b:if cond='data:blog.url == "https://www.avianquests.com/2017/03/the-simplest-ways-to-make-best-of.html"'>

Photography.Travel.Technology Unbound!

Paoay Church & Culili Point Sand Dunes Ilocos Norte Travel Destinations and How to Make You a Better Photographer

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Paoay Church Culili Point Sand Dunes Collage Ilocos Norte Philippines

Paoay Church

Saint Augustine Church Dawn (Spanish Iglesia de San Agustín de Paoay), commonly known as the Paoay Church which is located at Marcos Avenue, Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The fastest route & time from Laoag City to reach Paoay Church is approximately 25 min (19.6 km) via the  Laoag - Paoay Road.

It's good that I arrived at Laoag City around 4:30 a.m. and took a jeepney to reach Marcos Avenue. By the way, Laoag City is the gateway to Paoay, Ilocos Norte. My aim/objective was to shoot at dawn, so since time was on my side, I have to run ahead of the sun. 

Paoay Church Dawn Ilocos Norte Philippines

I have full trust to serendipity and I arrived at 5:16 a.m. and did some scouting for good shooting spots and also took some camera (DSLR) test shots and this was one of them. According to Wiki/Wikipedia "Paoay Church was completed in 1710 and is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the enormous buttresses on the sides and back of the building." 

Saint Augustine Church Dawn Spanish Iglesia de San Agustín de Paoay commonly known as the Paoay Church Ilocos Norte Philippines

After getting my tripod set-up and at exactly 5:30 a.m., I took this image. 

Saint Augustine Church Dawn (Spanish Iglesia de San Agustín de Paoay), commonly known as the Paoay Church Ilocos Norte Philippines

Here's my favorite shot of Paoay Church at dawn. 
One Saint Augustine Church Dawn (Spanish Iglesia de San Agustín de Paoay), commonly known as the Paoay Church Ilocos Norte Philippines

Paoay Church was declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1973 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993." - Wiki/Wikipedia

Paoay Church Ilocos Norte Philippines
This is the first time that I personally visited this beautiful place and I spent approximately 45 minutes fully visually immersed in the area. I asked a local where is the closest sand dune area and I was advised to take a 10 minutes tricycle ride to Culili Point Sand Dunes which I immediately did.

Culili Point 

Culili Point Sand Dunes Paoay Ilocos Norte Philippines

I just can't explain why I developed a strong disinterest in riding 4x4s that day. 

Culili Point Paoay Extract

I call this nature minimalism, my first Culili Point Sand Dunes image.

Coastal Culili Paoay Ilocos Norte Philippines

If you ever arrive at Culili Point at this time of the day, 100% guaranteed all the tiredness/stress will literally vanish. So still and quiet that you won't hear sea waves lapping the shoreline. 

Culili Point Early Morning Coastal View Paoay Ilocos Norte Philippines

No short cuts and go the long way down which my mind dictated to my body. I started to move around and go closer to the inland body of water where coastal locals call a "Sabangan" in Ilocano dialect, a place designed by nature where a confluence of freshwater and sea water meet.

Confluence of Fresh and Salt Water Culili Point Coastal Paoay Ilocos Norte Philippines

Gathered in the inland "shoreline waters" is a couple parked of makeshift bamboo rafts. By chance, I see a Culili local attending to what looks like a coastal livelihood area mainly designed for fishing.

"Coastal Parking"

Whilst I was looking with all curiosity at the parked water riding/catching implements (nets, bamboo rafts) and the coastal livelihood structures (marooned bamboo stilts), three boat rafts passed me by. Two of them were manned singly and one bamboo raft manned by two locals. Bamboo rafts are not motorized and are manually rowed by using small handmade wooden paddles. 

Inland Fisherfolks Culili Point Paoay Ilocos Norte

What I can audibly hear are gentle strokes of water as I watched the local fisherfolks riding their handmade bamboo rafts pass me by. I will make another in-depth standalone blog of Culili Point focusing more on coastal livelihood.

Coastal Self Portrait Culili Point Paoay Ilocos Norte Philippines

I went started going up and took this coastal self-portraiture. I highly advise future trekkers to this place to be very early as you can take maximum advantage of dawn landscape/seascape photography.

Overcast back end Culili Point Sand Dunes Paoay Ilocos Norte Philippines.

Just 15 minutes earlier, it was overcast and cool ....

Cool Shade Culili Point Paoay Ilocos Norte Philippines

As I reached the Culili Point staging area where there are open nipa huts for visitors/tour guide operators ... the heat was on at exactly 6:22 a.m. At a distance, I spotted a local passing by. 

Culili Point Sand Dunes

Tire Tracks Culili Point Paoay Ilocos Norte Philippines

Here's one side of the activities normal tourists pursue and leave once they are at Culili Point Sand Dunes. Personally, my mind was already set and that a leisurely walk on the sand dunes and doing some exploration and photography is what I consider more fulfilling.

Thrive Culili Point Sand Dunes Paoay Ilocos Norte Philippines

On the other side of the view, since I tend to alter my mindset especially whilst in a tourist area that I am not a mere tourist but a guest in quest of an adventure. Word of caution, don't be deceived by the vastness of the Paoay Culili Point Sand Dunes which is just so overwhelming to take in one go. It was good that my timing of being there very early in the morning worked to my advantage as there is no presence of 4x4 sand dune vehicles and tourists around. The feeling of being lost in a sandy with some patches of greens and coastal bamboo/wood structures. My vision was drawn towards a house at the distance. Looking at the cow hoofs footprints and a patch of grass signals that it will be a long day.

Culili Point Paoay Vast Sand Dunes Ilocos Norte Philippines

Here is vastness in one go and using a wide angle lens in one go gobbled up the scenery. Handholding the camera at the well-lighted scenery is good, however, always check your camera settings to be sure.

House on the Hill

House on a Hill Culili Point Paoay Sand Dunes Ilocos Norte Philippines

In a minute I reached the frontage of the house on the hill. I let my mindset just dominate my vision and interpretation as I let the natural flow of things be. No struggle of thinking but just a free flow of energies and selective camera clicks.

One House on the Hill Culili Point Sand Dunes Paoay Ilocos Norte Philippines

I used the flow of vegetation patch as the dominant foreground and the house my background in this landscape image. 

The heat was starting to become unbearable as I was sweating profusely. I remembered a scene where Bear Grylls mentioned something about dehydration and here are some valuable survival tips that I've picked up from past reads 

"Fluid Loss
Your body loses fluid at a rate of about two to three (2-3) liters (2.11-3.16qts) per day under normal conditions. This is through sweat, evaporation, digestion etc. In some conditions, you can lose up to two (2) liters (2.11qts) per hour. Even resting in the shade you can still lose about one (1) liter (1.05qt) per day. If you are unfortunate enough to have vomiting and or diarrhea you will lose even more fluid. Lost fluids need to be replaced or you will soon become dehydrated and you will lose your ability to think and perform efficiently.

Minimizing Fluid Loss

Fluid loss is unavoidable but there are steps you can take to minimize the amount you lose.

The following steps may seem extreme but they will help you minimize fluid loss and ultimately increase your chances of survival:


Exerting yourself will cause you to sweat to stay cool, which uses up precious fluid.

Don’t smoke or drink alcohol
If you smoke or drink alcohol, your body will use fluid to flush out your kidneys etc as your body goes into a detoxification process.

Laying directly on hot ground or heated surfaces such as rocks
If feasible, dig or clear a shallow trench in a shady spot and lay in it. The earth underneath will be cooler than the hot surface, but you must consider that the shade will move with the sun.

If water is extremely scarce. If water is available but in smaller quantities eat only small amounts avoiding fat (digesting fat requires a lot of fluid to break it down). If you eat without keeping your fluids levels up, your body will take fluid from wherever it is available, for digestion. Unfortunately, this will be from your vital organs and will cause further dehydration.

Fluid is lost through evaporation. Observing the steam which comes off from your breath on a cold morning will give you some indication of the amount which can be lost through evaporation.

Things you can do
Breathe through the nose and keep your mouth closed as much as possible
This will help you to avoid losing fluid through evaporation. Your mouth has a much larger, damp, surface area and therefore, you will lose much more fluid through your mouth than your nose.
Keep water in your mouth

When moving over a distance in the heat, take a sip of water and hold it in your mouth, without swallowing it, as you travel. This will slow the rate at which you lose fluid through breathing and it will help to stop your mouth and lips from drying out.

Travel at Night
In warmer regions, travel at night or early in the morning, where possible, and rest in a cool place during the heat of the day.

Keep cool
Stay in the shade where possible. Where there is no shade readily available, then you should erect something which will provide shade." survivor magazine

Culili Point Paoay Sandunes Ilocos Norte Philippines

I'll leave you guys with this landscape image of the blue sky, gray sands, and something hint: an unidentified flying object in between. Laughs, it's one of those long photo-docus that I've made and there will be definitely a concluding part 2 of this long blog post.

Thanks for dropping by. 😊

How Quality Content is King Can Help You Predict the Future

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

avianquests.com the future is looking bright humbly let us wear some shades

I took this landscape sunrise image and intentionally edited the lower half as black & white and the upper part retained its original color which I will use in relation to this blog postOn a monthly basis, I conduct some sort of a recapitulation and look back into accumulated data from Blogger.com and Cloudflare and attempt to make a sort of analysis of gains achieved, lessons learned and the overall "health" of this humble site.

In a nutshell, avianquests.com achieved its 100K plus page views starting in the last month of the 2nd quarter - June 2017 with July and August also at pegged 100K plus page views. That's three consecutive months at 100K plus page views.
avianquests.com February to August 2017 Monthly Page Views
On June 14, 2017, the increase of threats stopped (bad browsers) was attributable to the effects of the global Wannacry ransomware  (starting from May 2017) and also my compromised browser and an unrepaired Windows OS. I provided a link below as it may serve your security interests : 

Thus, a record breaking of 126 bad browsers was logged by Cloudflare. Upon the implementation of permanent technical solutions in my desktop browser plus ...
GRC fingerprinting checking is a must via :

Multi-millionfold thanks and Kudos to Steve Gibson of GRC.com

Enter Go Daddy

I started a naked website with Blogger.com as avianquests.blogspot.com on 22 February 2017. Whilst my site generated 30 blog posts for March, my traffic/page views were totally in the abyss. This is one of the reasons which prompted me to invest in own domain name and fully transition with Go Daddy on March 26, 2017. Without the proper guidance and knowledge in blog post indexing using Google, Bing, and Yandex, etc., blogs will move at a snail pace in the web. 

Enter Cloudflare

On April 17, 2017, I got something going with Cloudflare and the resulting difference is a 180 degrees - night and day shift which started to be realized in May where my monthly total page views were pegged at 88,839 an increase of 229.41% from April or an increase of 61,870 page views.

Enter Cloudflare HTTPS

May 11, 2017, I implemented Joram Teusink's Solution - Blogger cum Cloudflare HTTPS which contributed to a 13.54% increase of 12,032 page views and ending the month of June at a total of 100,871 page views. 

The overall net effect in implementing site security (Domain name + Cloudflare HTTPS & SSL) in my humble blog site is a 100K plus level month-end total page views for June, July and August 2017.

I also experimented in re-purposing/recycling all of my other past blog posts in the month of August 2017 which proves that quality content is king of the hill. Targetted niche plus quality blog content generates increased traffic. In addition, avianquests.com never experienced downtime and achieved zero outages for the month of August.

avianquest.com pingdom stats august  2017

The amount of malicious traffic to avianquests.com categorized by country of origin.
Note: Cloudflare uses a GeoIP database to map IP address to countries. “Unknown” means that there wasn’t a record for in our geolocation database for an IP address.

For August, Cloudflare data reported 35 Top Threat Origins which were all stopped originating from France - 28 instances, Spain - 6 instances and US 1 occurrence.

Total Threats Stopped measures the number of “suspicious” and “bad” requests that were aimed at your website. Requests receive these labels by our IP Reputation Database as they enter Cloudflare’s network:

Legitimate: request pass directly to your website;

Suspicious: request has been challenged with a CAPTCHA page or JavaScript challenge page; and

Bad: the request has been blocked because of Cloudflare's Browser Integrity Check, or because of user-configured settings like WAF rules or IP range block. All threats stopped by Cloudflare were bad browsers which originated from different countries.

avianquests.com Traffic Served Over SSL August 2017
Avianquests.com via Cloudflare's Traffic Served Over SSL generated 59% or 184,063 SSL secured requests.

A total number of encrypted 'HTTPS' requests sent using SSL/TLS. Redirects from HTTP to HTTPS are still counted as unencrypted requests, so even with a page rule or origin server redirect to HTTPS, a percentage of unencrypted traffic is normal



avianquests.com August 2017 Web Traffic Total Unique Visitors

A total of 10,799  monthly total unique visitors visited avianquests.com. 

avianquests.com August 2017 Top Traffic Origins by Country

Avianquests.com generated Top Traffic Origins for August 2017 from the United States (Rank 1) at 150,664; followed by Germany (Rank 2) at 21,693; France (Rank 3) at 16,628; Ireland (Rank 4) at 15,691; and lastly United Kingdom (Rank 5) at 14,784. 

Note: Cloudflare uses IP addresses to identify where requests originate and map these requests by country. Includes real requests, crawlers, and threats.

Avianquests.com makes it a priority that blog site security is a premium whilst optimizing its resources at zero cost.

Here's a SSL Report of our blog site which I generated today 5 September 2017 and that's humbly flying colors of four (4) A grade results on all servers. You can get a free SSL report from Qualys here :


Moving forward, the future looks so bright as I continue on a day to day basis to optimize this humble blog site and continue to churn out quality content. No crystal balls needed. 

Till next blog. 

Support the Blog 😊

Nikon D850 The Difference Maker

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Body! Available for Pre-Order! Expected ship date is 09/7/2017!

The highly-anticipated Nikon D850 is coming soon and here some leaked information updates that I've gathered from the internet ...

Whether it's naturalistic, sporting, commercial, wedding, fashion photography, whether it's shooting movies, the D850 offers photographers who work in highly competitive fields the creative flexibility needed to excel. The fast, 45.7 megapixel FX high-resolution FX sensor is built with the "gapless on chip" microlent technology that, together with the benefits of CMOS backlight, delivers exceptional detail sharpness along with an incredible dynamic range. the shooting speed of 7 fps can go up to 9 fps by adopting the optional MB-D18 multi--power battery pack. Video makers can then record full-size movies in 4K without clipping factor cropsthis increases the chances when looking for extended field corners to resume with Nikkor prime lens lenses.

ISO Sensitivity in Light: The powerful Nikon EXPEED 5 image processor delivers outstanding sharp images in the ISO 64-25,600 range, expandable from 32 to 102,400 ISO (equivalent). The full ISO range is also available for 4K video shooting.

Accuracy: The same phenomenal 153-point Autofocus system of the Nikon D5 top range provides sensitivity up to -4EV at the center point (ISO 100, 20 degrees Centigrade). Exposure measurement up to -3EV allows precise exposure even under conditions where the only source of light is lunar.

4k video with no clipping factor: Record full-size movies at 4K/UHD at 30p, without clipping factor limitations. Snap for over three hours using the MB-D18 multi-power battery pack.

Accelerated time-lapse movies in 4K directly "on the camera" but not only: in addition, the Nikon d850 uses its 45.7 megapixels to create fast and spectacular 8K post-production footage.

D850 and Nikorr Prime Lenses

Resolution: 45.7 megapixels of effective resolution. 45.4 MP files rich in detail. CMOS backlit sensor in full Nikon FX format and without a low-pass optical filter.

Speeds: 7 fps or 9 fps when using the optional MB-D18 multi-power battery pack (with EN-EL 18B battery inserted).

D850 and friends

Other new features that allow maximum flexibility include capturing RAW format in three different sizes: large, medium or small; The silent Photography mode, which makes it possible to shoot ultra-sharp, high-resolution images without the sound / mechanical shutter noise. 

D850 back to back

The AF Pinpoint mode, available in Live View, allows you to make the auto focus more accurate and selective as required, for example, in the case of macro photography. In addition, the Nikon D850 is the first digital reflex of all time to offer "On-camera" focus stacking mode, which allows you to shoot a series of shots sequentially of the same shot but with the focus plane Motorized in displacement. 

This mode is particularly useful in macro photography when the close distance of the subject narrows the depth of field of a few millimeters but also for artistic representations of naturalistic scenarios to enhance the extreme depth of field.

The D850 is the successor to the D810, which was highly praised by its users for offering extremely sharp and clear rendering, with rich tone characteristics. This powerful new FX-format digital SLR camera is engineered with a range of new technologies, features and performance enhancements that are a direct result of feedback from users over the years – who demand the very best from their camera equipment. The D850 will exceed the expectations of the vast range of photographers that seek the high resolution and high-speed capabilities that only a Nikon of this caliber complemented by NIKKOR lenses can offer.

-- fin --

New From Nikon!
Endorsed/Monetized by: ImpactRadius

The new Nikon D850 is now available for pre-order. Expected ship date is 09/7/2017 

New Nikon D850 Accessories:

MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack

Nikon ES-2 Film Digitalizing Adapter Set for D850 

AN-DC18 Strap 

FH-4 Strip Film Holder

FH-5 Slide Mount Holder 

FTC Disclosure

When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in our blog site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and/or affiliations include, but are not limited to, the Rakuten Affiliate Network, ImpactRadius, TradeDoubler, BlueHost, etc.,

Site Optimization Makes A Better Blog July2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017

AvianQuests.Com Site Optimization Makes A Better Blog July 2017

As I have committed last month, here's July 2017 "AvianQuests.Com Site Performance Report" which I culled from my Cloudflare's monthly report which will mainly dwell on the site optimization progress that we've made so far in terms of blog site security, performance, etc.,

In a nutshell (AvianQuests.com for July 2017):

A very significant 98.41% decrease in web Threats caused by Bad Browsers for July 2017. 

% Change Total Monthly Unique Visitor's        =   44.24% (Increase)
 8,535 visitors (June) - 12,311 visitors (July) 

% Change  Maximum Monthly Unique visitors = 177.14% (Increase)
700 visitors (June) - 1,940 visitors (July)

% Change Total Monthly Page Views               =     8.32% (Increase)
100,871 views (June) - 109,261 views(July)

% Change Traffic Served Over SSL                       =  8.2% (Increase)
169,739 (June) - 183,657 (July)

June 2017
AvianQuests.Com June 2017 Threats - Total Threats - Top Country - Top Threat Type

July 2017

AvianQuests.Com Web Traffic Total Threats July 2017 Top Country Top Threat Type Bad Browser
(This is not a paid endorsement by Cloudflare)

Thanks again to Cloudflare's Browser Integrity Check looks for common HTTP headers abused most commonly by spammers and denies them access to our page. It will also challenge visitors that do not have a user agent or a non-standard user agent (also commonly used by bots, crawlers, or visitors).

Cloudflare classifies the threats that it blocks or challenges. To help you understand more about our site’s traffic, the “Type of Threats Mitigated” metric on the analytics page measures threats blocked or challenged by e.g., : 

Bad browser: The source of the request was not legitimate or the request itself was malicious. Users would see a 1010 error page in their browser. AvianQuests.Com traffic originating from France were users classified with bad browsers. 

In summary, here are the comparative figures:

June 2017
AvianQuests.Com logged a total of 126 Top Threats (Bad Browsers) which originated from the following countries: 
France = 78; Ukraine = 32 = Philippines = 10; Hong Kong = 3 and United States = 3.

July 2017
AvianQuests.Com logged a total of 2 Top Threats (Bad Browsers) which originated only from the USA.

Bottomline : A very significant 98.41% decrease in web Threats caused by Bad Browsers for July 2017. 

AvianQuests.Com Security Total Threats Stopped Traffic Served Over SSL Types of Threats Mitigated July 2017

When you visit AvianQuests.Com rest assured and that's also a guarantee that our blog site is 100% secured since we're SSL and https compliant. Traffic served over SSL is 60% comprised of 183,657 SSL secure requests for July 2017.

Total Threats Stopped measures the number of “suspicious” and “bad” requests that were aimed at your site. Requests receive these labels by our IP Reputation Database as they enter Cloudflare’s network:

Legitimate: request pass directly to your site

Suspicious: The request has been challenged with a CAPTCHA page or JavaScript challenge page.

Bad: The request has been blocked because of our Browser Integrity Check, or because of user configured settings like WAF rules or IP range block.

Cloudflare uses Threat Scores gathered from sources such as Project Honeypot, as well as our own communities' traffic to determine whether a visitor is legitimate or malicious. When a legitimate visitor passes a challenge, that helps offset the Threat Score against the previous negative behavior seen from that IP address. Our system learns who is a threat from this activity.

In addition, to threat analytics, we can also monitor search engine crawlers going to our websites. For most websites, threats and crawlers make up 20% - 50% of traffic.


Top Traffic Origins (AvianQuests.Com)

USA                 -  141,807

Germany         -    20,429

UK                   -    16,249

Philippines     -     15,171

Australia        -     14,816 

Cloudflare uses IP addresses to identify where requests originate and map these requests by country.

With information regarding our web crawlers/bots (we've pixelated the sources as this information is for AvianQuest.Com internal use only)

Web Traffic : Unique Visitors

AvianQuests.Com Web Traffic Total Unique Visitors July 2017

June 2017
Total Monthly Unique Visitor's = pegged at 8,535;
Maximum Monthly Unique visitors = at 700; 
Total Page Views = 100,871
Traffic served over SSL is 58% comprised of 169,739 SSL secure requests.

July 2017
Total Monthly Unique Visitor's = pegged at 12,311;
Maximum Monthly Unique visitors = at 1,940; and
Total Page Views = 109,261
Traffic served over SSL is 60% comprised of 183,657 SSL secure requests for July 2017.

July 2017
% Change Total Unique Visitor's = 44.24% (Increase)
% Change  Maximum Unique visitors = 177.14% (increase)
% Change Total Page Views= 8.32% (increase)
% Change Traffic served over SSL = 8.2% (Increase)

Pageviews are calculated when someone visits AvianQuests.Com and loads the entire page. If you are visiting the site for the first time in that interval, Cloudflare will also register as a unique visitor.

If something is linking to content on AvianQuest but is not actually visiting and loading the entire page (bot, plugin, app pulling data, etc), then this would only count as a unique visitor and not a pageview.


We've added a collapsible and floating Side Bar feature (Thanks to Cloudflare) for all desktop and/or mobile users. 

AvianQuest.Com Sidebar July 2017

Avianuest.Com Side Bar Menu Expanded July 2017

The Side Bar acts as a support to the blog menu.

The Side Bar can expanded by clicking on it/pressing on it as shown above. It has the following menu:

Home- Prompts you back to the blog page.

About - Describes AvianQuests.Com

Support - Support the Blog

Contact - Email the webmaster.



DHS Widgets- Dept. of Homeland Secutiy widgets

Privacy Policy

Terms and Conditions

Site Map- A one page chronological order/list of all blogs which were posted from the beginning.

Sign Up To Ride- UBER ride services

AvianQuests.Com Implements Floating Back To Top Button

We've maintained the Floating Back To Top Button which will aid you to efficiently navigate our blog site.   

In addition, one big help in decreasing instances of bad browser threats is my blog link below dubbed:

implementing Google Chrome's Certificate check with GRC fingerprinting security 

At AvianQuests.Com we will make sure that your blog experience and access to our information/resources/products/services is well secured and it follows world class standards/laws/regulations and we will continue to implement security/performance improvements on a month to month basis.

Multi-fold thanks to everyone who visited our site. Do keep visiting and support our blog. Till next blog. 😎