Today has been crazy amazing.
We started the day with a full-day snorkeling expedition. We visited about 4 or 5 snorkeling spots and we saw a manta ray, 6 eagle rays swimming in formation, gray reef sharks, and tuna! But best of all, we saw pods of dolphins, with lots of babies, just following our boat and interacting with us! We even snorkeled a sunken ship, with only the bow sticking out of the water. Breathtaking. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much on one boat trip. It’s bad-ass hardcore snorkeling, if there ever was one.
And the whole time we were treated like royalty – snacks, food, a sumptuous lunch, coffee, etc., overflowing the whole time. We wowed everyone when we brought out a bag of dried mangoes. They kept closing their eyes and exclaiming how orgasmically delicious it was! The whole crew just spoiled us rotten. The whole experience was just magical.
We also had nice company, we had German, French, South African, and Peruvian people as groupmates. When we were introducing ourselves, as they proudly stated their home countries: “Germany!”, “France!”, “South Africa!”, “Peru!”, I was tempted to say, “The proud land of the Pinoy Republic of Jejemon!”
The water was incredibly clear and warm. Even in between snorkeling spots, we would jump in the middle of the ocean just to soak in the soothing turquoise brine of the Indian Ocean. It’s like we get separation anxiety from the ocean.
We were actually sad to see it end, our little seafaring jaunt, one that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
And to our surprise, our day was far from over. Apparently, it’s Earth Hour, and to celebrate, all four “resorts” within the resort (our resort is divided further into four sub-resorts) are dining by candlelight, under the stars, serenaded by Maldivian performers, singing and dancing as we feast. Okay fine, it was crazy romantic, so I was imagining it’s our wedding and it was our reception (hahaha, I can’t believe I admitted that!). But it was perfect: overflowing scrumptious food, romantic setting, the sound of the surf crashing into the shore, Maldivian chanting and music wafting into the air, under the clearest skies imaginable, with the one person I’d want to be experiencing this with, how could I not swoon? What a perfect way to end an already perfect day.
Did I mention that this is now my most favorite place in the whole wide world? No? This in now my most favorite place in the whole wide world.
Since we’ve been here before (same time last year to be exact), I really didn’t bring my camera gear anymore because I didn’t really see myself taking pictures this time around. So I just brought my handy waterproof Canon D10, and my Nikon D90 “just in case”. True enough, I hardly took pictures, because we were too busy being like kids. So if you want to see photos of the awesome resort, just search for “Calicoan” on the search bar of my blog, and it’ll show you links to the 3 posts I did same time last year. It was a very simple, low-stress weekend. We practically spent 3 days soaking either under the sun or in the salt water pool.
We also spent whatever time we had out of the water, wolfing down platefuls of sinful delights like crispy pata. We stayed there for 3 days, and for 3 lunches straight, we feasted on one of the best, if not THE best crispy pata we’ve ever tasted. The balat was thin and crispy to the bite, quickly breaking down into juicy morsels with every nibble. Of course we always ordered veggies or fish with it to justify the culinary orgy we partook of. It was food porn, I tell you!
We also tried out surfing, and unexpectedly we found it quite easy to stand. We all got the hang of it on the second or third try. Maybe the background we have on wakeboarding made it a little easier to learn. The waves were small, so our instructors said it was the perfect size for beginners like us. Surprisingly, the hardest part was not finding our balance, but paddling far to where the waves were breaking. It’s much harder than you’d expect! By the time I paddled far enough to catch a wave, I was totally exhausted and out of breath. I’m just glad I tried it this time around, since we skipped the surfing part the last time we were here.
Like I said, for the most part, we just fooled around like kids. We’ve never quite behaved like this before, just having fun, not thinking of anything except relaxing and laughing and making fools of ourselves. To give you an idea, here are some samples of MANY pics we took goofing around:
All in all it was one of the most fun vacations we’ve ever had. It was inevitable that we’d get the blues coming home, given that it was so much fun, and it was way too short. As it was, we had to swap with the Playtime Girls to be able to maximize our stay there. So after 3 wonderful days, we come home recharged, armed with wicked tans and memories to last a lifetime.
(the famed San Juanico bridge linking Leyte and Samar, where Dante Varona notoriously jumped off)
Just before summer ended, RX management took us out for one last summer hurrah in Anilao, Batangas. If you noticed none of the RX jocks were on board last Saturday, it was because we were all on a bus for one of the nearest ocean getaways to Metro Manila, Batangas. The ride took about more than 3 hours. We got there in time for lunch, then in the afternoon, some people went waverunning while the others swam by the shore.
Then at night, after dinner, of course it’s not an RX gathering without the requisite inuman! And some night swimming, of course. Quote for the night for me: (someone told me) “Dinala ko yung nipples mo kanina, naiwan mo eh…” I’m not naming names.
But the highlight of the whole outing was the next morning, when we all joined the island hopping, which was basically a stop for snorkeling in the Dive & Trek house reef, and a stop for some sunbathing and relaxation at Sampaguita beach.
We got all that done and still got back to the resort in time for lunch! Talk about making the most of the little time left. We finished lunch, packed our stuff, and was headed for home at around 1pm, because some of the jocks had to be back in time for Sunday boardwork. It was a fun trip, one of the rare moments in a year when everyone, from the air staff, sales, traffic, technical, admin, etc., get together as a group and just let loose. Again, thanks to the RX management for the trip!
Oh great, I rush home so I could post the winner of the photo contest before 12nn, and within 5 minutes of getting home, the rotating brownout hits. So it’s a couple of hours delayed, but here it is. We announced this morning who the winner was, but this is the first time we could show you the picture. And so, getting the Canon Powershot A480, the winner is…Gem So!!! Woot!!!
The Winning Photo
Sent by: Gem So
Taken in Mauban, Quezon, just last March 2010, this photo had everything we were looking for. It’s definitely bursting with the summer theme and the accompanying fun that comes with it, and The Morning Rush and 93.1 taking equal billing with the subject. People who like taking jump shots would have an idea of how this was done. It was just done so effortlessly, that he made it look like he was floating on air. Delle was incredulous as to how this photo was taken. She said she doesn’t even see foot marks on the sand where he jumped from. She was asking assurance from me that it wasn’t just photoshopped. We were both infected by the sheer joy of the picture, it made us feel like we were part of their barkada, just goofing about, taking pictures on the sand, which basically encompasses, for many of us sun-lovers at least, what summer should be. So congratulations again to Gem for winning the camera, a very much deserved win, in our humble opinion, of course. The decision was unanimous, no argument between us. We should do this more often! Hehehe, it was fun…
Again, thank you so much to EVERYONE who joined the photo challenge! We didn’t expect such a strong response and were happily amazed at just how good a lot of the photos were. It was heartwarming how you guys took time and a lot of effort to join the contest. We promise to come up with other stuff for you in the near future. Just to give you a peek at how fun Gem’s photos were, let me post some of the other photos she sent in, all fabulously fun:
And another serious contender, probably highest on the creativity scale:
They put the hermit crab on the paper with the RX 93.1 written on it, until it came out to peek, then took the shot. Genius! So as you can see, even just choosing among her shots was difficult enough, with so many good photos. Again, congrats to our winner Gem!!!
Wow, this is the longest stretch of not posting anything on my blog since I started, I think. The 4-day Holy Week holiday and the stressful back-to-work Monday and Tuesday just didn’t give me enough time to post anything! Plus I really needed to rifle through all the entries that you sent us. We were able to choose a winner already yesterday, but the full show earlier just didn’t give us a chance to announce it. So allow me to post the best photos that didn’t quite make it (I wish we had more cameras to give away because you guys outdid yourselves).
We received more than 300 photos from you guys, from about 200 emails! The response was just amazing. So let us thank you for making this little photo project a huge success. We really had a hard time choosing though, because the pictures you sent us were all good, but in different ways. Some were great photos, almost pro-level, but they weren’t as creative as the others. While some were extremely creative, but the execution wasn’t as good. So we really had to hem and haw in choosing the one photo which we felt, given all considerations, bested the rest of the competition. Again, this is a subjective “best”, so you may not necessarily agree with our decision. But as they say, judges’ decision is final (judges being me and Delle). But one thing we can guarantee you, is that we tried our very best to choose with as much objectivity and impartiality as we humanly can, based on the general parameters we gave you guys. But that said, feel free to tell us which photos you think deserved to win, even if it wasn’t the one we chose. It would just be interesting to hear your point of view.
Presenting — the runners-up. I’ll post the winning photo tomorrow, after we announce the winner on-air on The Morning Rush, over Monster Radio RX 93.1. I won’t post the full names, just in case the senders would rather that I’d not. Then I’ll put some of our comments after. In no particular order:
Sent by: “Mike Y.”
We really found this cute. The only underwater entry sent in, so it got really high points for creativity and put really big smiles on our faces. Hands-down, one of the serious contenders to win the prize.
Sent by: “Koulen A.”
This got high points for creativity as well. We just hope the baby was safe at all times during the shoot. We loved the little headset thing going on, and the baby wearing only diapers felt really summer-y. Plus, the composition was really well thought of.
Sent by: “Lia T.”
I personally loved this one. It had a really nice dramatic feel to it, as if the couple did the RX pebble thing, then the shot caught them as they walked away as the sun began to set. Again, the composition was really nice. Plus, it was a nice touch to put the heart there as the lovers walked away. Nice.
Sent by: “Carlo R.”
This didn’t feel like it was taken specifically for the photo challenge, but the slumbook handwriting all over the picture just gave it an infectiously nice, joyful, summer feel. Plus the writing was done so neatly and the concept turned a regular portrait into a really cute entry. It really felt like a kid did all the writing! And the actual photo was well shot: it was sharp, had good exposure, and a quirky composition.
Sent by: “Aileen S.”
This is the least summer-y of the entries, but it came with a touching story. As the whole family was preparing for a summer vacation, they suddenly had to rush their mom to a hospital. So they spent their summer caring for their mother. They missed their vacation, but they wouldn’t have it any other way, than to be with their mom and the whole family. Awww… This too, was a serious contender. We’re suckers for stories like this…
Sent by: “Diana L.”
This made us laugh. You can tell the amount of thought and preparation for this photo. Loved the 70′s vibe that this photo reeked. What really cracked me up was the little boy in shades with a sign saying: “My dream: gusto ko ng Canon 10MP”. LOL!
Sent by: “Leng N.”
I definitely LOVED this one. It’s the kind of picture I wished I had taken. And it’s the only one that used ice cream as it’s summer theme. Most had the beach, or the pool, but this had that “summer-in-the-city” feel that I simply loved. Such a well-shot photo.
Sent by: “Melags”
Wow. What a shot, right? Again, I wish I had taken this shot. The colors are gorgeous, the water frozen perfectly in an arch, this could very well be a print ad in a magazine for a sunblock or something. There’s nothing in this picture that I don’t like.
Sent by: “Gerard D.”
Cuteness overload! The little girl in the picture is simply adorable. Lots of kid photos sent in, but this is one of the best. The RX in the cellphone was a nice touch too. One of the pictures that almost won as well.
Sent by: “Christopher L.”
One of Delle’s top picks. What’s not to like? Even the lettering put in during post-processing was so cleanly done. Hobbyists like me always pray for clouds like these whenever we go shooting landscape photos. Very nicely executed.
Sent by: “Joanna C.”
Probably the best-lit of all the photos taken. It looks almost as if it was taken in a photo studio with lights hitting all the right spots! Almost good enough to be a print ad. Gorgeous photo, definitely one of the top contenders. It felt like a crime not to award a photo like this.
That said, we do have our reasons why we chose ONE photo to win over these equally deserving entries. We weighed all the factors, and based on what we were looking for, and the criteria we gave you guys, we unanimously decided to award the Canon Powershot A480 to a photo I will post tomorrow.
Again, we welcome comments on all the photos I posted, but it won’t change the results. It’ll just be nice to hear your call on it.
(Tomorrow: The WINNER!!!)
Summer is all about vacations and holidays and having fun! And what is a summer romp without pictures as proof? We are giving away a Canon Powershot A480 to the person who can give us the BEST summer photograph with “Monster Radio RX 93.1″ or “The Morning Rush” (or both!) included somewhere in the picture. The best or most creative, or most impressive, or funniest, or most dramatic, or strangest photo wins. We will give you 2 weekends to prepare for this, this weekend and next weekend, and by Monday, March 29, 2010, we’ll announce who wins the camera! Email all of your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. The photo must be summer-themed — meaning it has to have summer elements in it: like the setting (like the beach or Baguio or a swimming pool), the outfits (like people in bikinis or board shorts or Hawaiian shirts), the story (like everyone in an office wearing beach clothes but are stuck in the city) — anything as long as it has summer as it’s theme. Challenge your creativity.
2. It may or may not include you (that’s up to you), it may or may not include people (it can be a summer landscape kind of photo), it may or may not include animals (maybe your dog in a bikini), or it can have as many people as you can fit in one frame (you can take a picture of hundreds of people on the beach from a chopper, for instance). Again, use your creativity.
3. It has to have “Monster Radio RX 93.1″ or “The Morning Rush” anywhere in the picture. We want to make sure it’s not some old photo you have from a previous vacation. We want this to be a photo project, so we want a fresh photo that you’ll take specifically for this challenge. So find a way to incorporate either of the two (or both would even be better) somewhere in the picture. Maybe the Monster sticker would be somewhere in the picture, or a man with a picket sign that says “The Morning Rush” somewhere in the background, or you can make like a spoof of a summer movie poster. Again, creativity will be the key.
4. Keep the photo in the Philippines please. Sorry to our friends abroad, but we wanted a Philippine summer theme.
5. No age limit. If an 8-year-old kid or a 90-year-old grandma takes a really nice snapshot, why not?
6. You can use any type of camera, whether it’s a point and shoot, a fancy hi-tech DSLR, or even a lomo camera, would be fine. We would also allow photo editing like photoshop, but it will still depend on your execution. Just because it’s photoshopped doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. If done well then it’ll work, but if done badly then it’ll be worse than an unedited one.
7. You can send in as many entries as you want per person. You can send us different photos attacking the theme from different angles. In the end, it’s as much an exercise in creativity as it is an exercise in photography skills. Even if you’re not really into taking pictures, give it a try! Who knows a simple picture might end up appealing to us (or a really fancy hi-tech one, for that matter).
8. Send all your entries to email@example.com.
Of course our decision will be final. We will all have our own picks, but Delamar and I will promise to be as unbiased as humanly possible, taking everything into consideration when choosing the winner. So, let’s have fun with this, and start sending us your photos!
(The Canon PowerShot A480 digital compact camera, is 25% smaller than its predecessor, and includes a new simplified button layout for ease of use. This well-reviewed entry-level compact houses a 10.0 Megapixel sensor, 2.5″ LCD, Canon’s DIGIC III processor and includes features such as Motion detection and Face Detection.)