Monday, April 13, 2009

Batanes Photo Safari with Mandy Navasero

Along with my sister, we booked this tour five months before the scheduled trip. With early bird discount, we paid P20,000 all inclusive of travel photography workshop, full board and lodging, and airfare from Manila to Basco with Zest Air. Regular rate is at P25,000.

Zest Air flights are suspended due to unfortunate events. With a sigh of relief we were accommodated with Seair. A few days before the trip, we were informed that our flight was cancelled. It would have been lovely to experience Batanes with the cold front but we were left with no choice but to reschedule it on a later date. Two weeks ago, we finally land on Basco, Batanes at the height of summer.

We were checked-in at Batanes Seaside Resort, unfortunately, not all bookings were honored. Some overstaying guests occupied our rooms, so some of our companions has to stay for a night in another lodging house. With basic ammenities, rooms are clean and spacious, private bathroom comes with electric hot and cold shower, the suite rooms came with a refrigerator, and there's television too but food was ordinary.

Mandy Navasero's Photo Safari is unlike the travel photography I've been to. There was no room-in lecture, not even a critique session. Mandy's teaching style is different. Her creative ideas are outrageous and her personality is a standout - at times with comic relief and naughty antics. She remained energetic and passionate with what she is doing inspite of her age.

Mandy Navasero during an informal lecture at the view deck

She puts emphasis to shoot with a heart, to pose with an attitude, and to add life into the subject. After a while, I've come to appreciate it. It's not the technical aspect that brings life to a photo. My basic knowledge on travel photography came in handy, but Batanes landscape is lovely as it is, it will come out beautiful in any photo. She puts much emphasis on colors and fashion photography with the so called "S-curve". Frankly, it doesn't come naturally for me, I look awkward in my photos. All throughout the trip, it seemed like we were having a photoshoot. We had our fair share of becoming a bench model, a beauty queen, a lifestyle model and a mastered the art of jumpology. On the otherhand, being the photographer, one must know how to motivate and to bring out the spirit of the subject, flatter if you must.

This is my second travel photography workshop and I'm getting comfortable with the Nikon D40. No more cheats this time, I managed to pull off some good shots with the manual settings. Yipee! :)

Joining Batanes Photo Safari with Mandy Navasero:

I recommend this tour for those adventurous fellows who love to travel and like to shoot and/or appear in them, but not for those hard core photographers who expect point by point photography lecture.

PROS: hassle free: board & lodging, itinerary & flight bookings and everything else are taken cared of; touring with a group sharing the same passion for travel & photography

CONS: quite hectic: itinerary needs to be ironed out to maximize travel time and to start on time; for pre-trip briefing: personal appearance was necessary when it could be done remotely via email; no critique session: it would have been necessary for a photography workshop.

For inquiries, they can be reached at:
Mandy Navasero: (02)8991767 or
Nice Travel & Tours: (02)5266363 or

Read more about my experience on the trip here.

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