Paghibalag: Landscape Photo Walk in Hills View Mountain Villa Sunday, October 9, 2016

Being a photo enthusiast and on the road to becoming a photographer, I can't help but go on photo walks, which I have been blogging about for the past few weeks. The thirst to take photos just wouldn't stop. Along with my journey is Ateneo Photographer's Society (APS) - a club I joined last year til now. For this year, APS just bloomed with all the activities they've been conducting. The biggest one yet is Paghibalag - a landscape photography workshop. I hope you'll read til the end!

Weeks before the scheduled date, I knew for myself I wanted to go. I've decided I'm going to participate even if my parents wouldn't approve. Thankfully, after telling my mom about it, she approved. My dad wasn't up for it because it wasn't safe. I was still decided to go and I guessed with my mom's support, dad eventually let me participate in the workshop.

Paghibalag pt i

In partnership with the Landscape Photographers of Davao (LaPD), APS was able to launch a first ever photo exhibit in school. It showcased some of the beautiful photos taken by LaPD. I don't know the backstory, but this led to the landscape photography workshop, which is Paghibalag. 

A day before the actual workshop is the seminar. The LaPD talked about the basics of landscape photography. Some of the topics that were covered were the gears that you'd be using, the filters used, and the composition. As far as I could remember, there were four topics. It's either I forgot it or I wasn't there because I had a class at that time and I was missing for around twenty minutes during the lecture. I just checked out if there was something important in class and upon knowing there wasn't, I cut class. Woops!

There were a lot of things I learned from the lecture itself. I kinda regretted not getting a copy of their slideshows because sadly, I forgot some, okay... mostly. :( The lecture took around three hours and I was really glad that I was there from start to finish, despite my short absence. It was a big crowd from the start not until time for classes came and so there was only a few of us left. They had freebies but my name wasn't picked out so...

Hills View Mountain Villa, BuDa

I never get to mention where Mountain Hills is, but it's actually in Buda - Bukidnon Davao. Technically not in Davao, that's why it wasn't easy getting a permission from my parents. I made a quick research about it a few days before our trip. Turns out, I didn't saw a lot of photos except for a similar photo above. As for the reviews, one took my attention saying you shouldn't go. They had a bad review about it and basically they had a bad stay with all their complaints. It didn't bother me much, and I just ignored it. Supposedly, I was just looking for how the place looked like but I ended up thinking I'll surprise myself with my stay there.

Paghibalag pt ii

Our call time was 5:30 am and thankfully I woke up in my alarm. I left, hoping that I didn't left anything important. When I arrived in school, I regretted not eating breakfast since we left two hours after the agreed time. We arrived after two hours and I felt uneasy. Good thing, a friend of mine, Paul, shared his packed lunch. I was able to recover from the dizziness while our club president was announcing the house rules.

Of course the view was beautiful. The place was really good for a getaway. You can't receive or send messages and there was no Wifi. The rooms upstairs were nice. Two rooms and one big hall, all of which were filled with mattresses and has its own little terrace. Many of the girls already had their dibs when I came, good thing there was one bed available. It was so small and although it seemed like an attic I like it!

We waited for our lunch taking pictures of the place because duh! It didn't took long though. After lunch was another lecture from the LaPD, but this time just a short review from basic photography. It was more of a hands on workshop this time as everyone gets to try the filters owned by one of the LaPD. They did it by type of cameras, rather brand. First was for all Canon users, next were the Nikon users and supposedly for Mirrorless users. There was only two of us so I just approached one of the LaPDs and tried the filters. It was so cool! It was very different from the filter that I had since it was a square filter. Something new to me!

no filter

with filter

It took around two hours after all that. The remaining time was for us to explore the place and find our spot for the sunset and sunrise. Oh right, it was an overnight workshop! I went with Paul first, but we didn't go far because Paul was kinda afraid climbing up. Despite the scary trails, the view was indeed worth it. I couldn't believe I get to experience this! We went back to the house and when I met up with new friends and an old clubmate, I went with them again. This time, further than where Paul and I went, further than the little house on that hill. That's when I met new friends. Each of us wanted  someone to take pictures of us on the rock. I met Glyra first, she took those photos of me. We are actually friends on facebook and following each other on instagram, but we haven't talked yet, til this day. Later on, I met her friends. They were having a mini photoshoot in the little house. I joined in thinking it was the best time to use my new 35mm a.k.a blogger lens. Yes! My ever supportive mom bought it two days before the workshop! It was a little while when they approached me and that's when I showed them my shots and we became friends! Yay!


this is Glyra
I was actually looking forward for the sunset but the weather again didn't cooperate, so we left earlier. There was nothing much to do so I joined in with my new friends, Glyra, Jolo and Airah. We were getting to know each other and chatting until we felt like we needed a nap.

We had dinner first thing I woke up. Then, we had a short game just to break the ice from everyone. We didn't know each other well since we were going there in groups. Things got a little serious because it was a Q & A session again with the photographers. They shared some of their experiences and thoughts on photography. It was amazing. I commend them. The bond that they have, sharing each others knowledge and doing things which they love, their kalokohan - everything was beautiful and aspiring.


I lost my hopes in taking pictures of the stars when it started raining. It was actually one of the things I was looking forward to because I still haven't tried it. I couldn't do it at home because there was no place to set up and no good view of the stars. But thank the heavens, the clouds clear up and the stars were slowly showing up. That's when some also started setting up their tripods, which includes me. Along the way, one of the photographers gave us a background on astrophotography. I got a couple of shots and I still wasn't satisfied. The clouds came back and I still felt the same. But I guess I had some good photos. How do I do with these shots?

a daylight white balance on this one

It was already 1 am when we finished and I have to wake up around 4 am for the sunrise. Hooray for team no sleep! Good thing I woke up but I went out of the room quarter to five. Good thing I had my sweater on because it was freaking cold! I was shivering when I went downstairs and everyone else was still asleep. A few moments, the LaPD were starting to move out and go to their spot for sunrise. I followed but as soon as I arrived up, I knew it wasn't a good weather. Even so, I continued shooting even if most of my shots were almost the same. When I almost decided to go back, that was when the LaPD started to shoot in our spot. So they shared again their filters and even taught some of us a good composition.

using the ND Grad soft edge filter

Composition by Sir Wilson

When we got back, we had breakfast and started to pack up our things. I had my last minute shots before we left and of course a group photo is a must.
just grabbed this from our group
But after a few days, they made an after movie. I'm so glad I saw myself even for a second hahaha!

Things I Learned

As I've said, I've learned a lot especially from LaPD. I would have taken them down if I brought a notebook but I didn't. So now, there were only a few that really stick to my mind. And I love to share them with you.
  • Make the most of what you have. "Don't buy because others buy it or you like it. Know the limitations of your camera first. That's the time to buy a new one, if the current one can't achieve or don't meet the goals you've set for" 
  • Know your camera. If you're really in to photography, you should know your camera. Know the basics. It would really be helpful in the long run.
  • Develop and mature. You'll grow as a photographer. Go on more photo walks, edit more photos. You'll eventually develop yourself in the little ways and eventually you'll settle for the field of photography you want. Then you mature. You wouldn't care what others might think or would say because it's your composition which leads us to..
  • Photography is an expression of yourself. Photography is an art. You, as a photographer, are an artist. It is you who presses that shutter button with a view on your mind and mood. 
  • Shoot to express, not to impress. Pretty much self explanatory.
Those are just a few, but they really inspired me to work more and pursue my passions. This workshop also made me want to inspire other also with photography. Not only just letting them point and shoot, but much deeper than that. 

I know it was a lengthy post so I hope you've reached this far and I want to thank you. Cheers to pursuing our passions! 

 Guys, I've just recently made a page for Wanderlaska, I do hope you'll like it. Thanks!