Monday, December 24, 2007

Leaving on a jetplane


I changed the banner a bit, before it read "Philippine Leg", now I made it "Southeast Asia". I have mentioned before that I'm planning to move to singapore to work right? Now, it is finally official, I'm leaving for Singapore tomorrow. But before I do that I'm dropping by to visit Bangkok, Phuket and Krabi in Thailand. Being based in Singapore will enable me to travel to other southeast asian countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos etc. So I'll be posting articles and photos of my travel real soon.

So wish me luck!

Til then,

The Lost Sputnik.

Friday, November 16, 2007


hey guys,

Check this out, the finalists for the PAL Photography Contest

I didn't win but it's all good as the competition was pretty tough, the finalists were equally awesome too.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Mother and Child" By: Ronald L. Rillo

Hi all,

I mentioned earlier that I got in as finalist for Philippine Airline's Photography Contest, I was finally able to confirm which entry they have chosen. It was the photo of a mother and child on an outrigger amidst the towering ships in Cagayan De Oro. The awarding is on the 10th of November at MOA. I hope I get the top prize he he! nah being in the finals is enough!

Bora by Jet

Last October 21-25, I directed a TVC for Asian Spirit in the Island of Boracay. I'm not a big fan of Boracay (yes, unfortunately), but during my short stay in the Island, I came to realise the charm it possessed that made a lot of people frequent the paradise. Aside from the crystal clear water and pristine white sand that the Island is known for, what makes Boracay special are the people, both locals and visitors. They are very warm and accommodating. If it was in the city of manila, I don't think they'd easily entertain people theyve never met. The Island has it's own culture--the beach culture that can't be found anywhere else in the Philippines. Probably comparable to the beach culture in bondi beach or gold coast. You'll never run out of things to do in boracay, from water sports to simply having a good massage on the beach. The strip of restaurants and bars are endless and mouthwatering. If ever I go back, I'd probably go not as a backpacker but tag along with my friends. The island is better with friends around you than being on your own.

Thanks to Asian Spirit, for the airfare and free board and lodging at Pearl of the Pacific.

Here are some of the photos during the shoot:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lost Sputnik got something to rave about

hey guys,

Just wanted to share some good news. Recently, I joined the PAL photo contest and luckily I got in the finals for the 'Enthusiasts Division - The Beauty of the Philippine People / Portrait Award'

I submitted photos from the 'the lost sputnik' travel I recently had a couple of months ago.

I'll post the photo as soon as find out which entry l submitted was chosen. I don't know which one yet. I'm guessing it's either the mother and son (badjao) or the kids in siquijor.

Announcement of winners will be on the 28th of October, Mall of Asia.

So wish me luck.

Winning it would be a bonus, I feel so lucky to land the top 12 out of 2,800 entries.

I'm so ecstatic right now.

here's the article:

1st Philippine Airlines Photo Contest Finalists

Philippine Airlines proudly announces the finalists of the 1st Philippine Airlines Photo Contest. Last week, five judges selected the finalists and winners out of some 2,800 entries submitted by professional , amateur and junior photographers nationwide. The 1st Philippine Airlines Photo Contest is the first and most prestigious competition of its kind this year, with winners from the Professional, Enthusiast and Junior divisions receiving over a million pesos in total prizes.

Here are the finalists (In random order):

Professional Division - The Beauty of the Philippine Scapes Award:
Erwin T. Lim , Mark Wendel Dela Cruz, Ramon F. Castillo, Benny Bondoc, John Javellana, Rodney Niduaza, Samuel De Leon, Ronie N. Poblacion, James Park, Leonardo Sexcion, Ferdinand M. Singh, Roberto Mendoza, and Carlo Carlos.

Professional Division - The Beauty of the Philippine People / Portrait Award:
Rosemarie Razon, Carlo Carlos, Walter C. Villa, Joseph R. Yamane, Rodolfo Manabat, Romulo Domagas, Dennis Magdamo, Rodney Niduaza, Rolando Jumawan, and Raniel Castañeda.

Professional Division - The Beauty of the Philippine Culture Award:
Ruel Bimuyag, Donald Tapan, Carlo Carlos, Bobby Timonera, Michael W. Li,
Arnold Jumpay, Erwin T. Lim, Rosemarie Razon, Raniel Jose Castañeda, Carolina Bustamante, Sixto M. Agraviador, Mark Wendel Dela Cruz, Jethro Rafael, and Jesus Tinapay

Enthusiasts Division - The Beauty of the Philippine Scapes Award:
Susan Celzo, Ernest Kurt C. Tan, Victor Alvarez, Merlie Biona, Antonio Rojas, Jr. , John Marcel Lainez, Roselyn F. Roldan, Jacob Maentz, Vincent Vilaroza,
Teodoro Labay Pelaez, Lhor Santillan, Joylove Delgado, and Judith Carlos.

Enthusiasts Division - The Beauty of the Philippine People / Portrait Award:
Leonard Pe, Pacita Tiong, Mark Sandoval, Hannibal Zenon Ong, William Lee Chin, Jacob Borres, Rustom Banal , Jr. , Jose Paolo Sanchez, Josaias De la Cruz, Ronald Rillo, McLloyd T. Jumpay, and Hersley-Ven D. Casero

Enthusiasts Division - The Beauty of the Philippine Culture Award:
Antonio Rojas, Jr., Jesse M. Narrazo, Joaquin Ruste, Lemuel Ragaza,
Maritoni Nanini, Jojie Alcantara, Maria Catalina G. Jumpay, Leslie Go Alcantara,
Rustom Banal, Jr., Pacita Tiong, Ronalie Beltran, Allan Ong, and Japoi Cequina

Junior Division - The Beauty of the Philippine Scapes Award/ People / Portrait Award/ Culture Award
Eouia Aum Dueñas, Marirose Angeline Lim, and Marilaine Claudette Gapal,

The awarding ceremony is tentatively scheduled on Sunday, 3pm-5pm, October 28, 2007 at the SM Mall of Asia. All finalists will be notified by emails so that they will be there to await the announcement of the contest’s nine lucky winners from the Professional, Enthusiast and Junior Divisions.

The 1st Philippine Airlines Photo Contest aims to promote Philippine ecotourism, as well as encourage photographers of all ages and skill levels to develop their talents. The competition is for the benefit of Philippine Airlines Foundations ecotourism projects, and is presented in partnership with EPSON and SM Supermalls. Sponsors include I-MAG Photography, Mabuhay Magazine,, El Nido, Marithe Francois Girbaud, The Tides Boracay, The EMBASSY, Gadgets Magazine, Speed Magazine, Action & Fitness, Graphic Expo and OWG Creative Centre.
Co-organized by OneWorkshop,Inc., and Eastgate Publishing Corporation.

Til Then,

The Lost Sputnik

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What has the lost sputnik been up to?

It's been a long while since I've written something here in my blog. I've been pre-occupied with work, so it's been really hectic. I needed to work heaps again so I'd be able to catch up with my savings (I travelled for 2 months and a half, so there's a lot of catching up to do) and plan another adventure. So what am I up to? I'm giving myself til the end of october before I move to singapore. Since, I'm pushing through with that plan, what I might do is to travel on weekends from singapore to nearby countries--yes, the backpacking way again. Traveling to other countries on a budget. I'm so looking forward to that. Wish me luck and watch out for that.

Btw, I'm joining PAL's photo contest. I'm submitting some of the photos I took from the lost sputnik adventure, some of it are actually posted here. Wish me luck. You guys should join to, deadline is on saturday! visit


til then,

the lost sputnik

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Travel Fair for the backpackers

hey all,

Just wanted to let you guys know that there would be a Travel Fair in SM Megamall on Sept 7-9 2007. Be sure to drop by to book or buy your tickets to wherever you want to go! It would be the best time to plan your future trips as there would be a lot of cheap rates! See you there!

The Lost Sputnik

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lost Sputnik in Mabuhay Magazine (August 2007 Issue)

Yes, I'm finally back in Manila. While on the plane back to manila, I got so ecstatic seeing our article and photos in Philippine Airline's Mabuhay Magazine. It's just the perfect way to cap a looooooong journey. Looking at the articles and photos made me nostalgic in a way. It made me feel proud for what Tina and I have accomplished, it's just three pages in a magazine but the stories behind the article and the photos are priceless. I've so much things to share about my sputnik journey, my reflections and top favourite destinations in my trip but I thought I'd share to you guys first the clippings from Mabuhay Magazine where Tina and I contributed articles and photos. Again, Congrats Tina!

Til Then,

The Lost Sputnik

Sunday, August 5, 2007

El Nido Paradiso

This is by far the best island that I've seen in this whole lost sputnik trip. Words are not enough to describe how spectacular the islands that I went to a while ago. Even if I tried, I would run out of words to describe how beautiful the islands of palawan are. So I'll let the photos speak for itself.

Welcome to Paradise!

Wasn't that just amazing?

Til Then,

The Lost Sputnik.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

El Nido, Palawan

Before I tell you about my dreadful bus trip to El Nido, let me just share to you the story of Mang Nonoy, the tricycle driver who had been so nice to me during my stay in Puerto Princesa. He showed me around Puerto Princesa and had constantly given tips on the cheapest ways to get to El Nido and Port Barton. While on the way to the bus terminal, Mang Nonoy, quickly shared his life story to me. He was born and raised in Palawan all his life and he has no intentions of leaving his town. He worked as a tricycle driver for 25 years now and according to him, he can't imagine doing anything else but this. He liked the idea of showing visitors around his town. Also, he provided for his family with his three-wheeled motorycle all alone. He was able to send his kids to school and live a fairly comfortable life. He also shared to me that he lost his eldest son three years ago. It was such a tragic accident, I can't believe it happened to him. His son was on his way home, caught a jeepney in the city but unfortunately the jeepney was packed, so his son decided to just ride on the roof of the jeepney (this is a normal practice in provinces). The driver was careless, he drove so fast and didn't notice the wire that hung on the street. Mang Nonoy's son got his neck strangled and fell off the jeepney. He filed a case against the jeepney operators and driver and eventually won the case. He got compensated, the company of the jeepney is now paying for his two other children's education. He wasn't happy about it as he knew that this can never replace his son, but he at least wanted something good to come out of it, so he thought of his other children. I felt so sad after hearing his story. The way he looked while sharing his story and from his voice, I knew that he was still hurting. It's such a terrible thing to have lost your loved one from an accident that could've been avoided.

Mang Nonoy on his Element

Anyway, on a lighter note, let me share to you my longest bus ride in this trip so far. I hopped on the bus headed to El Nido at seven in the morning today.I psyched myself that the travel time shouldn't be a problem for me as I've been travelling for a while now and somehow I'm used to it. The estimated time of arrival to El Nido was at two in the afternoon, but we arrived at half past four in the afternoon. The roads weren't as bad as I thought it would be, a few bumps here and there. The agony began when we suddenly had to do so many pit stops, the bus had problems with the tires and the breaks. The bus made this loud sound whenever it tried to stop. It wasn't major or anything, it didn't alarm me at all. But it took so much time, it started to get really hot inside the bus. And to add to that someone broke her plastic bag full of dried fish so the smell of it lingered inside the bus for hours til she got off. Thankfully, I had the window seat so air was free flowing. I think it was dreadful for me as I've been anticipating El Nido so much. It wasn't as bad as the bus ride to Bantayan and Malapascua island but I was so excited to get to El Nido. I told myself that if there were lessons to be learnt in this trip, endurance and patience would be on top of my list.

And after nine and a half hours, we're a few meters away from the town of El Nido. I could already see the large limestone formations that surrounded the island. My heart skipped so fast, I thought I'd have a heart attack. I was like a kid anxiously waiting for my birthday presents. And when we finally got close, all I could say was, 'HOLLLY...WOOWW!' I coudln't contain my happiness when I saw the view from where I was seated. I can't believe that after so many hours, here I am in El Nido.

The view from my room. Isn't it awesome?

The loooong trip to El Nido was definitely worth it. As soon as I got off the bus, I felt like I have been boosted with energy and ready for another adventure.

It's just my first few hours here in El Nido, more to come.

til then,

The Lost Sputnik.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Puerto Princesa, Palawan

I arrived at Puerto Princesa, Palawan on a gloomy tuesday afternoon that seemed like it’s almost ready for a heavy downpour. I almost got disappointed as I didn’t like rainy days. Photos aren’t as vibrant when it’s too overcast. But as soon as I got out of the plane, I couldn’t help but notice the enigmatic view of the runway. The mountains that almost seemed silhouette-like and the lush greeneries around it served as a backdrop of the airport. It’s one of the best views I’ve seen from all the airports that I’ve been to in this trip.

I also found it impressive that the tourism office in the airport is efficient. The people manning the booth are very informative as they try to answer each of your questions patiently. I asked one of the guys if he’d know a cheap hostel that’s close to the city and in a heartbeat I was off to Duchess Inn. Duchess inn is situated a few minutes away from Rizal Boulevard, one of the main streets in the city of Puerto Princesa. The room that I had was fairly simple. It had the things I wanted in a room, a bed and an electric fan. I’ve lived in a dorm before so a shared bathroom isn’t an issue for me. And for 150 pesos a night, how can I complain right? Another good thing about this city is that tricycle drivers are so informative! Apparently, the tricycle drivers are required to attend seminars conducted by the local tourism office of Palawan. This is the only city that I’ve been to that had everything organized. Amazing! Kudos to Mayor Hagedorn!

Puerto Princesa is a relatively cheap city. Usually, getting a tricycle from other airports would cost you a few hundreds, but here they’d only charge you fifty pesos. The distance from the airport to the city is quite long so fifty pesos isn’t that bad. As for me, I learnt my lesson before so I caught one outside the airport and only paid thirty pesos. Food is fairly cheap too, a meal would be somewhere around sixty to eighty pesos.

I didn’t let the bad weather ruin my stay in Puerto Princesa, so I started my tour right on the same day I arrived. My first stop was the Vietnamese Village. It’s quite far from the city but the tricycle driver was willing to take me there for only eighty pesos. The Vietnamese Village had a number of refugees from Vietnam during the Vietnam War. But now, there are only seven families left in the village, most of them have moved to Australia or elsewhere (according to the tourism facts). Apparently, only Vietnamese or Filipinos who have married Vietnamese are allowed to stay in the village. The village wasn’t that maintained unfortunately, although you could still see remnants of the village such as their houses, a small temple, a catholic church, street signage that had written Vietnamese characters on it, a bakery that is still owned by a Vietnamese family. From walking around the village, I realised that Vietnamese people aren’t as different from Filipinos. Their houses looked pretty similar to ours, their way of living are pretty much the same with Filipinos (farming, fishing, etc) and yes, even the way they look.

The next day, I went on an island tour in Honda Bay. Honda bay is one of the most visited tourist spots in Puerto Princesa. It has a thousand plus islands along the bay, but I only visited three, Pandan Island, Snake Island and Starfish Island.

The three Islands that I’ve been to had cream to white sand beaches. The beach was impressively clean, it seemed to be well taken cared of. The Water is crystal clear and perfect for snorkeling as fishes are very visible despite the absence of corals (make sure to bring loaves of bread to feed the fishes). If you were to ask me which one’s my favourite, I’d have to say Snake Island, I’d like how the island is shaped like a snake. I liked how you can cross from one part of the island to the other part by walking along the white sand bar. I also liked the huts that are placed along the shore as I had a good hour or so to just sit and read. It was very relaxing, perfect for those who just wanted to have a quiet time.

The next day, I was told that the underground river tour shouldn’t be missed while in Palawan. So I booked myself to an underground river tour and hopped on the van to get to Sabang, a small port where you’d have to take an outrigger to get to the underground river. It took two and a half hours to get to Sabang. The road to get to Sabang was bad but tolerable. The view compensated with the bad road, as I kept saying wow while on the way. Mountains that are made of limestone covered most of the area. I was told by our tour guide that the underground river is inside the mountain that is now popularly called St. Paul as when you get inside, it seemed like you’re inside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

While on the way the underground river, we were welcomed by dolphins swimming right beside our boat. I was ecstatic as it was my first time to see dolphins in their natural habitat. It was a bonus for me as I didn’t have to pay extra for dolphin watching.

Little did I know that I don’t only get to see dolphins but wild monkeys too! While at the façade of the underground river, wild monkeys were running around the area roaming around freely. Freaky looking monkeys! We were told not to show our food as these monkeys are snatchers. They could easily get the food out of your hand and might even bite you if you try to fight with them. I thought it was so cool to see them that close but I was scared as one of the tourists tried running then a number of monkeys ran after him. It’s like a walking Ebola running after you! Hahaha! Yeah, I’m laughing now but I was sh*t scared while it was happening!

The underground river tour only takes half an hour to forty five minutes. It was such a great experience as it’s another first for me. It was amazing to see stalactites and stalagmites that close, I felt like Indiana Jones for a second, but realised that I’m not when I almost had the boat flip over when I tried dodging a bat flying towards my head (I was holding the light so I think they got attracted to it). The stalactites and stalagmites were awesome as some of them were naturally formed like different images of things, people, animals, vegetables and even religious figures. The only source of light we had inside was the battery operated light on the boat that I was tasked to maneuver as I sat in front. The smell inside made me sick and the flying mosquitoes annoyed me to death, but despite all these, the things I have seen inside are definitely worth all the trouble. Despite my being claustrophobic and all, I painstakingly went on the underground river tour as I knew I had to see it. And it was definitely worth it!

In the next few days, I’d be roughing it a bit. See, I couldn’t afford a plane ride to El nido, so I decided to take a bus or jeepney (no aircon) for 8-12 hours depending on how the weather is and the number of passengers getting off different areas. I thought it would be better to cut the trip into halves. My first stop would be Port Barton, 3-4 hours from Puerto Princesa. I plan to explore the area for a few days before I take the bus to El nido which would take another 4-6 hours. So wish me luck, hope I get the best seat which is the roof top, like these people!

Wish me luck!

Til then,

The Lost Sputnik.