regional marathon caravan we took in 2007, conducted by the Department of Tourism of Region 13 (Caraga), Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) and Region 5 (Bicol) that saw us traversing the Maharlika Highway from Agusan del Norte all the way to Camarines Sur. No mean feat.

Don’t get me wrong; a few of these photos were actually published in the net – the more prominent and interesting ones – but most of them got buried deep owing to its sheer volume (it was an 8-day event!) and the not-exactly exciting prospect of rummaging through all of them and doing post-processing on the chosen ones.

So having said that as a backgrounder, let me feature first photos taken in Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte.

The Pansukian Tropical Resort was the first resort built in Siargao Island – a remote island located in the easternmost border of Surigao del Norte province in Mindanao facing the Philippine Deep and the mighty Pacific Ocean. Over the years Siargao has gotten to be known as the surfing capital of the Philippines.