I recently returned home from three weeks in the Philippines and have been very anxious to share my favorite photos from Dana Maliwanag and Janssen Fabular’s engagement session on April 25. Dana and my wife are both from Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, and their families have known each other for quite some time. At the beginning of our vacation I found out that Janssen had just recently proposed to Dana, so I immediately offered to shoot their engagement session as a wedding gift from myself and Alona. I pretty much jumped at the chance. The opportunity was so exciting. Mansalay and its barangays, or wards, are full of so many great locations and backgrounds to shoot photo sessions. There is color everywhere and countless unique settings, like fishing boats on Mansalay Bay, tricycle taxis around the central market and bamboo foot bridges spanning rivers. I could see myself dragging Dana and Janssen all over town, pushing them to their limits — which is basically what I do with all of my engagement couples. Of course I also let my clients choose their locations if they already have an idea or concept in mind. Dana’s first location choice was Buktot Beach. Perfect! Buktot is one of southern Oriental Mindoro’s best kept secrets. It’s a Pinoy beach, a locals beach, that has white sand and several nippa huts that you can rent for the day. Buktot Beach is one of my favorite places on Earth. Perfect for Dana and Janssen’s engagement. After a late start we began the shoot at Calameda Bay Resort, a foreign-owned beach resort, in Cabalwa, which is a short drive from Buktot Beach. Most of the resort is already in the shade by late afternoon so we shot along the beachfront to start and then took advantage of some nice shafts of the warm evening light spilling in through the coconut trees. On our way out of Cabalwa we stopped on the town’s main road and, taking advantage of another beam of light, made some quick photos of the two on Janssen’s Yamaha motorcycle. This was a special request and made for a great portrait. From there we rushed to Buktot and chased the setting sunlight all over the beach. The light was beautiful, very warm. I was extremely pleased with the results of the overall session and, most importantly, my wonderful subjects loved them. Dana and Janssen, Alona and I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness together. If only we could be there for your wedding. Mabuhay!
Although this session was a gift from Alona and I, we still received a special delivery at our home from Dana just hours before we were to meet for the shoot. It was a large shopping bag stuffed full with several pounds of live crab, prawns and a fresh-caught Maya-Maya (red snapper) that would make any trophy fisherman drool. Maraming salamat Dana. Masarap!