Asia Philippines Photography

Guest Post: A Quick Trip to Cebu

I’m so excited to introduce to you my guest blogger today, my dear friend Ian Reyno.

Ian is the Creative Head of ABS-CBN.  He’s behind some of the top rating shows you see on the network.  We met years ago while he was the Creative Director, and I, the Head Writer, of the now defunct Mornings@GMA.  We have moved on to bigger things since then.;) He went the more glamorous route, though, rubbing elbows with celebrities and brainstorming with some of the most creative minds in the industry.  But with his job comes a lot of stress, I suppose, so he takes off once in  a while to clear his head and get inspired. Here, he writes about his quick trip to Cebu and shares with us his beautiful photos. I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do.


There’s something about expecting the unexpected, out of the usually expected.  With that feeling of uncertainty everytime my internal engine starts to run is an urge to capture each fleeting moment that passes so quickly.  Thing is, there are just too many unexpected things happening around, if only we knew where to look–and when.

My recent trip to Cebu City for the holidays was exactly one of those trips. I searched the net for things I could find over there. There were the usual: The Church of Santo Nino, the Shrine of Mactan, the mangoes. While I made them part of my itinerary, I wanted to explore something else.  I wanted to feel ordinary, and not tourist-y. I was so curious how Cebuanos really looked like, how they sounded like. (I know, I know, I’m beginning to sound odd–but it’s true.)

And so, lugging my trusty Canon 600D with an 18-55, and not much else, I began my 4-day journey around Cebu–on jeeps, pedicabs, tricycles, on foot.  I first headed off to Moevenpick, a newly renovated spa resort situated next to Shangrila Mactan. It was a spic-and-span hotel, just enough to get me by for four days.  I got a good deal via Agoda, but since renovations were still ongoing, the constant hammering and drilling on the floor above mine were unforgivable (I had since sent out a complaint directed to the General Manager–who so kindly and promptly wrote back an apology and a complimentary extra stay when I so decide to come back.  Great service!).  I spent just a few hours sleeping and showering in there, but more often, I was out. Taking photos, immersing in the ‘ciudad’ vibe, chatting with the locals who were ready with answers to my every question.

I was so busy taking shots everywhere.  There was no preparation done. Each one had to be shot within a span of–a second?  Wherever the jeeps took me (and boy, those jeeps could fly), I just snapped away. Shooting was by instinct– and it’s hard to act on instinct when you’re in a pedicab, head lowered because any 6-foot man just wouldn’t fit in that tiny sidecar space, with your arms folded neatly like a closed umbrella.  But then, when you see that subject, you will have to do the impossible, until you hear the camera click.  And then, you are gratified.  Now, it’s back to neck-lowering and arm-folding–until, boom, there’s another good one!

Before I knew it, I had already fallen in love with such a busy, seemingly ordinary city– with unexpected, happy, sweet surprises in between.  Pleasant moments that warmed my heart, and captured for you, my friend, to see for yourself.




These two umbrellas were by the entrance of Fort San Pedro in Cebu, a centuries-old bastion that provided protection against invaders during older times.




I took this shot in Movenpick Hotel in Cebu, during the Christmas break, while we were killing time waiting for our flight back to Manila.  Coffee is as vital to me as, maybe, a chance for quick travel, or money, or a kiss.  But if I could have any among the three sooner, I’d ditch the coffee.




This is pure deliciousness that we tried by a quaint mall sidewalk bakeshop.  their coffee was good, too.




Movenpick Hotel Cebu is not really known for its food, but I’m all fingers up for this one: a specially made little seafood pizza that has chunks of fresh goodies on top.




An arch that framed Cebu’s landscape from our vantage point at Fort San Pedro.  The thing I liked most about this shot was that it was difficult to do.  Deep focus  shots require a steady hand, which I didn’t have, and a tripod, which I also didn’t have.  Glad to have done at least 4 takes of this same shot.


ian_sarisari store


There were two kids by the store while I was trying so hard not for them to notice me.  But one of them saw me and scampered away, leaving this girl laughing behind the curtain. And then, the wind blew up the blanket, and presto. I got my shot.


ian_woman portrait


An ‘ate’ right in front of me in a Cebu City jeepney, unaware that something was going on right in front of her.




En route to Lapu Lapu City, from Movenpick Hotel, we rode a jeep that drove as fast as a one-night stand. On a sidewalk was this sleeper of a photo.  Makes you want to sleep and enjoy the steady drone of the city.





Sunset in Lantaw Floating Restaurant.  This is an amazing place. Breathtaking vistas, fab food!

You can see more of Ian’s photos over at his blog Shadows, Showers and Sun.



PT tips ian


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