Any trip worth taking and well-planned out very much ahead of time can easily be ruined by one, single factor: bad weather.

This we had to humbly accept last week when we revisited Biri Island in the northernmost tip of Northern Samar, facing the huge Pacific Ocean.

Planning for the Biri trip was made months in advance. It had to be summer time for calmer seas (crossing to Biri involves navigating the treacherous San Bernardino Strait – the major sea channel from the mighty Pacific Ocean “supplying” the Visayan Sea). Tickets were already bought way ahead of time to avail of bargain rates.

But the weather has been acting weird lately.

The La Niña phenomenon, Mr. Weatherman has warned.

In previous years, March is when the weather in Eastern Visayas starts turning warmer from warm; humid to more humid; and a hot, sweltering Holy Week just weeks away…

This year, however, the weather has gone askew. It’s been rains after rains after rains lately, flooding areas never been flooded before in Eastern Visayas, the Bicol area, and the eastern parts of Mindanao.

But since we were traveling as a group, with more than half coming from other places (2 from Cebu, 2 from Roxas City, 4 from Manila), we had to proceed as planned.

A flight to Catarman, Northern Samar from Manila was canceled and 2 on board could no longer join the group (on a return trip, 4 others had to make a detour trip to Tacloban when their return flight Catarman-Manila was likewise cancelled due to bad weather.)

When we left Tacloban for Catarman on a road trip, the weather was very gloomy. Very ominous.

But wonder of wonders: when we reached Biri and went to the rock formations, we were in for a pleasant surprise – sunny weather!

We were not so lucky, however, for the 2 succeeding days. Shooting for a sunrise was a battle against strong elements – fierce, whistling Pacific winds capable of knocking down heavy, tripod-mounted cameras. And skin-drenching rain (see 2 photos above).

Oh, well, life has to go on. And we had to simply live with it.

Here’s what I got…  Biri Island, still magnificent and awesome.

Trip was still worth it, if you ask me. ;)

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We awoke yesterday to a sunny day!

Yehey! What a super relief!

So is La Niña over or what?

Best of all, even if we missed seeing the supermoon the other night, we got a glimpse of it the following night. :)

Photo taken 3/20/11 7:23:22 PM at Sagkahan, Tacloban City, Philippines

At 7:52:36 PM

At 7:56:44 PM

 

 

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The rains of Tuesday, March 16, 2011 in Tacloban City and nearby towns was unusually heavy. It was incessant, literally pouring with no letup starting late Monday evening, till the next morning and the entire day, and on… and on…  till past midnight.

Facebook posts were all petitioning the heavens for the rain to please stop.

A really heavy downpour lasting only  for a couple of hours easily puts low-lying areas of the city underwater, particularly some areas at the downtown area, the V & G Subdivision and some sections of the national highway. How much more for one lasting like more than 24 hours!

That was for the record!

It probably was one of the heaviest rainfall ever recorded for Tacloban in decades!

And the ensuing floods was truly unprecedented. It was common to hear folks claiming it was the first time ever in their entire lives to have experienced flood waters enter their homes.

Ever.

How massive the damage is to both lives and property is unimaginable.

Monitoring the radio and the internet for whatever news late into the night and the next morning, the first of tragic reports trickled in: Family of 7 dead, buried under a landslide in Brgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City. Landslides reported, too, in Brgy. Utap and Brgy. Upper Nula-tula. Calls for help for evacuation from terrified, trapped residents at some low-lying areas. Easily affected were those living along river banks and creeks whose water levels had overflowed.

Palo, the town next to Tacloban City, was flooded badly. Bangon River had swelled to threatening levels and the Bernard Reed Bridge, which is currently undergoing rehabilitation, was at risk of being damaged further.

We heard reports of a bridge in Sta. Fe being hit by flood waters and rendered impassable, effectively cutting off motor travel to the south from Tacloban to Ormoc and Biliran. (Update 11PM March 18: damaged bridge now passable; travel to Ormoc now okay. – gerry)

Gosh this was serious.

So me and my wife, Ludette, set off this afternoon for a look-see. We headed straight to Bangon River in Palo where we earlier heard reports of heavy flooding.

Here’s what I got…

Photos taken March 17, 2011.

The scene at the newly-opened Baras-Salvacion Bridge: Bangon River in Palo, Leyte swells and overflows.

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My wife and I have been through 3 babies. They’re all young adults now.

While I didn’t have a DSLR during those times, we did try to document their early years using instamatic-type film cameras.

Times have changed and now with DSLR’s, one can keep shooting until you drop dead. Or your memory card gets filled up. Or your battery gives up. Whichever comes first. ;)

And so, not that it was unexpected, we recently became grandparents (gosh!) with our first grandchild.

And the baby shooting has resumed.

Yeah, things have gone around full circle.

Photographing newborn babies is difficult for the simple reason that at this stage, the infant is asleep. Most of the time. Not much facial expressions there. And the eyes and face are all puffed up. And when awake, the (yet) unseeing eyes go in all directions which may not look good aesthetically in your final photos.

We are advised to zoom in for extreme close ups to get the tiny details.

Get establishing shots, to include elements that would give a sense of scale and size comparison to show how small the baby is.

Keep on shooting – you never know when the baby would break into a sudden smile.

And, yes, don’t forget the parents. The Lola, too! hehe ;)

So, okay, let me try taking baby pictures once again…

Here’s baby Kenji at one day old…

 

And 3 weeks later…

VIEW GALLERY SLIDESHOW >>>>

 

 

 

 

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