Friday, Jan 28, 2011 2:52 AM
Posted By Lester V Ledesma
#3) SLEEPY, FRIENDLY LAOS
An excerpt from my article in Asian Photography Magazine:
"Just before I enter town, I spot a group of monks resting under a tree. The scene is so pretty that I slam on the brakes, and quickly approach them with my camera to take a few frames. These orange-robed, bare-headed guys must be amused by my presence, but they simply smile while I take their picture. Afterwards, we chat a bit and - believe it or not - exchange Facebook accounts. It is well past sundown when I finally reach my hotel. I may be tired and hungry but I don't mind one bit, for I am totally enchanted by this land and its people."
#2) COFFEE PICKING IN NORTHERN THAILAND
This was a dream assignment from Fah Thai Magazine: to traverse to the mountains of northern Thailand to cover this country's growing coffee industry. For almost a week I barrelled down dirt roads on a 4x4 with my guide Scott, photographing this crop's fascinating journey from the plantation to the cup. At Doi Chaang we saw Lissu coffee pickers at work on fields blooming with bright red Arabica cherries. In Doi Mae Salong we trekked through tea plantations and interviewed farmers who descended from lost Kuomintang armies.
And of course, there was the coffee itself - sweet, full-bodied and smoky, with hints of berries and brown sugar. Made by Akha ladies who poured cappucinos with picture-perfect latte art, in wifi-enabled huts in the middle of nowhere. Screw blue mountain - coffee heaven is right here in Southeast Asia.
#1) MAYON FROM ON HIGH
Excerpts from my article in Cebu Smile Magazine:
"Of all the ways to see the Albay countryside, the bird’s eye view has got to be the most exhilarating. Imagine being strapped to your seat beside a wide open window, with a spinning propeller above you and all of creation underneath. A helicopter ride offers that rare chance to see God’s perspective on things."
"This being the land of Mayon, one can easily guess where the flight path often leads. There are no long-winded pre-flight rituals on this trip. You just get on the aircraft, warm up the engine and go. From the helipad at Legazpi, your pilot heads to the volcano’s base and then up the mountain, till you're face to face with Lady Mayon herself. From above, the verdant greens show the scars of centuries of lava flows. The scorched earth seems to get blacker, the volcanic moonscape more sinister. Then there is the crater itself, its ashen surface blanketed with moisture and sulphur fumes. This is shock and awe at 8,000ft."
Categories: arts, culture, travel, Asia, Portrait, religion, landscape, food, cuisine, Philippines, Lester, Ledesma, Thailand, Buddha, city, Vientiane, Laos, Buddhism, Mayon, Albay, Legazpi, Bicol, coffee, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai