Sunday, September 20, 2009

becoming boracay

It's been more than 7 years since I last set foot in an island I almost called home. There was a point in my life when I savored trampling on its powdery white shores almost every weekend, and the best parties I've have had until now still screams the name Boracay.

I'm glad I finally made it back again on its arms, this time as a photographer for Fuego Hotels which has just opened a new property here called 7 Stones Boracay Suites. I came at the right time too as they were throwing a party for Channel V during my last night.

It was sort of like an after-party for the music channel as they were shooting their 2010 swimsuit calendar in the property.

Channel V jockey Alfie interviewing a Boracay local

I had to do some Tatler-esque shots as these photos are to be used for the Fuego Hotels Magazine... here's 7 Stones General Manager Dani (straight from Barcelona to Boracay!) with a guest and the Italian developer of the resort.

VJ Alfie with one of the models of the shoot

Dani with more models, stylists and Channel V people

Host of The Duke and Amazing Race runner up Rovilson Fernandez with another model

Guests from Spain, Australia and Taiwan...

'Twas a great night of party, booze and pool fun... I got myself a wealth of photos worthy enough for blackmail but I promised everybody not to post it here... or else... it's still unbelievable how such small island can cull that much euphoria in parties... must be the air... must be that amazing shot I can't recall (a shot of Sambucca, Cuervo gold and a dash of Tabasco), or maybe just because people forget the world exists once they set foot here. Whatever it is, wish every weekend is like this in Cambodia!

Monday, September 14, 2009

in search of a pearl

Woke up one day and found myself in Makati where I started working 8 years ago. The next morning, I found myself waking up with the sound of the lapping waves, birds and an eerie silence - marooned in a series of islands called the Pearl Farm Beach Resort...

I'm here on the island's rustic arms - beaches fringed by coconut trees, impossibly emerald green waters and quaint traces of its Maranao roots. When I got a call from my former employer weeks ago to help him redo the brochures, photography and corporate identity of Fuego Hotels, it took me only a second to think and say yes.

So now, I'm on the lap of pure luxury, shooting the resort's many facets and charms. Its beaches and natural beauty are nothing short of captivationg, but sadly, the resort in itself needs an enormous facelift...

It's rooms and structures were breathtaking a couple of years ago, when I first came here, but of course, time and age takes its toll among everything created by man. At least, this room at the villa of former Miss Universe winner Margie moran is definitely not bad...

Pearl Farm's resident parrots were definitely a riot to tourists and were absolute charmers. They should be on the payroll too and should receive hefty tips.

And the Ylang Ylang Spa was still gorgeous, but like the resort, it needs touch ups in a whole lot of ways. Took me time to make it look like this on the camera.

But no matter what state the resort falls into, the most precious pearls you can find there are its amazing, warm people. They were there always to lend a helping hand, make you feel welcome, feed you a huge buffet of tuna sashimi, deliver a tuna melt sandwich on another island in 10 minutes, open the blutique at midnight so you can buy a pair of Havaianas, extend bar hours from 11 pm to 2 am so you can enjoy drinking more San Mig Lights, bring you to the airport on a speedboat at 4 in the morning in the middle of a storm so you can catch your flight (I can't believe I made it alive and I'm writing this), and among others, still smile wholeheartedly after all this.
I am definitely coming back. And hopefully next time, not for work, but with my wife and son... and yes, with flights in the afternoon so I don't have to have raging seawater get in my Louis Vuitton luggage again.