My good friend Oggie of Lagalog.com and I were conceptualizing for some time on how a photography workshop would be set apart from the numerous workshops being offered right now. One, we don’t want to have the usual classroom setting. We want participants to be out there on the field where most of the photography would happen and learn on the spot. Second, we want the participants to experience the place and the culture. Getting postcard pretty pictures is one thing but getting good pictures with relevance is another. So Backpack Photography Workshop is born sharing our style of shooting.
The first Backpack Photography Series was just held last March 19-21, 2010. It was a Photography 101 Workshop held in Banaue, Ifugao designed for people getting into Photography. At first we were thinking if people would be put off by the venue since it’s more than 8 hours bus ride from Manila. But this is also Backpacking and the participants that signed up were ready to rough it out. When we found Banaue Ethnic Village, we knew it was the perfect setting. It was big so participants can explore, they can also experience sleeping in modified Ifugao houses and there are cultural spots for presentations.
It was also surprising that the entire participants ready to rough it out were girls. So we had to gauge the level of difficulty on the exploration. When we visited Hapao in Hungduan, I thought it was the perfect place. Not only were the terraces equally breathtaking, the trek wasn’t as hard as going to Batad. The participants managed to safely traverse the rice paddies to explore and shoot the rice terraces up close.
We also have to thank Canon Philippines for lending us a couple of portable Selphy Printers (the ES3 and ES30 models) that participants were instantly able to make prints of their favorite photos at that time which we also used during the Photo Critique Session. It was a really fun session because we get to share inputs not just from us facilitators but also from each participant as well. I’m also astounded by the images each participants produced.
Overall, the first Backpack Photography in Banaue was a success. We thought there were some areas we could improve on but it also helps to have 9 adventurous participants always in high spirits. Even when our Florida Bus broke down in Nueva Ecija on our way back to Manila in the middle of the night, their spirits didn’t wane down and we were able to get back on track and head home.
Big thanks to Florence of Banaue Ethnic Village for helping us out on the logistics in Banaue, for finding the local cultural performers, Sir Andres, her dad and former Hungduan Mayor for the lecture on Ifugao Culture, taking care of our transportation around Banaue, our guide at the terraces and most importantly the free-flowing food.
Tracy Chapman became the soundtrack for the Workshop with the stereo in the Conference Hall playing her “Collection Album” So I thought it fitting to use one of her songs for this video I did which brings out the highlight of the Backpack Photography Banaue experience.
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Join our next Backpack Photography series, Batanes Outdoor and Travel for as low as P12,500 (exclusive of airfare) on June 24-27, 2010. Take advantage of Seair’s 15th Anniversary special for P1500 off on flights to Batanes until May 15. Check details here.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.