Saturday, February 28, 2009

I am home from the Philippines

Hello everyone. I am home from the Philippines and have so much to talk about I do not know where to start.
First of all, I am so going back to that beautiful country. It is like nothing we have here. A little fun fact that I found out was that The Philippines is the 3rd most english speaking country in the world! I thought going there I would feel weird and not know what everyone was saying including signs, NOT TRUE! I had to keep reminding myself that I was in South East Asia.
We started our trip out in Manila. Our flight was not as bad as I thought, it took 14 hours, but I slept most of the trip. They gave us 3 seats so we could lie down!
We got into Manilla at 3am, our bus ride out the the airport was the first shocker. WOW the driving is crazy there, the lanes are a suggestion.
We arrived at the Pennisula Hotel in Manila, we where received with a wonderful breakfast and given our itenerary and name tags, we went into our rooms and prepared for a mini-bridal show featuring some vendors from the area. The other photographer on the trip was Jeff Sharpe from Sharpe Photographers. We had a mission to get one of the girls from the hotel to model for us so we could show photos of the beautiful lobby. (photos above) I remember being very hot and deciding I was wearing less clothes the rest of the trip.
Because we got to the hotel so early we all where very tired and went to bet at 7pm.
We got our wake up call around 6am and headed off for the tour of the city of Manila. On our way we saw a lot of poverty and met our tour guide Onesto. We saw many different beautiful places, a lot of history. Every place we went to we wished we had a dress and a bride to pose in these beautiful places. That night they took us to a place called the Glass Garden, what a beautiful place. We arrived to photographers and new stations, and where treated to a grand fire works show. Once inside they had Aimee, Tara, and I get dressed up in wedding dresses. The famous make-up artist Rolex (Because he is expensive) did our make-up and hair. We had such a blast, we posed with the staff and held up just about every guy there and Julia Markel. We tried to get one of the dresses for the trip and they wanted too much.
The next day we woke up early 5am for our flight to Bohol. It was a little nerve racking since the place landed in between houses! We boarded our bus and asked the tour guide if we could stop somewhere to get a dress. We stopped in this little shop and bought a dress with a long train for $130! with the veil and a shirt for the guy. We headed off to a river cruise but first we saw the world smallest primate. (I can't remember what they where called) We where able to get right in front of them in their cage. After that we went on a Loboc River cruise. How cool that was. I decided to start the trend of wearing the dress, so I put it on and they stopped next to some rocks for me to pose on. It was so hot but so worth it! We finished the cruise and went back to port. We then headed on a long a bumpy road to a beautiful resort with a cliff that lead to an amazing beach. Aimee got into the dress and we did some amazing sunset trash the dress. With the help of Phil Sheffield and Jim Foust's video light Jeff and I where able to get some amazing shots of Aimee on the beach. Once it got to dark we headed to the pool. Jeff and Aimee got into the pool and did some fun photos. That was the only night we where able to get to swim, if I would have known that I would have done it longer.
The next day we headed off for another tour of Bohol and off to the Ferry to Cebu City. The Ferry was 2 hours long. Most of us decided to go to the top of the boat and get SOME SUN! We got up there and it was so windy I could barely stand! Felicia got into the dress and we did some fun photos of her. There where some guys up there that I am sure enjoyed the show. We spent almost all the time up there, the wind was so strong it was like riding a motorcycle. We arrived on the Ferry and headed off in another bus. We found out that Cebu City is the Guitar Capital of the world. We did a tour of Cebu City and went to our Resort The Shangri-la. By far the most beautiful location we had been to. We got there at dusk and where treated to a performance. On the way in we where told that this was there festival time where all the locals opened their doors for food and festivities. We checked in our rooms and went off to dinner. The dinner was in a place over-looking the ocean and it is said that dolphins swim below during the day. We had lobster and other amazing treats.
We went to bed and woke up to a beautiful breakfast and a 'restful day' if needed. Some got massages but me and a few of the girls went shopping, I wanted to buy my husband a guitar. We got back for lunch and got Tara for a shoot on the beach. Tara was an amazing model we did some amazing photos on the beach of her. The sand was so coarse that I did not need a pedicure . We then headed off for the mock wedding. The location was beautiful! The couple was so cool and it was interesting because there where 4 local photographers there as well. Jeff and I where able to spend some time with the couple afterwards and got some great photos. They where married 6 months prior. We then got ready for an amazing dinner on the beach for us. Kind of like a reception. It was a fun party, unlimited wine, dancing and fun. We stayed up and walked around the resort. The pool closed, the beach closed, so the only place we where able to go was on the pier. It was peaceful and fun. We went to bed to wake up to a tour of Cebu City. It was a long day because we where tired and just wanted to chill out. The tour of Cebu City ended with our flight back to Manila. We arrived and where taken to the Crown Plaza hotel. We checked in and had dinner in their ballroom. Some of the girls where very tired and went to bed right away. A few of us decided we wanted to go and play pool since the hotel pretty much shut down. We went out the next day to tour a couple locations again and where told to bring our dresses for that evening where we could change in the bus. We toured a few really nice places and went to the Glass Palace. What a beautiful place! So magical. We hung out there for a while and they brought in a dance floor and shooter bar since it was our last night. We danced and had fun but since everyone was so tired we decided to got back to the hotel. We got back to the hotel and our friend Lui from the Tourism board helped us find a place where we could play pool. It was a nice place and very fun. I sucked at pool but my friend Tara rocked! I can't remember if we beat the guys. We decided to go back to the hotel and stay up as late as possible since we where leaving the next day. We stayed up til 4am. The next day we toured another Shangri-la hotel, and where treated to an amazing lunch. We got back and decided to do a shoot in the streets, an urban look. We took Tara out in the street and the local police assisted the shoot. We then took her over to a building that had be blown up and did a shoot in the rubble. What a cool shoot. We then headed off to the airport and got ready for our trip home with an hour massage.
This trip was so amazing, we found that even though the people of philippines where mostly poor and lived in a way we would think was horrible they where a happy and friendly people. Everywhere we went they smiled and waved at us. We where treated so well, I will definatley go back.

1 comment:

ReneGaviola said...

Hi Jodi!
Wow, welcome back and many thanks for adding me right away to your facebook and writing all these stuff about your trip here in the Philippines!
An energizer bunny you are :)
Will definitely try to catch up w/ you guys/gals now that you are settling back there.
Oh, by the way, the small cute big-eyed fur ball you saw in Bohol is a Tarsier :)
Will visit more of your sites later on, gotta go!
- Rene Gaviola