Philippines 2018

Join Acadia Images for a 12-day photo workshop and tour through the Republic of the Philippines, Feb 23rd – Mar 6th, 2018.  Maximum 6 participants for personalized attention.

12-Day Philippines Workshop
 single occupancy. $4,900 double occupancy
All in-country transport  (including flights)
Meals (excluding alcohol)
Registration by Dec 15th, 2017

Nipa rooferWelcome to the Philippines:

The Philippines is a colorful country full of smiling people, endless beaches, warm weather, and unique culture.  Photography will cover a broad spectrum of subject matter but mainly focus on the people and landscapes.  The colors and textures of these tropical islands provide endless photographic opportunities.

What the workshop covers:

Shooting while traveling is a fun and challenging task, and something I am particularly enthusiastic about.  A new environment is a great time to work on our photographic eye, tackle various natural light conditions, and become adept capturing fleeting moments.  This workshop will help you:

-Become fluent with auto- and manual focus

-Understand how exposure works and achieve it in a fast and accurate manner

-Quickly decipher a scene and its compositional potential

-Make compelling images that communicate the essence of the moment

-Editing images in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

-Enjoy photography and benefit from it both mentally and physically

Who Should Attend:

-Beginner to advanced photographers can enjoy this workshop, but some familiarity with your camera and equipment is recommended.

-DSLR cameras or Mirrorless system are preferred, but not absolutely necessary.

-Travel is taxing on the body, as is the change of climate and time zone.  While we will take things at a relaxed pace, some degree of physical endurance will improve your experience. Most of our locations are easy access, but the more natural areas will require walking and short hiking, but don’t worry: this is not a machete-wielding jungle expedition.

What should you bring:

The Philippines is tropical.  We recommend packing light: plan for light, loose clothing (quick dry clothes are great), and comfortable footwear suitable for walking and short hikes (sandals or closed-toe sandals should suffice).  We will have a laundry day on the 5th day.  Plan for some time in the water since many of our locations offer great swimming, snorkeling, and easy access to coral reefs. In general you should dress down and forego jewelry.  I highly recommend keeping your personal belongings to one piece of luggage and your camera bag since it will be easier to keep track of as we switch modes of transport.  Besides warm weather, this climate is also frequently visited by rain showers so I suggest a waterproof cover for your camera bag and a shower cap (or bag) that you can wrap over your camera in case we are caught by surprise.

Camera equipment should include a range of focal lengths from wide to moderate telephoto.  I’ve never had need of anything longer than 200mm, but if you enjoy shooting at longer lengths by all means bring your big glass. Tripods will open many possibilities and allow you to shoot at all hours of the day.  Invest in a good tripod and practice with its controls so that you can use it efficiently.  I also carry a point & shoot for some situations and for its ability to shoot underwater.

If you want to take advantage of our frequent post-processing classes then you’ll need to bring your laptop with Lightroom and/or Photoshop installed.

Getting there:

Flights should arrive in Cebu Feb. 22nd.  Departure on March 6th (mid-afternoon) at the earliest. 

We suggest to book a flight directly to Cebu City (CEB) to avoid domestic transfers in Manila’s already bustling airport (I’ve been held up with delays and lost luggage on separate occasions).  Korean Air, Asiana, and Singapore Airlines all fly into Cebu without connections in Manila.  (For those in the DC area: IAD to CEB on Korean Airlines is the shortest flight time).  Be careful to book your flight to arrive the afternoon on the 22nd (usually closer to midnight).  Likewise your departure may best be scheduled on March 7th around 1am in the morning.  Beware that some flights arrive 2 days later than their departure date:  Be sure your flight comes in on the 22nd.

You are welcome to stay longer in the Philippines if you wish, there is lots more to see and do.


Markets are colorful places full of patterns and people

Arrival:  Chances are you will all arrive in Cebu near midnight on the 22nd/23rd.  We’ll head straight to our hotel and settle in for the night.

Day 1:  Friday, Feb 23rd. Orientation will cover the basics of traveling in the Philippines, our itinerary, and discuss our photographic strategy.  We will acclimatize to the sights and sounds, weather, and population density on our first day by visiting some local markets.   This is also our day to go shopping for any essentials we may need.  We’ll return to our hotel in Cebu for the night.

Day 2:  Saturday, the 24th, On our second morning we’ll be heading back to the airport, but don’t worry it’s only a 40min flight!  We head to Siargao Island on the pacific seaboard.  This rural island is one of my favorite locations.  While an internationally known surfing destination, the island is tranquil enough for beautiful seascapes and provide lots of opportunities to see the fishing, farming, and daily life that is at the core of the Philippine culture. We will retire to the Ocean 101 Beach Resort for a good night’s sleep.

Day 3 & 4: Feb 25th & 26th, a dawn start will get us a nearby beach in the golden hour.  We’ll have some time in post-processing before lunch.  We are keeping our Siargao schedule flexible:  If conditions are right we may head out on a small boat to photograph some surfing (or you can grab a board yourself!). In the afternoon we may take a tour along the azure blue waters of the pacific coast or a boat through the mangroves (one of the largest mangrove forests in the Philippines is on Siargao). Caob lagoon and some of the beautiful fields and valleys are possible targets for our time in Siargao.

Hand weaving a fish trap out of bamboo.

Hand weaving a fish trap out of bamboo.

Day 5: Tuesday, Feb 27th. It is a travel day! There is time to get out for sunrise but then we are heading to the airstrip and back to Cebu.  We’ll have lunch at the airport and take advantage of the down time with some post-processing.  In the afternoon we catch another 40min flight to the little city of Dumaguete.  The seaside Bethal Guesthouse will be our accommodations for the night. (This is our chance to get laundry done.  We will drop of clothes as soon as we arrive and pick them up the following afternoon.)

Day 6: Wednesday the 28th. We’ll get up at the crack of dawn and head south to visit to a roadside rice paddy under Mount Talinis. Wednesday is market day in nearby Malatapay.  Vendors display their wares along the street while livestock is auctioned in an adjacent lot. The afternoon is reserved for optional post-processing and time to roam around the town.

Day 7: Thursday, March 1st, after a sunrise on the boulevard in Dumaguete it will be a long land trip across the island.  We plan to make many short stops along the way.  Eventually we reach the coast and catch a small boat out to Danjugan Island, a natural and marine preserve.  The island is minimally developed for visitors, with ecotourism open-air cabanas and a few private rooms and some of the best night air in the country.  There is a lagoon, bat cave, mangrove, beaches and forest to explore. An eagle nests on a hilltop tree.

Day 8: Friday, Mar 2nd, enjoy a full day on this pristine island starting with a sunrise.  During the day you may take a stroll, kayak, or snorkel.  Electrical power is scarce on the island so make sure the essentials are charged.

Day 9: Saturday, the 3rd, in the morning we enjoy Danjugan and then head back to the mainland to follow the coastal road around toward Dumaguete. We’ll catch the afternoon boat out to Apo Island. This island has several road-less villages and some great viewpoints, really epitomizing island life in the Philippines. We’ll stay at the beach-side Liberty Lodge.

Philippines banka boat at apo island

With over 7000 islands much of life in the Philippines centers around the sea.

Day 10:  Sunday, Mar 4th,  A full day on Apo Island.  Enjoy a great sunrise, snorkeling with sea turtles, and the wonderful activity of a small island community. Post-processing in the restaurant overlooking the ocean.

Day 11.  Monday, the 5th, we get to check out some of Apo’s great viewpoints.  Long flights of cement stairs lead up to high vantage points. Apo only has power for several hours per day so we’ll take the opportunity to do some post-processing either before or after lunch. We’ll spend our last night on Apo.

Day 12: Tuesday, Mar 6th,  it’s time to pack bags and get ready to depart.  We’ll take an early boat back to the mainland, and make our way to Cebu.  The plan is to stay active all day.  We’ll head up into the hills behind the city and have a sunset and dinner on the hilltops overlooking the city lights. We’ll head to a hotel to comfortably prepare for your flight. From there we head to the airport for those who have evening/midnight flights.

*You are also welcome to stay longer and enjoy the wonderful weather and hospitality of the Philippines.  Keep in mind that US citizens will receive a 30 day visa upon arrival.

To register, please contact us.