arj muñoz photography: Blog en-us All Content Copyright (C) Arj Muñoz. All Rights Reserved. (arj muñoz photography) Tue, 02 Feb 2016 11:02:00 GMT Tue, 02 Feb 2016 11:02:00 GMT arj muñoz photography: Blog 120 120 Travel Photography: Discovering the Secrets of Callao Cave - Peñablanca, Cagayan Callao Cave is one of the limestone caves located in the Municipality of Peñablanca, Cagayan province, in the Philippines. The seven-chamber show cave is one of 300 caves that dot the area and the best known natural tourist attractions of the province. The town is named as Peñablanca (Spanish for white rocks) for the presence of white limestone rocks in the area. Callao Cave is located in the Barangays of Magdalo and Quibal in Peñablanca about 24 km (15 mi) northeast of Tuguegarao City, the capital of the Province of Cagayan.

Callao and the other caves are situated in the western foothills of the Northern Sierra Madre Mountains of the Philippines. They are situated within the Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape, which stretches from the caves to the eastern shores of Peñablanca town in the Pacific Ocean.

First Chamber and the Chapel inside Callao Cave

Callao Cave was visited by American Governor-General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. in 1932 who under his term created the National Park system of the country with the passing of Act no. 3195 in 1932. Callao Cave was one of the earliest national parks of the country when it was established on July 16, 1935 by Proclamation no. 827. The Callao Cave National Park encompassed an area of 192 hectares (470 acres) of land. With the passing of the NIPAS Act of 1992 that revamped the protected areas of the country, the Callao National Park was reclassified but enlarged by Proclamation no. 416 on June 29, 1994. The protected area was reestablished as the Peñablanca Protected Landscape

Some stalagmites and stalactites, going to the next chamber.

"The Altar"

Callao Cave at a Glance.

More than 300 caves dot the protected area, 75 of which have been documented by the National Museum since 1977. Callao Cave and the nearby, but more challenging, Sierra Cave are easily accessible by car.

Callao Cave is the premier attraction in the Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape. It is the most accessible of all the caves, its entrance is reached by climbing 184 concrete steps. The Callao cave system is composed of seven chambers, each with natural crevices above that let streams of light to get into the cave, serving as illumination for the otherwise dark areas of the place. Previously, there were reported nine caves in the system, but an earthquake in the 1980s cutoff the last two chambers.

The first chamber of the show cave is the largest room with a width of about 50 m (160 ft) and a height of 36 m (118 ft). The cathedral-like room has been turned into a chapel by the local people. A rock formation serves as the altar of the chapel lit by a stream of light coming from a rooftop opening. The conditions inside the caves have caused the formation of stalactites and stalagmites, more so in the deeper chambers. Several spectacular speleothems or formations are found inside the cave like flowstones, glittering dripstones, cave curtains, crystal helictites, columns, etc.

In 2007, a team of archaeologist led by Armand Salvador Mijares excavated a metatarsal (bones on the feet) on the first chamber,  and discovered that, after being dated in France, the remain was 67,000 years old – 20,000 years older than what I taught was the first humans in the country. It was called the "Callao Man".

If definitively proven to be remains of Homo sapiens, it would antedate the 47,000-year-old remains of Tabon Man to become the earliest human remains known in the Philippines, and one of the oldest human remains in the Asia Pacific. It has been noted by researchers that Callao Man was probably under four feet tall. Researchers also believe that Aetas, mountain dwellers today on Luzon Island, could be descendants of the Callao Man.

All photos are taken with my #Fujifilm X-T1 and 18-55mm kitlens. Hope to see you on my next #photoescapade. =)


]]> (arj muñoz photography) cagayan callao cave caving chapel church heritage peñablanca philippines photography photos tour tuguegarao Thu, 28 Jan 2016 08:00:00 GMT
Travel Photography: Masskara Festival 2015 in a Great City of Smiles, Bacolod Bacolod City is known as the City of Smile, also the capital of the sugar bowl of Philippines, Negros Occidental. It symbolizes progress and business opportunities. Its fast pace towards progress enable them to become one of the most progressive cities in the Philippines. Bacolod, a home of Masskara Festival is a living proof of ups and downs way back then. The Masskara Festival which symbolizes hope is a tool of escapism during dark and dire times.

When immigrants from the neighboring island like Iloilo came here for business ventures, the province of Negros propelled its economic growth. Prominent families started to cultivate sugar and became the province main source of income. The sudden growth of income means more business opportunities and jobs. More and more immigrants most especially “sakada” came here to plant and harvest sugar cane. Haciendas and villages sprout like mushroom that makes landlords and sugar barons. Sugar industry by that time is at its peak. Sugar is exported from different countries which make the province and its people rich and wealthy.

A Brief History of Masskara Festival

It was in 1979 when the luxury liner of Negros Navigation MS Don Juan crashed with a tanker. It carries hundreds of passengers including some prominent people. Seven hundred lives estimated were lost in the tragedy. Five years after a big drop in sugar production happened. Caribbean sugar crisis and the introduction of sugar substitute like High Fructose Corn Syrup in the United States added additional factor for sugar crisis in Negros. Negrense suffered from obscure situation. Everybody is in grief as if the world crumbles and turn back to them. Later on a Negrense, Ely Santiago, a cartoonist, painter and artist together with some government official, civic groups and prominent people molded the first Masskara Festival. The word Masskara came from “mass” means crowd and Spanish word “cara” for faces meaning “many faces.” It was on 1980 when the firs Masskara Festival took place. The original plan of Santiago was to hold an annual parade using mask to capture the crisis in Negros. It was change by the local elite into a street dancing and merry making. Twenty days of merry making, street party, street dancing, beer drinking, fluvial parade and garden shows were being practice hitherto. 

A smiling masks which symbolizes hope and to conceive grief of every Negrense is a way to show the happy spirit of Negrense despite experiencing hard times in the sugar industry. The festival is held every third week of October. Several activities were lined up during these festivities. Thousands of tourists including the locals from neighboring cities were drawn by this occasion. Grand parade and street dance were only few of the most awaited activities during Masskara. Dancers clad in an elaborate costumes and colorful painted mask vying for the prizes. This year during the highlights of the event is also the opening of the biggest convention center not only in Bacolod but also in Southeast Asia.


"The Ruins" in Talisay City 


"Looking outside from the Ruins main door way"

The Ruins in Talisay City, Negros Occidental is what remained of the grand mansion that Don Mariano Lacson built, following the death of his first wife, Maria Braga.

Built in memory of Maria Braga, the mansion became the residence of Don Mariano and his unmarried children.

Today, it is a tourist attraction for its romantic, yet strong structures. Many interesting tales and facts lie within the walls and posts that remained of the Ruins.


"Balay Negrense" in SIlay City

The Balay Negrense also known as the Victor Gaston Ancestral Home (1898). This hardwood home has the most photogenic exterior of any house in Silay City, Negros Occidental, it is now a museum showcasing the lifestyle of a late 19th-century Negrense sugar baron.


Old tree at Balay Negrense in Silay City, Negros Occidental

Inside architecture of San Diego Pro-Cathedral

The San Diego Pro-cathedral, formerly known as the San Diego Parish Church or the St. Didacus Parish Church before its declaration as a pro-cathedral in 1994, is an early 20th-century church in Silay City, Negros Occidental in the Philippines.


Balay ni Tana Dicang

Balay ni Tana Dicang stands majestically in the heart of Talisay, Negros Occidental.  Otherwise known as the  bahay na bato  it was built in ca. 1883 in a 6,000 square meter property. Owing to the diligence of the descendants of Don Efigenio Lizares and Doña Enrica Alunan, its original structure and authentic and antique furniture, ornaments and accessories, including the China porcelain and indigenous items in the kitchen are well-preserved to this day.

Some antique furniture inside Balay ni Tana Dicang

San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City

The present structure was constructed and inaugurated on January 20, 1882. It became a cathedral in 1933 and is one of the century-old churches found in Negros Occidental. During the 100th year anniversary of the cathedral, the centennial bells of San Sebastian Cathedral were brought down from the belfry and mounted on the right side of the church ground. You will also find the Palacio Episcopal, the bishop's palace and the seat of the diocese of the province, inside the grounds.

Colorful Masskara Souvinir


Some of my street dance photos taken during Masskara Festival 2015:

To view more of my latest Masskara Festival photos and some ancestral houses in Negros including Bacolod, Silay and Talisay City, please  visit my galleries.

Hope to see you on my next #photoescapade. =)



]]> (arj muñoz photography) ancestral bacolod balay cathedral festival fujifilm masskara museum negrense negros occidental philippines silay talisay xt1 Tue, 03 Nov 2015 10:30:00 GMT
Travel Photography : A Whole Day Photowalk in Don Galo, Parañaque Fishport I just wanted to share some of my selected and latest photos in Parañaque Fish port, just a whole day photowalk.

The fish port is located at the southbound lane of Parañaque's coastal road, just before you hit the toll gate there's a right turn slot that is barely see if you don't know the area going to service road and you pass through the fishing village up to the fish port area of Don Galo, Parañaque. It would be easier if you bring your own car to visit the place as public vehicles or cabs are not even available to drop you off or pick you up in these areas.

Low-tide at Parañaque Fishport

Whiskered tern catching fish

Drying fish

Old man cleaning mussels

Wood Charcoal making

Busy making fish basin

Fishing young boy

A Bridge to comfort

Family cleaning mussels 

Early Morning Fishing

Preparing dried fish

Happy kids

Kids having fun

Sunset at Fishport


To view more of my latest Parañaque photos, please click this link or go to my Galleries.


]]> (arj muñoz photography) bridge city don dongalo fish fishing fishport galo manila metro paranaque people philippines photography photowalk port sunset tour travel village Mon, 27 Jul 2015 06:15:00 GMT
Travel Photography: Exploring One of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in Puerto Princesa Another check off my bucket list and my photo escapade continues... with my new body, Fujifilm X-T1 and only 18-55mm kit lens, this time I flew to Palawan and explore Puerto Princesa.

Puerto Princesa City is a tropical paradise with a bustling urban center perfect for business with leisure trips. Lush rainforests and white sand beaches are simply hours away from the city proper, where a banking and commercial boom has made life easier for workaholics who can never run away from the office.

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) is a must-see for first time visitors and tourists in Palawan and it is one of the most important protected areas of the Philippines. The longest navigable underground river and reputedly the most beautiful subterranean river in the world features a spectacular limestone or karst landscape with one of the most complex cave systems. It contains an 8.2 km long underground river that flow directly to the sea. The lower half of the river is brackish and is affected by the ocean’s tide. An underground river directly flowing into the sea, and the associated tidal influence, makes it a significant natural phenomenon. The discovery of at least 11 minerals, crystal and egg shape rock formations, and a 20 million year old Miocene age serenia fossil in the cave further add to its scientific value. The Puerto Princesa Underground River is declared as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park


Stunning Rock Formation


Boatman in Sabang Beach


Tourist exploring Underground River


Puerto Princesa... nature at its best!


Breathtaking view at Honda Bay


Just a few minutes north of the city proper, hop onto a boat and go island hopping at Honda Bay located in the mid-eastern coast of the city. Take your pick from dozens of white sand beaches. Each island at Honda Bay offers different thrills. Pandan Island or Isla Pandan is a great sailing destination. The water is so calm, and perfect for swimming and sun bathing. Snake Island has a sandbar that slithers on the surface of the sea, much like the critter that bears its name. It is best for  snorkeling, swimming or simply basking in the sand. It can be reached in an hour by pumpboat. Luli Island is a short term for Filipino word lulubog - lilitaw,  a small island visible at ebb tide and disappears under water during high tide. Star Fish Island - this island is popular for its fine white sand and clear water teems with star fish.

Crew cleaning Luli Island


Starfish Island


Sabang Rock Formation


Spelunking Sabang Cave


Green fields of Sabang


View from Inside the Cave

Nipa Hut outside the Cave


Historical Plaza Cuartel


Plaza Cuartel is a good spot to take a rest and just enjoy the beauty of nature by looking out to the clear blue sea of Palawan. Aside from getting close to nature, the place also has a lot of tales to tell. Plaza Cuartel has a colorful history because of the events that happened here during the World War II.

The plaza has a bronze marker that contains the name of eleven prisoners of war (POW) who managed to survive the horrible massacre that happened in this place. The bronze marker is placed above the area where main underground bunkers existed. These bunkers became the cage for the unfortunate prisoners. 

"In this place which was a military fort of World War II, the burning of more or less 150 American POW was done by Japanese soldiers on December 14, 1944. Some managed to survive by swimming their way out from the sea to Iwahig. The remains of those who died were brought and buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Missouri, United States, 1952."

This tragic event happened when the World War II was about to end. The Plaza Cuartel was a garrison of Spaniards, overtook by Americans and then by Japanese. When the Japanese soldiers realized that they were losing the war, put all its prisoners in the dungeon, poured out drums of petroleum over them and lit them up alive. The eleven survivors who escaped narrated the story.


Colorful Peacock at Baker's Hill


"I can see you" - Monkey at the Starfish Island 


To view more of my latest Palawan photos, please click this link or go to my Galleries.




]]> (arj muñoz photography) 7 adventure bay diving explore feeding fish honda hopping isla island luli national nature new of palawan pandan park philippines princesa puerto river sabang snake starfish subterranean underground woners Wed, 20 May 2015 15:49:22 GMT
Travel Photography: "I Came, I Saw, I Conquer the Adventures in Sagada" My "photo escapades" continues… and I decided to spent my vacation last holy week in Sagada with Olympus OM-D E-M5 body (MFT Mirrorless camera) and 12-50mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens. No heavy DSLR gear nor a back up camera this time, as I travel alone and no extra hand to carry my extra loads, so I really have to squeeze it all in medium size backpack and mini ThinkTank photo bag just perfect for my Oly kit.

Sagada is famous for its natural beauty, its culture and the warmth of its people - the Igorots in the Philippines. It also offers a different variety of tours and adventure trips compared to other places -- from breathtaking view of terraces, mountain hiking, waterfalls trekking, to exploring caves plus the fresh foods are some of the great experiences you don't want to miss when you step in to this humble town. If you love to travel and game with adventure to shoot landscape, then this place is truly a must-see. 

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Banaue Rice Terraces

It's an unassuming town nestled in the Cordillera Mountains in Northwestern Philippines. Sagada is located 275 km north of Manila. Visitors coming from Manila by transport have the choice of traveling either via Banaue (Ifugao Province) or Baguio City (Benguet Province) as there are no public vehicles going direct to Sagada, so better if you have your own private transfer or with organized group tours, its hassle-free and more convenient like what I did. There are air conditioned buses traveling from Manila direct to Banaue. A bus that leaves Manila at 10:00 p.m. will make it to Banaue at 7:00 a.m. the following day. From Banaue, a jeepney ride will take the guest to Bontoc in about three (3) hours. Non-air conditioned buses and jeepneys ply the route Bontoc-Sagada in about an hour. Sagada is approximately 6 hours of descending travel to Baguio over the narrow mountain tracks traversing the Cordilleras against a background of terraces planted to rice and vegetables.

Igorot at Banaue Rice Terraces

Skulls of animals are display outside Ifugao houses as a sign of the family's wealth.

After some 12 hours of long long road trip considering traffic and stopovers, we finally arrived at Banaue. I am dead tired but I can't refused to grab my camera when I saw some scenic view of rice terraces, then, we took another hour and a half to reached the charming town of Sagada. After our registration at the tourist center, we just checked-in to our guesthouse, ordered a quick lunch, bathroom break and get some rest. The adventure begins on the same day in the afternoon, we went out for Lumiang Cave and Sumaguing Cave. Spelunking or Caving is one of the best things to do in Sagada or they call it cave connecting, you got to challenge yourself to survive 4 caves. Oh, by the way, I almost forgot to mention that most of Sagada tourist spots needs a legit tour guide and to mind you, the guides we have in the caves that day are absolutely amazing that they can even guide you even if they’re blind folded. Obviously, we finished that day totally worn out.

Survival guide preparing our kerosine lamp

Sumaguing Cave is a 40 minute walk from Sagada on the Suyo Road. Unusual limestone formations are found in the cave.

Spelunking Sumaguing Cave

Our guide, resting after we reached the bottom of Sumagauing Cave. 

Inside Sumaguing Cave

The following day, I set my alarm and sneak out to get some early morning shots in one of the areas I spotted along the way to Sumaguing Cave about 40 minutes walk from the guesthouse. Oh, I have to skip my coffee and almost missed our next trip to Bomod-ok Falls. It's a 3-4 hours back and forth hike with the walking distance of about 2 km. or approx. 6,500 normal steps depending on the ability to walk through rice paddies and natural trails from Bangaan down to the famous Bomod-ok Waterfalls also called the Big Falls. It is located at Fidelisan with a height of approximately 200ft starting from the topmost portion down to its natural swimming pool which has a depth of more or less 10ft. 

Morning sunshine somewhere in the bush

Earlt Morning scene in Sagada

Another rice terraces view from the top 

Nature at its best, going down to Bomod-ok Falls.

Bomod-ok Waterfalls or Big Falls 

Some villages on top of the mountain. 

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Refreshing pool of Bomod-ok falls

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One of many hanging coffins view from the top.

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The Hanging Coffins

I'm a total wrecked and my stomach was half empty, after 5 hours hiking under the sun we decided to sit down and have our lunch at Salt and Pepper Restaurant. Then in the afternoon, we visited Ganduyan Museum, this small museum is packed with an anthropologist’s dream of sculptures, jewellery and other Kankanay artefacts. Then shortly, after Ganduyan we drop by at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, it is a monumental stone church built by American Missionaries during the early 1900's  located just near Sagada Cemetery and along the route going to the Echo Valley and we finished our long day at the Hanging Coffins. Members of the Igorot tribe of Mountain Province have long practiced the tradition of burying their dead in hanging coffins, nailed to the sides of cliff faces high above the ground. Comfortably predating the arrival of the Spanish, the procedure can probably be traced back more than two millennia. One of the most common beliefs behind this practice is that moving the bodies of the dead higher up brings them closer to their ancestral spirits, but our guide also told me that one reason behind hanging the coffins is to avoid the dogs eating the corpse, sounds funny but that really make sense to me.  

We've had our dinner after at Masferré Country Inn and Restaurant and I would say, that night really made my day in Sagada, i'm excited but its nothing to do with hiking through mountains or crawling through caves but rather with the amazing art -- the black & white photography of Eduardo Masferré that hangs on the wall like his mini gallery.


Eduardo Masferré

The local artist, who passed away in 1995 at the age of 86, has left quite an anthropological legacy. In 1934, Masferre started documenting life in the Cordilleras, the mountainous areas of Northern Luzon, beautifully capturing the spirit of the region in his photos. He covered everything from village life to landscapes to architectural styles, but his ultimate collection was that of the native Igorot people many of whom were proud headhunters. Today, 60 years later, almost all of the tribal groups have modernized and are increasingly integrated into mainstream Filipino society.

After working as a photographer for 22 years, Masferre returned to farming in 1956 to support his growing family while his son took over the photo studio in Bontoc. Part of Masferre’s photo collection can be seen at the fantastic Bontoc Museum, an ethnological treasure trove, as well as in several of Sagada’s restaurants and hotels. His wife Nena still lives in Sagada and it is said that whenever the door to her house is open, she is open to receiving visitors. Unfortunately, while we were there, her front door remained closed.

Read more about Eduardo Masferre’s life and his vision at the National Gallery of Australia.

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Sunrise at Kiltepan Viewpoint

Before we headed back to Manila, an early morning wake up call around 4am to get to Kiltepan Viewpoint and watch the beautiful sunrise over mountain range, then, its time to hit the road back home via Halsema Highway, one of the most scenic routes in the country, the roads are great yet the trip still takes roughly 6-7 hours to Baguio due to sharp bends through the Cordillera Mountains. It also passes through the Highest Point of the Philippine Highway System about 2,255 metres (7,400 ft) above sea level and down to Tomay & Atok to La Trinidad and all the way to Manila.

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View along Halsema Highway

So, now I would say that "I came, I saw and I conquer the Adventure in Sagada", its another big check off my long bucket list. Till then, see you on my next #photoescapades. =) 


]]> (arj muñoz photography) adventure banaue bomod-ok cave cemetery church coffins falls ganduyan hanging hiking ifugao igorot images landscape mary mountain museum people philippines photography photos province rice sagada st. sumaguing sunrise sunset terraces travel trekking Thu, 09 Apr 2015 15:07:25 GMT
Travel Photography: Bird Sanctuary Wetlands - Candaba, Pampanga Looking for a nice bird watching experience? Then Candaba is worth a visit.

If this is your first time birding (that’s the official term for bird watching), you must remember this: birds don’t fly all day. They hang around. If you want to see flocks of flying birds, go early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

The wetlands of Candaba in Pampanga is (2nd) home to a variety of migratory birds during the months of November to February (late autumn - winter in the northern hemisphere). Candaba swamp is a vast complex of freshwater ponds, swamps and marshes with surrounding areas of seasonally flooded grassland, arable land and palm savanna on a vast alluvial flood plain. The entire area is usually flooded in the wet season, but most of it dries out during the dry season and is converted into rice fields and plantations of water melons.


Flock of flying Whiskered Terns (Chlidonias hybridus)


Beautiful Candaba Sunset 


Pacific Swallow / Hill Swallow


Wild Ducks


Whiskered Tern catching fish


Morning Flights


Sunrise at Candaba


Lonely Bird


Man cleaning up the irrigation.


Sunrise at Candaba

]]> (arj muñoz photography) animals bird candaba ducks egrets farmers field filipino hemisphere herons locals migratory pacific paddies pampanga philippines photography photos ricefield sanctuary sunset swallow swamp tern travel watching wetlands whiskered wild Sat, 24 Jan 2015 06:00:00 GMT
Pope Francis' Visit to the Philippines - "Mercy and Compassion" Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines from January 15–19, 2015 with the theme "Mercy and Compassion". It is the first state and pastoral visit to the Philippines in the 21st century and the third pontiff to visit our country after Pope Paul VI (November, 1970) and Pope John Paul II in "World Youth Day" last January 1995

The pope visited Manila then to Tacloban and Palo, Leyte as part of his main agenda, to pay a visit to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Pope Francis celebrated an outdoor Mass during his last full day visit in Manila Grandstand. An estimated of six million people attended the ceremony or lined the Papal route to Rizal Park. That would be a record for a papal event. About five million welcomed Pope John Paul II in Manila in 1995.


Pope Francis inside Popemobile on his way to Mall of Asia Arena


"Mercy and Compassion"


 Waiting for Pope Francis


Along Quirino Avenue, on his arrival.


The Spectator, using his binocular toy.


Looking at Pope Souvenir Calendar


Shooting the Pope


Philippines, welcomes Pope Francis


Pope visits the "TEXT" capital of the world.


Hundreds if not thousands of people everyday waiting outside Apostolic Nunciature in Manila during papal visit.


Last day, on his way to Manila International Airport back to Rome


* All photos are captured with the Olympus OM-D EM-5 M4/3 camera with 14-50mm lens.

]]> (arj muñoz photography) 2014 apostolic asia bergoglio catholic church city compassion em-5 filipino francis francisco grandstand january john jorge leyte luneta malacañang mall manila mario mass mercy mirrorless nunciature of olympus om-d palace papa papal paul philippines pontiff pope religion santo state tacloban tomas university vatican visit yolanda youth Mon, 19 Jan 2015 07:45:00 GMT
Travel Photography: Visiting The "World Heritage Site" of Vigan City Vigan City is located on the northwestern coast of Luzon in the Philippines. It is the capital of Ilocos Sur province and the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the country. Recently, it won as one of the New Seven Wonders Cities of the World.

The Meztizo District in Vigan is the main tourist hangout particularly the street of Crisologo where you can see and buy all local souvenir items, it is well-preserved Bahay na Bato structures and its historical core. Currently, there are 187 listed ancestral houses in town. Besides this, it also boasts of beautiful colonial churches, a plaza that comes alive with a fountain show at night, a free-roaming zoo and numerous historical museums. 

Kalesa ride at night


"Pagburnayan" Pottery Maker


"Ang Mangangalakal"


Traditional "Kalesa" transportation


Hotel Felicidad Hallway


Singson Residence


St. Elizabeth stained glass at St. Paul's Cathedral


Inside Ancestral House of Singson


White Statue


Kalesa along Crisologo Street


St. Paul's Cathedral in Vigan


* All photos are captured with the Leica V-Lux camera with 25-400mm lens.


]]> (arj muñoz photography) ancestral baluarte camera cathedral church city crisologo heritage historical horse ilocos images jars kalesa kiln leica luzon pagburnayan paul philippines photography photos pottery province singson st. sur unesco v-lux vigan world Sat, 03 Jan 2015 12:45:00 GMT
Travel Photography: Baguio - The Summer Capital of the Philippines Baguio, is known as the Summer Capital of the country because of its cool climate and is also one of the most famous cities in the Philippines. It is highly urbanized city located in the province of Benguet in northern Luzon. For most travellers, Baguio serves as the primary gateway to backpacker bliss up north in Sagada, Banaue and Kalinga.

Burnham Park, Botanical Garden, Camp John Hay and Mines View Park are the most common places the tourists normally hangout. But you can also visit Tam-Awan Village where you can see replicas of native cogon-thatched homes and get a chance to meet a local artists. 

If you are an adventurer and you want to climb mountain on top of the mountains, then you can try Mount Santo Tomas located in Tuba, Benguet some 2,260m (7,410ft) above sea level, good for sight-seeing but don't forget to bring your warm suits and even sun protection. This place is now becoming popular to locals because it is the shooting location of the ABS-CBN teleserye "Forevermore", where Sitio Pungayan or the famous La Presa (fictional name in the series) is located.

Light of Dawn at Burnham Park, Baguio


The Last Light, Baguio


High-rise Community, Baguio


Igorots at Botanical Garden


View at Sitio Pungayan (La Presa) in Mount Sto. Tomas


Baguio View at Night


Night Market along Harrison Road


Inside Tam-Awan Village


Sunrise at Burnham Park


]]> (arj muñoz photography) baguio benguet botanical burnham camp capital garden hay igorot john lapresa mines mount mountains native park people philippines santo summer sunrise tam-awan tomas view village Sun, 28 Dec 2014 06:45:00 GMT
Macro Photography: A Closer Look To The Wonderful World of Bugs and Insects Photographing bugs and insects in your garden is one thing, but challenging yourself shooting them in life-size is another thing. That's where macro photography or also known as photomacrography comes using special lenses. Macro photographs are taken from extreme close-up range. This allows the image on the sensor plane to be equal to life size or greater.  However, there are a range of other ways to achieve the same end such as Close-up Lenses (close-up rings), Reversed Lens mounted on the camera using a "reverse ring mount adapter", Extension Tubes and Bellows - to extend the lens' focal length enabling it to enlarge.

Despite their reputation as pests, the trillions of insects, bugs, and spiders that inhabit the Earth can make some of the most fascinating and dramatic close-up photography subjects.  Insects and their tiny environments offer the macro photographer an unlimited amount of color, texture, and physical architecture to explore. They are as unique as we are, and they are obviously much more plentiful. 

]]> (arj muñoz photography) adapters ants bugs close-up extension insects lens lenses life-size macro macrography nature photomacrography reversed spiders tubes Sun, 21 Sep 2014 07:51:26 GMT
Travel Photography: Discovering Rizal Towns Rizal is bordered by Metro Manila to the west, the province of Bulacan to the north, Quezon to the east and Laguna province to the south. The province also lies on the northern shores of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country. It is a mountainous province perched on the western slopes of the southern portion of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Antipolo boasts of a wonderful view of Metro Manila and it is where Hinulugang Taktak, a waterfall popular with tourists, can be found.



Rizal began as a territory when the provinces of Tondo and Laguna were created by the Spanish government with the towns of Pasig and Parañaque (now part of Metro Manila), Taytay and Cainta- bustling towns during the Spanish colonial era with a decidedly cosmopolitan mix already, intermarriages between the Tagalogs, the Chinese and Arabs were prevalent long before Spain came to colonize these shores. Encomiendas were established with Moron (Morong), Passi (Pasig), Taitay (Taytay) and Tagui (Taguig-now part of Metro Manila) under their respective jurisdictions under the provinces of Tondo and La Laguna. In the succeeding years, further political subdivisions were dissolved and created with the town of Morong eventually becaming the capital of La Laguna and then later changed into a Distrito Politico-Militar de Morong. During the tenure of the revolutionary government of General Emilio Aguinaldo, who also served as the Philippines’ first Philippine President, Mariquina (Marikina) became the capital of the Province of Manila.

After all these confusing fusions and dissections of Manila, on 11 June 1901 the province of Rizal (named after the Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal as suggested by Dr. Trinidad Hermenegildo Pardo de Tavera- a creole and derided as one of the first American “buttkissers”, who’s Parisian house at one time received Jose Rizal and other prominent Filipino intellectuals and revolutionists in Europe) was finally created by virtue of Act No. 137 by the first Philippine Commission (was acting as the unicameral legislative body for Luzon at that time) headed by United States of America President William Howard Taft and composed of Commissioners Luke E. Wright, Henry C. Ide, Bernard Moses and Dean C, Worcester during a meeting at the Pasig Catholic Church and with 221 delegates in attendance through a heated debate.

Originally composed of 26 towns (most of which are now part of Metro Manila), the former dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 824 took away the 12 towns of Rizal namely the towns of Las Piñas, Makati, Taguig, Pateros, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Malabon, Navotas, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Pasig and Marikina to merge them with the newly-created Metro Manila leaving Rizal with the remaining 14 towns.

Text courtesy:

Inside Kalinawan Cave - Tanay, Rizal

The historical cave was discovered in 1896 and it was used by the Filipino resistance fighters as a hideout against Spanish, American and Japanese invaders. It was also used by the Japanese as a hospital during World War II. Kalinawan or Calinawan cave is where opposing parties during the wars settle disputes, thus the name Calinawan from the Filipino word “linaw” or to make “clear.

"Green Fields" - Morong, Rizal

Fisherman - Fish Port, Cardona, Rizal

Early morning scene at Morong, Rizal

View at the fish port in Cardona, Rizal

"The Farmer" - Morong, Rizal

Morning Field Pesticide - Morong, Rizal

Local farmer - Morong, Rizal

Daranak Falls - Tanay, Rizal

Beautiful Daranak Falls - Tanay, Rizal

"Outing" - Daranak Falls, Tanay, Rizal

Scene at Daranak Falls, Tanay, Rizal

Kalinawan Cave - Tanay, Rizal

Devotee - San Ildefonso Church, Tanay, Rizal

San Ildefonso Parish Church - Tanay, Rizal

Saint Ildefonsus of Toledo Parish Church, commonly known as the Tanay Church, is a Roman Catholic church located in the town of TanayRizal Province in the Philippines. The construction of the present church was begun in 1773 and was completed after ten years in 1783. In 2001, it was declared as a National Cultural Treasure Church by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. It is also among the five Jubilee churches of the Diocese of Antipolo.


To view more of my latest Rizal photos, please click this link or go to my Galleries.


]]> (arj muñoz photography) antipolo cardona cave daranak falls field fishport kalinawan local morong people rizal tanay taytay Sat, 20 Sep 2014 09:12:12 GMT
Travel Photography: Manila Photowalk

"Kalakal" - Reflection of Buildings at Pasig River.


"Grass Trimmer" - Manila Golf Course, Intramuros, Manila


"Jose Rizal - The Last Walk" - Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila  


Binondo Church, Manila


"Homeless" outside Binondo Church, Manila 


Less-fortunate in Manila


Fortress Wall - Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila


Makati Skyline

]]> (arj muñoz photography) binondo boatman church course fort golf grass images intramuros jose makati manila pasig photo photography reflection river rizal santiago travel water Sat, 19 Jul 2014 09:00:00 GMT
Travel Photography: Aliwan Fiesta 2014 - The Grand Festival of Champions Aliwan Fiesta harnesses the power of Philippine festivals to showcase how religion, culture, and tradition are woven into the fiber of our existence. Traditional fiestas, which are held annually to commemorate the foundation of a town or province, or honoring its patron saint, are brought together en masse to highlight the Pinoy’s indomitable and ebullient spirit, together with his mien for creativity and innovation. With most major fiestas rooted in the pre-colonial period, there is understandably a festival sector that celebrates Nature’s bounty. Our Filipino forebears worshipped pagan gods who, to them, were responsible for bountiful harvests on land and sea.

Aliwan Fiesta is being held every year in Manila. The event is dubbed as the "Festival of Champions" wherein different festivals from all over the country gathered and compete in three major events - festival float competition, Reyna ng Aliwan and Aliwan Fiesta Street dance competition.

Panagbenga Festival of Baguio


Baguio City Float 


Utanon Festival Float


Caragan Festival of Pampanga


Sinulog Festival of Cebu


Pamulinawen of Laoag



Panagbenga Festival of Baguio


Isabela Smile


T'nalak Festival of South Cotabato


Bato Arts Festival of Luna Isabela


Panagbenga Festival of Baguio


"The spectators"


Caragan Festival of Pampanga

]]> (arj muñoz photography) adivay aliwan art bato caragan dance dawa dinagyang festival fiesta float gawgawayan gitab halamanan kalilangan kalivungan meguyaya palawod pamulinawen panagbenga pandang philippines photography photos reyna sagayan singkaban sinulog street tinalak Mon, 28 Apr 2014 08:54:31 GMT
Travel Photography: Semana Santa - Moriones Festival 2014 The Moriones is an annual festival held on Holy Week on the island of Marinduque and in southern part of Oriental Mindoro specifically in Pinamalayan and also in Naujan. The "Moriones" are men and women in costumes and masks replicating the garb of biblical Roman soldiers as interpreted by local folks. The Moriones or Moryonan tradition has inspired the creation of other festivals in the Philippines where cultural practices or folk history is turned into street festivals.

The festival is characterized by colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly colored tunics. Traditionally, the morion's real identity is kept secret, even to his immediate family. The mask and his costume is prepared painstakingly and discreetly months or even years before he actually wears it.

]]> (arj muñoz photography) colors costumes festival festivals helmet holyweek marinduque masks mindoro morion moriones naujan oriental people pinamalayan roman santa semana street Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:22:22 GMT
Travel Photography: Puerto Galera Adventure Trip
Seaview at White Beach, Puerto Galera


View from Ponderosa Golf Club
The Ponderosa Golf Club is just 20 minutes out of the town proper and spectacularly perched on a mountain side over looking Puerto Galera  2,000 feet above sea level. Essentially it is a 9 hole par 3 course with attitude and a compelling  experience enjoyed by both serious and fun golfers alike.


A beautiful and picturesque La Pantay Falls


An inviting fresh water of Tukuran Falls also known as Hidden Paradise.


Colorful bedrock and yellow leaf under fresh water of La Pantay Falls.


An old mangyan woman sitting on the other end of Hanging Bridge in San Teodoro.


Sabang Beach after heavy rain.


Crystal clear and refreshing water of Tukuran Falls in Puerto Galera.


View of La Pantay Falls from below.


Over looking mountain range from Ponderosa Golf Club.


]]> (arj muñoz photography) adventure beach bridge club falls fresh galera golf hanging hidden la mangyan mindoro mountains oriental pantay paradise philippines ponderosa puerto sabang trip tukuran water Tue, 01 Apr 2014 09:30:00 GMT
Travel Photography: Inside the Wild Life in Manila Zoo
A peacock displaying his plumage.
The male (peacock) Indian Peafowl has iridescent blue-green or green colored plumage. The peacock tail ("train") is not the tail quill feathers but the highly elongated upper tail covert feathers. The "eyes" are best seen when the peacock fans its tail. Both species have a crest atop the head. The female (peahen) Indian Peafowl has a mixture of dull green, brown, and grey in her plumage. Although she lacks the long upper tail coverts of the male, she has a crest. The female also displays her plumage to ward off female competition or signal danger to her young.


Colorful Rent-A-Boat


Parrots, also known as psittacines, are birds of the roughly 372 species in 86 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes, found in most tropical and subtropical regions.



Colorful Walls


 "Wild-eye of Crocodile"



Guinea Pig



]]> (arj muñoz photography) animals boats cobra colors crocodile deers eagle elephant guinea life lions manila parrot peacock philippines pig snake wild zoo Mon, 03 Feb 2014 10:15:00 GMT
Travel Photography: Visiting Tagaytay "The City of Character"
View from the top of the Palace in the Sky also known as People's Palace

The People's Park in the Sky also known as simply People's Park is a historical urban park in Tagaytay, Cavite, Philippines. The park was converted from an incomplete mansion, known as the Palace in the Sky built during the Marcos Era.


Fountain at Sonya's Garden


Over looking Taal Volcano from the top of Palace in the Sky


Flower at Sonya's Garden


Breathtaking view at the Sky Ranch, Tagaytay


Zipline view at the Sky Ranch


Sky Eye at Sky Ranch Tagaytay


View from the top of the Palace in the Sky.

]]> (arj muñoz photography) cavite eye garden in landscape palace park people's philippines photography photos ranch sky sonya's taal tagaytay the travel volcano Wed, 25 Dec 2013 12:00:00 GMT
Street Photography : Manila Wall Arts - It's More Fun in the Philippines  

Basketball on the Street

"Hang on a Wall"

"Colors Through my Eyes"

Colorful Graffiti

"Say Cheeesseee!"

"Read it Out"

"Shadow and Colors"

"Colors and Style"

]]> (arj muñoz photography) artwall basketball colors intramuros kids murals paint park people philippines photography skateboard spraypaint walls Mon, 14 Oct 2013 07:18:00 GMT
Travel Photography / Workshops in Myanmar 2013 : 14 Days of Travel and Pure Photography It's been a while to post on my Blog, since I arrived back home about a month ago from Myanmar.  

Myanmar 2013: This was another successful international photo workshop / tour indeed and also my first trip to Myanmar. 

I would like to thank each and everyone who joined us on our GD Photo Workshops / Tours in Myanmar.  It was really fun being around you and it was my pleasure to travel and assist you during our tour. 

It's always an honor to assist Gunther Deichmann, my mentor and our group leader who makes every photo tour different and not just your ordinary photo experience. 

Thanks also to our local guide Tin and drivers who made our life easy during our stay, they made my job a bit more relaxed. Well just a bit…

Please note; we recently updated our Photo Workshops calendar and have Cambodia - Myanmar starting in September 2013. In 2014 we scheduled Sri Lanka (late Feb. 2014) and India / Special Rajasthan (Thar Dessert) photo tour in March 2014. 

Note:  Our special Rajasthan (Thar Desert) tour for March 2014 is almost fully booked, we have only 3 more spots available. (max. for 8 participants only)

For more info please click this link GDPWS Calendar or contact Gunther for reservations.

You can also visit our previous behind the scene images & participants work plus the most recent feedback (testimonials) at these LINKS.

Below are some of my photos I managed to squeeze in whenever time permitted; during evening break or after the workshop when I stayed on for a couple of nights in Yangon. 

Hope you all enjoy and thank you for viewing.  

Shwedagon Pagoda at Night

Shwedagon Pagoda (Golden Pagoda) view over Yangon City at night.

Local street vendor along Yangon.

Local street vendor along Yangon.

View from the top of one of the Pagodas in Bagan.

Ananda Temple shot through the side mirror. 

St. Mary

St. Mary's Cathedral Church in Yangon

Early morning view along the road of Nyaung-U in Bagan

Inside Maha Muni Temple Monks walking inside Mahamuni Buddha Temple.

Nuns... just finished cooking in Kalaywatawya Monastery.

Nuns... just finished cooking in Kalaywatawya Monastery.

A nice afternoon sunset at Bagan.

A nice afternoon sunset at Bagan.

Walking monks along U-Bein Bridge in Mandalay during sunset.

Walking monks along U-Bein Bridge in Mandalay during sunset.

Heron bird over U-Bein Bridge in Mandalay

Heron bird over U-Bein Bridge in Mandalay

Cruising Taungthaman Lake.

Cruising Taungthaman Lake.

Monk sleeping while waiting for the train inside terminal station in Yangon.

Monk sleeping while waiting for the train inside terminal station in Yangon.

Old burmese man in Dallah.

An old burmese in Dallah.

Macro shot of a beautiful yellow-wing dragonfly.

Macro shot of a beautiful yellow-wing dragonfly.

Monks crossing the main road of Yangon.

Monks crossing pedestrian lane at the main road of Yangon.

Young burmese from the train window in Yangon. Young burmese from the train window in Yangon. 

Reflection of Shwegadon Paagoda after sunset.

Reflection of Shwedagon Pagoda after sunset.

]]> (arj muñoz photography) air an ananda aung ayeyawarddy bagan balloon bayinnyi boditataung bogyok bridge buddha buddhism burma burmese cave heho hot hpa images indein inlay inle journalism kaelar kalaywatawya kawgoon kyaukkalat kyi lake landscape magazine mahamuni mandalay market minnanthu monastery monks myanmar pagan pagoda people phaungdawoo photo photography photos portraits rangoon reclining river san shinbintharllyaung shwedagon shwenanyindaw shwesandaw shweyanpyay shwezigon story stupas sunrise sunset suu taungthaman temple thameewhetumin thanlwin u-bein village yangon zwekabin Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:25:17 GMT
Travel Photo Workshop : Subic Bay, Freeport Zone, Olangapo City, Philippines This could be my last photoblog post for this month before leaving on Sunday and will be out again for about 3 weeks to assist Gunther on the upcoming GD Photo Workshops in Myanmar.

First of all, we (Gunther and myself) would like to thank all the participants and the PR team who joined last weekend's GD Photo Workshop in Subic and also for the full support of Power Mac Center and the staff (Ms. Maleng, Ms. Zyra, Andrew and Ella) who sponsored and made this photo event possible and successful.

I would like to share some of my photos I managed to get in between during our field photo shoot in Subic area.

Thank you for viewing!

Sunrise view at the Subic Yacht Club.

San Roque Chapel at Subic Bay, Freeport Zone

Reflection of Nature

Subic Bay, Freeport Zone 

Subic Yacht Club

Subic Bay, Freeport Zone

]]> (arj muñoz photography) apple bay center freeport images mac olongapo philippines photography power subic travel tutorial view waterfront workshops zambales Tue, 12 Feb 2013 05:38:23 GMT