July 26, 2004  (STAR) CITIZEN OF THE WORLD By Edu Jarque  -  They promote tourism – in their own special way – during their working hours at the Philippine Department of Tourism or at the attached agencies whether it be the Philippine Tourism Authority, the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation, Intramuros Administration, Duty Free Philippines, Nayong Pilipino and the National Parks and Development Committee.

And yet on their off-hours, with their cameras and films, lenses and lights, they hop around the islands to capture images that may help the would-be traveler and tourist make up their minds and decide on which destination to visit next.

To achieve these goals, the amateur camera-clicking fanatics have informally bonded together into what is known as the Society of Tourism Photographers. Culled from their collection not previously shown in any of the photo exhibits sponsored regularly, they have their own favorites for reasons only known to them. And they’re here to tell us why.


One afternoon, as I was rushing to capture historic Manila Day on film, my possible entry to the first photo exhibit of the Society of Tourism Photographers, I noticed a group of Chinese tourists contemplating on the life of Dr. Jose Rizal, before his monument at the Luneta. It touched a nationalistic chord in my heart.

"Shame, shame," I said to myself, "while foreigners spare a moment or two before our National Hero’s Shrine, it has never dawned on me, a Filipino at that, to even consider the final resting place of the Great Malay as a subject of a photo shoot. Wasting no time at all and before the visitors disperse, I got my camera from its case and pressed the shutter. This picture reminds me of my insensitivity to the memory of the greatest Filipino. A favorite for many reasons.


It was April 2002, two days before my birthday and three years since I had set foot for the very first time on the island of Boracay, a favorite destination, a place where my camera and I go berserk. Upon arrival, I could not wait to rush to the beach, as the bright, hot sun was slowly setting in the west – dramatically at that. I was mesmerized. The scenario seemed surreal. I just froze. I stood there for the longest time. Then I realized I wanted to take some pictures. A bit late, I thought. So I grabbed my camera and as they say, clicked and clicked till it was dark. Returning home, I chose my favorite and submitted it for our photo contest. Guess what? It won the first prize!


How can I ever forget the pure, sheer joy of the pretty ladies in colorful costumes, members of the Sagayan Cultural Dance Troupe from Lanao del Norte, who participated in the year-long highly-successful WOW Philippines: Best of the Regions presentations in Intramuros, where they entertained the first family during the President’s birthday celebration within its walls, and where I brought my two-year-old daughter. She insisted they were talking dolls and wanted to take them home. Unable to do so, I hurriedly took this photo just for her. Whenever she sees it, she smiles. I know this picture has likewise become a favorite of hers.


Don’t ask me why, but I love bangkas of any make or color, size or shape. So whenever I visit my home province of Batangas, I can’t seem to get enough photos of bangkas – at work, at play, at rest, at repair. I have always wondered... if they could only speak – such stories, such revelations, enough to fill the pages of many books, even a small library.

Tito Umali

I agreed on a last minute coverage of the Camp North Caravan for it included a visit to the northernmost part of Cagayan Valley, where I had not been since my kindergarten days some decades ago. All I recall of Tuguegarao was the simple lifestyle and the desolate landscape of its outlying towns. And friends tell me, all that has changed. I had to see for myself.

The week-long 2,000-kilometer stretch – where nothing seemed to go right (but that’s another story altogether) and worsened by the intense heat of the bright summer sun – reminded me of deserts and more deserts. On the fourth day, we suddenly chanced upon a bend, literally situated at the tip of the island of Luzon along the mountain highway of Claveria, Cagayan, near the boundary of Ilocos Norte.

We stopped. Got out of the van. Cool fresh air at noon. Lush vegetation. Fine cream-colored sand. Sea rushing to the shore. Not a soul in sight. What a marvelous view! Here is the proof.


Mayon Volcano, with its perfect symmetry visible for miles specially on a clear day and appreciated by all, is truly without a doubt, a sight to behold. Its beauty is absolutely awesome!

A true favorite. Definitely my most cherished picture taken of nature’s gift to my province. I won a prize for it.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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