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8th Wonder Travel Destination Hidden Terraces Kiltepan Sagada Philippines

Sunday, April 30, 2017


8th Wonder Travel Destination Hidden Terraces Sagada Philippines
We just finished the photo-documentation of the Lang-ay Festival 2017 at Bontoc, Mountain Province. It's my first time to go to SAGADA not intentionally but due to a travel itinerary change of vehicle route with my friends. I've been to Bontoc, Mountain Province many times but never touched ground Sagada. I planned to visit Sagada but never had the time mostly due to conflict of schedule and intervening matters. So, this was kinda a pre-destined visit that was naturally unveiling itself as i moved along with serendipity.

KILTEPAN RICE TERRACES

Arrival


8th Wonder Travel Destination Hidden Terraces Sagada Philippines
The target photo-shoot was Kiltepan landscape and I realized too late that I was handicapped since I did bring my DSLR camera tripod. I told myself ... "Hmm, a personal challenging shoot indeed". It's good I prepped my camera to be exposed to acclimatize in the van during travel since the air conditioning was turned off as this prevents mirror and lens fogging due to condensation.

We all got off the van and we were quite early as our vehicle was among the top 3 vans to park in the area. It's my first time here Kiltepan Point, Sagada. It's quite cold and it's a good thing I was prepared with my travel clothes. I took a "test" camera shot first.


I can only recall in my mind vividly Kiltepan internet pictures/YouTube scenes in slide show presentation. What I saw online were Kiltepan landscape scenes of thick fog, rain, and lots of trekkers, tourists, going home incomplete or broken-hearted as they have not completed their mobile phone camera selfies with a beautiful sunrise view. Epic fails. Don't blame God. Blame Mother Nature's ever changing moods. 


8th Wonder Travel Destination Hidden Terraces Sagada Philippines
I heard one of my photo friends/buddies.colleagues say, "Ag-kape tay-yo pay! Ag-pa-pudot !" ... in Ilocano dialect, which means "Let's have coffee first! Get warm!" 

There's a lot of activities going as people converge around the food and beverage stalls, all strategically distributed at Kiltepan Point parking area. The Kiltepan parking area is unpaved and very dusty. If you are planning a quick lens change, think twice, as this is not the proper place to do so as dust particles are just flying all around. Click! Here's my second image. Still, I have to keep moving as my senses are still in a half-awake mode and my physical limbs kinda numb from the ride.


8th Wonder Travel Destination Hidden Terraces Sagada Philippines
I went near one of the food and beverage stalls. I make it a habit to photo-document livelihood scenes, (as candidly as I can muster) as part of a street photography genre.

The sign reads: Mami (hot noodles); Goto (Congee); Kape (hot coffee); Choco (hot chocolate). Also, soft/hard boiled chicken eggs, branded crackers, etc., 
All of these are what I call "Kiltepan fast food/snacks centrum".


The income derived from the existence of food entrepreneurs at Kiltepan help augment disposable individual/family income thus afford education, basic living costs associated with paying for electric bills, water, utilities, etc.. Families/individuals (who are residents of Sagada) work on shifts (day and night shifts) to operate the food and beverage stalls. Also, there is access to electricity in the area. You can still have time to charge your devices at esp. dawn before the sunrise.

I went at the back of one food stall. Click! Here a woman possibly a mother seated with, I assume to be her daughter, who are food and beverage sellers. It's a sacrifice waking up early to attend to the livelihood of the body. The stall sign reads Champorado (sticky glutenous rice with cocoa...) Brewed Coffee, Egg Sandwich, Hot Choco, *Bonnets, *Gloves (are hand knitted/made local products);  Smartload, Autoload (Telco Call/SMS pre-paid cards used for mobile devices. All Available here. I can only imagine this place 20 years ago. 

At the distance, my photo colleagues gathered around a cozy bonfire whilst drinking their hot coffee and engaged in a light chit-chat. For those planning to go to Kiltepan esp. during the cold season (November - February), wearing right clothing is essential. 


8th Wonder Travel Destination Hidden Terraces Sagada Philippines
As dawn breaks, lots of people assemble and find their own positions along the mountain side anticipating the sunrise. Some with camera tripods set-up and taking exposure shots. Mostly with their mobile phones and miniature video devices (e.g., Go-Pros, etc.,). 


The haze (fog) was kinda quite thick earlier covering the mountain terrain and is now clearing fast. 


8th Wonder Travel Destination Hidden Terraces Sagada Philippines
You might ask how I manage to get sharp photos in low ambient light situations. Humbly, it takes quite some time to wing it. Lots of practice, a steady  hand and steady body stance/anchor, understanding the settings of your camera, prime glass (lens) will allow you to come up with high-quality images. It's a balance of the shooter (soul) and the bow & arrow (camera). 

This is my second time to photo-document rice terraces as landscape subject. First time both in Batad and Banaue, Ifugao, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines. 

Patience is one virtue that gets tested in landscape photo shots. You have to play along with the long waiting game, during rain or shine, fog, stormy weather conditions. Presence of mind and mental focus helps a lot in deciding to take the shot, form compositions, etc., 


I also observed that some tourists, trekkers, take extra risks in taking selfies along the rock cliff areas which in my personal opinion is very dangerous. Un-tethered selfies standing on a cliff edge is like putting oneself in a Russian roulette situation. I won't take the risk and get ahead of my life. Again, err towards the side of safety.Although I was kinda "handicapped", that is, without the support of a DSLR camera tripod, it did not stop my zeal and enthusiasm from capturing quality images. Sunlight and fog/haze are good combinations to atmospheric fog banks and get your photos on a dramatic level. Again, constant practice makes one ready when engaging in landscape photo shoots.  

8th Wonder Travel Destination Hidden Terraces Sagada Philippines
At last, here come's the sun (sung- Beatles). Landscape photo shoots during sunrise or sunset puts one into a meditative and peaceful state. It's kinda an inwards journey of the self into his/her innermost silence. This brief moment of introversion recharges the self/soul and removes tiredness both physical/metaphysical.  


8th Wonder Travel Destination Hidden Terraces Sagada Philippines
I took carefully multiple handheld shots with care whilst the morning sun gave it's "Embraced by the Light" moment generously at the Kiltepan Rice Terraces and landscapes. One Kiltepan Rice Terraces Sunrise.

Click!

Till next photo docu session. C 'ya.

-fin-

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