Added Photo Gallery: 1st Annual Subic Bay Festival in Barrio Barretto

Subic Bay has a new festival, and what a success it was! Joining the well-known Barrio Barretto Beach Bash is the Subic Bay Festival. While the Beach Bash is mostly aimed at daytime activities and promotes the beaches and tourism sector of Subic Bay, the Subic Bay Festival is geared more towards nightlife and entertainment in the area.

Here are a few sample pictures from the 1st Annual Subic Bay Festival photo gallery.




Please take a look at the entire Subic Bay Festival Photo Gallery

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Photos Around Zambales Province

These photos were taken at various dates and times around Zambales Province on the island of Luzon. Zambales is the home of the former Subic Bay Naval Station in Olongapo City.

Crazy clouds from a storm front passing over Subic Bay at Baloy Beach:



Bicyclists near Camachili on the National Highway:



The Maloma River near San Felipe. This was taken from a narrow bridge that crosses the river just before you get to the beaches at San Felipe. The bridge is just wide enough for my Ford Explorer to make it across without folding the mirrors. Anything larger could have trouble!



The view from the bridge, looking towards the South China Sea (Philippine Sea):



Subic Bay between Baloy Beach and Barrio Barretto:



Also between Baloy and Barretto, this time from ground level:



River Farming at Pamatawan Bridge. This can only be seen in the dry season. In the monsoon season the river is quite full and all the crops and fish cages are wiped out, only to be rebuilt the following year.




Added Photo Gallery: Daddy Dave’s 69th Birthday Pool Party

Full Gallery: Daddy Dave’s 69th Birthday Pool Party at Treasure Island

What a day! This weekend has been a whirlwind of party-time activities here in Subic. This is the weekend of “Daddy Dave’s” 69th Birthday Party, and the party has gone on non-stop! The weekend started with the Sons of Bacchus Subic Dance Competition at Lips Bar in Barrio Barretto, followed by a monster bar hop with 7 stops, also finalizing at Lips Bar, and today’s pool party. Add in the after parties and the afternoon bar-b-ques, etc, and it’s been a great, crazy weekend!

The pool party started off with decent weather. A little overcast, with a few breaks in the clouds letting in some sun. I was stuck at the house taking care of a few tasks for some clients, but kept an eye on the weather throughout. Around 2:00 I packed up my camera gear and walked over to Treasure Island. The sky was a little darker, but it didn’t look at all like would rain.

I decided to go all out today, and took two DSLRs and a Compact. I fitted a Canon T1i with a Canon 17-40 f4/L wide angle and Canon 480 EX II flash, and a Canon 5D MkII with a Tamron 70-300 telephoto zoom lens, and of course my trusty Sony WX-1 Compact which never leaves my side.

I entered the pool area at Treasure Island and took a quick look around. The pool and poolside areas were packed FULL of gorgeous girls in bikinis, all smiling and laughing and having a great time. There were probably 100 girls in all. The guests had turned out for this party, with roughly 60 people in attendance. I started getting my gear ready, planning to shoot, shoot and shoot some more! Then I looked out into the bay, and saw a huge wall of black clouds obscuring the horizon out by Grande Island in Subic Bay. After blinking a few times in disbelief, the wind hit, and chairs started blowing over, with the wind whistling in the palm trees. Less then two minutes later, the rain hit, and it hit pretty hard.

To my surprise, the girls just laughed and kept dancing, swimming, flirting and enjoying themselves. About half the guests moved under the balconies and other protected areas, with the other half staying in and around the pool, enjoying the day no matter what!

I walked around the protected areas and took some shots with the long lens, and a number of closer shots with the wide angle. Eventually I knew I had to get wet, so I stored my gear in a secure location, whipped out the trusty Sony compact, and braved the elements.

Please take a look, and I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Full Gallery: Daddy Dave’s 69th Birthday Pool Party at Treasure Island


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Added Photo Gallery: Fairah at White Rock, Subic, Zambales


Full Gallery: Fairah at White Rock.

I had the distinct pleasure of spending an afternoon at White Rock Beach Resort here in Subic, Zambales Province, taking pictures of a wonderful model. Her name is Fairah, and she lives here in Subic.

It was a day of new things for both of us. She’s never modeled before, and I’ve never done a glamour or portrait shoot, directing models. I think it worked out pretty well, over all.

It’s obvious I’m still learning about photography. I made a couple of significant, fundamental errors in these photos.

1, I had set the ISO at 400 early on, as I was using a polarizing filter and it was a bit cloudy at the moment. I forget to adjust it later.

2, I didn’t consider the depth of field while shooting many of the photos. I think some would look better with a more blurred background.

I’m sure more experienced photographers will be able to point out other errors. I would welcome the comments.

These were all shot with a little Canon t1i and a Canon EF 17-40 f4.0L UM lens, with the Canon 420EX II flash for fill light. I also used a Sunpak CP filter.

Samples from the Gallery:




So, without further ado, please take a look at my photos of Fairah at White Rock.

Full Gallery: Fairah at White Rock.

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Philippine Nightlife Websites

This really isn’t a nightlife web site, and I don’t want to start posting photos from inside the bars here. There are many other web sites available for that purpose.

Here are a couple I really like.

Philippines Nightlife – Philippines Nightlife is a very cool looking web site with image galleries of bars and clubs, and information on hotels and restaurants. They also allow business owners to have their own blogs!

Subic Bay and Barretto Bars – a bar review and image gallery site for the Barrio Barretto area of Subic Bay. Starting to post news items and other information of interest, rather than just bar photos.

Philippine Nightlife Business Directory – a Business Directory for Philippine Nightlife. Includes Angeles City, Subic Bay, and Manila. Business owners can submit their listing for free.

If you know of any other good resources, please post them in the comments. When you do, please use plain text for the URL to the site – don’t use HTML code or I might think it’s spam.

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Added Photo Gallery: Aliwan Fiesta 2011

New Photo Gallery: 2011 Aliwan Festival

What a fantastic event. The 2011 Aliwan Fiesta brought 18 festivals from all around the Philippine Islands together to perform and compete in the largest combined festival in the country.

The Aliwan Fiesta is a gathering of traditional cultural festivals from provinces all over the Philippines. These photos are from the 2011 Aliwan Festival in Pasay, Manila, April 17th, 2011.

If I had the power to change one thing about the Aliwan festival, I would simply add a subtitle to the event name: Festival of Smiles.

As you browse though the photos, it is my sincere hope that you will feel the warmth and friendship that was extended to me on this long, hot day in Manila.

This year’s participants included:

Baguio City was represented by the Panagbenga festival.

Laoag was represented by the Pamulinawen Festival.

Pampanga brings the Ibon-Ebon festival of Candaba.

Bulacan’s regional Singkaban celebrations was represented by two entries – Guiguinto’s Halamanan festival and Malolos’ Desposorio festival.

Oriental Mindoro brought the Pandang Guitab festival.

Pasig brought their Pakalog festival.

Batanguenos’ was represented by the Calacatchara festival..

The Bicol region showcases the Sosogon festival of Sorsogon.

Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival was represented by Tribu Pantat and Kasadyaan champion Tribu Pan-ay.

From Cebu, the Abellana National High School to represent the Sinulog Festival.

Mindanao sent an impressive number of participants:

Jesus Soriano National High School for Davao’s Kadayawan.

Tapayan Central Elementary School for the Kapamagayon festival of Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao.

Tribu Teduray for the Kalimudan festival of Sultan Kudarat.

The Lembuhong festival of Uswag, Surallah, South Cotabato.

The Padang-Padang festival of Parang, Maguindanao.

The Kalilangan festival of General Santos City.

The Zamboanga City National High School depicting the Zamboanga Hermosa festival.

Photo Gallery: Aliwan Fiesta Photos

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Added Photo Gallery: Treasure Island Pool Party – 3 April 2011

Treasure Island Beach Resort is one of my favorite places to stay when I visit the Philippines.

Located in Baloy Beach, Olongapo City, Subic, Zambales Province, the resort provides excellent value in accommodations and facilities, and offers a wonderful pool, beach front access, a great restaurant and a fully-stocked bar.

I actually moved to Baloy Beach  in January of this year. I’ve rented a house not 100 meters away from Treasure Island, and I go there often for breakfast and special events. It’s awesome to eat breakfast next to the ocean, while sitting by the pool, using their very fast and free Wi-fi to work on web sites. I’m able to use their pool and beach facilities free of charge, so when I need a break, I’ll go hang out in the pool and chat with the many expats who live around here.

Treasure Island has pool parties roughly every two months.  The latest was yesterday, April 3rd, 2011. Over 80 girls were in attendance, sponsored by 8 clubs from Barrio Barretto. The event drew a large, very well-behaved crowd of expats and tourists alike. The girls were having a great time, which ensured we all had a good time as well!


The party included all the local drinks you could handle, including my favorite, San Miguel Light beer, and all you could eat. They provided an excellent buffet that included Lumpia Shanghai with a spicy sweet and sour sauce, mini-burgers, pasta salad, meatballs in sauce and other foods. Lumpia is like a spring roll with pork, and it’s deep fried.

There were numerous events during the party, including bobbing for balls (plastic balls are tossed in the water, and the girls have to retrieve them without using their hands), a beer drinking/swimming/basketball competition. The girls drink a beer, swim across the pool, and hand off the empty beer can to their partner. The partner now has to drink two beers, and then swim back across, and toss the empty beer cans through a basketball hoop. Another one involved girls sitting on guy’s shoulders, eating an apple that hangs from a rope in the middle of the pool (suspended above), without using their hands. It’s a ton of fun!

Here are a few pics to get you started. Don’t forget to visit the entire gallery of over 235 photos!




Philippine Photo Gallery:  Treasure Island Beach Resort Pool Party

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Expat Mail Forwarding and Shipping

I’ve been researching mail delivery issues for quite some time. I need to receive important mail while I’m in the Philippines. It’s critical for me. Using the US Post Office and the Philippine postal service is not really an option – I need full tracking and accountability. So, I’ve been looking at many of the services available, including USA2Me, USABox, and others.

After reviewing the costs, features, and customer reviews, I’ve determined that USA2Me is the one to try first. The prices are more reasonable, and it seems to be a much more mature service – they have everything in place, and the web site is fully developed and easy to use.

For full details, please take a look at the review I added to the site: Expat Mail Forwarding.

Disclaimer: As you can easily see from the banners on the site, USA2Me has an affiliate program, and I have signed up for it. This did NOT influence my decision to use them for my own mail forwarding services. This potentially puts them at risk for a poor review, because if my service is not good, believe me I’ll tell you!

Added Photo Gallery: Baloy Beach Photos

Baloy Beach (sometimes called Baloy Long Beach) is just past the Barrio Barretto neighborhood on the National Highway outside of Olongapo City, Subic, Zambales Province, in the Philippine Islands.

I used to go to Baloy Beach and rent a small A-frame hut for about $4.00 a day. We would get up relatively early in the morning, around noon, and wait a few minutes until I fisherman would stroll by, selling his latest catch. We would usually get Tuna. The fisherman would sell two fish, about 10 lbs each, for roughly $3.00. He would then make a little charcoal fire in the sand in front of the hut, and cook the fish, complete with seasonings and a dipping sauce that was reminiscent of soy sauce, though not as salty and spicier.

There was not much else on Baloy Beach at that time. Towards the end (going away from Barrio Barretto), was a few places where you could pay for beach access with tables, nipa huts and fireplaces for about a dollar a day. Some of those are still there.

What has obviously changed is the construction of beach resorts. Today, you can stay at Blue Rock, Wild Orchid, Treasure Island, Sheavans, Harley’s, Kokomos, Johan’s Dive Resort and more. In addition, there are many small hotels and apartments/condos that you can rent just a block or two off the beach. I’ll add a gallery of those later – the geo-coding is taking a while, as it’s hard to remeber exactly where each of these smaller places are!

Baloy Beach is growing up. It’s great right now, but I can see it becoming crowded and noisy in the next few years. If you want to experience a great, relaxing place that’s not overly commercial, you should probably go in the next year or two.

Philippine Photo Gallery: Baloy Beach Photos

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Philippine Photos – Subic, Olongapo, Barrio Barretto and Baloy Beach