Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saved by the Flowers
I attended a primer on lighting yesterday in what promised to be a beautiful eco-resort. The pictures in its website were so breath-taking and from the write-up you can imagine a place where nature and leisure were perfectly combined in a comfortable Philippine-style resort.
The seminar was supposed to start at 9 so we planned to leave early, with me picking up my first passenger (3 attendees rode with me) at 6:15 at the McDonald's branch near our house. By 7 AM, we were out of Manila. Unfortunately, the road works at the South Luzon Expressway and the terrible traffic at Calamba and Los Banos town proper stretched the 1.5 hour trip into a long journey of 2 hours and 45 minutes. I was happy to have offered rides to my co-attendees, as we enjoyed chatting along the way. (I wasn't planning to take passengers but when I saw the carpool details, I noticed that all the pick-up places where in Makati. I knew that there were some people coming in from Quezon City, so I posted an invitation at our forum. Their contribution for the gasoline and toll expenses also made my wallet happy.)
After the long drive, we were excited to see the place - but I already felt disappointed the minute we entered its gates. There were no directional signs, no one was there to welcome us, and the road we were supposed to take was blocked by a jeepney. This meant that we took the wrong road and had to make a challenging U-turn at the end of it. The main dining area was so-so. The ceramic birds hanging from the nipa ceiling were a bit interesting but the linens were too tattered for my taste and the china and utensils were probably bought second hand from a cafeteria that closed in the 50s. Its only saving grace was that the whole structure was covered by a screen that effectively blocked out the mosquitos.
We transferred to a conference room for our seminar. It was nothing special but it had adequate airconditioning and its washroom had running water, soap and toilet paper. This place served as our little haven against the offensive summer heat and that wreck of a washroom near the dining area that had wet floors and sinks that only had slime for soap. If asked to describe the eco-resort in a sentence, I would have just said that I was thankful that I'm not staying overnight.
When we were sent out to take pictures, I was uninspired by the huge GREEN pool, and the team building area which was bare except for the tires on the grounds. But the flora and the fauna were of a different class. Nature seemed compelled to make up for the unchic shabbiness of the resort - the flowers were beautiful and the plants looked so healthy even with the spiders and all those cute little bugs. They all stood proudly and welcomed the sun in all their colorful glory. As I took some shots of the flowers (which were a bit of a challenge since I didn't want to pick them out of their branches,) I was thankful for the existence of the resort, at least someone will be taking care of all those beautiful plants.
If you're wondering about how the seminar went - a lot of attendees arrived late because of the traffic so the seminar started at 11 am. As expected, the primer gave me several light-bulb-over-my-head moments. It also strengthened my belief that I'll never have the patience required of a professional photographer. My co-attendee and I were joking that if we were to set up the lighting and do all the necessary computations, the sunset shot that we're supposed to take will turn into a night shot. The other attendees didn't seem to have any problems with all those processes, though.