After the seemingly unceasing rainy days of recent weeks that saw several provinces in Eastern Visayas being declared under a state of calamity, the clouds broke up early last week and things seemed to get sunny once again eliciting one giant collective sigh of relief from everybody.

I was extra blessed this passing week with my spotting of two sunbirds – one, a favorite of mine, the Siwit, the local name for the Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) also called Yellow-breasted Sunbird; Yellow-bellied Sunbird;  and, secondly, a not-so-common bird called Naked-faced Spiderhunter – a lifer (first time to view at its natural habitat) for me! – at Lake Danao in Ormoc City, Leyte.

The sunbirds and spiderhunters are a family, Nectariniidae, of very small Passerine birds (perching birds/ songbirds).

I missed seeing the Siwit at our veranda during the incessant rains I began to wonder whether she’d moved on and found a better refuge.

Then just a couple of days ago, I heard her familar call!

She was back!

At Lake Danao in Ormoc City, Leyte last Friday, February 11, 2011, I was again in luck. Gee, the lake goddess surely loves me!

About 2 months ago it was there where I was able to spot several lifers and seldom seen ones, among them a Samar Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides samarensis) and an Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis). (See previous post: http://callezaragosa.com/gerryruizphotoblog/?p=1013)

This time I was more than fortunate to have spotted what I initially thought was another ordinary sunbird. It was immediately identified by birder friends as a Naked-faced Spiderhunter – not yet classified as an endangered species, but certainly a rare, hard-to-find one.

A quick search in the internet mentions sightings and photographs of it only in Mindanao and at La Mesa Dam Eco Park in Quezon City. There’s no mention of sightings nor a photo taken of it in Leyte!

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Behind-the-scenes photos taken during the Landscape of Emotions 2 – A Manny Librodo Advanced Photography Workshop featuring Kharunisia Jazmin.

The workshop organized by the Camera Club of Leyte & Samar was held on January 29, 2011 at Marabut, Samar and Tacloban City.

The Photoshoot

Model/MU/Stylist: Kharunisia Jazmin

Location: Caluwayan Palm Island Beach Resort, Brgy. Caluwayan, Marabut, Samar

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We were privileged to have Manny Librodo back with us for the second time around last weekend, January 29 & 30, 2011 during the “Landscape of Emotions 2″ – an advanced photography workshop conducted by the famed photography master himself.

A Filipino photography artist based in Bangkok and Manila, Manny Librodo is a multi-awarded and internationally published photographer who conducts workshops all over the world.

Manny Librodo was named by Scott Kelby – a recognized international photography authority – in 2009 as one of the “Five Best Photographers of the World (that you probably haven’t heard about)“.

Organized by the Camera Club of Leyte and Samar, the workshop featured Kharunisia Jazmin – Manny’s favorite model, his “Muse for the Philippines” – a versatile artist herself: costume designer/stylist/make-up artist/model/photographer all rolled into one. A very smart, intelligent girl, she’s quite pretty and attractive, too, and can project various moods/looks effortlessly.

Workshop participants were all amazed at her versatility and projection; one could not imagine getting lousy shots with Kharu as the model, unless there was something seriously wrong with the camera or the photographer’s settings!

Needless to say, everybody had a fun time and a great learning experience as guided by the maestro, Manuel Libres Librodo, Jr.

Thanks to Manny Librodo, Kharunisia Jazmin, the Camera Club of Leyte & Samar (CCLS) and CCLS Immediate Past President Orlando Uy

Photoshoot location: Caluwayan Palm Island Beach Resort, Brgy. Caluwayan, Marabut, Samar

Post-processing Workshop: Rotary Center, Sagkahan, Tacloban City

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The Sto. Niño Shrine in Tacloban City (is it really a shrine or something else? It has been renamed the Romualdez Museum) means differently to a lot of Filipinos. For those who have been inside, some (mostly Warays), view it as a legacy of Imelda Marcos; for others, it is an icon of the excesses of the Marcos dynasty.

Having seen it before and after the Marcos years, now it is but a bare picture of what it was before. It is in such a sorry state some things are literally falling apart.

Still under the custody and management by the PCGG, this is how the place looks today.

Photos taken January 23 & 24, 2011.

Imelda Marcos’ bedroom

Imelda’s bathroom

President Marcos’ bedroom

To my knowledge, the first family never slept here.

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