Destination Mati travel photo workshop-A A +A
Sunday, July 15, 2012
MY birthplace of Mati, Davao Oriental has grown quite developed over the years from a quiet municipality to a bustling, young city with a promising future as the next tourist destination to beat.
It was only fitting that my next photography workshop was held here to open the year’s workshop series. It is clearly my way of going back to my roots and appreciating my hometown in a different light.
After a photoblogging workshop in General Santos’ City a week before, Mati was a travel photography workshop handled with partner and mentor, Rhonson Ng.
Together, we taught several enthusiasts who came as far as Bislig, North Cotabato, Gov. Generoso and Tagum, and members of the Davao Oriental Camera Club a couple of techniques in photography while on travel, to better appreciate what a destination offers in terms of scenic spots and tourist attractions. This was also one of the highlights of festivity during the weeklong Pujada Bay Festival, so the city was buzzing with many activities.
After a morning’' lecture at the function room of Baywalk Hotel (where the participants were housed), we went to Mayo Resort, endowed with a different landscape of multi-colored, pebbled shoreline. Next stop was the Guangguang Mangrove sanctuary, filled with healthy coastline trees whose roots jut out proudly at low tide.
After a lengthy open forum back in the hotel, dinner was served at Braman's by the baywalk.
The next morning's exercise was particularly challenging because we got up at 4 a.m. to capture the spectacular sunrise in Dahican, a long coastline strip of white sand and incredibly clear turquoise waters fit for skimboarding and kayaking.
Whenever I am in Mati, I always make sure to be in Dahican by this hour, where I commune with the fishing villagers (they now actually recognize me and smile after coming back in boats from the sea) and capture the busy morning hustle of hauling the morning catch.
There was plenty of coastal action as far as Kanakbai, Botona, Amihan beach fronts and the new Dahican Surf Resort, which houses open cabanas and hammocks fit for an alluring tropical stay.
Our participants were lucky to have captured one celebrity from Manila who was lounging in a bikini in Amihan Surf beach, and was friendly enough to pose for them while on a short vacation.
With a hearty breakfast prepared by Dahican Surf Resort (thanks to Gaby Sibala and family), the same family offered their high end resort at Kanakbai for the function room since they are also catering our sumptuous buffet lunch. It was a hidden posh establishment fronting an amazing view of the Pacific sea.
After a fun photo assignment, critiquing and discussion, our workshop finale ended on a high note. In the open function hall with a cozy sofa, dining table and a backdrop of Dahican’s famed blue waters, the participants received special gifts from our sponsors Aromacology Sensi (Davao's natural-based skin care products, thanks to Vanessa Mondragon), M Magazines, and Western Digital items (whose external drives Rhon and I have been using for years). Photo contest prizes were from Primer Group's great brands of Roxy, Columbia and Quiksilver.
Big thanks to SmartBro’s Pocket Wifi (courtesy of Haidee Bernabe) for the connection by the beach, and to Ms. Eva Botona (Botona Resort) and Auntie Nitz who prepared a delicious meal for me and Rhonson during our stay.
Lastly, this two-day event wouldn't have been possible if not for the wholehearted support of the LGU, specifically the Tourism Office staff headed by Dashiel Indelible, the office of Mayor Michelle Rabat, with the guidance of City Administrator Richard Villacorte, and Hansel Alicando for making sure our needs are promptly met during a busy time in the Pujada Bay Festival. Our stay in Mati is always at Casa Rosa, a favorite accommodation because of its clean facilities.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 16, 2012.