This online shoebox contains random pictures, notes, whatever. I've been a professional writer-photographer for so many years now. It's a damn good excuse to carry a camera around.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

So where do I start? After my wifey's surprise Maldives treat and the Bangkok assignment in January, a few other things happened on the way to today:

There was the run to Phuket and Sukhothai where I covered King Ramkamhaeng's birthday, among other things:

Q1

Then it was off to Myanmar where I photographed Yangon and Inle:
Q2

Afterwards, I headed off with my PhotoTrekkers to Bhutan where we shot the Punakha Dromche:
Q3

Not bad for the first half of the year, I tell ya:
Q4

Then without further ado, I hied off to Kuala Lumpur to shoot Islamic architecture and hang with Hainanese old-timers:
Q5

A few weeks of rest followed, then I promptly boarded at plane to Hanoi, where I hopped aboard the night train to Sapa Valley:
Q6

... and then I found myself back in Myanmar - whopeee - for the year's second PhotoTrek!
Q7

Philippines next - this time to Coron and Calauit Island:
Q8

Which happened back-to-back with an excursion down south to meet the Manobo tribespeople of Butuan:
Q9

Afterwards I stayed home to spend the Singapore Jubilee weekend with my wife and daughter:
Q10

Needless to say I'm happy with how this year is going.
Q11
 

A little tired, but yes - very happy :)


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

8) What’s in Basilan?

January 22, 2013: “Is there someone waiting for you at the pier?” a smiling passenger asked. The question, however innocent, sounded strangely foreboding. We were on a ferry en route to Basilan –the fabled hometown of the terrorist group, the Abu Sayyaf – where (the locals joked) an “extended holiday” could easily cost a million dollars. Thankfully our contact met us at the dock. With a hint of dread lingering in my mind, my companions and I set out to explore this notorious isle.

 

08

The capital, Isabela, felt just like any other Mindanao town. At the market, porters looked at my cameras with suspicion at first, but then later lined up to have their Facebook pics taken. A laughing burkha-clad lady served us coffee at a carinderia. Further inland (past the army checkpoints), we photographed local kids at a waterfall, and rubber harvesters on the job. My last taste of Basilan was at a pristine beach called Malamawi, where we kicked back on bamboo benches with a squad of Marines. No gunfire, no kidnappers – this was just a day well-spent.

 

7) Malacca at Dawn

May 18, 2013: The problem with the heritage city of Melaka was that it became too busy at times. Sure, it’s got those lovingly preserved buildings along its narrow walkways, but all too often the nostalgia was lost in the massive crush of weekend visitors. I had an idea though: go out early to shoot these streets, after the night markets have packed up and all those funny tourists have gone to bed.

07

 

The neighborhood was quiet at 4AM, with only haze keeping me company as I sauntered down the avenues. Jonker street was deserted, with nothing at all – neither cars nor people – on the pavement. The antique shophouses basked in the warm light of streetlamps. Chinese lanterns adorned their facades, the paper spheres adding hints of red to the timeless scene before me. An old man on a rusty bike pedaled by, and I was brought back in time. There it was; the Malacca of old, no longer obscured.

 Want to know more about Melaka? Check out my article, A Malacca Memoir


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

4) The Heartbeat of Iloilo

January 27, 2013: Fourteen years after I last covered the Dinagyang Festival, I got the chance to see it one more time. Taken from my article on Smile Magazine:

 “The warriors groove in unison to the mighty drumbeats. They shake and they bake - one step to the left, one step to the right, they raise their shields and brandish their spears. But all this is just a warm-up, for as the tom-toms pound out a more frenzied rhythm the atis stretch their hands outward to do their own version of.... bump n’ grind! The crowd roars out its approval. I howl out mine. “
 

04

“Thirteen tribes later my ears are numb from all the merry mayhem that had just occurred. As I think about this weekend I realize that Dinagyang is more than just a display of mindless revelry. To me it now represents the unique character of the Ilonggo people - artistic, fun loving, deeply religious and sometimes crazy. This was really a weekend to remember. When next year comes, you’ll see me back in Iloilo. “

“No, I won’t be watching the revelers. I’ll be one of them!”

 Read the rest of this story here.


3)The River Wild

August 5, 2013: On assignment for Smile Magazine:

“You've saved the best for your last day in Cagayan de Oro. Rise and shine early and get ready for an action-packed morning. You are again heading to the boonies to try out this region's signature attraction – white water rafting. “

 

03

“The course takes you through a 12-kilometer stretch dotted with over a dozen class II and III rapids (class I is easy, class 6 is suicidal). Each gurgling, foaming obstacle has its own challenges; Makabundol Rapids has a rock wall on one side that needs to be paddled against, while The Rodeo is so chaotic you'll have to hold on to stay aboard. And don't even think about chatting up your guide when you tackle the “I'm Busy” Rapids. There's also The Twister, so named because you all have to paddle through it standing up – making everyone look like dancers on a boat!”

“By the end of it all (that's a good 4 hours later), you'll be tired and wet – and yes, once again exhilarated by this adrenaline-pumping excursion. Not many weekends can compare to the one you just had. A weekend in Cagayan de Oro, you realize, is never enough.”

To find out what else a weekend in Cagayan de Oro can bring, take a look at my article on the CDO Gold Rush.


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

A young boxer trains at the PacMan's old school, the Golingan Gym in General Santos City.

 

The sign on the right reads as follows:

 

The 10 Qualities of a Good Boxer

 

1. Prayerful

2. Brave

3. Fast

4. Disciplined

5. Hardworking

6. Good

7. Obedient

8. Humble

9. Helpful

10. Cares for his fellowmen

 

Not surprisingly, Pacquiao these words have been used to describe Manny Pacquiao.

 

 

GSPacman

 

Did a story on the man and his hometown, back in 2010. Check it out in the online version of Smile Magazine.


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Cagayan de Oro City. Two women on the street on a dry day, in an area known for stoneware pottery. One carries a bright red umbrella, the other carries a fish. I have no idea how these facts connect....

 

umbrellacdo


 


 
Google

User Profile
Lester V Led...
lledesma@sky...
Singapore

 
Category
 
Recent Entries
 
Archives
 
Visitors

You have 847633 hits.