The Rookie Blogger

December 5, 2011

Boracay Adventure

With Cebu Pacific’s piso fare deals, I was able to get my butt to Boracay. This paradise island is considered to be one of the best tourist destinations in the Philippines. My friend booked me a cheap flight to Caticlan for November 25 and I got so excited. I enjoyed the flight to Caticlan because before the airplane landed on the airport, the pilot showed us the Island of Boracay. Even from afar, I can see the white sand stretch of the island.

When the plane landed, the first thing I noticed is a simple clean airport, quite different from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport that is crowded. The cost of transportation from Caticlan to the Boracay Island is reasonable. Arriving in the island is not that classy because there is no difference between the port of Cebu and their port in terms of looks. We traveled for a couple of minutes from the port to our hotel.
We arrived in our hotel early afternoon and the first thing we did was taking pictures near the beach. The sand of Boracay is certainly one of the best I have seen because it is very fine. Majority of the people I saw are foreigners so I was already expecting that the prices of meals and other stuffs are staggering.
Later that night, we walked along the white sand beach where some parts are well lit. Restaurants and bars are lively during the night where we saw a couple of live bands performing in different locations. Because none of us drinks alcoholic drinks, we ended up ordering expensive fruit shakes that tastes terrible.

The next day, we decided to try some water activities. We tried the banana boat first and this was my first time riding such thing even though this kind of water activity is available in Cebu. My first banana boat was a mess because I was not expecting that to be scary. After the blunder I experienced in the banana boat, we tried aquanaut or water helmet that devastated my eardrums. After the two water activities, we sat on a beachfront restaurant and later ate lunch. Someone offered us a cheap three-hour island hopping around Boracay. While on the trip, the weather starts to rage and the island hopping was stopped.
The next morning, we decided to eat our breakfast in our hotel because we noticed that their meals are a little bit cheaper than the restaurants outside. Upon finishing our breakfast, we went to Jony’s Shakes (supposedly Jonah’s Fruit Shakes but we didn’t know that we were on the wrong restaurant) and tasted an inexpensive but far better tasting fruit shake. We took a couple of pictures and then went back to the hotel to pack-up our bags.
I have seen a lot of white sand beaches in Cebu, Bohol, and Misamis Occidental but the white sand of Boracay is far alluring compared to others. I have already booked a flight and reserved a hotel for my next Boracay adventure in January 2012.

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November 9, 2011

Photowalk with my Sony Alpha Friends

With my new Sony α33, I went with some of Sony Alpha Cebu photographers to take photos in downtown Cebu City. It’s a nice experience to go with photographers that has the same brand with my camera because I can borrow some lens if I need to take photos that is way beyond the capability of my lens. Almost all of the Sony Alpha members have at least two lenses during the photowalk while I was only carrying one which is a little bit embarrassing. Another problem I have during that day is having no knowledge at all in street photography.

During that day, we agreed to meet in a fast-food chain near Basilica de Sto. Niño. We started taking photographs inside the premises of the Basilica and then moved on to Magellan’s Cross in which we saw other DSLR users taking pictures. Then we walked all the way to Plaza Independencia to continue taking photographs. Our endpoint was inside Fort San Pedro in which we took different kinds of photographs including our group picture.

After the activity, we went to SM to meet a fellow Sony Alpha user to try on her lenses. Her lenses were one of the best and heaviest I have ever used. It was a nice experience though to use some of the lenses that I might be buying if I win the lottery.

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August 1, 2011

Visiting Bohol for the First Time

Bohol is one of the nearest provinces from Cebu and it took me 21 years before I get to visit this place. We started the trip with a one hour trip ferry boat bound from Cebu City to Tubigon, Bohol. It was a rough ride because of the bad weather but still, we arrived in our destination safely. From Tubigon, we went straight to Loboc to have some lunch in their famous floating restaurant and their food looks and tastes good. After eating lunch, we went to Carmen to see one of the best natural wonders of the world – the Chocolate Hills. The Chocolate Hills has been the icon of the province of Bohol for the past century. The 360-degree view of the place is one of the best scenes I have seen so far. Our last destination for our first day of the trip was the town of Ubay situated northeast of Bohol. I was shocked to see an airport in the Municipality of Ubay because the town is not that populated but they said that the airport was closed a long time ago.

The next day, we ate our breakfast and then traveled straight to Valencia but we stopped over Jagna to buy one of Bohol’s delicacies, the Calamay (Kalamay). We went to Valencia’s spring resort to eat our lunch. We stayed in this spring resort for almost two hours before going to Sagbayan Peak. Sagbayan Peak boasts one of the best views of the Chocolate Hills. The place has also a resort, large statues of my favorite cartoon characters, and a butterfly sanctuary. We only have few minutes to take some pictures of this picturesque place because we have to take the 4:00 PM ferry boat back to Cebu.

The whole trip was unforgettable especially seeing the Chocolate Hills and adding to that, I only spend less because some of the adventures of the trip were paid.

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June 13, 2011

Dolphin Island Resort in Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park

One of my unforgettable experiences was going to the Dolphin Island Resort in Misamis Occidental because for the first time in my life, I saw and touched real dolphins. It has been my wildest dream to touch one of these mammals because I only get to see these creatures in National Geographic. Some of my friends saw live dolphins performing in the Manila Ocean Park that is why I am so jealous and desperate to see one.

When I saw this dolphin rescue center in the internet, (yes, it is not a typical dolphin theater wherein you can watch dolphins performing) I immediately searched for a flight to Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental because I want to see these creatures. Luckily, the airplane ticket of Air Philippines Express bound for Ozamis City only costs 900 pesos (from Cebu and excluding terminal fee) that’s why I booked a flight instantly.

You need to take a bus from Ozamis that is bound for Oroquieta City or Dipolog City in order to get to this dolphin rescue center. This dolphin rescue center is located within the properties of Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP) in the town of Sinacaban and this resort also boasts rich marine ecosystem and a small sand island. All bus drivers in the area know where MOAP is located so finding this place is not a problem at all.

When we arrived in MOAP, we paid 10 pesos for the entrance and another 300 pesos (round-trip) for the boat that will take us to the Dolphin Island Resort. Another 350 pesos was collected because I want to swim with the dolphins. If you are too afraid to swim with these creatures, you can try snorkeling around the island resort and see some recovering corals and numerous fish species. The small sand island is another attraction near the resort and it was my first time to see an island that disappears every high tide.

Swimming, feeding, and touching the dolphins was a great experience. The people who are working in the resort are also accommodating and friendly and this doubled the awesomeness of the activity.

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February 21, 2011

Sony 50mm f/1.8 Review

For just $150+ I already have a new Sony lens 50mm f/1.8. After I bought my Sony a300, I was already hoping to buy a portrait lens because the lens that came with the camera produces generic quality photos. After taking few shots with my new portrait lens, I am very satisfied with the image quality it delivers because, for just a small amount of price, I can already shot professional looking pictures. These are the sample photos I took.

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I just tried taking pictures of people until I learned that large aperture captures lots of light. After reading tutorials about photography in low light conditions, I began taking pictures at night. I tried taking pictures of landscapes and obtain satisfactory results. After I got bored shooting mountains and cities at night, I aimed my camera to the night sky and I was amazed by the results. Even though there are lots of pollutants in the air, I still obtained pictures that contain hundreds of stars that I can’t even see with my naked eye.


I am very impressed with my new lens because I can capture portrait shots with satisfactory quality. With this lens, I also learned long exposure photography for night shots.

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About The Rookie Blogger

This is a personal blog of James Arnold. This blog contains posts about travel, technology, dining, and many more. James is also a freelance photographer that caters events such as weddings, debuts, birthdays, and even personal photoshoots. You can contact him through +63 916 659 7001 if you have any questions or plans to advertise on this blog.