Posted By Lester V Ledesma
It's amusing how simply browsing through one's photo files can bring a flood of memories from the past twelve months. I'm fortunate to be in a line of work that constantly rewards me with new experiences. Some of these happen off the beaten path, others well within the domain of the cushy comfy. Like in previous years, 2009 brims with some truly unforgettable memories - there's so many of them in my head now that it takes effort to try to remember them all.

So I'll start small and just list down my ten best experiences of 2009:

#10 - The Ramadan Market at Tanjung Pinang

Ramadan Market

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast and spend their days in quiet contemplation, avoiding temptations to the soul as much as they can. In Tanjung Pinang, Bintan Island - as in the rest of Indonesia - restaurants hang black yards of cloth in front of their windows to keep appetites at bay. Radio stations go off the air, and the vibe throughout the town is one of quiet religiosity. However, all this changes after sunset when the ramadan fast is broken. The normally quiet waterfront suddenly bustles with activity as street peddlers and food hawkers appear. The scent of grilled satay, boiled bakso mee, steamed siumai Bandung, and roti bakar mixes with the sound of foot-pedaled kiddie rides, portable speakers and the ubiquitous motorbikes. The atmosphere is carnival-like - and the food is delicious. Who would have thought the fasting month could be this fun?

#9 - Getting Caught in the Rain in Vigan

Vigan Rain

The clouds were ominous, yet the setting sun rendered the stormy skies in a lovely yellow tone. I figured I could get a few shots off under this light before scampering off to find shade from the oncoming rain. The water came early and in torrents, though, forcing me to hide under a tiny roof on a corner of Vigan's M. Crisologo street. Drenched from head to toe, camera included, I waited about an hour for the rain to stop. But I was far from miserable because the scene before me was truly magical. Just look at that!

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