Kangaroo shots in Baguio, Benguet, etc.

I really love photography… I am not a photographer nor did studied one, much less own a decent camera. What I mean is I do love looking on great pictures. Sadly our family lies somewhere between the Class C & D of the so-called “social class” whatever! And buying a dream camera, say the Pentax K-30 (or the Fuji X100) might be forever a dream, haha! After our film camera exceeded life expectancy, my wife’s sister gave her an iPhone 3GS, our first sort of digital camera.

I love pictures of the outdoors, and topping my list are photographs of my family in front of such backdrop. Whenever we need a family picture, I just approaches somebody to give a hand. One summer of 2010 in Calatagan, I saw a great shore background and decided to take a photo of my wife and the kids (in the absence of a human tripod) but the result is a bit blurred because of my youngest son Adrian. He didn’t want a meter of space between us!

My wife lost her iPhone before Adrian’s 2nd birthday in 2010. A weather-sealed Pentax K7 would have been a great replacement then, when Fuji’s X100 was still a buzz before Adrian’s birth-month of December same year. When I woke up on that fantasy, my pocket brought me to a Fujifilm, the point & shoot A170 though. There were better P&S available but I am into mountaineering so I preferred an AA battery-powered camera.

On Adrian’s birthday, we had lunch at Goldilocks SM Mega Mall. I have wanted to take a picture of him with his two brother and niece but this “joey” did not want to leave the ironic boomer pouch, I thought kangaroo’s pouch belongs to flyer.

BTW, thanks to Adrian’s birthday I found WordPress, this online photo-album sprouted from the trial & first post “Cheap Camera, Priceless Memories.”, the Preamble.

Fast forward to our summer stint in Baguio of 2011, Adrian cooperated on earlier photo-shoots 🙂 thanks to his kuya Aaron. First stop, at Burnham Park.

Next was at the Mansion. Tantrum of the baby kangaroo had just begun, succeeding shoots enlisted tripod into the war.

Then we proceeded to Mines View Park. In touring Baguio, I recommend that family should head first to this place early on the morning to have a better view of nature. (My mistake, I forgot my itinerary.) Besides, the park is crowded in the afternoon. That’s why I wasn’t able to use my tripod. That joey Adrian broke out from the pose with kuya Aaron and Jonmer.

From the Mines View Park, we went back to the Mansion because of another picture-perfect backdrop across, the Wright Park. Aided by the tripod, I set a family picture at the “Pool of Pines” where everybody smiled but Adrian. Even when the joey was with his flyer, his hand made sure the boomer’s face was near.

Adrian doesn’t stayed long with his mom, he returned to me on this majestic pine tree shot (setting the tripod was my only rest).

My memorable shot in Baguio was at this gazebo where we had that five (5) minutes of rest. Being a photographer and nanny was so arduous, the 20L bag on my back weighed heavier compared to my backpacking of 60L. Carrying Adrian made it much difficult, I wish I had a kangaroo baby carrier.

There’s a long flight of stairs from the gazebo down to the Wright Park Riding Circle that would have been a great backdrop but Adrian stayed on his tatay‘s pouch “my gulay”. He has no horse-back riding shot too. (A kangaroo above a horse sana!)

Before we called it a day, we went back to Burnham Park straight to its Children’s Playground. Adrian though fell asleep inside the taxi en route. That’s when the joey rested in the flyer’s pouch. (Or just recharging for our trip to Benguet the following day.)

It was the same scenario again at Strawberry Fields, Benguet (30 minutes from Baguio City). I carried Adrian on one arm, and the other hand held the camera. There’s no space for tripod on the farm but I managed to take some photos and video.


A video of the family too.

Adrian is now in Nursery. I compose this post when my wife called me at work telling me Adrian’s teachers surrendered incorporating him on their practice for the scouting investiture. Accordingly, Adrian just ran and ran and played around the basketball court. He’s no more a joey but a grown-up kangaroo.

I hope these two can trek their first mountain next summer.

…but it may take longer for I now have a new joey, my daughter Jodie Marie.

Mountain and Kids

Kids draw their inspirations from adults, especially their parents. It can be the other way around too. My article entitled “After a Decade of Hiatus, I Returned to Backpacking with a new buddy, My Wife.” describes how my wife emotionally pushed me to return to my favorite recreation. Before that comeback, her FarmVille time competed with my frequent visit to the Philippines’ hiking and mountain climbing guide site PinoyMountaineer.com.

During one of those visits, I stumbled on the feature “Marley, the three-year old mountaineer by Nico Waya B. Rabanillo (the kid’s father). Nico Waya recounts “Every time he meets a fellow mountaineers along the trails he never forgets to greet them like “Good morning Ma’am/Sir”. Some fellow mountaineers are also amazed with Marley’s determination to climb the summit of each mountain. At a young age, he was already educated about the LNT principles and was very keen in following all instructions given to him by his parents.” When Juls Marley accepted my Facebook friend request, I was awed by the pictures of his climbs. The three years old kid became one of my inspirations on my return to mountaineering.

Marveled by Marley, I requested from his parents accommodation to their climb, which materialized at Mt. Sto. Tomas via Mt. Cabuyao, both in Tuba, Benguet.

There are many ways to reach the summit of Mt. Sto. Tomas; driving off-road vehicles, mountain biking, or trekking. Guides are not necessary, the locals are very helpful for directions and the trails are wide. From Baguio, we hired a jeepney for Brgy. Digdigwayan, Benguet, a short-cut to Mt. Cabuyao saving you an hour trek on paved/rough roads, but the jump-off is assault. Marley, even on his first use of a backpack, hurdled it with ease, stopping intermittently on the trail when he found something interesting from nature like colorful stones, dried leaves and seed beads.

Marley with the mountaineer couple, paps & mam, Waya & Roly Rabanillo.

The base camp of Mt. Cabuyao (serving the same purpose for Mt. Sto. Tomas) can accommodate many tents but be there before night or you’ll be pitching under poor visibility and cold wind.

Awesome morning view from the base camp. (click the picture to enlarge)

Cell sites atop  Mt. Sto. Tomas might prickle some mountaineers but the views from the trek to the summit are great. (click the picture to enlarge)

The popular joke that there are two gigantic electric fans on Mt. Cabuyao that keep Baguio cool are actually twin radars. (click the picture to enlarge)

The summit has man-made structures, but hey- focus on the horizon.

Some take Mt. Sto. Tomas/Mt. Cabuyao as sidetrip from a major climb in the Cordilleras or from a tour of Baguio. But if you are planning to have your vacation in Baguio especially with your family, why not spend it on these very accessible mountains. Strawberries and brocolis are freshest here!

I wish I can do this from Manila! Where’s my genie?